Two articles I found on the web drew my interest. The first is quite simple. It’s 30 Quotes on Reincarnation. The quotesâ€”made by famous personalities ranging from Socrates, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman to Charles Dickens, Henry Ford, James Joyce and Carl Jungâ€”all support the belief.
Quote #15 is taken from the Zohar, one of the most important Medieval Kabalistic texts:
The souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth, until they have acquired the condition which fits them for reunion with God.
The famed Jewish Kabalist Isaac Luria (1534â€“1572) wrote on reincarnation, known as Gilgulim, Hebrew for the “Revolution of Souls.” Aleister Crowley claimed extensive past lives, including as Edward Kelly, the partner of John Dee, discoverers of the Enochian system of magick, and as Eliphas Levi, famed French occult writer.
Why is the idea of reincarnation valuable? First, it helps develop an attitude of fearlessness which is of value to any magician. In the words of the Sufi poet Rumi,
I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as a plant and rose to animal, I died as animal and I was man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Second, if the concept of reincarnation is valid, then we can learn much from our experiences in past lives. Henry Ford believed,
Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives.
And third, it is believed that we spiritually evolve with each lifetime. A young Benjamin Franklin proposed the following for his epitaph:
The Body of
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be whlly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author.
He was born on January 6, 1706.
There is far more that can be said about reincarnation and past lives. If you’d like to learn more about the concept, I suggest the book The Case for Reincarnation by J. Allen Danelek. It looks at all sides of the issue. If you want to discover your past lives, you might look at Ted Andrew’s How to Uncover Your Past Lives. Joe Slate asks you to look Beyond Reincarnation, and one of my favorite books is Jonn Mumford’s Death: Beginning or End?
On The Witches’ Voice (Witchvox) website, Jason Miller adds a fascinating article entitled The Nine Principles of Strategic Sorcery. Miller has a couple of books out, an online course, and an active blog, all worth reading. His nine principles are also worth studying. Looking at some of his principles:
1: “Strategy before sorcery.” He suggests that you do everything you can in the mundane world before doing magick. I would say that is true, although I would say “before doing a formal magickal ritual or spell.”
3: “Material needs and desires are not unspiritual.” Many people think you can only do magick for spiritual things. For many years I’ve been saying that “It’s hard to be spiritual when you’re wondering where your next meal will come from!” Â Problems develop when your only focus becomes getting unneeded physical things.
6: “Be acronistic.” By that he means don’t avoid or use old or new systems of magick simply because they’re old or new, use one or the other or both because they work. Use what works and discard the rest. I’ve been teaching this concept for a long time, and the Postmodern Magick of Patrick Dunn (be sure to read his blog, too) follows the concept of using what works and understanding it in current terms.
9: “Know that magic does not always work.” By this he means that there are many variables when doing magick, and if not all are accounted for, your magick won’t work. I agree with the idea, but I would word it differently. I would say that magick always works, but you always get exactly what you magickally create. Thus, if you do a ritual that is incomplete, the result will be incomplete. So the magick worked by not giving you the desired result. Miller writes that “all magic done well has an effect,” so we certainly agree. It’s just a different way of describing it.
I would add that Miller writes, “Learn from what you do regardless of the outcome.” This strongly matches the NLP concept that “there is no failure, only feedback.” I describe this more fully in the new 3rd edition of Modern Magick, available soon!
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