Reincarnation

This is the paper I presented at the Gratitude Festival on Black Friday at Angel Fire Reiki Touch. I appreciate any comments, thoughts, and suggestions. I hope you enjoy it. 

 

My world view of reincarnation has been largely formed by my life experiences, as it is with any person’s world view. Today, I would like to tell you how the idea of reincarnation presented itself to me, what sort of personal experiences I have had, and share studies that I have pursued that have also influenced my ideas of reincarnation. I do not wish for you to form your own ideas around mine, but I hope this talk inspires you to explore more of this mystery of existence for yourself.

Since I can remember, I have been fascinated by the idea of reincarnation. Growing up, I remember having a more complex ideation of the afterlife than most of my peers, and even some church teachers. Going to either Heaven or Hell for all eternity just did not make sense to me at age 10. You could say that my personal karma led me to an early awareness of reincarnation, which I might have explained at a young age as getting a do-over with life, in order for our Soul to learn what it needed to learn. Although young children are frequently reported as having knowledge of their past lives, we don’t retain that memory because the human consciousness needs concrete sequences of time in order to function in the 3 dimensional world.

Being raised in a tradition that taught against reincarnation, I would often wonder: how could one life time be enough compared to all eternity, for the human soul to get it “right” by accepting Christ as Savior? The teachings of Jesus seemed to point to a return of certain consciousness, such as in the passage from Matthew: “For all the prophets and the law have prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who was to come (Matt. 11:13-14).” The idea of experiencing sequential lifetimes as a chance for the soul to progress and learn and teach resonated with me in studying passages such as this.

Surely everyone has journeyed to some place they have never been before in this life, to find smells, textures, sights, and sounds, that evoke very old emotions so deep as to be indescribable. Have you, too, experienced this? Have you ever met a person, that when you looked them in the eye for the very first time, you felt a connection akin to what you share with people you’ve known your whole life, or even something surpassing that? Or maybe, as you started a conversation with a person, you felt yourself and this person naturally open up, with a feeling of being on familiar turf with a total stranger? Conversely, have you ever met someone and disliked them even though you had no good reason to, and gone on to have inexplicable conflict with this person, even in a situation where it would be much more beneficial (not to mention easier) to just get along? But no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to agree on certain things and you set off each other’s temper.

I believe that these sensations are subjective proof that we live for multiple existences. Objective proof of reincarnation exists, as well, in the form of recorded instances of small children talking about their previous home, family, and life, and even being able to identify people from their previous life, before passing of time fades the memory away. On the 22 of September, 2002, the Indian Tribune published an article entitled: “Can Science Uphold the Belief in Rebirth?” The article describes the case of six-year-old boy Taranjit Singh of Alluna Miana village near Payal in Ludhiana. Forensic scientist Vikram Raj Singh Chauhan learned about the boy and claims to prove the theory that rebirth is possible on the basis of handwriting comparison of Taranjit Singh in his previous and present births. Taranjit Singh reportedly met his parents from his previous incarnation, and was able to provide details surrounding his death that his previous birth mother was then able to verify.

According to Hindu belief, human souls accrue Karma through actions and choices that act toward the progress or delay of Souls in their journey to Nirvana, enlightenment. The result of choices is a practical system of consequences. There are many misunderstandings of this Karmic Law, conceiving of Karma as punishment, or Good Karma almost as something trite, quaint, or materially based. I have encountered in many sacred texts reasonable evidence that no such thing exists as an objective Right or Wrong. I have seen people draw Karmic debt to themselves, for choices that obviously worked toward benefit of all, through engaging in guilty or prideful energy around that choice. In Hinduism, a sort of psychic conditioning from past life experiences causes reenactments of preexisting life event patterns.

A concept closely related to Karma in Hindu belief is Darma. The Darma of the soul is the Soul’s purpose, or calling. Darma is the specific part we each can play in the grand production that is unique to us, that completes the Divine Wheel of Samsara, which literally means “Continuous Flow” in Sanskrit. If Life is merely a stage, and we are all merely actors, Samsara is the Divine Narrative being enacted. Everything flows together because it’s all interwoven in a divine tapestry. To me, Darma is the potential we all have within us in this incarnation to fully harness our gifts of service to others. Meditation on what service means to us is a very powerful personal vehicle to reach spiritual understanding.

