For and Against: Reincarnation

For and Against is a new series in which two well-known commentators with opposing views on a particular spiritual or philosophical topic debate the issue. To kick off this series, Roy Stemman and Leslie Price get stuck into the thorny issue of reincarnation.

To have your say on this subject, post a comment and/or click on the link to our MicroPoll at the end of this article.

If there’s a subject you feel passionately about and would like to see debated in a future edition of SPN, let us know.

Leslie Price

“Reincarnation is a fungus on Spiritualism,” warned Emma!

How did reincarnation get into Spiritualism? Some people might blame Allan Kardec in France, who compiled The Spirits’ Book (circa 1857).

The more sceptically inclined could say that Kardec’s mediums reflected back to him his own prior belief in reincarnation.

In a recent study by John Warne Monroe, Laboratories of Faith, Mesmerism, Spiritism and Occultism in Modern France (Cornell University Press 2008), Monroe notes, “Kardec’s spirits appeared to have borrowed their notion of reincarnation and their critique of eternal damnation from the works of Fourier and Jean Reynaud” (p.109).

But Kardecism had limited impact on Spiritualism in the English-speaking world. More widely influential was Modern Theosophy. However, the Theosophists did not teach reincarnation until Colonel Olcott and Madame Blavatsky arrived in India in 1879.

A famous medium had already proclaimed reincarnation from the platform in London. This was Mrs Cora Tappan, later Mrs Richmond, whose twelve lectures were printed in Medium and Daybreak. She may have received the teaching in Washington as early as 1870. The teachings appeared in book form as The Soul: its nature, relations, and expressions in human embodiments (1887). Almost unknown today, Cora was immensely influential, not just as a trance orator, but as a supporter of President Lincoln and a founder of the NSA.

It was Emma Hardinge Britten who responded to Cora, in a two-part 1875 article for the newspaper Spiritual Scientist on ‘The Doctrine of Reincarnation’. This outstanding article has just been reprinted online by Marc Demarest at Emma pointed out that Spiritualism was based on the evidential facts of communication through mediumship and was threatened if it admitted theoretical speculations not supported by evidence.

Nothing had been said about reincarnation by such mediums as Cora in their youth. The spirits who communicated through Cahagnet’s carefully researched somnambules in France before Hydesville denied reincarnation, as did the later American communicators. Emma uses very strong language, speaking for example of “obnoxious and repulsive side issues ruthlessly engrafted on the pure and fruitful soil of spiritualism”, “this fungus” etc.

Emma had recognised that reincarnation undermined the authority of the majority of spirit communications which denied it. But the teaching spread through Spiritualism, being taken up for example by W.J. Colville, an English-born student of Cora who had moved to America. In 1904, James Peebles made an attempt to reverse this in his book A Discussion of Reincarnation based on articles in Banner of Light. He was able to cite support from Lyceum pioneer Andrew Jackson Davis who claimed “he has given reincarnation another death blow”.

After the First World War, reincarnation was taught by a number of British trance mediums, whose guides included Silver Birch, Red Cloud and White Eagle. The identity of these guides is unclear. White Eagle had a definite link with Theosophical masters, Red Cloud was an Egyptian, and Silver Birch was not a North American Indian and his actual name was not disclosed. But Arthur Findlay was among many who stood firm against reincarnation.

Roy Stemman

The evidence is compelling

I have no argument with Emma Hardinge Britten’s view that Spiritualism is threatened if it admits theoretical speculations not supported by evidence.

I would probably have expressed the same opinion in the late 1800s. But in recent times, a number of scientists have made it their business to research cases suggestive of reincarnation and, for the most part, they have produced evidence that many people find compelling. I certainly do and on that basis I believe Spiritualism can happily embrace reincarnation.

Before discussing the evidence for past lives, let me make a more general observation. What the reincarnation debate tells us, as far as Spiritualism is concerned, is that we should not treat what spirit guides say as ‘gospel’. As Leslie rightly points out, the spirit entities who communicated with Allan Kardec and the spirit guides Leslie also names taught the reality of reincarnation. But there were and are others who do not.

Why? Some suggest that these guides are at different levels of spiritual understanding or on different planes of existence. This doesn’t make any sense to me: if those on the ‘lower’ level have limited understanding of the laws relating to the mechanics of life, death and the hereafter, why are they setting themselves up as ‘teaching’ guides? But how are we to know which spirit guides are on the ‘highest’ level and are likely to have greater spiritual knowledge? It’s impossible. It’s like trying to decide which of the world’s numerous religions is closest to the truth (if any!).

Fortunately, researchers like Professor Ian Stevenson, who have looked at the evidence, have approached the subject scientifically, unencumbered by religious doctrine other than, perhaps, to compare how particular cases may have been influenced by dominant religions.

What they have found is that cases in which a person claims to recall a past life follow a pattern, regardless of the country in which they occur or the beliefs of the community into which they are born. For example, memories of that earlier existence are talked about almost as soon as the child can speak, often voicing dissatisfaction with the new life or even the parents with whom he or she is now required to live.

Typically, these memories fade during childhood and are usually forgotten or buried by the age of twelve. Children appearing to recall a past life are sometimes so strongly drawn to that previous existence that they try to run away from home in order to search for their previous family. Some parents are supportive and even take the child to the village or town named, and there have been a number of cases where the child has led them to the former home and the family inside recognise the details he or she has given about the person whose life is being recalled.

In the years I worked for Maurice Barbanell at Psychic News I regularly witnessed the spectacle of his spirit guide Silver Birch proclaiming the concept of reincarnation whilst, out of trance, Barbanell – a non-believer – would write in the newspaper’s columns that every case of reincarnation could be explained as spirit possession rather than rebirth.

However you choose to interpret such cases, my view is that, at the very least, they demonstrate the continuing existence of personality after death, either able to be reborn or to possess or overshadow a physical person. In my judgement, reincarnation is the explanation that best fits the facts. And I’m sure if Emma Hardinge Britten were on earth today – perhaps she is! – she would be equally impressed with the abundant evidence that has been amassed since she gave her view on the subject.

Leslie Price

More contradictions!

Dr Stevenson’s study of children who remember previous lives, extending over 40 years, is the longest research project in parapsychology, but apart from papers by one or two of his colleagues, there has been little replication of his findings so far.

Stevenson’s cases suggest a short interval between incarnations, whereas many other occult sources teach an interval of centuries between lives. Moreover, there are occasional anomalies in the Stevenson cases, such as lives that appear to overlap, and communities where reincarnation is always into the same sex… Many of the Stevenson cases have been collected in communities where it was necessary to rely on interpreters.

Roy mentions overshadowing as a possible explanation of the experience of past life recall – in less benign cases, one might speak of obsession, especially in cases where the previous personality died violently and is not at peace. There may also be a role for the group soul, or soul group.

Stevenson put reincarnation on the map as a serious scientific hypothesis – but where are his successors?

Roy Stemman

Reincarnation is best explanation

It is true that very few parapsychologists have specialised in reincarnation research, and that Dr Stevenson’s work stands head and shoulders above the rest. But aspects of the huge body of evidence he compiled have received corroboration from his colleagues and those who now follow in his footsteps since his death in 2007. The Division of Perceptual Studies, which he founded at the University of Virginia as part of its department of psychiatry and neurobehavioural sciences, continues to explore a range of paranormal topics relating to consciousness and Dr Jim Tucker has taken over Stevenson’s role in investigating reincarnation cases.

Others who have explored claims of remembered past lives include Icelandic researcher Dr Erlendur Haraldsson (who was at Stevenson’s bedside when he passed on), Jürgen Keil of the University of Tasmania, Australia, Antonia Mills of the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada, and Dr Satwant Pasricha, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore, India.

I’m surprised that Leslie says there has been little replication of Stevenson’s findings. He produced joint papers with both Keil and Haraldsson that reinvestigated cases and confirmed the stability and similarity of features over many years. Tucker, who has developed a scale to measure the strength of children’s claims of previous lives, has worked with Keil on investigating cases where written records were made of a child’s statements before the previous personality was identified. This replicates a similar study carried out by Stevenson and it silences the sceptics who claim such cases can be explained by false or biased reporting of facts by interpreters. Keil has also published results of a limited field study replication of some aspects of Stevenson’s research, applied to cases in Burma, Thailand and Turkey, and Mills has carried out similar replication studies in Northern India.

Even if none of these studies had been carried out, young children around the world would still continue to make statements about what they claim to be a previous life and to behave in a way that disturbs their relatives. It is a global phenomenon and one which appears to have a paranormal cause – whether it be the child’s acquisition of information beyond normal means or the actual transfer of a soul from one body to another. There are anomalies, of course, but they may also be clues as to what is happening and provide us ultimately with a better understanding of the nature of consciousness.

Stevenson discovered that many of these children had birthmarks or birth defects coinciding with wounds or deformities on the persons they claimed to have been in a previous existence. The evidence is contained in his monumental work, Reincarnation and Biology: a contribution to the etiology of birthmarks and birth defects. This illustrated, two-volume, 2,268-page study, published in 1997, examines more than 200 cases, most personally investigated by Stevenson, showing striking similarities in physical features between the deceased subjects and individuals who claim to be their reincarnations. Birthmark cases have taken the research to another level and reincarnation is the explanation that best fits these cases as far as I am concerned.

It was, incidentally, books on Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky in his mother’s library, which he read as a child, that inspired Stevenson’s active involvement in parapsychology. He would, therefore, have been familiar with the words of Mahatma Koot Hoomi in a letter to A.P. Sinnett, which are appropriate to a debate on Spiritualists’ attitudes to reincarnation: “Bear always in mind that there are exceptions to every rule, and to them again and other side exceptions, and be always prepared to learn something new.”

What do you think?

To have your say on this subject, click here to vote on our MicroPoll.

To see the result of this survey, click here.

Further reading:

Professor Ian Stevenson’s book Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation is available from the Spirit of PN Shop, along with  other books by him.

Roy Stemman’s book One Soul, Many Lives: First-Hand Stories of Reincarnation and the Striking Evidence of Past Lives is also available from the Spirit of PN Shop, as is the latest reprint of Allan Kardec’s The Spirits’ Book

121 responses to “For and Against: Reincarnation

  1. Stephen Childs

    The fundamental error into which both spiritualists and reincarnationalists fall time and again is to assume that the human personality is a watertight entity which does not change.
    We would do better to think of ourselves as streams of consciousness which merge and diverge like eddies on the surface of a river.
    This more flexible view can accommodate the apparent phenomena of both mediumship and reincarnation.
    The apparent separation of our personal identity is a relative, rather than an absolute reality.
    There is just one universal underlying field of consciousness but we have been conditioned into thinking of ourselves as permanently separate and discrete entities.
    The phenomena of mediumship and reincarnation or overshadowing all give the lie to this blinkered understanding of our true nature.
    And spiritualist principles such as the “Fatherhood of God”, “Brotherhood of man”, “Communion of Spirits” and “Eternal Progress” are all trying to tell us that we are members one of another and should be aiming to feel united at heart rather than intellectually isolated.

  2. Chris Johnson

    Hi Roy, as you know I have studied various forms of Reincarnation, over the past twenty years and wrote a detailed study for Psychic News back in 1996. I started it by saying, I did not believe in Reincarnation, but I did in previous lives! That study, after being requested, was rejected by the Editor, as she did not “agree” and the closed minds continue today.

    My general view was that the overwhelming evidence over so many years, led many people to believe in reincarnation; but how could it be proved scientifically? I also wrote a paper on the ever moving horizon of the “Paranormal” after founding and running the Paranormal Debating Society for a number of years. Also being a Member of the SPR in London.

    We always have things at the edge of our understanding, grey areas on the edge between nature and science, brave people study these matters and put forward models, to suggest how they work, These are tested to destruction, requiring repeat experiments to become scientific proof, the papers are peer refereed, by all that are for or against; eventually the model is agreed, modified or rejected. But once agreed, or the study, enhancing our understanding of Life & nature, it elevates the intellect, thus enabling mankind to see further round the horizon, on to new grey areas of Nature to turn into New Science. Just look back in time to see how that has been the norm! How would they have viewed Electricity and Radio in 1950? and even Mobile Phones and the Internet in the 1980s? All very normal now.

