Do we come back ? Some thoughts on Reincarnation in the week of Hallowe’en…

When I first came across this quotation, it made me chuckle…trust Henry Miller!

“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.”

Henry Miller

Definition of reincarnation: “(in some beliefs) the rebirth of a soul in a new body.” (p 1216, The Oxford English Reference Dictionary, Oxford University Press 1996)


In Nature’s great cyclic pattern, from the tiny to the vast – gnat or galaxy – the same basic stages apply: seeding, germinating, sprouting, flowering, ripening, harvesting, dying back in preparation for the new. This can apply to a life cycle of a day, and to one of millions of years.

They all hold another factor in common: as modern physics has taught us, nothing that dies, being composed of energy, can ever cease to exist. It merely changes form. Death is a change of  state, not an ending.

Thus modern science validates what humans have held intuitively to be the case from the beginning of our sentient, conscious awareness of ourselves in relation to the universe of which we are part. All cultures across the globe share beliefs that the souls of humans (and all beings, eg in Buddhism) continue in some form beyond physical death.

Only in the narrow, brief context of western secular materialism – over the last two hundred and fifty years or so – has it been believed by some that physical death is the gateway to nothing at all, that life is a random pointless accident in space and time.

Thanks to the meticulous work of the Society for Psychical Research for over one hundred years, and indefatigable individual researchers like Professor Ian Stevenson, as well as many other reputable people, a very large body of experiential evidence is available which appears to support claims since antiquity that one life is not the sum total of our soul’s journey.

I am by nature sceptical in the true, open-minded,  sense of the word. I am happy to read and hear about other people’s experiences – but the empiricist in me demands proof via my own experience in all spheres of life, especially those which lie beyond the range of what our consensus view defines as “ordinary”.

The two stories and the fragment which follow over the next few posts have remained vivid in my memory. They do not provide proof of reincarnation, since a less unlikely explanation is that I was somehow ‘tuning in’ to residues of other lives, rather than experiencing former ones of my own. Nevertheless, they remain intriguing. Over thirty years later, in the case of the first one, and twenty in the case of the second, I still don’t quite know what to make of them!

I would be interested to hear my readers’ views on this great subject which has challenged humans for millennia…do tell!


ps. To read the first of the uncanny tales, click HERE

Changing Bodies - Reincarnation
Changing Bodies – Reincarnation


500 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

19 thoughts on “Do we come back ? Some thoughts on Reincarnation in the week of Hallowe’en…

  1. I agree that we “‘tune in’ to residues of other lives,” but I’ll share my own story at completion of your posts.

    1. Many thanks, Leslie, and I look forward to hearing your story. I have come to the conclusion that – within reason – those of us who have had ‘uncanny’ experiences which from a reductionist viewpoint do not exist, should share them in the public realm. They are very much part of the rich totality of human experience down the millennia and as such should be given their respected place.

  2. Intellectually, I like the idea of rebirth. It’s a nice, tidy system. For evidence I have only had glimpses during regression tapes. Maybe I’d get more working with a qualified hypnotist. I have strong cultural resonances with Tibet and Buddhism, but these did not appear during regression attempts. Oddly enough, my current work-in-progress is a reincarnation novel fed by synchronicities in the main character’s life. My husband likes the idea of cases of rebirth actually being current embodied souls tapping into the Akashic field and other people’s lives. Possible, I suppose but it is a personally disappointing theory. All in all though, I don’t really want to come back (again).

    1. Thanks for this interesting comment, Ellis. I’m not sure if I can face the hassle of knocking another lifetime into shape, either. However – my insatiable curiosity would probably get the better of me were I to be given the option! I’ll be interested inyour response to my stories when I publish them over the next few days…

  3. Just remembered this as I clicked away. A few weeks ago the Theosophy Society in America hosted a speaker with a different take on reincarnation. You can watch it on their website under recent webcasts. Mira Kelley (now a regression hypno-therapist) advances a theory of a splintering of the soul that allows our essence to live in multiple realities simultaneously. Those lives are interconnected and we learn and exchange information unconsciously with those others all the time. Fascinating idea and something that seems to be supported by the quantum idea that linear time is an illusion. Here’s the link for the book:

  4. Yes, but my understanding of it now is quite different from what it used to be. Have read several books on “reincarnation” when I was studying Judaism, and was linked to Dr. Stevenson’s work from there. I like The Reserarchers of Truth – esoteric Christianity that even allows for astrology, with the caveat that “I am responsible for everything I say, think, do and feel” since this incarnation is a temporary one..

