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September 16th. 2015 ...
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Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
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June 7th. 2015 ...
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Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
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March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
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February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
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September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
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September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
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Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
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To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
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August 3rd. 2014 ...
Are You a Natural Witch?
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July 27th. 2014 ...
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July 20th. 2014 ...
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July 13th. 2014 ...
A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
How Could We Not Come Back?
Article ID: 10372
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: December 18th. 2005
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When it comes to answers to that nagging “Why are we here?” question, everyone has one. For some, it may be that we simply are: live this life to the fullest because it's all you have. Others may think this is the only physical life we have, but that afterwards our souls will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell. For yet others, we're just souls having one of our many physical experiences, on a path to something greater. If for some reason it's not already understood, I belong to the last group.
Since this article is about reincarnation, I will not discuss at length the first two ideas mentioned above. The first denies the existence of the soul, which works for the very scientifically-minded, but is unacceptable for people who have had experiences proving its existence. I'm not talking about something spectacular, but simply experiencing true feelings that won't go away or intuition. The ideas put forth by the second group may work for them and are certainly a good deterrent for some people who would not hesitate to harm others out of their own free will, but they don't make sense. Why would a Supreme Being keep creating souls, giving them one shot at physical life, then “filing” them away in one of two places according to some specific criteria (places that will also have to keep expanding to accommodate all these souls), then creating new ones and starting over... and over... and over? Also, harm is subjective. You can't define what will harm and what won't in general, yet “sins” seem to be defined like that. I'm not saying it's impossible; we can't know what's there while we're still here, but that it wouldn't make sense.
Now back to the topic at hand. Bear with me, as this might be a bit odd. I had my ideas to write about but suddenly an analogy came to mind: souls as atoms in the “body” of The One. I decided to go along with it and I think I'll even surprise myself a few times by the time I've finish writing this. But first, my thoughts on the matter of reincarnation and where does free will come in.
Everything starts somewhere, and souls are no different. Being nothing more than a clump of matter from a higher plane with a will of their own, they have to start their learning process somewhere. As you don't give a child a shotgun and send him/her out on the street, souls are not allowed immediately to enter life forms that wield the most power in their world. On Earth, those would be humans. Therefore I believe that "new" souls would most likely be found in certain animals that have a degree of awareness, freedom of action and certain learning abilities. That may mean most mammals and maybe some birds, but since it seems natural that a soul may choose a life form that's less advanced than it's "allowance", it doesn't mean others can't have souls. It may be that the most enlightened would choose a lifetime stuck in the oddest animal (or plant), just to experience it. This may also explain the children that die shortly after birth. Souls that wanted to experience physical life again, but a suitable body was not yet available, so they were given just a short glimpse of it, kind of in compensation. (I don't believe a soul enters a body before birth–it would make no sense. At most it could enter it when the brain starts to develop, but certainly not at the moment of conception.)
The apparently popular concept of souls of recently deceased humans being reincarnated in things like cockroaches, as punishment for their past life, makes no sense. What would that soul be able to experience like that? Who would it be able to help? And, more importantly, what would it be able to learn, a cockroach's brain being what it is? Isn't the purpose of a soul's physical experience to learn and help others along their own paths?
I read an idea somewhere, some years ago, that stuck. I modified it in time, as I learned new things, but it may yet be oversimplified, and I'm looking for ways to "fill the gaps" (the idea that struck me when I decided to write this would be one of them). It "feels" right though.
The theory was that there are ten levels a soul can attain and three planes of existence it can inhabit. Of course, the levels give a general idea about the soul's knowledge and power and might be useful to know for us here, but I doubt they are really separated so clearly on the higher planes. At the first level, for the specific case of Earth, a soul is incarnated in something non-human. Besides not being generally able to wreak as much havoc with a mistake, the less complex brain of the creature they're incarnated in makes for less interference caused by wrong decisions, actually allowing the body and soul to maintain a stronger bond. After it evolves past that, still on Earth, a soul will take a human body for the next three levels.
There are major differences between a soul that reached the second level of enlightenment and one that reached the fourth, a fact that should be obvious when learning about the people around us. People with second level souls might have a hard time with feelings, reject the notion of spirituality and so on. Third level souls have some knowledge and power to influence the brain, so the "symptoms" might be adhering to some form of organized religion but not putting much effort into finding your true spiritual path, recognizing feelings and intuition and acting upon them when suitable but not giving them the proper importance, etc. At fourth level, the person would come across as enlightened compared to the rest of the human race (either that or a complete lunatic, depending on who's making the assessment; it is also possible they'll really become one, if their brain is unable to handle all the "feedback" it's getting from the higher planes). They know this physical world is not all there is, know everything is connected, give the proper importance to feelings, learn to recognize signs and act accordingly, put effort into finding their spiritual path, might be able to briefly access the higher planes and affect the physical one in ways that might seem strange to many, etc.