    Others have put forward alternatives and fresh views on the subject; Rev Dominic McGuire spoke of Attachments, but leading on to a new life after the “study breaks” were over and a new chance to test them in a new life, Magnus spoke of Only Attachments, but maybe after 80 years of “Being Dead” that is all he could get his mind round or on offer to him? Others, more wise, have spoken on levels of enlightenment. But what of Rules? I am sure many Spirits break them, but they may have others on the lighter side of life, that feel we are here to get on and live a life, not to ponder or delve into the life beyond; many things to “Debate” and learn about other peoples views, rather than “argue” create bad feeling and in the end, closed minds?

    Well done Roy, at last this argument is opened up to all in healthy debate!

  3. I agree with the comments made by Leslie Price. Reincarnation has never been proved and even the respected Prof Ian Stevenson had to admit that he had not discovered a watertight case. Science and spiritual science is able to present rational explanation for all alleged cases of reincarnation and past lives.
    The theory of reincarnation was built upon error and became a false doctrine which has misled millions and also used as a method and power tool to control.
    A MUST read:
    ‘The Case Against Reincarnation – A Rational Approach’ by James Webster
    (Grosvenor House Publishing 2009)
    Also ‘The Risen’ by Goforth and Gray (published New York 2009)
    Chap 25 The Pastime of Reincarnation is a gem!

    James Webster

    • I wrote a review of Mr Webster’s book for Amazon. I don’t want to repeat it here except for my conclusion that ridiculing and defamation is not conducive to a healthy discussion.

  4. Mike Salter

    This big problem for me with the human reincarnationist theory is that within 65 years, less than a lifetime, the human population has trebled and looking to increase to 10 billion people in the coming decade. What this means is that, at the very least, two thirds of the population living today could not have lived a human life before on this planet. They would be newbies, without previous karma and human experience. Yet, such a position would have a major impact surely on our society. I mean, at least three quarters of the population, if not more, would have no previous life. Yet looking back at older generations, before the influx of new souls – is there any real evidence of wisdom?…I think not. Two world wars and the atomic bomb gives a resounding ‘no’ answer to that question. In order to explain this, all kinds of weird and wonderful explanations have to be given. For me at least, it represents a major flaw in the belief in human reincarnation.

    • I am surprised to see a theory worthy of in depth investigation being rejected by a single assumption. The assumption being that we reincarnate at regular time intervals, which is not supported by available ‘information’. Another problem is that we don’t even know whether our logic is even applicable in non-physical existence. Therefore we should always keep an open mind about issues like these. It is worthy of discussion whether we believe in reincarnation or not.


    • I read this debate with interest. I am undecided about the whole issue of reincarnation but I find Mr Salters views hard to argue with. I would be interested to see how pro reincarnationists would answer him.

  5. The problem with such debates is that too many people make too many assumptions. Mike Salter argues that an expanding population would result in millions being born without having lived a previous life and without a karmic record. That might be so. All I am saying is that there are cases which are highly suggestive of reincarnation – I’m not saying everyone reincarnates, though that may be the case. Besides, it could be that what incarnates – you and me – is just a fraction of a much larger “soul” which is capable of manifesting simultaneously in different bodies (Silver Birch spoke about this, likening the soul to a diamond with him and his medium, Maurice Barbanell, being facets of that diamond. If that is so, an increasing population doesn’t pose a problem, it simply provides more opportunities for a soul to experience a physical life.
    Similarly, James Webster insists that there is no watertight reincarnation case and he’s absolutely right. If there were, we wouldn’t be debating the subject. But the same is true of spirit communication, or can he provide us with one that “rational science” cannot explain? As for suggesting that belief in reincarnation is “built upon error”, it is not. It is built upon thousands of cases of individuals who talk about their past lives and provide detailed information about them, and who are blissfully unaware of Mr Webster’s scepticism.

  6. Mike Salter

    Please understand that for twenty years I held a firm belief in human reincarnation and I have the greatest respect for those that hold these views today. I stress that it is only my opinion for what it is worth. I do believe, however, that common sense should be our guide in these matters.

  7. Julie Grist

    The old chestnut has been re-heated once more and we already see evidence that ideas other than our own can be unpalatable.
    For me, Re-incarnation is just too small a concept. Too restricting, too unimaginative and, the biggest insult, only physical and material.
    It only stands up if you think that ‘this here’ is so important and all that there is. If you believe the only way you can experience and develop is on Earth (because that is what is actually being put forward), then re-incarnation makes sense.
    Once you have had a physical existence then there is no point to doing it again. (Please don’t tell me it is in order to ‘perfect’ yourself.) It is the “experience” that matters. Your experience gives you a print and because of this you will know the earth for ever. When you draw close to the physical again you will become aware of that print and, because you have experienced a physical life, that awareness links in to all things.

    • “Once you have had a physical existence then there is no point to doing it again.”

      Sorry but I disagree with this point…!
      What about Karmic debt, or pure desire to spend time with those we care about – are we not free as Spirits to choose ?
      So whilst my soul mate lives a physical life – why would I want to spend 80 odd years floating around as pure Spirit, when in the body we can interact directly…
      Or if I wish to pay back another that I feel I owe something to – what’s to stop me reincarnating ?
      Just my imagination I suppose…?

  8. I subscribe to the many faceted Diamond. You will always be you when your facet returns to the afterlife. While we are here, through spiritual unfoldment, we can access the great pool of knowledge and experience that all facets or segments have gained.

    Recalling other ‘past life’ experiences should be left to our guides to show us if necessary to our unfoldment. So called regression can often be stories told by a passing contact that has nothing to do with us. Regression can damage the fine web that surrounds our consciousness. Resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous difficulties. As each facet, segment is polished through experience, the whole diamond benefits. The whole diamond must experience all things, good,bad and indifferent, as it journeys back to God the Great Spirit. Janet Cyford

    • Claire Ball

      Janet how do you know you will always be you when your facet returns to the afterlife? I am trying to get my head round this reincarnation thing but I need to know how people arrive at such categorical statements. Please could you explain how you know?

      • Started to inquire info from my guides after being appalled by the grief of a grandmother who came for a private session with me. A psychic told her she would never see her beloved granddaughter again because she would have long ago reincarnated. Unethical? and how did the psychic know this?
        Yes the granddaughter gave wonderful evidence of herself and who she was with in the after life.
        My guides response was to remind me of two experiences I had during the years they were training me. I had two guides (among many) I was aware of at the time this happened. One an Egyptian and one Greek . The Egyptian stood before me one day and with a sweeping movement over his head he became the Greek guide. He told me they were two facets of the same soul. Another experience was with my mother whose name was Rene. She brought forward another beautiful lady whom she said was Rhea another segment of herself. Claire, as you ponder other’s experiences you must take them to your own precious discernment. In this way your helpers in spirit will bring you experiences of your own. Janet

    • “Recalling other ‘past life’ experiences should be left to our guides to show us if necessary to our unfoldment.”

      I can agree that Regression is a very delicate matter – and must be handled as such, but what about the cases of Regression curing phobias, and even physical ailments.
      Fear of going too far and losing the self, is often a stumbling block. Guides will always guide, but it is we who are the pilots of our lives and development.
      During Guide led meditations we can be given glimpses of lives before, or between this one – which can open the eyes and amaze. Yet to consider this avenue on an individual level can be enlightening, frightening and altogether an illuminating experience ! All it takes is a little curiosity and faith in the Self as that indestructable part of God that we are…

    • Thanks Janet for your answer. I really hope for my own experiences. In the end they are the only thing that can make you KNOW.

  9. Reincarnation is a fact…
    The same as Survival After Death & Spirit Communication are facts.
    People are convinced based on their experiences , and their personal proof.
    Until we have all had the same experiences – we will disagree, argue and bicker the details.
    As the Earth is our vantage point, so we see from a physical perspective, we cannot do much more. But during those rare moments of Spiritual Enlightenment, Religious Experience, or Perfect Clarity, we know and see all.
    Then we get a glimpse of what is possible. There is much we do not know, and the fun is in the discovery !
    I have had my proof, so I can be almost arrogant with my statements I suppose. This doesn’t mean I stop investigating, researching and learning.
    Reincarnation is older than the hills. There have always been doubters, the final jigsaw pieces are unknown to us – but again that’s because our view is narrow.
    I say, embrace the scary thought that it may be real, even without the proof we seek !! Perhaps that thought, would then bring truth our way ?

  10. ‘Karmic debt/pay back’ are merely thoughts of physicality westernised by people who can never truly understand the culture it originates from.
    It also brings the experience of a physical existence down to such a base level and removes the possibilities of the infinite.
    As to re-incarnating so you can be with the ‘soul mate’ you left behind – that is also only of the physical.
    Those in the Spirit World tell us how much they love us and are in touch with our true selves (Spirit self) at all times. They know where we are every second of every day and the connection is never broken.
    They constantly ask us to move away from the ties and emotions of physicality to enhance the Spirit Within through the understanding of the self.
    Re-incarnation, karma, pay-back, only knowing how to love if you have flesh – is all so physical and material.
    Do you really suppose, with the whole of forever spread out before you, you will want to waste your time plotting to get your own back because someone cut you up on the motorway?
    Let’s have broader views, larger thinking, wider horizons, less boundaries.
    Being physical is not the be all and the end all. It is just one brief, but enriching, experience in your forever.

    • I can understand your point Julie, it does seem that to reincarnate seems such a ‘material’ thing to do.
      But what of the positive ‘debt’ we may owe ?
      For example, where the one returns to care for the other who may be physically disabled or ill. Is that not pure sacrifice ? An example of love ?
      A reflection of something promised from a life before ?

      Also my suggestion of ‘soul mate’ had nothing to do with partners in love, more of two individuals who may be connected on a deeper level, that have a bond which only they can understand – whether that be on a blood tie or otherwise. Perhaps it is a bond that has developed over countless lifetimes and taken many different forms of relationship, therefore needs no explanation between the two concerned.
      Perhaps with that example they learn to be more to each other, than just man & wife – perhaps over lifetimes they have been parent & child, grandparent & grandchild etc etc…
      Having this awareness makes the Infinate all the more a reality to me.

      If Spirit encourage us to be less of the ‘material’ or attached to the physical, that is simply their wish for us to progress away from such things – out of love and a desire to be free of the Earth – or perhaps to be less affected by it.
      Allowing ‘road rage’ to be an issue creates negativity – as you indicate, but if we must fall foul of others whilst we are here, it’s in our handling of it that Spirit have their concerns I think.
      I must say, my life so far has been an interesting one – and I would not trade some of my experiences for anything. It’s the little things that are important to me, like carrying anothers burden for a time, or cheering another when they’re down – rescuing a neglected animal, or giving life to a dying plant so that it thrives, working hard – or knowing when to rest, or enjoy a garden.
      I look forward to arriving in the Spirit World, and meeting my closest associates, but also I have no problem with the possibility at becoming Human again…who knows I could become a Spaceship Captain in 200 years time !

    • Vanda Bubear

      I agree with Julie. I cannot accept reincarnation, because what is the point of being sent here time and time again, forgetting everything that happened in past lives, and starting afresh. How can we accumulate our learning and know what we are here to learn, if we have to first forget everything we learned in the past?

      Karma truly sucks. How can you look at fat-cat rich men, or the Paris Hiltons of this consumer-driven world, and tell me they deserve to live like that because they were good in past lives. Small wonder movie stars turn to Buddhism when it seems to justify their obscene wealth as reward for good deeds undertaken in past lives. And yet, is not the whole point of Spirituality that material wealth means nothing? So why does karma give these people such materialist rewards of riches and wealth?

      Is it also true that, according to karma, the 6 million jews who died horiffic deaths in the concentration camps of WW2 all deserved to die because of bad deeds done in past lives, all 6 million of them, men, women, and children? If that’s the case, then I for one will give karma a miss. And if karma goes hand in hand with reincarnation, then reincarnation sucks too!

      • Karma is a far more subtle concept than the simple good karma bad karma = wealth or poverty in an ensuing life.
        Look more closely at film stars and sports personalities and others with their obscene wealth. Do they use that wealth for the good of others or are they suffering from self destructive behaviour. Is it truly a reward or a burden on the spirit to be overcome.

        As you so rightly say material wealth means nothing, but how you use it is everything.

