The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

As the Wheel Turns ( 'On Reincarnation' )

 'I'll see her/him again......................'

Growing up Christian, as this blogger did, these were always supposed to be words of comfort & while, to those who had experienced  Death, I.E., had a loved one pass from this life, these words embodied the hope of the Resurrection, to me, they never really brought much hope or comfort! As it is now, however, these words bear new meaning. In a sense, of course, it's all relative, depending on where one is in their personal Journey. Some may still cling to this hope, while others have no hope at all, believing that this life is all there is & that when we pass from this life, we cease to exist. Still others, with no religious affectation at all ( ? ), however, have latched on to the notion of some sort of 'life after death', albeit, not necessarily in the traditional  'Heaven' or 'Hell'. Yet others accept 'Reincarnation' as a fact, thus professing belief in 'life after death' of another sort. It is this 'belief' we will examine in this post.

'Reincarnation', or the notion that the soul does not perish with the body, but returns in an entirely different one, is not a new one. Though it may be primarily attached to Eastern religions, it is not strange to Western tradition, though maybe not by that name. 'The Hope of the Resurrection' is really not too dissimilar & for the serious (open-minded ) Bible student, there are quite a few passages that seem to at least leave the window open to this possibility.

The Fact, accepted by some & discarded by others, that we are 'spirits having a bodily experience' has been debated for centuries, even millenia. Western religion, for the most part & to whatever extent, teaches the existence of the individual soul (spirit ), but that we are, first & foremost, human beings, more or less, animals with an eternal soul. In actuality, there is really only one major Western religion, that being Christianity, though it bears more facets than a diamond! The Eastern religions, though they are many & varied, seem to have one thing in common; 'Reincarnation'! A popularly accepted definition of 'reincarnation' reads something like this; 'a person or animal in whom a particular soul is believed to have been reborn', or, 'the rebirth of a soul in a new body.' The Christian 'Resurrection' doesn't sound much different, except that it is explained as 'the selfsame bodies of the dead which were laid in the grave', yet without the so-called 'effects of sin'. 

However any certain religion defines its teaching on 'Reincarnation', it might, in the words of this blogger, be defined as a sort of 'second chance' ( or a third, fourth, infinity ), a chance to do better, even to rectify the mistakes of the past, to learn a certain lesson................. This might seem to imply the existence of a Higher Power, Who continually sends you back, in order that you learn these lessons, but it could also mean that your own Higher Self continually chooses to be reincarnated, either for your own good, or for the good of others!

The belief that it is our Higher Self choosing to come back ( reincarnation ), rather than some Higher Power ( outside ourselves ) sending us back, makes more sense to this blogger, as it puts the responsibility squarely where it belongs, on our own shoulders! As Christians, we were taught, to whatever degree, that 'the devil made me do it'. Therefore, it is only through the intervention of yet another outside source that we can be saved from the effects of this 'sin'. That this other 'outside source' created 'the devil' ( 'Satan' ) only serves to 'muddy the waters'!

Doctrine & Dogma aside, The Great Wheel of Life teaches us that there is More to it then simply living & dying. Christians also like to tout that we only live once, then we go to 'Heaven' or 'Hell'. Rather than this linear view, history itself shows us a cyclical ( circular? ) pattern. Biology is one example of this pattern: beginning with the mineral form, the plant form is nourished & grows, becoming food for the animal form, which, when it perishes, breaks down into the minerals from which it was formed, beginning the cycle all over again. Human beings, who are basically animals with a soul, lend to this cycle by repeating the same mistakes over & over again throughout history. Wars are a good ( or is that 'bad' ) example of this!

'As above, so below', though; being More than human, through reincarnation, we can rectify this situation, not only in this lifetime, but in the next! For whatever reason, War being one of the primary ones, the lessons that Life teaches us may not quite 'get through', but as the Great Wheel turns, we can only hope that future generations will see the error of their ways & that eventually, these life lessons will find their mark. Though in a slightly different sense, Reincarnation brings much the same Hope as Resurrection, just that it is more of an inner working, whereas Resurrection points to an outer one.

The Greek Scriptures, in I Corinthians 15:19, tell us that, 'If in this life only we have hope in [ the ] Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.' It would be wrenching this passage from its original context, probably, to say that this lends credence to Reincarnation, but there it is! Those who have read some of the posts on this blog are probably aware by now ( even though they may disagree ) that it is my belief that the Christ ( Potential ) lies within us all. It is that Higher Self to which I referred earlier, that same Higher Self that chooses to be reincarnated, either for our own good, or for that of others. Therefore, in the manner of 'Universal Truth', which I've spoken of previously, the passage which I quoted above might be revealing this message; 'it is not only in this life, but in the next as well, that we can hope to better our situation'!

Though, unlike 'The Hope of the Resurrection', we ( specifically ) may not see our loved one again, even in a different form, the world undoubtedly will! On the other hand, even if we do not recognize their new form, if we really knew them at all, we will also doubtless recognize them in whatever form they reincarnate, even if we do not personally see it. ( 'The Shadow knows!' ) 

The Christian ( Hebrew & Greek ) Scriptures, do, according to traditional ( Orthodox ) doctrine, teach a life after death, but they don't really give much hint as to what this life will be like, except that it will be in 'Heaven' or 'Hell'. Later creedal statements tell us that, in the latter, we will suffer for eternity & that, in the former, we will 'worship Him forever'. Reincarnation says much the same, in reality, as, in our next life, we have a more informed choice on how to live in 'Heaven', instead of suffering in 'Hell'. Therefore choose wisely; become familiar with your Higher Self: don't wait for your next life to make your world a 'Heaven on Earth'!

Namaste' & Blessed Be.

Sage Charles