Here are my witchy thoughts on Reinarntion: Maybe I just came back for the coffee!
As a Pagan and Witch, I must say, I do not readily believe or even think much of reincarnation. If it does exist, it happened in the past…I don’t know about everyone else, but I need all my energies focused in the now, and giving a lot of attention to something that happened in another time and place kind of counteracts that. I will not say reincarnation does not happen…just that it matters in this as life as much as knowing where Great Uncle Bob came from. If I will do any deep introspective discovery, it might be more along the lines of why I turned up in this here and now and why there are what influences there are in my life, regardless of who people were in my past life or even whom I was.
Why did I come back to this plane or any other plane than that of the “Summerlands”? I usually do not really go into much thought with this kind of question. I know a few things; the first is that there is a plan. The Divine has a plan. Do I know all of that plan, or exactly how I fit…no, and I don’t think anyone really ever does, nor do we have to. We are here, yes to learn lessons, but also as Tigernach says in his Nov. 16th article (Choosing to be Alive), “It is only though individual finite existence that we can truly experience the world. Through us Goddess feels pleasure, pain, and love. Without us, the gods would lack eyes to see and a voice to speak. To me this is why we are here; to give beauty, justice and love a face, but it comes at the price of being temporarily separated from the infinite, and the possibility of pain, violence and loss.” Creation is an ever on-going process, there is a reason just to be “alive”, to be on this plane or another, to give Creation meaning and perhaps direction. To delve into the question of what is our personal meaning in life or any life, is one of perhaps vocation and direction. It is certainly not a who’s who list of those who have come back from the afterlife.
I am a person who talks with Spirits of all sort and varieties. I am more likely to think that some of the experiences people talk about as past lives are those past experiences that the spirits around have lived, and are now relating to us. Perhaps because of how the law of attraction works, certain spirits and life stories are attracted to us because of a similarity of life lived or similarity of lesson or point. Whether true incarnation or spirit communication, it is all the same, information. And we need to search out what information has value and/or meaning to us individually.
As to the question of what free will is…..I think that certain beings (angels, for instance) were not given the choice to live their lives for themselves, but are compelled to service or to duty to Creation. I think, in effect, Creator delegated, and made specific beings for specific purposes. A little later in creation, Creator said….hmmmm, what would happen if I did this? Now mind you, I am perfectly comfortable in having mystery in my life, and have some faith in that I will understand what I need to understand, and I could let the rest go, cuz, in essence, it’s not my part to play. I know this is something not everyone could accept, nor does it mean that I will not try to grow and expand my spirit and knowledge and experience. Bear with me here…. We are only a small part of Creator and Creation, those reasons for Creation are beyond me. I think the question before us is to serve something greater than ourselves, or not. In life, there are many opportunities, and that certain opportunities are presented more predominately in one life time than others. I think it is our free will to step up to the plate and serve or not, or how much we serve, or to stay centered and functional while serving, depending on the degree to which we serve. This is a partnership of service, we are not obligated to do anything we don’t want to do, nor can we expect favors or training from the rest of Creation, if we do not hold up our end, quid pro quo, I guess. Nor do I mean to put a standard on the term service. If we cannot really know all of Creator, we do not know that making dinner every night and serving one’s family is not the best kind of service….I think we know intuitively what to do, and we must follow our hearts. The Russian Orthodox faith has a belief called “Sobornost”, which means everything has a place and there is a place for everything. In effect, they also believe that “Satan” still serves God, just not by the most benevolent of means. We do not always know if the meanest of persons is not serving Creation by being what is he or she is at heart, the meanest person. I try and stick to the simple faith of that it takes all types to make this plane go ‘round. Mind you, I will never be caught saying it isn’t frustrating as all Hell that sometimes there are those people who get stuck on one lesson and won’t move on!
After having said all this, why would I come back? I would come back because I have hope and faith in people, in the Spirits and Gods, in Creation, and the Creator/trix. I love life, I love the simple things about life, the feel of being all comfy and cozy in bed in the mornings, a good cup of coffee, having a laugh with a friend, making love, experiencing the seasons come and go. I would come back, because I am part of creation no matter what I do. I want to take part in it, and step up to the plate of life. To honor those who leave this plane, and those who are newly born into it, to teach, and be taught, to love, and struggle, this is all life and to be part of that is one of greatest things I could do.
This being said, I feel I must also put in my thoughts about what the afterlife or Summerland is like. Like this plane, the Summerland is what you make of it. It’s just as easy to fall into an emotional rut here as it is there. The afterlife is not all roses and gold streets, it’s another stage of life and being, it’s not an end or reward, it just is. It may be an end to physical pain, but it is certainly not always an end to emotional or spiritual pain. In my opinion, this is why suicide in general (not always in specific cases) is not the best idea. The emotional pain doesn’t always end after death. I think we have the chance to serve both here and in the Summerlands, and that our souls never stop reaching to attune ourselves with the tempo and frequency of Creation. So whether our soul actually comes back in tact to mortal plane or whether this is some mix of what actually happens, we are striving toward the same goal.
In the original context of reincarnation, one reincarnates until they have reached Nirvana, the state of enlightenment. If one has reached the state of enlightenment, they are God-like, they are a Buddha, and there is no reason to “reincarnate” because you are one with all of Creation and no longer a regular old human being, but now a force of Creation, in all times and places. But even Buddha likes to come back to the physical plane….maybe Buddha likes the coffee here too!
Note: this was originally published on Witchvox.com in November, either 2004 or 2005 It was in response to a topic of the week, which happened, that week, to be reincarnation.)
I love that Witchvox sponsors these essays, and I feel that they are most needed in our community, to share ideas and show the diversity of the human (or even otherkin) spirit. This is my response to the current question about why we keep coming back to Earth, even if we can chose to stay put in the afterlife.