        The Buddhist aim is to abandon the temptations of this world while respecting all life as sacred. Their ultimate goal is to achieve Nirvana, which is to abandon the self and be absorbed back into the moving spirit of the universe on passing. So not much comfort to be had by wealthy would be Buddhists who cling to the material trappings of this world, they have a long road to travel.

        For those who accept reincarnation past memories and actions are not truly forgotten in the next life. They operate at a very deep level informing and influencing future actions, rather like a hidden conscience. The idea being to amend the negative actions of the past and progress to a higher state of spirituality.

        Explaining horrors like the holocaust in terms of karma or indeed asking why the divine allows these things to happen is too deep a question for me to even try to answer.

  11. chris southerton

    As an SNu spiritualist combined with my understanding of the 7th principle Eternal Progress open to every human soul, reincarnation negates this. Is it inconceivable to think that perhaps it is because we have the genes of our ancestors, that at times we have a glimpse into their lives, after all we are all related to each other. Maybe during astral travelling, dreaming and through meditation we visit places which seem familiar and see people who we feel we know. Our ancestors are in spirit now, but we remain as one big family. I will continue to keep an open mind on the subject, but remain unconvinced at present as to the advantage of having past lives and reincarnation.

  12. chris southerton

    n.b. I forgot to add, that as we have free will, then if there is such as a thing as reincarnation then surely it would be a question of choice. If the jdea is that we come back to learn all the lessons we need to to reach perfection, then there would be nothing to learn in the spirit world, I don’t think so!. Just a point to consider, when we reach our spirit home, if there’s anything we wish to learn from this planet, it should be quite simple to do so, just pay a visit now and again!

    • Chris, the questions you pose are very pertinent, but you must also ask yourself why we are all here in the material world at all? Why do we not all just live our lives in a spiritual dimension? The answer seems to me to be that the experiences we have on the physical plane – not all of them good, of course – and how we deal with them are necessary for our spiritual advancement. Or does the spirit world give us such opportunities, the rough with the smooth, as well? Whether we will reincarnate or not may depend on how well we learn the lessons we are meant to learn in this life. Free will could well be an option in making that choice, but if return to the physical world offers you the best opportunity of spiritual improvement, I’m sure you would not have second thoughts.

  13. Stephen Childs makes a subtle but important observation in, “We would do better to think of ourselves as streams of consciousness which merge and diverge like eddies on the surface of a river.” There is substantial indication that virtually all of our trans-communicators consider themselves part of a group of personalities. There is also a sense that the personality is really a viewpoint temporarily adopted to experience a lifetime. We see this in the occasional comment from our communicators that “I have to go one,” soon followed by cessation of communication.

    My personal sense is that I will eventually transition out of this lifetime, experience a period of acclimatization in my new “atmosphere and awareness” and then move on to a new venue in which I can have experiences and gain more understanding. This “reincarnation” to a new venue may or may not be in this physical aspect of reality. The one thing that seems certain is that I will transition, I will adjust and then move on. The one thing that seems likely is that I am doing this as part of a larger consciousness … that “stream” Childs refers to.

    Good debate. Badly needed.

  14. Chris Johnson

    Well said Karl and Julie, I think we are beginning to expose the problem here, in this debate. When things got heated in the debates I chaired, I lifted a sign saying: In MY OPINION! It made the group laugh and the speaker re-start with the comments and the thought of: In My Opinion.
    I have often had people speak about Christianity and other World Religions capping the Evolution of the Mind/Brain. It is clear that Spiritualism is not the only voice onn Science and Nature; often the thoughts of the original Spiritualists are being repeated with blind faith, taught and defended… thus stop thinking now! Things move on, ignore the Flat Earth Society and review all facts to date, learn from those who have earned their spurs, but keep the critical factor alive within your belief system?

  15. bright eyes

    I believe in reincarnation, and that we come back many times to learn and progress. I once had regression and saw a couple of lives i had. I was once part of a Red Indian community. Year previous to this i was in Canada and i was looking at a photo of a red indian and i felt in my heart i knew him. When i was regressed later on in years i was taken back to a place as a red indian, Then in another life i was a young woman who lived in North Washington. i believe ive come back to learn it makes sense to me.

  16. Past life regression brings up interesting questions about reincarnation. If you accept the concept of life forms as a kind of gestalt understanding of a subject and that there exists such forms representing lifetimes (sort of like the Theosophist’s akashic records) then a past life regression might call up a life form that best suits your needs and that is not actually a past life of yours. I once wrote a book, One Who Cares, based on such a past life regression and I have no sense of it being my lifetime, even though the memory was very vivid.

    The frequent occurrences of regressions producing a famous person might be explained by this in that such life forms would be more energetic than the life form of a more mundane, less popular personality.

    Leslie Price seemed to be heading toward a cultural influence explanation. If you were asked to describe what an extraterrestrial might look like prior to the publication of Whitley Strieber’s Communion in 1987, you might have a Walt Disney-like funny green man, but after that prototypical alien face appeared on the cover of Communion, it became part of our cultural memory and virtually every reported abduction was by creatures that looked just like that. The problem is that abductions may be real enough, I do not know. If they are, they appears the have a strong etheric component. Trans-etheric influences are a conceptual cause producing an objective effect. That translation appears to be via and filtered by our worldview, which is a cultural construct. We see it in coloring of mediumistic messages and we see it in Instrumental TransCommunication.

    It goes back to the “stream of consciousness” idea. The concept of reincarnation may be true, but a literal interpretation of that concept may be misleading.

  17. An important reminder for Roy Stemman that the thousands of people recalling their supposed past-lives may well be deceiving themselves and encouraged to do so by their hypno or regression therapist and uninvited spirit entities entering the open door made available. Some of these entities could be earthbound or lost souls urgently requiring help or rescue from their condition (ref the fine work by Dr Carl Wickland and his wife medium Anna Wickland in the books ‘Thirty Years Among The Dead’ and ‘The Gateway Of Understanding’). The ‘past-lifer’ is led to believe that the information portrayed by the overshadowing entity is that of one of their previous lives rather than the earthly incarnation of the entity itself. This is the usual error and misinterpretation. Prof Ian Stevenson warned against the dangers of this practice and did not recommend it. Perhaps Mr Stemman should also realise that when he stated that thousands of people relating information about their (alleged) past lives blissfully unaware of Mr Webster’s scepticism, that that was indeed one of their problems requiring attention! Ignorance is not always bliss Mr Stemman.

    It is good to discover through this important debate so many refreshing comments coming from other than reincarnationists, which expands and provides so much more food for thought. Full marks to Julie Grist for her most intelligent observations. These are the benefits with having ‘Spirit of PN’ online to enable more comments to be shared with a much broader viewpoint.

    James Webster

    • James, just so that those reading this fascinating debate are not misled by your comment, I must point out that nowhere in my discussion with Leslie Price did I offer former lives “remembered” during hypnotic regression as evidence of reincarnation. Generally, I share Prof Ian Stevenson’s view of the technique’s shortcomings, though his research did include a handful of cases in which hypnosis was used.
      The point I was making was that those well documented cases in which children provide strong evidence of past-life memories cannot be easily dismissed. They are not based on hypnotic regression. Nor are they based on beliefs that have been foisted upon them. In fact, often their parents go to extraordinary lengths to try to stop such children talking about their previous lives, but usually to no avail.
      I’m very open to the possibility of spirit possession or overshadowing being an explanation in some cases. But how, James, do you think this works with children who are born with birth defects or birthmarks, as well as memories, which coincide with the life of the person they claim to have been in a previous life? It suggests that the spirit concerned would have attached itself almost immediately after conception, in order to have impregnated the marks and defects (resembling gun shot wounds, limb amputations, stabbings) that were the cause of its demise onto the developing embryo, which are then clearly displayed when the child is born. Why would a spirit wait nine months for the birth of that child before being able to fully realise the purpose of that possession? Why not just latch on to an already living, breathing, talking person?
      If, however, you do think birthmark cases are the result of possession or overshadowing from the moment of conception, then surely reincarnation is as plausible an explanation as possession for what is taking place? Indeed, you would seem to be replacing one word for another. What’s the difference?

      • With respect Roy, I was not inferring that you did discuss with Leslie Price former lives “remembered” through hypnotic regression and would not wish to give that impression, but thanks for your prompt anyway. I brought up this issue because it is an important part of this debate which is of particular interest or concern to many who, unfortunately in my opinion, may attach this kind of dangerous and questionable ‘therapy’ to possible reincarnation.

        You pose some really good questions ….just my cup of tea! The problem is that they require lengthy response which unfortunately I will have to make briefer within the confines of this general debate.
        Firstly, within nature it is not only human children who are sometimes born with birth defects and deformities or birthmarks. It happens with all living creatures, animals, birds, fish ands even trees and plants. It is hardly just or even intelligent to suggest that in any of such cases the blame is on something to do with ‘sins committed in past lives’ and its now pay back time!
        Very young children are all spiritually sensitive and naturally mediumistic and some show this tendency more obviously than others. Some will speak of their invisible playmates or being with their grandparents and other loved ones in the next world, which is not always acceptable behaviour to their misunderstanding parents! It will depend upon the type of spirit attachment which is attracted as to the behaviour of the child, but in the rare cases of a malevolent entity or an earthbound or lost soul the consequences can be most alarming and cause a great deal of trouble. Such entities can be very powerful perhaps not realising they have died physically, suddenly perhaps by being murdered, accident, in armed conflict and so on. Some might go over with a strong belief in reincarnation or other religious beliefs which hold them back from the light and natural spiritual progress in getting themselves right. In such cases a number of situations may occur:
        The entity will attempt, in vain, to try to ‘reincarnate’ by overshadowing, obsessing or possessing and in the worst scenario is capable of leaving marks resembling gun or knife wounds etc. and the child may think and often encouraged, in certain parts of the world particularly, to believe that it is the reincarnation of another person instead of which the host has been ravaged and raped and its rightful physical body invaded. Usually, as the child grows older the attachment weakens and releases and the effects wear off. You ask why would such a spirit wait nine months for the birth of the child rather than not just latch onto an already living, breathing, talking person?….answer, they do latch on anywhere if the door is left open to them to gain entry, like leaving home and not locking up properly. People on drugs and alcoholics can become victims. Also an expectant mother heavily on drugs etc.
        What I have explained entirely nulls the suggestion that reincarnation is as plausible an explanation as possession.
        Every birth is a brand new soul individualising into physical matter on the earthplane. It is neither secondhand or re-cycled. Nature does not have time for that. She is over active already with production…one-off individualising and no returns possible…only forward and upward and onward progression. An individualised soul cannot repeat this process and re-individualise again and again or return a portion of itself to individualise either as some seem to suggest.
        There is so much more to say and expand upon Roy.

        My book ‘The Case Against Reincarnation …A Rational Approach’ covers a lot of ground and answers many questions.

        James Webster

        • There’s little with which I would want to disagree on the subject of possession, James, but I’m intrigued that you can say with such certainty, and without offering an explanation of where that certainty comes from, that “every birth is a brand new soul individualising into physical matter on the earthplane. It is neither secondhand or re-cycled. Nature does not have time for that.” Have you become a spirit guide?

          As someone who is very much in favour of recycling, it would seem to me that, if your claim is correct, Nature is very wasteful in having to produce new souls for every human birth when there are plenty in the next life who would relish the chance to return. But my argument in favour of reincarnation is not based on opinions that I cannot corroborate but on well-researched cases, particularly, as I have said, those involving birthmarks or birth defects. Let me share one of Prof Ian Stevenson’s hundreds of cases which deal with these physical deformities in cases of children remembering past lives:

          “Semih Tutusmus was born in 1958 in a village in the Hatay province of Turkey with a severe defect of the right ear. When he was less than two years old he began talking about a previous life and named the man who had shot him in his right ear, Isa Dirbekli. He gave his own name in that life – Selim Fesli – as well as those of his wife and six children.

          “And at the age of four he found his own way to the home in which he had lived that life – about two kilometres away – and introduced himself to members of the family. He continued to visit the family, but whenever he saw Isa Dirbekli he became angry and threw stones at him. The two families had only a nodding acquaintaince before Semih’s birth.

          “Isa and another man were eventually arrested for the shooting, which Isa at first denied but then confessed that he had been out shooting birds when he thought Selim – asleep on the ground – was a rabbit and shot him. Realising his mistake, he fled from the scene rather than face the vengeance of Selim’s sons. Selim died in hospital six days after the shooting and Isa was imprisoned for two years.