Ancient civilizations across the globe, and all modern day indigenous Earth-centered traditions that I know of, view time as a Wheel. The Spiral is a prominent visual theme both in Prehistoric cave art and modern tribal art, and a spiral marks a progressive wheel. A wheel is intrinsically whole unto itself. There is no missing link. A spiral continues inward and outward eternally, no beginning, no end, it simply is. Such is the nature of the Soul’s existence: we are Eternal Beings, made of an eternal substance, and I have personally found sufficient evidence for me to conclude that reincarnation is more than belief, but an undiscovered and as yet immeasurable science.

Edgar Cayce, in one of many recorded interviews, says: “I can read reincarnation into the Bible, and you can read it right out again!”. In Edgar Cayce on Reincarnation, Noel Langley discusses Biblical references to reincarnation in both the Old and New Testaments, citing instances indicative of a pre-existence of souls. Langley also points to the work of the Christian scholar Origen, whose teachings on universal restoration and transmigration of souls were abolished from the early Roman Catholic Church by the power-crazed duo Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora, circa mid 6th century, C.E.

Edgar Cayce gave clear and accurate information to people regarding their physical state of health and added relevant information from seekers’ past incarnations. Cayce and his supporters were not aware of this aspect of his readings until a printer named Arthur Lammers sought Cayce out to answer questions about reincarnation, which Lammers had studied extensively. Cayce, a Presbyterian Sunday School teacher, had previously discovered his gift through a psychic reading he gave for himself to cure his own case of laryngitis, with the help of a local osteopath named Al Layne, and was shocked by the information he channeled about reincarnation.

As for my personal experiences, I have definitely visited places that felt familiar and where I knew my way around. One of my earliest such experiences was in travelling to Cherokee, North Carolina. I travelled to Cache Valley, Utah, in high school and sensed an amount of unresolved business. When I was 19 I visited England and felt at home in the older and more run down districts of south London, and experienced an odd disorientation by all the houses that should have been wild woods or farmland. In my mid twenties, I lived in Berkeley, California, and Initiated with an eclectic group there, and discovered many people I felt a past life connection with in that generation of Initiates.

In closing, I would say that reincarnation provides a path of learning and progress for our eternal Souls, and that past life regression offers a means of increasing our understanding of our Higher Purpose and the information it yields can be readily applied in our lives through action to become wisdom.

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Wyrd

I’m not going to get into the definition of Wyrd, other than it’s from an Old English verb for “to come to pass, to become” (Wikipedia), it’s sometimes the twenty-fifth rune in runic divination (http://www.midnightmoonchild.com/moonchildtwentyfifthrunepage.html) and it generally represents the mysterious power of Fate. Instead, I’m going to talk about personal examples of how my Wyrd has played out this past year, and address some common issues that come up about Fate with intuitive readings for clients.

When I got up on the altar of the UnitedMethodistChurch in my home town, to sing at my grandfather’s memorial service on Father’s Day of this year, I introduced my song with something along the lines of: “I appreciate the choir’s willingness to make a last minute change. The winds of fate have blown me here, and I’m thankful to have this chance to fulfill my grandfather’s last request of me.”

I sang “Amazing Grace.” My daughter nursed through the entire song, sometimes reaching up to try and take the microphone, but I made it all the way through. I held her with one arm and held the microphone with the other. I felt no shame. She obviously felt comfortable enough to nurse in front of the fifty or so (incarnate) people who were there (the sanctuary was filled up with Ancestors who came to witness our memorial, who I sensed as friends and family of my grandfather, though I didn’t know them all. I sang a variation that rose in key through the four verses, each subsequent verse picking up pitch where the last one left off, the fourth verse sending my voice up to the rafters. By that point I felt totally embraced by kind and gentle arms, surrounded by light, wrapped in love. Later, an aunt told me that many of the older choir members seated behind me, who had sung with my grandparents and me for decades, wore expressions of wonder. 

“But wait,” you might think. “She’s pagan. What’s she doing singing Amazing Grace at her grandfather’s funeral and having this spiritual experience?” Easy. I grew up in that church. It wasn’t quite coming home, but it was a visit to the home of my family. Still familiar, and though different in some ways, mostly the same. The church had used the building for over thirty years, and although the sanctuary has been expanded, the rest of the building has mostly been left untouched. Spirituality transcends walls and stained glass, but it was comforting to return to a place unchanged enough to bring back some of the more pleasant memories of childhood: coming along to help my grandmother while she worked at most of the blood drives that the church sponsored for a good couple of decades in their gymnasium, seeing her work in the kitchen at all the holiday potlucks I ever went to, tagging along with her to meet with a women’s group in the chapel, the same chapel my parents got married in… I recalled the taste of the fruit loop and cream cookies she would make for cookie socials. My grandmother passed in 2010 just forty five days after my daughter was born, so I had no chance to gain the closure of a memorial service with the family. I could hear my grandfather’s voice in the choir when they sang and I caught whiffs of his cologne. To me, the place has a magic that will always be waiting for me, like a scrapbook compiled of passing time.

