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|Reincarnation vs. Re-embodiment: Reincarnation and Re-embodiment may sound like the same thing, and they are related. However, reincarnation suggests that we return to earth in any physical form (from human to cat, dog, cow, mouse, etc.) whereas re-embodiment implies that we return back into another human body.|
belief in reincarnation was practiced by early Egyptians
and thus embalming bodies resulted. The body
was prepared so it could journey with ka, the animation force (related to
modern spiritual explanations of the soul) of the body, into the next life
wherever that destination might be. However, it is believed that
reincarnation and or re-embodiment has found its roots in civilization
long predating the Egyptian culture. Its origin is believed to predate all
of our know and theorized history of this planet.
Transmigration of the life force was no doubt believed in long before any historical account of ancient Egypt. The ancient primitive cultures believed it to be a necessity long before the concept of soul came about. It was thought that upon sleep, death and birth the soul would leave or vacate and enter or re-enter a body, be it human, animal or other life form expressing a physical body through the nostrils and mouth.
It was believed that family resemblances came about because the life force of a departed one in the family now inhabited the body of one in another generation.
Pythagoras taught that the soul was immortal, resides in the body, survives bodily death; therefore, goes through a series of rebirths. Between death and rebirth the soul regenerates and rests. After the soul has completed a series or predetermined amount of rebirths, it is purified and can choose to leave the transmigration or reincarnation cycle. Some labeling this as the Ascension Process.
Plato expressed similar views and beliefs as Pythagoras. Believing that the soul is eternal, pre-existence, and fully spirit. Plato's view of soul's migration from body to body explains how the soul becomes impure during bodily inhabitation rather than the purifying effect expressed by Pythagoras. Plato's view was that the soul did have a choice however, and could eliminate the impurities brought on through embodiment providing the right choices in life and attitude were made in lieu of negative or degrading choices. Tartarus, a place of eternal damnation was the destination of the souls which continuously made the negative choices in life. Plato's point of view seems to have spurned the Christian concept of hell and the Orient's concept of karma.
Druid priests believed vehemently in reincarnation and Diordus Siculus, a Greek writer ©. 60 BC - 30 AD) examined the idea that the Druids believed that "the souls of men are immortal, and that after a definite number of years they live a second life when the soul passes to another body." According to Stabo, a Greek philosopher ©. 63 BC - 21 AD) the Druids view was that "men's souls and the universe are indestructible, although at times fire and water may prevail."
Julius Caesar, when writing about the Celts noted "They wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another, and they think that men by this tenet are in a great degree stimulated to valor, the fear of death being disregarded." Julius Caesar found that the Druids were difficult to destroy because of their belief system.
The newer versions of the Kabalistic teaching includes reincarnation.
Early Christians, especially the Gnostics, Manichaeans, and the Cantharis, include reincarnation. Then in AD 533, reincarnation was declared a heresy by the Council of Constantinople (another topic all together). The early Christians were certainly referring to reincarnation when they asked Christ whether he was "Elijah, who had come before"? Only later did the orthodox Christian theologians excluded it. It seems that only one chance was wanted to be given to humans to do it right - whatever right was to them. The orthodox Christian doctrine put forth that one would either receive eternal reward or damnation, and one would have only once chance; one life to prepare their lifestream for whichever outcome it was headed into. This doctrine was meant to strengthen the Church and make it right in all areas of introduction. As noted by a witch Patricia Crowther "...The early Christians taught it (reincarnation), and this can be proved by the words of Saint Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa: 'It is absolutely necessary that the soul shall be healed and purified, and if it doesn't take place in one life on earth, it must be accomplished in future earthly lives.'"
Most metaphysicians, occultists and witches would certainly agree that reincarnation is rebirth. Just as the earth is renewed so is the spirit or soul which knows no death. Nature religions believe that reincarnation is taught by nature herself; the Mother Goddess. In the spring the trees give birth to new leaves, flowers bloom, new foliage springs up. In summer and fall the crops are harvested. In winter the earth rests, everything is dormant. This is the earth's life-cycle which many believe symbolizes the spirit's.
Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism teach that one may come back in just about any form such as man (human), plant, tree, or animal.
Certain sects of Gnosticism relay that the soul has to experience all aspects of life.
Western thought of reincarnation is more of a re-embodiment of human form and is constantly advancing spiritually, and does not return as a lower form of life. However, it could be possible to have started out as a lower form of life.
In Western philosophy it is explained that if a man, as a species and soul, does not reach a higher spiritual level he must repeat the cycle until he does.
Another view of reincarnation comes from Odinism. This is where it is believed that only certain tribes, races or families are up for reincarnating.