          “At the age of 12, Semih threatened to kill Isa Dirbekli in revenge for his own past-life death which he regarded as deliberate. Those thoughts eventually subsided and, with the gradual loss of his memories and plastic surgery which gave him an excellent replacement for a real ear, plus the fashion for men in Turkey to wear long hair, Semih’s life became normal and the last Stevenson heard he had become engaged to be married.”

          Those are the facts, not opinions. They leave me in no doubt that Selim Fesli was reborn as Semih Tutusmus. If James is correct and, instead, this is a case of possession it means that he possessed Semih’s body soon after the boy was conceived, causing the ear deformity (mirroring the wound that killed him) to manifest on the developing embryo. Is that what you believe, James? Whichever one of us is right – or maybe someone has an even better alternative explanation for such cases – let’s not lose sight of the fact that either interpretation provides very strong evidence for survival of death, and that’s the most important message to get across.

          I’m happy to let James have the last word on this, but for those interested in knowing more about the evidence for reincarnation, I’m working on a new book that will complement my first one (“Reincarnation: true stories of past lives”, published in 1997) that should be ready by the end of the year, and it’s a topic I comment on regularly on my Blog,

          • Sorry to disappoint you Roy but no I have not become a spirit guide LOL……….and the opinions are not mine but are those from far greater and wiser minds which I happem to agree with.

            I am surprised that you did not comment on what was pointed out about the fact that birth deformities occur throughout nature in all living things including plants and not just within human beings. This puts another slant on the past lives theory.
            I was even more surprised and quite saddened that you actually thought “there are plenty in the next life who would relish the chance to return” …….. That would depend upon where they found themselves. I don’t think that for one moment the majority of us would have any such desire when we realise we are in our REAL home.

            Your Stevenson example is indeed one of his more convincing ones but nevertheless it is not conclusive and not ‘watertight’ as he himself admitted after all his investigations.

            I quite agree with you that the most important evidence and message to get across is the sure certainty that we all survive after physical death. This has been made clear by scientific repeatable experiments and does not require the backing or support of questionable and unproven and unprovable theories such as reincarnation and suggested “past lives”.

            We must leave it there Roy and agree to disagree on this vast subject. I wish you well.

          • Just a quick addition to my post Roy to answer your question.
            Yes, with the facts as presented in that Stevenson case you quote, I would say that it could have been a case of possession with the ear deformity being manifested upon the embryo. Such cases have been researched and I find them most compelling. For me this is far more likely and plausible than Selim Fesli being reborn as Semih Tutusmus.

            • And just a final, final word from me, James, so that you do not feel I avoided answering a point you raised. Yes, of course, there are, sadly, numerous birthmarks and birth defects in the human population, many of them caused by drugs. What interested Stevenson was that many of the children remembering their past lives also displayed birth defects that coincided remarkably with events in their previous existence (as in the case I quoted). He also noted that some of these defects were extremely rare. That won’t change your view about possession being the explanation, I know, but it’s an aspect of reincarnation research that cannot be ignored.

  18. Chris Johnson

    Hi James, have known and respected both you and Roy for 20 years now, so pleased to have some real knowlege and personal experiance thrown in on top of the third party info; eg: I read in a book or I was told. But time to say: In MY OPINION, and hold my card up. Let’s not make it personal, we are all spiritual people. Kiss and make up, let’s get back to more facts and personal experiences. Love and Light Chris Johnson 🙂

  19. In my opinion/experience there is nothing to convince me that reincarnation is a fact. I have had no memories of past lives, regression can have other explanations, and I have no reason or desire to be digressed. The human mind seems to be infinitely capable of picking up information from ‘somewhere’ , whether it is called Spirit , Akashic records, sub-conscious etc etc. Spirit entities could be impressing the information in to the mind of the claimed reincarnated person.
    On the other hand, I have had much survival evidence from persons known to me, which is enough for me as I have no desire to return here!

  20. Belief in reincarnation has been around for ages and contained in most of the world’s cultures. Many religions contain this belief in various forms.
    Many prominent thinkers and philosophers throughout history and nowadays have either accepted the belief or given it thoughtful consideration. Even in the Bible, a book subject to a myriad of interpretations – one of them could be that even Jesus said one must be “born again”…

    The question of why good people suffer, and why there is unhappiness, pain, injustice and inequalities could be answered by reincarnation. Why should there be only one material life for some who come here in terrible conditions, like when a child is born deformed?

    And, is there not a person who would not want to go back to meet a particular person again on the earthly plane to make amends for a wrong committed? Saying sorry, meeting in the spiritual plane just does not seem to be enough. We may have freewill to come back.

    Also, how can we put into practice all the material and moral knowledge we have accumulated even within one existence? It is like going to college to become a surgeon and never being able to get the chance to operate.

    As for a soul only incarnating solely upon the earth, what of the many planets out there in the Cosmos? Many have now been found in the “Goldilocks” zone. And, what of the recent discovery of life based on DNA previously unknown having been found on our own planet at Mono Lake in California? “Life” can come in many forms.

    Personally, I believe reincarnation properly understood explains where I came from, why I am here, and where I will go after material “death.” It compels me to strive to become a better person, brings me great solace and provides me with great hope.

    These discussions are wonderful and may they continue. Also, may scientists seriously continue their efforts to search for “proof.”

  21. Chris Johnson

    Well stated Yvonne, can I add a few further thoughts on the subject, later I will explain the things that have gone on in my life to convince me that Reincarnation is a part of life: In My Opinion, well, as my belief system stands at the moment; I think that people who have serious problems are older and wiser spirits/souls, thaking on harder lives, to progress their development; further, that Cupid is the soul of the new life, selecting the parents and the life they decide to take on… with agreement with others, that will work with them in life, learning their own lessons? Thus a child that touches the earth, as they say, but to flower in heaven. Has agreed with it’s host mother and others to take a short life, to help them all learn how to cope and progress. So if you have ever lost a child, don’t beat yourself up or destroy your reproductive system to punish yourself as an unfit Mother. It was all part of your life plan. Hope this helps some wonderful Mothers out there!

  22. I just wanted to add to the very interesting debate on reincarnation, and say that Edgar Cayce was another example of a medium who was not in agreement with his guide on this subject, although I believe he came to accept it eventually. There is something I should very much like to buy, if it’s available, and that is some of the tapes produced by Arnold Bloxham. There were four hundred, and I remember how interested Prince Phillip and the Earl of Mountbatten had been by the one of the Plymouth business man who was suddenly propelled back into the time of the Napoleonic wars and saw himself on board a ship being attacked by the French. He used nautical terms which had disappeared from use along with the kind of weapons used at that time, and records in the Admiralty revealed that they had indeed existed. And there were other tapes of the utmost interest, historically speaking.

  23. I have several issues with the concept of reincarnation – not least in that it could be seen as against the idea of free will. I have joined and avoided several debates about this, including a debate between my wife Lis as pro reincarnation and me as anti in our Spiritualist Centre one Sunday. The one I saw just before this debate kept me silent watching the sheer horror and antagonism the Faithists, the followers of John Newborough’s book OAHSPE, have about reincarnation. They regard it as a total abomination saying that it can only occur by displacing the Spirit intended to fill the body, that all spirits are created newly into this physical world.

    Now that is not my position. I fail to see that if a spirit really wants to revisit the experiences of this physical life, which the Spirit World has said contains many unique aspects to allow the development of the Spirit, then why would it not be possible? I also look around and note that we are very humanistic – us here and Spirit there. What about all the other spheres or planets that we could incarnate in? Even the greatest of trance communications leave us with a very hazy idea of what the Spirit World actually is and the interplay between our life here and there.

    However, it seems to me we still lack substantive evidence to formally prove the hypothesis of reincarnation. We may have a smoking gun but we cannot actually prove that is was fired. I believe that this is why Spiritualism, as a movement, has excluded reincarnation from its philosophy. We can prove the truth of the survival of the Spirit through mediumship we cannot as yet prove the truth of reincarnation. Indeed we cannot even disprove the Hindu view of transmigration into other forms than human.

    Spiritualism describes itself as a truth, so it sits on the fence and waits for objective proof, something buried in one life and collected in the next with some absolute corroboration that the knowledge could not have come from anything other than a past life.

    As a pure conjecture transmigration may seem the most likely way to counter the numbers argument which states that because of the growth of human population reincarnation cannot account for all births. Yet I have always heard of people talking about new or old souls, so why should the world not be full of a blend of new spirits with a number who have reincarnated many times? I prefer this view to transmigration, but wonder about it when looking at the wonderful way some animals behave in comparison to humankind, yet too often many deny animals have a Spirit.

    Once again I feel we are looking through a piece of glass which is covered with soot, in just the way that many years ago we, as children, could look at the eclipse of the sun to protect our eyes. The smoke is there to protect our minds from the way they may be overwhelmed by a clear view of the workings of Spirit to ensure we receive the knowledge we need, but not more than we could comprehend.

    When we decide to look at Prof. Ian Stephenson’s work we also have to look at the genetic work going on to cure illnesses. The work conducted is aptly subtitled the “Ghosts in our Genes”. It is fascinating and requires consideration. The history of your parents is within each of you, coded within the DNA. Grandmother to father to daughter – the encoded history is placed there strand by strand. Yes, the DNA is changing naturally and as it always has, not in some magic way. The original documentary is available in 5 parts. The link to the first of these videos is:
    All 5 are well worth watching but if you track them on youtube make sure you stay with the ones posted by this source, to keep it in order and get to the ending. This set is posted from a Muslim source but the invocation to Allah only appears at the very start of the first part. I have the full list of the correct links in the Reincarnation area of the Spiritualismlink forum. However, the research group who are working upon turning the genetic switches on and off to prevent cancer can be found at .

    One of the leading researchers into Savant Syndrome – David Treffert MD – published a paper called “”Ancestral” or “Genetic” Memory: Factory Installed Software”. This looks at the scientific research trying to link genetic memory with the abilities of savants.

    As a corollary to this we need also to look at the way DNA affects us, to get a broader view of the possibilities. Science has been studying the blending of DNA as a result of major transplants. “Personality Changes on Transplant Blended DNA?” posted in Nexus Magazine, Volume 12, Number 3 (April – May 2005) written by Paul Pearsall, Gary E. Schwartz, PhD, Linda G. Russek, PhD gives a number of significant cases where transplants have changed the individual’s personality to strongly reflect that of the organ donor.

    None of these points conclusively defeats an argument in favour of reincarnation, based upon Ian Stephenson’s research, but they certainly muddy the waters significantly.

    They also add weight to the need to cope with this life and not go down the path of past life regression to cure a problem in a past spiritual life. You just may be trying to deal with one of your relative’s problems in their physical life.

    So like any good Spiritualist I end up sitting on the fence, I tend towards the hypothesis of reincarnation, with free will, but lack the conclusive evidence to claim it as a truth.

    • Jim, Prof Stevenson and others have investigated cases in which a child claims to be a reborn relative. In one case, for example, a boy was said to be his own grandfather. This is quite common among the Inuits, and Stephenson discusses the possibility of genetic memory in his objective examination of these cases. However, my own estimate is that no more than five per cent of reported reincarnation cases are within families. For the vast majority, there is no family or genetic link between the child recalling a past life and the person he or she claims to have been in a former life.

      • Good point Roy, I suspect that the whole scientific world are being forced to re evaluate a number of preconceived notions.

        Of course the interesting thing about genetic memory is how far back can it be stretched? With Lis as a genealogist I have discovered links around the world which would be quite unexpected and not as far back as you might think.

        I had a missing Grand Uncle who was traced to moving to Canada marrying an African American in 1901 and moving to Cuyohoga Ohio where his children were recorded as African American during that time of segregation. Similarly an uncle or cousin of my Great Grandmother ran a 15,000 hectare cattle station in Australia and lived on it with 13 “wives” who were aboriginals.

        So just in my case the potential for very confusing memories to appear in apparently totally unrelated places becomes quite large. Magnify this through the human population then imagine numbers of children born, known or unknown, to colonists and as a result of war or conquest.

        There is certainly a strong case for the impacts of genetic memory to be much bigger than we may expect. Even so it probably would not answer all of Stephenson’s cases. Indeed we are lucky that the world had such a dedicated and meticulous worker on the case who has given some positive evidence towards the theory of Reincarnation.

