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The Summerland

What’s in a name?

Did you know that the word ‘Summerland’ is taken from Neopaganism and is said to represent a place for souls to rest in between their earthly incarnations?

And that the Gods of the Neopagan times would reportedly allow humans to stay in ‘the Summerland’ forever if they had gained the higher level of awareness that was meant to be the reason they came to earth in the first place?  And that it is a place of self evaluation for all matters spiritual where in reviewing ones’ life one would gain an understanding of the impact its actions had on the world and that physical human life takes on many incarnations but when they return to the mortal place (Earth) they have no recollection of the Summerland?

Andrew Jackson Davis wrote in The Great Harmonia which was published in six volumes between 1850–1861 that the Summerland is the pinnacle of human spiritual achievement in the afterlife; that is, it is the highest level, or ‘sphere’, of the afterlife we can hope to enter. Davis who had a reputation for being clairvoyant, was an inspiration to both Edgar Cayce and Edgar Allan Poe for his ability to communicate with spirits on other planes. He was so taken with the idea of the Summerland that he wrote about it again seven years after the publication of The Great Harmonia, in a book titled A Stellar Key to the Summer Land.

Personally I’m not particularly clairvoyant nor do I possess any special powers of communicating with people six feet under, however I do know about the Summerland because it is where I now live. As the name (and Wikipedia) suggests, it is a place of beauty and peace, where everything people hold close to their hearts is preserved in its fullest beauty for eternity. It is envisioned as containing wide and possibly eternal fields of rolling green hills and lush grass. Well maybe our hills are a little more yellow with dried rather than lush grass but they are nonetheless beautiful.

Our Summerland also has wineries that produce something akin to the nectar of the Gods, which has not gone unnoticed in international wine competitions. Summerland also has a very long and lovely lake that is said to be host to ancient mythological creatures. It has beauty in abundance, a steam train built in 1912 that still runs, peaceful beaches that are never overcrowded, and it also has some very good food. Summerland is a destination that when one reaches it, it feels like a reward for having been very good up until that point… at least on this earthly plane in this particular incarnation.

It is said that the only spiritual plane higher than the Summerland, is Nirvana. Personally I’m content to stay put for the moment, have a glass of local wine, enjoy the tapas at the local bistros and just contemplate what it means to be living in the Summerland.

Yes, there are other charming towns nearby but I couldn’t find any reason for Peachland being so named other than the fact that they grow peaches. And Penticton… well it’s a ‘place to stay forever’  but I’m not sure I would want to make that kind of commitment. Nothing too mystical about that and it does seem that Summerland has something a little bit extra. Whether or not this has anything to do with extraterrestrials or communicating with the dead or the Gods is irrelevant to me. I do know that it is a special place, in part because you won’t find a Walmart, nor a Costco nor a Minute Lube. And it is a place where crickets sing in the hedges on warm summer’s nights and often I’m lulled to sleep by coyotes baying at the moon in the valley below the train trestle.

I love Summerland. It’s has a full blown (previously blown) volcano right in the middle of town that is host to one of the best events I’ve attended and that’s the Giant’s Head longboard free-ride in July. You can hear the whoops of laughter and joy echo from the top to the bottom of the mountain and the whole adventure is summed up perfectly when you overhear some kid from L.A. who drove all the way to the Summerland for one wild and crazy weekend, to exclaim that this is the ‘best place ever!’ True enough, kid from L.A.

– Stephanie Seaton –