It is possible to advance more than one level in a lifetime, when a person finds a means of enlightenment that would have been hard to predict at the time of their birth, but a far more common occurrence would be souls that don't advance at all, or even forget what they had previously learned. It is also important to realize that each of these types of behavior is the appropriate one for that person's level and each has a role in this world. Pushing them along the path when they're not yet ready helps no one. As a final note on this matter, the ones that really stand out, the true masters, are most likely souls that are at least at the fifth level, but chose to come back in order to help the rest of us.
Since, at these levels, a soul can only understand and manipulate the physical plane, it is pretty much powerless between death and reincarnation. Therefore, until the next suitable body becomes available, it will spend a certain amount of time (that need not have anything to do with the time that passes here on Earth, since they're different planes of existence) practically in limbo. It is possible that during this time it will be shown glimpses of future lessons it should learn or of past ones that it failed to understand. Since it needs a body to do pretty much anything, it may get back to Earth and, at great expense, attempt communication, offer help or simply wreak havoc out of frustration.
A soul reaches the fifth level when it has learned pretty much all it can learn out of physical experiences. At this moment it is no longer required to get back into a physical body in order not to be completely powerless in limbo, but its powers to affect the astral plane are minimal at best. While it's struggling to learn how that plane "works", it may choose to come back to the physical one, either as a manifestation of itself or reincarnated, either because it wants to help others, because it wants to experience things again or simply because it wants to feel it can have some effect on its surroundings once more. As it advances further, it reaches what might just be what is referred to as the Summerlands. It gains the ability to bend its surroundings to its will on the astral plane. This ability might be limited at the sixth level, being able to create only small areas, initially little more than dreams that it can lose itself in, then more and more solid. However, a seventh level soul can create whole planets or even solar systems to live in if it wishes. Souls with the same views and desires might find themselves shaping the same world, brought together by their similar thoughts. Living on a world that you create exactly how you like, with only the ones that want the same things, isn't that a nice image? But I guess it's the only proper reward after such a long learning process. Just remember to check up on the "younger" ones from time to time after you get there.
If you're content with that, you can just stay there at the seventh level, enjoy a life of your own choosing and hopefully lend a helping hand to the "younger" ones from time to time. But some souls will realize this is yet another learning experience, not just fun and games. Add that realization, some guidance from the ones that already achieved at least level eight and a lot of time and effort and you'll end up with a soul that managed not just to gain some more knowledge, but actually change its condition, become something greater than it ever was and enter a higher plane. (Remember that a soul is native to the astral plane, never a physical entity, it simply lacks the knowledge to affect its surroundings there at first. Therefore this is the first major change of the soul's very being.) This plane is the highest that may be accessed through these means, but it may not be the highest that exists.
A soul reaches level eight when it has completed its transformation. It will find itself in an entirely new world, with great powers to affect both of the lower planes. However, just as it was at level five, its ability to affect its own surroundings is minimal. Can be frustrating to go from so much to so little, can't it? Maybe, but, by entering this higher plane, a soul will finally be in direct contact with what we call gods. They're right there, communication is as easy as walking up to one and saying something (not literally, of course, as walking and speaking are activities done on the physical plane). Yes, not all of them might be there–remember what I said about a possible higher plane–but certainly all the ones the soul somehow communicated with so far will be. Such a soul will be cared for in order to feel comfortable, but it will also have jobs to do. It always did, but this is the first time they will be communicated directly and it will be aware of them at all times. These jobs might be to act as guides for seventh (and, rarely, sixth) level souls seeking to attain the same level, provide comfort and encouragement for fifth level souls, possibly create new souls and guide them in their choice of a world to be incarnated in and whatever else needs to be done. These souls will rarely venture all the way back to the physical plane and, considering all their duties and also their need to continue improving their abilities on their current plane, who can blame them?
However, when they do manifest themselves here, the results are awe-inspiring. Level nine souls might be what we call demigods. Their powers to affect the lower planes are great, but their ability to affect their surroundings is still somewhat limited. They provide level eight souls with what they need to stay content and also act as mentors. A tenth level soul can bend all three planes to its will, but knows better. It has the most power and the least duties. It is the most it can be (if a higher plane exists, it can't reach it), so no more need to work to improve itself either (but it can still learn alternate means of getting to the same level). It watches the “younger” ones, laughs and cries with them, offers a helping hand, a gentle caress or a swift kick in the butt wherever appropriate. Such souls can, and often do, help us, but, for all their power, they're not omnipresent. We have to call to get their attention, and we have to know how to call for our cries to get that far.