        • Our individual genes are certainly an incredible mix, Jim, but we need to be careful about jumping to conclusions. So far, in my view, there’s scant evidence that memories are contained in genes and the Spiritualist view would certainly be that these are a part of our subconscious that continues to exist after our genetic material has turned to dust.
          Even if genetic memory DOES occur, there’s no reason why you would have inherited any of your Grand Uncle’s memories (however colourful), only those of your parents, grandparents, etc. Sorry to disappoint you!

  24. Chris Johnson

    Remember the words of Shakespeare, The World is but a Stage, and we are just actors on it, or very close. He was not free to speak his mind in those days, often repressed thinking people just put clues into their work, for the future to see they knew.
    Passage of the Soul, OK, SO IF A SOUL WAS TO HAVE A NEW LIFE?
    The act of making love (even with a test tube), creates Orgon Energy, Fairy or Life energy, to start the new Spirit, or Life. At the end, it hovers around a bit, then re-joins it’s Soul, at a later stage. Another facet to the diamond? The Actor, puts their whole into the part,/Life, but can remember past parts played. PS: Sorry about typos, getting old, sight going and trying to type fast with one finger to get out what is in my mind.

  25. Chris Johnson

    Very True Roy, I tend to explain it to lay people, like an I Spy Book… Now who is old enoth to remember them? We need to learn to cope with emotions and habits, adictions and coping with Life, tick the boxes when we pass a page, (may even get a T Shirt… or shroud) thus the judgement at the end of life, but self judgement and moving on to attach with others until we decide we are ready for another go. Remember that after debating football and other earth type subjects, get boaring, as we get deeper in life, we move on to the meaning of life. Thus our progress…. but what do we become in the end? Pure Spirit or part of the Godhead; or Fuel, for a space ship to come into our dimention and zap it up? Thats when I gave it up, in 1996!

  26. Terry Gardener

    It’s a fascinating discussion with many good points raised both for and against and they are all valid at their level. However what we are trying to unravel is totally beyond us! We have not arrived at the Spiritual maturity to both understand our real reason for being or the Mighty Spirit in the background, in which we ALL have our little scenario played out.
    What we are discussing is immense! completely beyond our wildest imaginings…. that there is or is not reincarnation is really inconsequential… when we admit that the Great Spirit is ALL and then we look at the night sky on a clear, cloudless, and moonless night and realize just how BIG that is… we get some idea of what we are talking about…. Endless Power with no beginning and no end! which points to immense cycles of regeneration in a multitude of scenarios not only in our tiny corner but throughout limitless space.
    We are told, in many guises across the spectrum of religio – mysticism that we are on a constantly changing ever evolving spiral towards a far distant perfection and union with the Great ALL that IS. So for my money the answer to the debate is Yes there is reincarnation or to quote Star trek “there is life Jim, but not as you know it!”
    That’s not a reference to the Jim of the previous post..[chuckle].

  27. Peter Raggett

    Scientists agree that in some areas of science there is no such thing as proof, only compelling evidence. I think reincarnation falls within this category because, due to its very nature, reincarnation cannot be conclusively proved.

    Nevertheless, even some physicists are coming to the conclusion that consciousness is the fundamental reality and that we are all fractals of a gestalt.

    Theoretically, it follows that if we could expand our individual consciousness sufficiently we could recall every life there ever was. In practice though we are probably restricted to those with which we have an affinity.

    I suspect that, in a sense, both the pro and anti reincarnationists are right inasmuch that reincarnation as popularly understood and portrayed in the press does not happen, or happens very rarely. I doubt that as a general rule the precise consciousness of , say Joe Bloggs a miller who died of a disease caused by dust inhalation in the 17 century has not reincarnated as a computer programmer in the 21st century even though he recalls the past life. He may be able to recall past lives that occurred to another aspect of his consciousness or by association with the affinity group. However, as with all rules there are probably exceptions as with children born with specific birth marks relating to a previous persons demise in a past life.

    Perhaps a better term would be to drop the term reincarnation and replace it with past life recall. However, whichever terminology you use there is compelling evidence for the recollection of past lives whether in person or part of an affinity group. That of Gwen McDonald who recalled the name of Rose Duncan who had lived in Somerset, is particularly compelling

    Then there is between life regression by Michael Newton where the recollections of thousands of between life regressions by patients during his career are consistent with a past life review and discussion and anticipation of a new life to be lived.

  28. Margaret Stirling

    You may find the following books by Dr Brian Weiss of interest. Many lives many Masters. same soul many bodies. Also the following video clips of children who remember their previous lives.
    One has to commend Victor Zammit at least for pulling together metaphysical subjects from exponents across the globe, in relation to the nature of soul and mind. In this, he attempts to show that science and nature can and do walk hand in hand. Perhaps we simply need to begin ‘joining the dots’ without prejudice.

  29. Peter Raggett

    Whichever way you look at it there is no denying that some children and adults have access to details of previous lives that could not have been obtained by conventional means. It all adds up to reincarnation, collective (cosmic) memory or a combination of both.

    This is the latest example posted by victor Zammit on his website.

    Sceptics (cynics or psudosceptics would be probably a more appropriate term in many cases) claim wishful thinking, delusion, implanted memory, retro fitting g etc. but the best cases defy all this explaining away as nonsense. Reincarnation is impossible to prove but past life memory is indisputable in my opinion.

  30. There are multiple tantalizing indications that reincarnation may be true, but there is no definite scientific proof, which does not mean that we should ignore the possibility of reincarnation. After all, do we not often delve into the unknown, such as unknown places and unknown experiences, relying only on beliefs and faith? It appears that taking such chances serves us well.

    A similar situation exists with all things spiritual. We do have the choice to accept it or not and to accept or reject specific aspects such as reincarnation. Whatever choice we make, it influences our behaviour in physical reality in very practical ways. If we accept reincarnation we are able to accept apparent injustice more readily and to see the life situations of fellow humans in a different light, away from a position of ‘I am better than you’, to a more enlightened ‘we are one’. Although these more committed choices mean more responsibilities, they also lead to a more satisfying life. Therefore, in the final analysis, in these grey areas it comes down to whether our choices work for us (obviously without hurting anybody else).

  31. Tom Humphries

    There are plausible arguments for reincarnation but one strong argument against it is not put forward. If, as Tibetan Buddhists argue, we have all been born an infinite number of times, we should all be reborn with an infinite number of innate skills acquired over so many lifetimes. Cooking, farming, soldiering, music etc should come naturally. Instead, most of us are born with only a limited number of attainments. This is why I’m sceptical of claims that a child prodigy such as Mozart must have acquired his musical skills in previous lives. If we’ve all had so many lifetimes, more of us should be geniuses at something! Mozarts should be the norm, not the exception. How does one explain children who from an early age show great expertise with computers which appeared for the first time ever in the 20th century? Somebody will argue that these children acquired computer skills in other lifetimes on other planets, an assertion that cannot be disproved but it strains my credulity. In any case, one lifetime in this crazy world is enough. I’ve no wish to come back for more.

    • An interesting point Tom. I am not persuaded of the case for reincarnation but keep an open mind pending any further research that emerges. Nevertheless the idea of people acquiring a genius level facility for computers while passing several lifetimes on another planet beggars belief from my point of view. If there is no reincarnation it follows that those we call prodigies must have gained their exceptional ability via a route other than the experience of previous lifetimes. Perhaps it is an old fashioned view (or even an ignorant one) but I have always considered outstanding innate ability as a “gift”. By this I mean something which hails from God, the Great Spirit. As a Spiritualist, it seems entirely reasonable to me that each one of us is endowed with something exceptional. Some of these gifts will be more obvious than others – outstanding art, music, sport, mediumship and so on – but have you ever met a person who has no special gift whatever? I have not. It may be an outstanding ability to make friends, to put people at ease, to knit, to repair cars etc, but in my book it is still a gift from God, and not an “acquired” ability.

    • peter lemer

      > If we’ve all had so many lifetimes, more of us should be geniuses at
      > something! Mozarts should be the norm

      the best answer with the most evidence that I have found says that we all do, indeed, have amazing potential abilities but these are limited in order to survive both as individuals and within society. Clearly super-gifted ‘savants’ often have great difficulties communicating and understanding others. It is likely that mozart fell in between.

    • There are a number of cases that involve young children who not only apparently remember a past life but also demonstrate skills that they would have had in that life and which have not been taught to them (in this life). They are rare. I think such cases, and also child prodigies – whose abilities may have nothing to do with reincarnation – serve to remind us that we still have much to learn about consciousness and human potential.
      The big question is, if we have lived previous lives, why don’t we ALL remember them and, as Tom suggests, bring with us the skills that we learned in those lives. One suggestion is that each incarnation offers us new opportunities to learn and so, for the vast majority, those previous memories are erased so as not to interfere with the new curriculum. The spiritual “interest” derived in each incarnation, however, is accrued as our soul journies through many lifetimes: in other words karma – a subject that would make a wonderful topic for a future debate!

  32. Chris Johnson

    Hi Tom, you add an important point, but as is often the case on all sides of a debate, even more so about the unknown edges of Science and Nature, there are other factors involved. Cosmic Consiousness, could be a further debate on it’s own, but it explains many things in Spiritualism and other religions, science and nature. People visulise the information in the universal mind as, records or a library, we tend to put it in tearms we can understand or communicate with, in this day and age. It is clear that if you do a national crossword on the morning train, it is harder, than at lunch time or in the evening, as other minds have focused on the questions and answers. Maybe, many top minds move on and do not return to our relm of existance, on to higher or better things or lives, only a few come back. But it does not prove that reincarnation in some shape or form does not exist.

  33. Virtually all of our study at ATransC indicates that personality is native to a conceptual reality. By that I mean that they can communicate love but have a very difficult time with street numbers. If you want to set up a secret afterlife code to give to people in the physical after you transition, we strongly recommend that it be conceptual and related to something for which you have strong feelings; your favorite dog rather than your driver’s license number.

    There are two indicators that seem to hint at past life learning. Each of us are born into this lifetime with a level of comprehension that determines how well we figure out situations. As with the natural distribution of a bell curve, some of us are really good at figuring out a new situation, some of us need to work at it a while and some may never figure it out. If I were to say someone was an “old soul,” I would say someone who is really good at figuring things out has had more lifetime experiences than most.

    The other indicator is personality style (see ) I do not know how they might relate to lifetime experience but there are clear differences in the way people relate to the world. The differences seem to be native to the child, rather than culturally developed. For instance, I am good at comprehending principles but very slow learning formulas. In styles, I am clearly a Driver-Analytical and approach learning in a very different way than people associated with the other two major styles of Expressive and Amiable (in the Merrill-Reid model).

    Of course, there is a biological influence and our family and culture has a lot to say about how we develop our worldview, but our point of view–how we acquire knowledge–seems to be more a function of who we really are. In this view, we bring point of view into this lifetime and learn worldview during this lifetime.

    So from my experience, proof of my pre-lifetime experience is not the skills I came into this world with but how well I am able to develop skills here.

  34. Chris Johnson

    When I studied Psychology, I added modules of Philosophy, Sociology and other skills, to avoid being stuck in the grove of one person or line of thought. This if people return with previous skills, they would be restricted to that old line of thinking, not to have a clear life to study new areas and then report back to the Soul? (We all have confusing understandings of words, so please do not confuse words and meanings, take the thread of any thoughts given). Often “Education” and “Qualification” creates closed minds, because they have to study and agree with the status-quo, to fit in with the system; the radical, free thinker has a lot of cross boundary thinking to add.

    Can I now add some of my, in person, experiences: About twenty years ago, I became interested and involved in Psychic Questing, would suggest others look into this to aid their personal progress and thinking, without being told what to think by previous studies, other peoples experiences and books. Often people learn more and want to change books that are stale, new science found, as study progresses; but it is in their name, so they defend it and “Argue” rather than debate what is understood here and now. Further to this I was a member of a Physical Circle and the Noahs’ Ark Society with some top experts. Direct voice contact, had two views on this, often the Mediums mind was involved? But I took the view of the people and Spirits I knew, respected, and trusted. I also went to a Regression Show in Southend, some people with big egos were Joan of Ark or others, but most remembered simple lives. I was, remembered a life as a Monk in 1640, the name Kevin or Kelvin came to light, not hypnotised, but focused, these things flashed into my mind as the demonstration continued. Not sure if Kevin was a name in 1640, but the feelings were real.
    I understood this as if people were looking into a Filing Cabinet of old lives, and may look at the shining, large or interesting files first? Just Human Nature.