(further details) A good friend of mine was there, who sang in choir with me through jr. high and high school, and after the service I played my grandfather’s cornet and he asked, “Was your grandfather a communion man?” For him, Communion is akin to my own concept of the Great Rite, a union of masculine and feminine Divine Energy that manifests the Holy Child.

I gestured to the pile of memorabilia left in the sanctuary, saying, “I seem to remember it being special for him. Let’s see if we can find anything here.”

In the stack of papers, I found a newspaper clipping on top of an original photograph of a bunch of men recreating Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. All of them wore beards and wigs and robes and I could tell by the sanctuary that the photo was taken before it was remodeled about fifteen years ago, and my guess by the style of the robes and beards that it was back in the seventies. The newspaper clipping listed all of the men, most of whom are Ancestors now. I showed it to Granger, saying, “I think this means yes.”

“Is your grandfather in Judas’ place? Look, he’s holding a bag of coins,” pointed out Granger.

The role of Judas seemed to fit my grandfather well, not because he betrayed anyone’s trust, but he seemed to go against the grain of convention a lot. He juggled a tricky relationship with alcohol and sometimes full time service for the community, including carpentry work with Habitat for Humanity. In a lot of ways, I saw Christ in my grandfather, too. He took many less-than-ideal circumstances throughout his life, and transformed it all into a work of art. He loved telling jokes, and telling stories through his music. To me Judas represents the divine Trickster energy, something like the shadow of Christ consciousness, connecting to the Divine Troublemakers that carry out Divine Will under circumstances that seem less than ideal (after all, Jesus foretells Judas’ betrayal and himself treats it as a fulfillment of His Wyrd). He and I didn’t realize it, but my relationship with my grandfather in childhood prepared me a lot for my work with Papa Legba, another Trickster, who I consider the Father of Jazz. When it came to telling stories, he would always root for the “good guy” but I remember him saying more than once: “the bad guys are more fun.”

I am certain that the circumstances of my wyrd are what brought me to that place and time. My grandmother’s passage felt to me at the time like she had given up. Whether she had lost a battle, or had surrendered, circumstances led me to my grandfather’s service, instead of hers. He hung in there just long enough for my marriage to break apart in such a way that drew me out to Kansas to stay at an intentional community for six weeks, with ten days between Illinois and Indiana in the middle of that time. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my grandmother, but I felt her around afterward. Pa Pa  passed on the day after I arrived at the Light Center, and I was too close not to take H and go the rest of the way home.

The region I grew up in just happens to carry the nickname “Little Egypt.” Of course, the first time I get back to Little Egypt in six years is also the year I’ve dedicated to working with Sekhmet and Bastet. I am in no way surprised, either, that the first night I was back in my home town, the evening of the memorial service, an officer pulled me over (for putting my turn signal one way, then the other, and then going straight because I hadn’t driven in the town for ten years and was trying to decide the best way to get home) and two others joined him (no, they really have nothing better to do at ten p.m. on a Sunday, there). The officer cited me for my license plate not being mounted in the proper place (and the turn signal thing, because apparently that means I might have been drunk), but when I couldn’t provide proof of insurance and kind of broke down when I realized I had left my driver’s license at my aunt’s house in Evansville, the officer who pulled me over gave me two fix-it tickets: one for the light being out where my license plate was supposed to be mounted, and one for not carrying proof of insurance with me at the time. I think the other two were just there for fun, and to fulfill the requirement for Triune energy being a part of my daily existence.

Basically, the responding officer made sure I took my car to the shop while I had access to my parents’ mechanic, which ended up being a ten-day stay-over with my parents while various repairs were exacted on the car.

As much as my parents loved having H and I around, after ten days they were ready to let us go.