It is important to know that all souls on this third plane of existence can receive energy from the ones on the lower planes who worship them. They need a lot of it to perform their duties and might not be willing to spend any on you unless you send enough to them before asking for their help. We send raw energy, they receive it and use it as needed at the moment. Then, when we ask for their help, they send some of it back in a form that will answer our call. Some might help a few times even if all we do is ask, but even the most benevolent entity will eventually choose to ignore someone who only asks for help, never sending anything back. It seems only fair, doesn't it?
Still on that topic, if you give an entity a name and worship it, eventually all that energy will accumulate somewhere and will get a will of its own. You probably won't be able to do this alone in a lifetime, but get enough people and do it for long enough and you might just create even a tenth level soul! That's a very risky thing to do, as it would have the power but not the required experience to use it properly. No one can predict what it will do...
I got beyond the topic of this article after I mentioned fifth level souls, but it wouldn't have been nice to leave you hanging there. Now back to the point, “Why do we keep coming back to this insanity called Earth?” Maybe because it's the only place we know. A new soul is allowed to choose a world for its first incarnation and we chose this one. After the death of our first body, we go back with some new knowledge. All of that knowledge is from this Earth; it would make little sense anywhere else! Choosing, at any point of our development, to live a life on another world would be very confusing. The experience gained here would conflict with the life we'd have there, past memories would make no sense and so on. A soul may reach level eight and not even know for sure there are other worlds, as it would only be surrounded by others from the same background. (Level ten souls might not be able to go further, but they have an infinity of new worlds to experience if they wish.)
Choice is there every step of the way. We choose to come back because we want to learn more, because we want to help others, because we want to experience new things (or old things that we liked), or, if we're not yet at least fifth level, because we're tired of being powerless in limbo. However, I don't think we choose the body in which we are reincarnated; it is assigned to us from what's available. Keep that in mind when you want to have a baby; see what life you can offer it and what genetic traits you have to pass on. It is a home for a soul that most likely needs it to continue on its path. If you realize the body you can create just won't be good enough for that purpose, don't do it! Time should make no difference for souls, they can wait. If they have to notice a certain amount of time to have passed between death and rebirth, they will notice exactly that much, regardless of whether here on Earth that time would be 20 seconds or 2000 years. There don't have to be more and more bodies, but they have to be, for lack of a better term, of better quality.
Now about that idea that struck me when I decided to write this...
Just like atoms, souls can form or break apart, but destroying one takes an enormous amount of energy. It is, however, possible that "new" souls don't simply appear, but are actually created by other souls, after they have reached a certain level of enlightenment and can "assemble" one from the "free" matter on their plane of existence. To continue the analogy, thinking that the Supreme Being, by whichever name you want to call it, would put effort into creating souls is like saying that we put together protons, neutrons and electrons to create the atoms that make up our bodies. However, unlike us with our atoms, I believe The One is aware of our existence and development.
Now, think of yourself as a cell, with your soul being an atom of a very special element somewhere inside that cell. Imagine that single atom somehow “powering” the cell, which would die without its energy. Since this element is unlike any of the others around it, chances of bonding are very slim naturally. But what if we think and live our lives in a certain way, in strong connection with our souls? It would be like the cell starts generating certain substances that this atom might bond with, while also functioning in a certain way to facilitate such a bonding. The newly formed molecule would “power” the cell even better and, upon the cell's death, might just hold together until it enters the next one. There it would continue to improve itself while also helping the cell, then do the same for the next, and the one after that, and so on.
The brain stores information. A soul might remember that it loved, that it feared, that it was violently thrown out of its previous body, but anything more specific will have to be “given” in a way that it can “bond” with that bit of information. This might explain why we don't remember our past lives: We didn't know how to memorize them!
As a side note, think of relationships in these terms. Two (or, why not, more) cells bond, exchange information, useful substances and so on. If this bond is strong enough, the energy generated by these atoms (or molecules) will also be exchanged between the cells. If it's similar, the cells will be able to stay together in harmony; all other incompatibilities can be resolved in time, assuming each cell responds properly to the energy pulses it receives. But if it isn't, the bond will have to be severed or both cells will eventually be destroyed. Of course, there can't be that many kinds of energy generated by these atoms, so you don't have a single soul mate, but you should listen to your soul and it will tell you from the start if a “bond” can be sustained.
Since all our souls are part of the Supreme Being, improving ourselves, turning from single atoms to complex and useful molecules, improves the whole organism. We're all connected. By making ourselves better we help everyone else. Of course, if we can guide others along their path it's even better, but remember that they need to advance at their own pace. You can always help when you're asked, or express your opinion and give advice even when you're not, but you may (and must) interfere more than that only to prevent harm, to stop the ones that try to hold others back from their path.
If I didn't express myself clearly enough, I'm sorry. It's the first time I'm putting most of these ideas “on paper”. As for the soul as an atom theory, as I said, it struck me when I decided to write this article; plenty of work left to make it “fit in” with the rest.
Copyright: Posted on public domain, just don't credit anyone else for it.
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