    With Psychic Questing and my own home circle, we moved minds into time machines, eg Tea Chests in the loft with say 1898 printed on it, when the minds came back they all reflected things of that age, but no connections to past lives, but we were not looking at that subject then, unless we were all involved in the funeral many remembered, in my old haunted cottage! One person complained they were brought back in a few minutes, shocked it was over half an hour.
    But the most eventful experience was in a part of the old Psychic News offices, before they moved in, while it was a close friends flat. We were sitting in a development circle, After, I was invited to put on a Mystics hooded cloak and go into the bathroom without any light, to stare in the mirror. Within minutes I had faces flash before me, some male, some female, some with glowing auras? When I came out, the mystic said, they were your previous lived, I told the cloak; to Remember!

  35. Keep meaning to say thanks for your greetings Chris, amongst these posts. Yes, we both had some interesting times during the Noah’s Ark Society days and particularly with the seminars and numerous sittings with the physical mediums Colin Fry and Stewart Alexander which were always high-lights as I’m sure you will agree.

    I would just like to add further to this debate regarding Colin Fry who of course has become quite a celebrity worlwide with his fine clairvoyance and clairaudience and many television appearances, as we all know. He helps so many bereaved people, and others, with such fine evidence of the afterlife.

    I am most grateful to Colin for giving his permission for me to include in my book ‘The Case Against Reincarnation … A Rational Approach’ part of a sitting which my wife and I attended in 1995 held at the home of friends of ours living a few miles from us in East Sussex. Colin’s mentor ‘Magnus’ replied to various questions from the group and one of them was on reincarnation. I had the recording and was able to included word-for-word exactly what was stated. It makes excellent and interesting reading but I will include here just a few extracts of what he said:
    “……..I have with The Diamond, said before and I shall say again, the concept of reincarnation is not progression, it is regression. One cannot journey forward by continually going around and around in circles.
    Yes, you shall have knowledge of the earthplane beyond your morphic existence but it shall be as attachment. You, your spirit, your soul, your life-force will not occupy the earthplane again in morphic form. Some attachments have sufficient energies to be able to council to those they are attached, to subject their spirit to advice. So there will be situations in your existence where you will know how to deal with certain situations even though you have never encounted them and you may ask yourself ‘how did I know how to deal with that?’ That is possibly the influence of the attachment. By the same token there are times when the attachment will
    flood the mind with knowledge of its own earthly experience and you will have memory of times gone by. This is why people believe that they remember former life. I have not been in the state of spirit for so many years as some that communicate, but I am an aspect, I am a member of The Diamond and therefore my knowledge extends through their grace many many thousands of your earthly years. I know of no aspect or member of The Diamond that has had more than one morphic existence. I have not encountered any being in the state of spirit that has reincarnated, but I have encountered many who are awaiting reincarnation ………”
    Chuckles from the group at this last remark 🙂

  36. Margaret Stirling

    I wonder Mr Webster, if you would define for me, just what ‘morphic’ actually means as spoken by Magnus. I would be most interested.
    Thank you.

  37. In response to your enquiry Margaret. Magnus often used the word ‘morphic’ meaning physical or earthly form.
    I hope that is helpful.

  38. I took a look at all of the thread again and it struck me that one of Leslie Price’s themes was being overlooked. He points out that for the first 22 years of our movement reincarnation was not mentioned, indeed even after that time it remained absent from the teachings of many mediums and of their guides when in trance. Additionally, we have many treasured volumes of life in the afterlife, passed to us from the Spirit Side, where the information given is entirely inconsistent with reincarnation.
    So when was reincarnation brought into the story? I note that Leslie mentions the teachings of Allan Kardec and the acceptance of reincarnation by Spiritism and in the teaching from Spirit of Cora L.V. Scott Hatch Tappan Richmond. However, most of the current discussion about reincarnation seems more realistically based upon a reinterpretation of the Eastern teachings, frequently including Karma (a teaching that I personally feel is in contradiction to the 7 Principles). This means that rather unsurprisingly the most likely source is from Theosophy. I say unsurprisingly because of the founding members of the Theosophical Society, in 1875, a majority were Spiritualists, remembering that Colonel Olcott was, up to then, a Spiritualist. They included the President of the Spiritualist Society of New York, Mr A. E. Newton, & Emma Hardinge Britten.
    This interplay continues to this day with many Spiritualists having an involvement and interest in Theosophy. It is hardly surprising that the teachings of one are likely to influence the ideas of the other, even if people are unaware of the way those have been acquired. However there is also the strong potential for the teachings of Theosophy, an acknowledged esoteric/occult movement, to conflict with Spiritualism.
    Let us take a moment to briefly look at the strong suit of Roy’s argument, the work of Ian Stephenson. There is one problem which arises from this, it appears that the reincarnations are often quite rapid and occur when corroboration can be gained from living people. If it is a quick return into a physical life then who, or what, are we, connecting with as mediums when we bring through loved ones from Spirit.
    Madam Blavatsky had that covered off, by denying that mediums contacted Spirit; just the astral/ego remnant which disappeared over time. I have been reading an article from Theosophical Siftings, reprinting a paper presented before the Blavatsky Lodge in 1892 entitled “Spiritualism in Relation to Theosophy”, written by Emily Kislingbury F.T.S. This is a robust expansion on the Blavatsky Theory, reminding Spiritualists it is not from Blavatsky herself but is the “wisdom of generations of adepts”.
    She chides Theosophists for their superior attitude towards Spiritualists because it demeaned their knowledge and put off would be enquirers. However, she goes on to dub the spirits we communicate with as Kama Rupics. The report includes a summary of the ensuing discussions where the Theosophists’ confirmed that mediums contact a remnant ego which disappeared quickly and that Theosophists were opposed to séances aimed at communicating with those entities.
    I understand that since then other Theosophists have attempted to reinstate mediumship in Theosophy but of course this does not help in the reincarnation debate. How can the genuine Spirit of the individual person, replete with its memories communicate when they reincarnate?
    Another unusual feature of Ian Stephenson’s studies is how frequently the reincarnation is into a similar life and a similar area. This seems rather at odds with the Spiritualist view that we choose our life experiences and purpose. Surely at the least we should be seeing much more diversity in the experiences of the retuning people. Indeed, if I were a Faithist, I would use Roy’s example of the boy in Turkey to illustrate the danger of an angry Spirit, staying around his home territory wanting revenge, and supplanting the Spirit intended for that life.
    Personally I tend to view reincarnation as an intellectual exercise, my focus should be on this life and the way I live it. I have no confirmatory knowledge of a past life as a Spirit, although I do have some genetic influences, a family love of the sea which nearly saw me join the Merchant Navy when I was young. I do not believe I have past life issues to deal with for the Spirit within me. If perchance we lived here before, then these would have reconciled, in accordance with the 7 Principles when I returned to Spirit. I accept that on return to Spirit I may have decided to try again to do better in another physical life and try to remember my life purpose. However, I certainly have no knowledge of even my life in Spirit let alone any possible past lives. I would also hate to try hypnotic regression because the likelihood it seems as likely that this would pick up information from my subconscious or genetic memories.
    The other thing is if I have lived before, when I return to Spirit do I rejoin that family and also my current one? If I am living a reincarnated life then to what purpose, given I have zero knowledge of any past existence. The genetic memory theory in combination with my life experiences explains most of my behaviours, physical attributes’ etc. Interestingly, with the reincarnation hypothesis, with each body I would get different DNA, so would have different ancestral memories. Would I lose those my Spirit may recollect from a past life?
    I have enough trouble getting this life right; I just might wait until the next step arrives to find out whether we reincarnate and why. Indeed one of the problems in discussing it is there is no single concept for reincarnation. Maybe we should reconcile the philosophical issues first before considering the mechanistic realities. As a Spiritualist I might eventually agree Reincarnation happens but then we would just move the debate to why it occurs and what it is meant to achieve

    • Silver Birch, Magnus and Frederick Myers have all said basically the same thing – there is no point to reincarnation as we describe it. They also point out that our individual souls are all facets of a soul diamond, or over-soul. Each facet is capable of experiencing different incarnations concurrently, and they bring the benefits of these experiences to the group soul, or diamond. This makes total sense to me, and since such great guides, and the late Frederick Myers himself, have told us this is the case, who am I argue? It’s reincarnation, but not as we know it. We can benefit from, and even recall, the experiences of other facets of the diamond, but we often mistake such experiences to be recollections of our own past lives.

      I think Spirit is experiencing genuinely frustrating problems in getting such deep messages across to us. Those of us who are incarnate in the physical have been given, by our very nature, significant limitations to our capacity for understanding anything that does not comply with our laws of physics. That’s why no-one, not even the greatest physicists among us, understands quantum theory, because the behaviour of elementary particles at the sub-atomic level do not conform to the standard model of physics. That is, however, another discussion entirely.

      My own grandson, who passed to Spirit some 5 years ago, recently contacted us and informed us, to his mum’s delight, that he has an ‘affinity’ with her. We did not know what this meant until I read up on it. Now I truly believe in soul affinities, and that we are, all of us, facets of a larger group or over-soul. I also believe, as Frederick Myers stated after he passed, that we only ever have one physical incarnation, and that what we perceive to be past lives are, in fact, the experiences of other facets of our soul diamond to which we have access..

  39. Since the question as to the history of where ‘reincarnation” may have inserted itself in Spiritualism. I submit the following.

    First, it is my understanding that the 1888 Congress in Barcelona, I believe, is considered the first Spiritualist Congress. Two of the Vice Presidents of the Congress were Spiritists, Amalia Domingo Soler and Miguel Vives, and Spiritist groups attended.

    In addition, the Kardec books were originally translated by Anna Blackwell who was from England.

    In one of the books of Kardec, The Mediums Book, she places a translator’s note pertaining to her opinion about reincarnation in Chapter XXVIL, which I will quote here: ” The consideration set forth in the text explains the fact that the law of reincarnation, though it has all along been asserted in isolated instances both in England and in the United States , has hitherto been kept in the background in both countries. The prejudices of rank being so deeply rooted in the one and those of race in the other-while, in both of them, the Protestant repudiation of the idea of purgatory, and consequently of all hope of amendment and progress after death, has tended still further to impede the acceptance of a doctrine so widely at variance with the prevailing notions of their people – it was evidently the wiser course to dissipate their general error in regard to the possibility of spirit communication, before introducing them to the higher knowledge to which this communication is intended to lead us. That reincarnation, though frequently asserted, and still more frequently insinuated, by mediums in England and America, has not hitherto been so generally proclaimed in those countries as in others which, from the action of local causes, were better prepared for their reception, only proves, therefore, the prudence of the Overrulers [I believe means superior spirits] who, directing the movement, have postponed a statement which would have thrown an additional difficulty in its way. When the broad fact of spirit-manifestation is sufficiently established, and when a general perception of the contradictoriness of the multitude of medianimic utterances shall have cleared the ground for the reception of teachings from a higher plane, the systematic statement of the law of reincarnation will evidently be made in both those countries. ” She does continues further, but I kept to her opinion.

    In the US, there are currently Spiritualists that now believe in reincarnation, especially since some are now receiving spirit messages for people about their past lives. Some have expressed concern that if they are to be true to not color or change a spirit message while transmitting it, what are they to do if reincarnation is not one of the Spiritualist principles?

    Food for thought.

  40. The problem comes when you say “The law of…” anything. We know there is a substantial cultural influence on what we experience from the other side. This appears to be true to some extent of even the most qualified mediums. In my experience with multiple forms of transcommunication, I have not seen substantive reason to accept reincarnation as the norm. There is reason to think reincarnation does happen, but the day you include it in the Spiritualist principles is the day you institutionalize the concept.

  41. I hope some kind of compromise can be worked out for those Spiritualist mediums who believe in reincarnation and are receiving related spirit messages.

    In addition, though, I believe that each person receiving any message from the spirit world through a medium has a certain responsibility. I believe a person should be told that they should use their own reason and commonsense to either reject, possibly accept, or defer judgement on what they receive from mediums and the spirits.

    Mediums are only messengers.