After this series of unusual events, it’s reinforced the idea that our Wyrd is something like fate. It’s the process of the bigger picture fitting together that sometimes pushes us toward certain outcomes, so that we have chances to fulfill karmic agreements with ourselves and others. If my husband would not have left me, I probably would not have left him, being determined to stick it out for the sake of our daughter. But, to paraphrase Bonnie Raitt, you can’t make someone’s heart feel something it won’t. It would have ended poorly if P and I had stayed together. Exploring the Light Center was an excellent experience that had the added benefit of landing me close enough to the heartland to drive there in one day, and I was finally in a secure enough place in my spirituality and my emotional maturity that I was able to not take my family’s behavior personally, not get offended by my parents’ open disbelief and sometimes hostility toward my own spiritual beliefs, rituals, and practices. I was able to come to an agreement with them that we would simply not bring it up, but they were welcome to ask me questions, so long as I had the ability to say, no thanks, to the topic at hand. The community in Kansas provided a respite for healing and processing the various chapters that had just closed in my life.

All of this, on top of all of that, happened during the tail-end of my Saturn return. Echoes and fractals of everything have been reverberating everywhere for the duration. I even got pregnant with my daughter at the beginning of the Saturn return, so all the karma that calls for resolution during Saturn return was emphasized and magnified by the occurrence of every little thing I thought I had gotten over from my childhood resurfacing during my pregnancy. Through all this, I know I’m on the right track in life when I can recognize the pattern and it holds beauty and brings resonance out from deep within me.

Questions to ask yourself for discerning the way of your Wyrd:

  • Are numbers repeating a lot for you?
  • Do you see repeating images, such as a significant animal, scenario, or other personal symbol that resonates with you, as you pursue a certain path?
  • Are you drawn to specific places that connect you to occurrences in your past (if you are geographically distant, this may manifest by a particular location bringing back memories of another place from your past)?
  • Do you find yourself being circumstantially brought to a place of resolving unfinished business from your childhood or adolescence?
  • If you practice divination, are the same handful of cards/runes/keys/etc coming up, in combinations that loop back in on themselves?

If you answer yes to three or more, you’re likely getting signals that you are on the proper path for spiritual progression. If your personal oracle is repeating itself, it’s likely you have more possibilities than you are examining, or key solutions to a lesson that is being emphasized, but in my personal experience, repetitive readings have happened both when I’m making constructive choices but am just missing a piece, or I just need a reminder that certain elements of my life are beyond my control and I get to work on acceptance.

What if I feel like I’m doomed to have bad luck?

I heard the question a lot as a telephone psychic, in various ways: “Do I have a curse on me?,” “Do I have bad karma to work out?,” or “Am I never meant to be happy?”

First of all, happiness is always a choice. Sometimes, it’s not appropriate to choose happiness, since life has its natural cycles. Even in the midst of the world falling down around your ears, there is always something you can be happy about. It’s good to have a mixture of emotions in trying circumstances; it’s important to release stress by allowing yourself to have fun in the midst of trouble. The Universe is full of love and wants us to be happy, and yes, directing focus to that energy does allow you to cultivate awareness of joy. Resistance leads to sadness and suffering, so the first step to happiness is acceptance of what is. I’m not encouraging any one to put a happy face on tragedy, but in the process of healing, to allow space for all experiences as they come, not getting totally swept up in one extreme or the other.

Second, negative karma is not a punishment, just like good karma is not a reward. Objectively speaking, there is no such thing as good or bad, it is only our thinking that makes it so. Good and bad are qualities, simply the same as favorable or unfavorable. Like attracts like, so treating others how you wish to be treated works to the extent that you realize that people have varying definitions of “respect” and “kindness” and communicating your own desires and needs to the people around you is a way of giving them tools to help fulfill those desires and needs if they so choose. On the energetic level, the energy you project is the energy returned to you, so if you project energy of feeling as though you are in danger, you will attract dangerous situations. By making yourself feeling safe (and backing it up with solid actions and positive self talk) you likewise ensure your own safety. By projecting an energy of service and receptivity of others’ needs (while maintaining healthy boundaries around your own needs), you attract people who want to help you while maintaining their own healthy boundaries. We create negative karma when we project negative energy at our situation, whether it’s specific people, places, things, or the world in general. If negative karma accumulates, there is always a way to resolve the issue with positive, life affirming thoughts, speech, and action. This draws positive energy in because we are also sending it out.

