What I like about Germanic heathenism, is that you have heathens who believe Valhalla is great, and Hel not so much, and you have heathens who really would rather go to Hel, and who could be more excited about the idea of being in Valhalla. There are a few places more one could go.
I can only go with what I believe in as an eclectic pagan. I don't believe in the Christian aspect of Heaven. I believe in reincarnation.
Everyone else has said it.
Most pagans believe in some sort of afterlife.
They're not like a Christian heaven though, many of them.
Some are of the thought that the afterlife is much like this life, only less so. You're dead after all. Life is what is desirable, not death, so unless you're a hero or a demi-god, the afterlife is just that much duller and not as vibrant.
Wrong-doers are punished for their deeds, but the punishments match the crimes and none of the punishments are forever.
Sometimes reincarnation is an option if the dead person does choose it, but it's not mandatory.
"I imagine that the answer depends on the particular faith practiced,"
I think you answered your own question.
I think that if there is an afterlife, here is how it works (disclaimer: I speak for myself, not all pagans)
We live on this earth for x number of years. Then the spirit/soul/essence/etc leaves the body. Then, depending on your actions in life (karma) you are sent to 'sort the rest out' if there is any ' unfinished business', so you can move on (Christian idea of 'limbo'....or a reason for some hauntings) Once you move on you are sent into those 'cited places' (Heaven, Summerland, Valhalla, Hel(l), etc.) And each of those places are just different areas in that (under)world (akin to the concept of continents/cities) I think we vacation there for a while, until we are needed back on earth (reincarnation)
To fine tune this question if I may.
What is your faith / path, and what is your idea of the afterlife . Does it parallel with the Christians ideals of heaven?
I really don't know the true christian ideals of heaven are. It seems every christian I have asked has a different answer. So possibly it's a personal choice? Maybe you can tell me Dale?
Sorry for the delay in answering. Been truck driving and darn wifi is so spotty.
For me? Jesus said, as He was heading up. " I go to prepare a place for you ..."
I think, and hope that would mean for us according to our individual desire and hope what heaven would be like. He said ..." for you". He didn't say I go to heaven to prepare a track home neighborhood where all homes look the same.
In my mind that is quite simple. He's building a home for us all. Heaven. Perfect. Peaceful. And without all the mental strain and stress and well Earthly drama. Reading revelations gives an idea of what some thinks Heaven will be.
I personally would like a simple house. Smalll back porch. A Bed I can finally be comfortable in. A huge deep dark dense forest. A lake to fish in. An very few people to pester me. My dad who is awesome, once said. The ideal heaven will be a paradise. Animals we've always wanted to pet but they were too mean. Like sitting with gorillas. or peting lions. Etc. But also God giving us wings. Pointing to the stars above and saying There. now go see what else I've made. Spending an eternity amongst the stars, oh that would be heaven.
I love the idea of my personalized heaven but am not optimistic about seeing it realized.
I find the Xtian concept ridiculous, as well as most of others I've heard of.
The thing is, whatever keeps you going can't be dismissed as bad, even if it's really unlikely.
I'm an animist and sometimes I even wonder about that.
Some mornings there's nothing there at all, it's like a dry desert wind blowing where my thoughts should be.