    There is not a perfect person on this planet. Therefore, there is always room for some type of error or distortion possibly with the reception of a spirit message by a medium AND/OR in the transmision by the medium of the spirit message.

    Another thought. Like attracts like…why would the spirits bother to bring other spirits to communicate to a group of mediums and their participants that do NOT believe in reincarnation when they can communicate with mediums and groups that do? Maybe that is why some groups do not receive these types of communications.

    And, let us not forget… that spirit communications involving reincarnation has been continually going on for over the last 150 yrs, with the millions of Spiritists all over the world.

    For Spiritists, reincarnation is a natural law which explains the inequalities and seeming unfairness of life, why there is pain and suffering, prodigies, past life remembrances, some cases of spirit obsession, and the spirits have told them about reincarnation (like Silver Birch) , and they have received information about past lives about themselves, etc. The books of Kardec, AND a myriad of others throughout all these years, clearly spells out what the “rules” are and how the Law of Cause and Effect works in conjunction with the Law of Reincarnation.

    And, these Spiritist groups have been increasing and organizing. The internet has helped connect them further. There are two major international organizations: the International Spiritist Council and the Pan American Spiritist Confederation. Spiritists around the world have conferences and Congresses. They have been translating more Spiritist books into English and have been holding symposiums and seminars all over the US and in numerous countries. Many of these in the US, have included Carol Bowman, Raymond Moody, Gary Schwartz, and many famous similiar others at their seminars. They also have Spiritist Medical seminars as well, with MD’s from here in the US and from outside the country.

    The majority of the Spiritist leaders are very well educated professionals.
    Last year I believe it was, one even spoke at Oxford University in England about Spiritism.

    More and more people in the US are accepting reincarnation (which includes mediums).

    It is excellent that the topic of reincarnation is being discussed and it should be studied further because its belief is increasing.

  42. Chris Johnson

    Good Comments Yvonne, could be, some spirits that are communicating, are not aware of reincarnation; think they only have the option of attachments, or other closed minds? What happens with a first class Medium, with a truly Spiritual Circle Leader, creates wise comments; then when influanced by greedy advisors, changes his circle and attracts greedy money spirits, say a publisher, that has not evolved in almost 100 years of “being Dead”??? Could be the ego and the greed of the Human Medium, and his friend, changes and becomes obsessed with the false, or part truths being communicated to them? Happens!

  43. Yvonne it is interesting to hear from a Spiritist viewpoint. There appears to be some confusion about whether the First International Conference was held in Barcelona in either 1886 or 1888, it was of course the First Spiritist Conference as opposed to Spiritualist.

    The Spiritist write up concerning the life of Amalia Domingo Soler, their “poetess of the violets” says that “The Spanish Spiritist Movement at the termination of the 19th century, as a result of the work of Amalia and other great pioneers, hosted the First International Spiritist Congress, in 1888”.

    Indeed it appears that one José María Fernández Colavida, from the Madrid Spiritist Group “La Paz” may have presented a paper to this conference, detailing his own findings from performing the first ever intentional past life regressions.

    Of course although there are very close similarities between Spiritism and Spiritualism there are very substantial differences between them. I note that Spiritism has a grading or categorisation of Spirits which Spiritulism does not formally include, although accepting there are more highly evolved Spirits willing to help us. An example of this would be the definition of the fact that the rappings occurred because raw spirit were pushed to it by the more advanced spirits as a means of getting our attention. Then in Spiritualism we have a simple creed, the 7 Principles, whereas the Spiritists have the books of Allan Kardec.

    We had a young Brazilian Spiritist attend our church for a year and he was struck by the similarities and differences. Certainly the weekly meeting he found to be quite different especially with the Medium bringing messages to people from loved ones in Spirit, he commented he had never seen this before.

    However, the work and development of Spiritism considearable evidenced by the various Spiritist Societies all around the World ,their web sites, writings and organisation are very impressive. I had seen articles about the size of the Brazilian Spiritist movement and our visitor confirmed this, however he pointed out that the entire figure of over 40 million stretched from an almost Catholic Approach across to almost Voodoo although the majority were true Spiritists.

    As to Mediums contacting Spirits with different beliefs in reincarnation well most mediums are making contact with loved ones in Spirit to bring proof of the survival of the individual Spirit, combining this with messages of love and hope. These Spirits may or may not believe in reincarnation but clearly, unless there is some complex system we do not yet understand, they have not reincarnated. As we can sometimes get evidential messages from long passed over Great Grand Fathers or other relatives from long ago that is a considerable number still in Spirit.

    The communication with Spirit through Trance is a somewhat different matter especially if we seek reference to concept of like attracting like. It is worth noting the discussion reported in A. W. Austens 1940 book “Home Circle”about the Hannen Swaffer Circle where Swaffer debated Reincarnation with Silver Birch. Indeed it is clear that after coming out of trance Maurice Barbanell also disputed reincarnation. The point this shows is that like attracting like is not a process that necessarily works at this level. I note that this is one of our favourite, manmade, Natural Laws, the Law of Attraction. I suspect there is much more to the reasons why Spirit select certain Mediums to work with.

    So my thoughts are close to the point Tom has just made, if it is a choice that is made, then I cannot see how we could deny the possibility of reincarnation occurring, I am sure almost anything is possible in Spirit. However I cannot see sufficient evidence that it is a law of Spirit that we all reincarnate, so we should not yet add it to the belief of Spiritualism, pending much more evidential proof. Indeed in the book by Austen it records the spirit working through Silver Birch as saying that he had reincarnated but now chose the path of helping to guide mankind from Spirit.

    I also have tremendous reservations about past life regression but that’s a different debate

  44. Hi Yvonne,
    I notice you refer to Mediums getting Past Life Messages for people. As you know Mediumship is bringing proof of teh connection with loved ones in Spirit following the rules of Cert, Communicator, Evidence, Reason for being there and tie it up.

    Now at times having proved that they go on to other topics but how are they evidencing that they have a past life message? I would love to know that because there can be many ways in which we get information which may not necessarily be from Spirit at all as I am sure you are fully conversant with.

  45. Chris Johnson

    Us Morethick Spirits, have freedom of choice and differing options, so why would we lose that when we move on? Earn our spurs, progress and be given options, then decide for ourselves, what options to take; at that point in time. It is beginning to look like some common ground, a Model for the scientists to put forward? (Sorry about the pun on Morphic, but we are often More Thick on earth!), it is often regarded as the word of those; who know less? Even as Spirit “Guides”!

  46. A reply to Roy Stemman.
    Reincarnation is a subject where people who watch the TV shows by eminent professors, or read the literature, tend to get swayed to believe the purported facts as absolute confirmation.
    Stevenson’s work and lately that of Tucker (Life before Life) are quite compelling especially as they both appear to be researching from a point of neutrality in regard to this issue. I accept the evidence they collected as authentic and fully investigated where possible to match post-mortem pathology to corroborate birthmarks to wounds and scars recorded on their respective prior incarnated body.
    So the validity of the research is not in question.
    The validity of the assumptions / conclusions that have resulted from the evidence is in question, and for a number of fairly straightforward reasons.
    It has been a fairly long held view that children are more susceptible to the influences of discarnate entities especially in the child’s early years, plus this view also suggests that as the child ages the attachment these spirit entities had slowly diminishes.
    The openness of very young children to such influences is consistent with the observations made by Stevenson and Tucker, so at least we have a common starting point.
    It is my view that the children reportedly experiencing past-lives are in fact experiencing something akin to unconscious mediumship. They are open channels between what Spiritualists call the spirit dimension of life and this material world, and as such are able to commune with discarnate intelligences that have ‘attached’ themselves to them. I would further suggest the attachment to such an open individual is for a specific purpose, possibly some unresolved issue that the deceased never completed before death.
    This earthly spirit may well have been waiting and trying a number of children until it found one open enough to influence, somewhat similar to a possession or even obsession.
    As with a trance medium that can link with the same discarnate intelligence during a séance, so too can this child link, this time during a conscious waking state, with the attached spirit intelligence and give highly accurate information.
    Now if this is the case then reincarnation is not the cause of the astounding evidence coming from that child, it is mediumship.
    I would like to digress slightly and just consider the notion of ‘reincarnation’ and ‘karma’ for a few moments. We should consider a society where there is crime and unrest, theft and murder, and limited social constraints or laws. In such a society what could you do to try and replace chaos with some form of self-regulating order? Introduce the idea that if you do bad then you will incur a karmic debt which will need to be repaid in another life. To my reasoning this would be a good incentive to do good and incur good karma for the next incarnation.
    The point I am suggesting is that both ‘reincarnation’ and ‘karma’ were tools used to bring about some form of social order however many millions of years ago, and that it has been an effective tool backed up by laws and judicial systems.
    Some modern reincarnation stories may well be the result of ‘cryptamnesia’ an unconscious assimilation of subconscious information gathered from conversations, books, TV and other media that are recalled as though from a past incarnation. The human mind is susceptible to confusing facts with fiction to give false memories. A reference here could be to Carl Sagsn’s The Demon-Haunted World, or the work of Dr. Susan Blackmore.
    Dr. Melvin Morse ‘Where God Lives’ refers to a cases where two concurrent past lives have been recorded for the same deceased individual, “For instance, there are cases of two different children living in different cities who have been reported as remembering the same past life” (p63).
    It is also worth considering another example of a past life regression undertaken by a medium by the name of James MacQuarrie. James induced a trance like state with the patient from which point he (the patient) recounted facts about a previous existence consistent with the location and era. The only problem occurred when the regressed individual recalled the time he had died, this date was after that of the regressed man’s birth, so could not have been a previous incarnation.
    The above example would be consistent with the possibility that past-life regression is akin to placing a person into a trance like state resulting in trance mediumship.
    Another issue with the reincarnation stories uttered by young children that relate to either deeply held religious beliefs, or reincarnated relatives may be an artefact from these children being brought up in an environment full of such expectations leading to an unconscious embedding of false memories, delusional paramesia.
    Finally there is the issue of wounds and scars on young children that match those on the deceased individual. If we can accept the possibility that reincarnation may well be no more than unconscious mediumship, then it is only a small jump to accept the possibility for a discarnate intelligence to influence the developing foetus’ growth to form small blemishes where scars or wounds would have been.
    For all the evidence accrued by the reincarnationist researchers there are plenty of rational explanations to add caution to any move toward acceptance of this phenomenon as fact.

  47. Margaret Stirling

    Regarding the reference made earlier to a debate on reincarnation between Hannen Swaffer and Silverbirch, I found the following link which may be of interest

  48. In visual forms of Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC), we have noted that the period dress sometimes recognizable goes back to the middle of the 1400s. For instance, the avatar I hope will eventually show up for me here is an ITC image of a man wearing a ruff. (It is also shown at as the third from the left on the bottom row.) I do not recall seeing anything older than that period. (We also have not so human examples as shown in the first of that row.)

    Virtually all of the communication via voice has been with “local’ entities in the sense that one calls on a loved one who has recently transitioned or a recently known person such as Hans Bender. In support of what Jim said above, there is an apparent difference in the maturity of the communicators evident in different technologies. We see no reason to subscribe to the concept of “low level” entities, but we do note rather ruder communications via technologies that are dependent on psi influence of random processes such as environmental stimulation of speech synthesis or variations of random noise generators to select speech segments. In transform EVP, in which voice is formed by transforming noise in a recorder, the personalities of known communicators appears to be true to their physical personality. The longer transmissions reported by Bacci ( and Cardoso tends to be from more mature entities, but those also appear to be more akin to physical mediumship using an electronic device as if it were an ectoplasmic voice box. That would make Bacci more like Stewart Alexander than like Sarah Estep.

    We have also noted different people seem to prefer different technologies. Without getting into the social dynamics of our field, I will just say that there is a cultural influence on the kind of information that comes through. There seems to be no way to shield the influence of medium or practitioner expectations. To make this point even more stark for researchers, we have experimental evidence that some of the EVP originate as the thoughts of living. In every respect, we appear to be the medium for trans-etheric influences, rather conscious or not. If this is true, and if self-determination is real (freedom of choice) then anything that looks like an attached entity would seem to be the expectations of the “victim” playing out some imagined role.

    Just food for thought.

  49. Past life history is allied with reincarnation in-as-much-as the reincarnated person may have past karmic issues to resolve in this life. I believe many reincarnationists believe this to be the case.

