Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2016 / Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article


This article was written by John Michael Greer on April 01, 2005
posted under Reincarnation

The belief that souls of the dead are reborn in other bodies, human or animal; also called transmigration. Far and away the most common teaching on the afterlife in Western occult traditions…

The rise of Christianity, with its insistence on eternal salvation or damnation after a single lifetime, forced the idea of reincarnation into an underground existence. Several Gnostic sects appear to have taught the doctrine, but after the suppression of Gnosticism in the last centuries of the Roman Empire, the orthodox ideas of Heaven and Hell defined the nature of the afterlife for nearly everyone in the Western world for centuries.

The one living tradition that retained a belief in reincarnation during the Middle Ages was the Cabala. The idea of reincarnation seems to have entered Jewish thought sometime in the first few centuries of the Common Era, but it was a minority view at best until the rise of the Cabala; most of the important medieval Jewish philosophers rejected it. In early Cabalistic texts such as the Bahir, on the other hand, reincarnation is presented as a reality, although these early writings seem unsure what to make of it. Several of these sources suggest that reincarnation is a punishment for specific sins, rather than the usual form of the afterlife for all…

Most current occult traditions treat reincarnation as a simple matter of fact. Reincarnation has also become the standard interpretation of the afterlife among modern Pagans of nearly all stripes…The theory of reincarnation has also been accepted generally among followers of the New Age movement.

The mighty dead, divination, and portals to other worlds… there are so many places to celebrate Samhain in the northeastern United States… The cooler weather, the colorful leaves, and, as the memes say, "Pumpkin everything!" Like so many witches, autumn is my favorite season, and Samhain, my favorite Sabbat. As a child I loved... read this article
Four Mysterious Monsters of Which You've Never Heard
Four Powerful Ways to Live a Joyful Life Today
A Tarot Built for Magick: Modern Spellcaster's Tarot
Exercise: How to Feel Good
Investigating Haunted Bridges

Most recent posts:
This Samhain, Visit the Cemetery and Make a Gravestone Rubbing to Honor Your Ancestors
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Natalie Zaman, author of Magical Destinations of the Northeast. One of my favorite sections of...

The Biggest Challenge
Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard In Psychic Tarot, Antenucci and Howard tell us that integrating the wisdom from a reading...

Author Michael Newton Has Passed
Today we sadly mark the passing of author Dr. Michael Newton, who authored several bestselling books, including Destiny of Souls, Journey of Souls,...

Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Easy Tarot Easy Tarot
Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All!

By: Josephine Ellershaw, Ciro Marchetti
Price: $19.95 US,  $21.95 CAN