    1. Thanks, Bev: “I am responsible for everything I say, think, do and feel” – yes, I very much agree with this…and personally I am keeping an open mind about reincarnation although as Ellis observes, there is a logic about it as a system, which fits with what we know to be the cyclic nature of all life.

  5. if only we could return and carry over the wisdom we’ve gleaned! i like to keep trying until i get something right, so i’m sure i’d be saying, ‘ok.. i did pretty well last time but let me get back there fast and try again!’

    i look forward to the next few posts..

    1. Thanks for dropping by, P-Z ! Well, if there is reincarnation, about which I personally keep an open mind despite some striking experiences suggestive of its existence, I should imagine that the distilled spiritual essence of what progress we may have made IS carried over to the next life. That seems reasonably logical…

  6. Hello Anne and all.
    I have read many books on the subject, and also what ellisnelson told about the simultaneous time experiences, which I have EXPERIENCED myself a couple of times. Fascinating links with The Holographic Universe perspective. What IS “time”? Is it “a state of Mind”? Is it true that we live all of the lives simultaneously, and the prospect of death is likely to be a home-made fiction within the frame of timelessness within the created universal consciousness?

    Quoting from Edgar Cayce (E.C.,called The American Sleeping Prophet) :
    “…….all souls in the beginning were one with the Father. Then separation, or turning away,brought evil. Then there became the necessity of the awareness of self`s being out of accord with, or out of the realm of blessedness; and, as given of the Son, “yet learned he obedience through the things which he suffered.”(reading 262-56).
    And : “The Universe He called into being for the purposes that the individual soul, that might be one with Him, would have, does have, those influences for bringing this to pass…He hath prepared with every temptation a means, a way of escape.(1347-1)

    BTW: Ian Lawton’s ‘The Big Book of The Soul’ (rational spirituality for the twenty-first century) will be mighty interesting to read (I have begun to read the opening chapters).

    Thank you very much for bringing this theme up Anne, it is the most fascinating theme of all. BUT do we have to EXPERIENCE it all in order to understand it, I wonder?
    lol, Inger Lise

    P.S.The Seth-Books by Jane Roberts have many “clues/hints” when it comes “to probable realities”.

  7. Anne, I am a Spiritualist and yes I believe in reincarnation. I have explored several of my own past lives through a Pas Life Regression Group I once belonged to. At the end of one of these regressions, the woman next to me,began to share the past life she had just experienced and to my amazement, I had experienced the same past life!. Interestingly, it explained why there was always tension between us when we met…in the past life we shared, she had hired me as a young seamstress to sew a wedding dress for her daughter…while staying at her country estate, I had a “fling” with her husband! We had a good laugh over that!

  8. It’s interesting to consider how reincarnation actually has more in common with a death and resurrection motif than a simple “immortality”. Personally, I’d find the prospect of having to work my way up or down the great ladder of life a bit daunting, not to say discouraging — but of course that’s only one interpretation of reincarnation, if I understand it correctly. (Which I probably don’t, since I don’t find it congenial, and haven’t read much about it!)

    1. Thanks, Linda. I’m attracted to the idea of reincarnation because it fits with the cyclic nature of all life. But when one’s own life is going through one of its tough phases, which we all experience from time to time, the thought of any subsequent wrestles with “this mortal coil” makes me want to lie down on the sofa and have a good long restful snooze!

  9. I do think whatever the human soul or spirit is must be recycled in some way. As you say Anne everything else in creation does at every level. It’s a fascinating subject to ponder. However I am with Ellis in that if I can have the option I’d rather not return but don’t suppose I have a choice.

    1. Well, who knows about any of it, really? As that wise old Greek philosopher Xenophanes once observed:

      “For even if by chance he were to utter/ The final truth, he would himself not know it: For all is but a woven web of guesses…”

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