Third, curses only have as much power as the energy being of the subject is complicit to the aim of the curse. If a curse is laid for justice, for example, it will resonate with the Higher Self level of the entity and the Higher Self will cooperate with the energy of the curse to bring judgment on the 3 dimensional consciousness of the entity. If the curse is laid for unjust reasons, but plays to any self destructive aspects of the subconscious, then the subconscious mind will cooperate with the energy of the curse to undo the target of the curse. I believe that one of the best things a person can do to guard against both curses and undesirable effects of negative karma is to engage in lots of self love, compassion, and positive self talk. When Love starts with the self, it reflects and transmits outward, enabling kind actions and compassion toward others.

Remember, the first step to change is accepting what is: facing our Wyrd.

This blog article is written as part of the Pagan Blog Project (http://paganblogproject.com/). 

Vengeance

 Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned

Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.

       -William Congreve, “The Mourning Bride”

Vengeance appears throughout global culture, all over the place, from ancient mythology to modern fiction (and news, for that matter). Desire for vengeance is a part of human existence. Even noble Boudica, with her brazen stride through herstory, has her own dark side: desire for vengeance for her raped daughters fueled her attacks to bring Rome to its knees and Londinium to a pile of ashes. I personally have noted the energy of vengeance as residing in a low frequency: something that comes up for humanity but which is not necessarily noble, or justified, or anything that helps us make progress on our spiritual path. Maybe it’s from my Christian upbringing, or my Buddhist leanings, but Compassion and Service to me are the highest virtues humanity can pursue.

Commonly tied up with people’s concept of Witches, I have noticed, plays out in a fear of vengeful attacks from the hypothetical Witch. People are still suspicious of Witchery for the fear of being hexed. Voodoo/Hoodoo lore (and all branches of Euro-Afro-Indo-American folk magick) holds countless instructions for exacting vengeance on a person. The black coffin is possibly the ultimate example, the death hex. A person could probably without too much effort hire a practitioner in New Orleans to issue such a spell for a significant fee. Many European folk customs describe gestures like crossing the fingers to ward off the Evil Eye. Accusations abound in written records of the Burning Times blaming Witches of blighted crops, barren cattle, sometimes even deceased family members. Whether or not the accused was even a Witch, whether or not the accused was capable to perform any ‘curse’ as the accusers perceived it, the fear itself was there.

Southern Gypsy Moon Art’s topsy-turvy dolls (http://gothicsouthernbelleart.blogspot.com). She fit the mood…

If a Witch, or practitioner of any kind of the Arcane Arts, engages in vengeful behavior, it not only rebounds in Karma, tying that person more tightly to the one they are hexing, but it also sends vibrations out into the human collective consciousness and affects how people think of Witches. I personally am one of those who claim the title Witch in attempt to reclaim it, like the beautiful Sumerian nomer, kunta.

Vengeance is not to be confused with Hexing. Hexing is banishing, binding, releasing, and can enacts penalties on the person being hexed. It is not to be taken lightly, and I have noticed much more success if I am willing to undertake the consequences that come to me as a result of egoic assertion (I hexed some neighbors to get them to move away from us, once, and ended up moving myself, but it was to a better apartment, so it was all good, but an important lesson in discernment, as our neighbors in the new apartment proved a bit difficult, too). I’ll save the rest of my rant on Hexing for that “H” post I haven’t gotten around to yet.

Vengeance is wanting to hurt someone because they once hurt you. It’s insisting on getting your way all the time because the target of your wrath insisted on their way for so long. It’s wanting what you want, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve noticed that vengeance frequently ends in tragedy, most often because the person seeking vengeance is so consumed by it, once they are finished carrying out their target’s sentencing, they have no other soul’s purpose (the one exception I can think of being the Bride in Kill Bill, but that has to do with passing on life, defending a child, and in the Bride’s and Boudica’s case, daughters… I’m sensing a pattern here).

This is why I refrain from vengeance magick. I am allowed by my own ethos, however, to pursue justice, self-protection, and the protection of those who entrust themselves into my care, via magick.

And so I do. Binding and banishing spells are my friends.

Beware of vengeful acts. If you are thinking of a response to someone else’s psychic or magickal attack (whether intentional or ignorant), sit in meditation for at least ten minutes, three days in a row, before following through on the response you would like to enact. Ask any divination tool you use, “What karma am I inviting into my life in taking this path?” It bears repeating: vengeance simply attracts more of the energy you are trying to repel. Hate is not the opposite of love, but its twin flame. Calm yourself to protect yourself. Walk in peace. Sometimes, the best “revenge” is simply letting go.

This blog was created for Faye Dancing-Cloud’s participation in The Pagan Blog Project.