    So when a person in this life is confronted by anxieties or health issue that are ‘traced’ to their previous, or earlier incarnations, a few visits to a past life regression therapist often sorts the issues out.

    My perspective of all this is somewhat different…

    …What if all the emotional anxieties, phobias and health issues were those of a discarnate intelligence, one which had attached itself to a living incarnate spirit, a living person?

    We know from our historical evidence and philosophy that discarnate spirits can and do influence people, particularly young children in their early years, as well as those with a propensity toward what is commonly termed ‘mental illness’. If such people can be influenced by discarnate intelligences what is there to say that people professing knowledge from past-lives are not being influenced ‘subconsciously’. That is to suggest they are aware of the information, phobia or anxiety but not of its origin.

    The memories of a past life may be impinged onto the consciousness of the living person similar to the functioning of a trance medium, except the trance medium often knows the identity of the communicator, yet the past lifer does not, well at least is unaware until regressed into a trance like state whereapon the discarnate inteligence is free to communicate openly without hindrance.

    Although past-lives and reincarnation are often frowned upon by the hierarchy of the respective national bodies of Spiritualism, the subject does open up a host of philosophical possibilities which should be debated, and investigated…And we should not accept reincarnation as a fact, just an interesting concept or theory.

  50. Yvonne Limoges

    I would like to humbly submit the following:

    I felt that a pro/con discussion about reincarnation should include a moral philosophy whose main tenet is reincarnation – Spiritism.

    First, thank you for clarification on the International Congresses. The International Spiritualist Federation lists on its website that the 1888 International Congress in Barcelona as the first Spiritualist one, but I did verify that particular Congress, although it had attendees from around the world, appears to have been all Spiritists.

    As for Catholicism, Voodoo, and Spiritism, they are completely separate and distinct belief systems, have entirely different practices, as well as origins.

    However, many Catholics in Hispanic countries as well as in Brazil attend Catholic Church as well as Spiritist centers. On the other hand, I have also found that in the US, if some people are asked what their religion is, they may say they are Methodists, Lutherans, or Catholics, etc., etc. but they may still believe in every principle that Spiritualists and/or Spiritists do. They may even attend their centers and churches, too.

    I submit here the basic principles of Spiritism:
    – Belief in the existence of a Supreme Intelligence.
    – Belief in the preexistence and immortality of the soul AND the existence of a material and spiritual world (or planes of existence).
    – Belief in the natural faculty of mediumship that facilitates communication between the inhabitants of the material world with those in the spiritual plane.
    – Belief in healing by means of the use of energies directed and utilized either by a person from him or herself and/or via mediumship with the assistance of a spirit. (Generally, called spiritual healing.)
    – Belief in the law of reincarnation working in conjunction with the law of cause and effect (soul evolution). We are responsible for all the wrong we commit, and all the good we could have done, but did not do. Generally, the circumstances of our present material lifetime are the result of our previous lifetimes, and our actions and/or inactions determine what our future material existences will be like. We have freewill in choosing the types of trials and tests we will encounter in each material existence (while in the spirit world we have a different perspective regarding what we may want to make amends for or accomplish), and we also have freewill in any decisions we make while here. In addition, how we live our life here also determines our spirit’s condition upon our return to the spirit world.
    – Belief in the Universal Control of the Spirits – Spirits provide mankind more intelligent teachings as we evolve in intelligence and morality and this continues in unison with a Divine Plan in accordance with the law of progress.
    – Belief in the plurality of inhabitable worlds by intelligent life.

    The books of Kardec and others provide further detailed explanations pertaining to all of the above and other subjects such as dreams, psychic abilities, and much more. The hierarchy of spirits mentioned in Kardec’s books is only a general guideline to determine what type of spirit is communicating and is quite variable, of course, the same as people are.

    Spiritism does not impose its principles and is practiced in simplicity. All Spiritist practices are free of charge. We do believe in prayer. We recognize that the truly good person is one who complies with the laws of justice, love, and charity in their highest degree.

    Although we do believe that like attracts like, we believe spirits have their reasons in introducing new ideas wherever they believe necessary.

    We do believe that the spirit world influences us in the material world for good or bad, but we do have freewill to listen to our conscience or inner voice, as some would call our spirit guides.

    Spiritist center practices vary. Mainly, concentration is on the teaching of morality are the same as those of Jesus of Nazareth, and, the principles of the philosophy of Spiritism which provides great comfort for many.

    However, there are a myriad of centers that also provide consoling evidentiary messages from loved ones in spirit by mediums and conduct “spiritual healing.”

    Trance mediumship is practiced both in public and in private sessions (depending on the center). It is through these spirit communications where, for instance, a spirit may spontaneously communicate to express a message to a loved one they knew from a previous lifetime, or an enemy from a past lifetime may communicate to express their anger, as well as other different types of spirit messages on a variety of circumstances pertaining to lives and events in other lifetimes. These types of communications have been received by Spiritists for over 150 years all over the world.

    When a medium has provided consistent evidentiary information regarding recent loved ones who have passed on and other information that they could not have known, and then they also receive communications by spirits that claim to be from past lives, it is up to the person receiving this information to believe it or not, just as any other message a medium relays.
    Each person has his or her own reason to make a personal decision about reincarnation, just as we can choose to believe or not believe in true mediumship (not psi, super psi, or Akashic record reading), the afterlife, or even in a Supreme Intelligence.

    Unfortunately, mainstream science does not acknowledge the existence of the soul, mediumship, or an afterlife. We have a long way to go.

    Therefore, Spiritists firmly believe that mediumship, psychic phenomena, NDE’s, reincarnation, etc., etc. should be continually and judiciously investigated.

    Thank you.

  51. Chris Johnson

    WOW! We are learning things, it becomes clearer why some “debunkers” HOPE life ends at Death, they do not wish to be judged, or contacted; and even more.. Have Dead People come back and tell them off for their deeds!
    We, as thinking people are all sceptics, developing our understanding of life and death, but ensuring to filter the junk; but beware of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, there are gems in these arguments that we can all re-evaluate and take on board. We must not have closed minds or Belief Systems, but ever evolving new areas to investigate and understand; learn.
    We are all seperate people, but with a joint mind, some are closer than others, some just living and enjoying life, others investigating and helping others to progress. we all have points of view based on out life experiances to date, we can all learn from others.

  52. Chris Johnson

    PS If we took early writings from c325 as gospel truth, we would not be eating shellfood, sharing life saving blood, or flying; we have evolved over 2000 years. and over the past 100 years our minds have been free to think outside the nine dots.
    Who added, “be the a Spiritist or a Medium, they should be put to death” to the King James Bible in c1972? someone with love in their hearts or people trying to keep the staus quo from new emerging thoughts or religions? The mainstream religions are more like corperations protecting their market share, do not let ours be like that, think listen, investigate and evolve! Keep Spiritual Phelosophy up to date with new understandings and Evolving life, or one day, they will be quoting our writings as gospel, after moving on.

  53. Peter Raggett

    A previous contributor gave as a reason to doubt reincarnation the fact that two children living on earth at the same time were claiming to be reincarnated from the same ancestor. However, the entity Seth channelled by Jane Roberts asserted that it was possible for more than one aspect of our consciousness to reincarnate at the same time. It all depended on the competence and stage of development of the spirit involved. I think that Ramtha channelled by J Z Knight also stated this but I can’t be sure.

    In his life between life research the regressionist Michael Newton was informed by various persons in trance that discarnates could choose what percentage of their total energy to incarnate at any one time depending on the development of the discarnate (however a minimum of 10% or 15% of the energy always remained in the spirit realms) so that would again not rule out multiple concurrent incarnations, or indeed an ability for a discarnate to communicate from the spirit realms while part of his/her energy packet was undergoing a reincarnation!

    Additionally, even conventional anti-psi scientists such as David Deutsch of Oxford university are positing infinite universes in which there could be duplicate versions of us because of the implications of quantum physics.

    If you agree, as some communicators have said (and even some scientists are beginning to say) that what we call reality is an illusion, that we are really all one, and that it is the illusion of matter that creates the felling of separation then reincarnation (even concurrent reincarnations) are still very much on the table.

    Finally, where information regarding an aspect of the afterlife is corroborated from a number of sources than I think that the evidence for is strengthened significantly.

  54. I would like to comment on some of the issues raised by various contributors and also to throw some new issues into the debate.

    Alternative explanations for reincarnation (mainly in response to John Gillespie):
    He suggests unconscious mediumship when small children recount details of another life caused by the attachment of a spirit who has unresolved problems from a previous life. Although children are more spontaneous, if we accept mediumship in their case, why should another mechanism apply (as the author suggests) for adults, who would be in a far better position to respond in a suitable manner? If we extend the ability of mediumship to all humans – a well documented fact – then we have to consider that not all past lives are lives with problems, some were indeed successful, and some appear to be conveyed to us only because of the message they contain (* see my book for more details). Often many past lives are given access to. Are we then to assume that spirits are queuing up to tell their stories?

    The argument that reincarnation and karma was invented to maintain social order can equally well be used for the one life scenario, if not more so. If I remember correctly, the Romans eventually accepted Christianity because it was good for creating obedient citizens since their old gods were not exactly leading by example.

    Unfortunately, scientists are quick to use words to describe a condition (such as paramecia) without referring to or explaining the deep underlying assumptions. In this case, if we assume that past life stories are fantasies and imaginations, we still don’t know what triggered them. One school of thought suggests that everything we can imagine is real (in some other reality). I do agree though that children’s communications are clouded by their beliefs, but this applies to any channel, hence the frequent reminder to apply discrimination.

    The alternative explanation for the intriguing fact of scars on children claimed to be an effect of a death experience from a previous life appears weak, since no good reason is offered why spirits should engage in this.

    Although I concur that we should not accept reincarnation as fact, but rather as a hypothesis, one of the key issues for making it credible is that any theory must be able to explain a large number of different phenomena and must have meaning and purpose. So far all alternative suggestions appear labored and meaningless to me, so I am still in the reincarnation camp until a more sensible solution is offered. Incidentally, the well researched book by Sylvia Cranston & Carey Williams on Reincarnation expresses my sentiments with the carefully worded conclusion: ‘A rational person, if he wants, can believe in reincarnation on the basis of evidence’.

    Apparent impossibilities:
    The story of two children remembering the same life is not unique (or an argument against reincarnation). If we can accept channeling as truth (a whole other subject), then my soul shared a past life with another soul (Kuthumi channeling by Michelle Eloff)*. Similarly, one soul can manifest two parallel lives or more *. There is also evidence of getting into future lives (*), which then raises the question of the predetermination of life and the complex issue of alternate lives.

    Contradictions regarding spiritual matters:
    One of the fundamental problems appears to be that we are trying to use our linear thinking and logic to understand the non-linear world of spirit where time as we understand it does not exist. Therefore our analogies will always be limited, and any statement we ever hear will only be part of the truth (which is one of the messages from spirit and explains the many contradictions. I like to use the analogy of parents explaining to small children, which is always selective and appropriate for the intended purpose). Therefore we need to ask, what is the motivation behind any transmission? Was it a one off occasion or part of the teachings of a mystery school? What was the general level of understanding of the listeners? Etc. If we claim opposing beliefs to be nonsense than we cling to doctrines like most religions do, which automatically leads to rejection of another point of view and to stagnation. I believe we don’t know enough to be able to afford this.

    Quality of spirit communication:
    I may be on thin ice here and I hope I don’t hurt any feelings, but nevertheless the issue appears worthy of discussion. The question is do we accept a spiritual hierarchy? If we accept the adage of ‘As above so below’, then we should assume so. The Seth books by Jane Roberts suggests so (she refers to a greatly advanced being called SethII). Also the theosophical literature provides great details. It is also intriguing that what we would consider advanced entities such as the Christ Consciousness tend to refer to themselves as ‘we’. If a hierarchy is real, one could assume that their motivations for communication are on different levels – another good reason for discrimination!

    It also appears, looking at the issue from the other end, that the spiritist movement originated from séances with the dead, whose understanding, according to the spiritualist traditions, are no further advanced from when they were still alive (see example of ghosts). There is for instance a bizarre channeled book about Lester Coltman which describes his afterlife which includes a black servant. Actually, many books on channeling advise against spirit communications which do not adhere to certain criteria eg no admission of flattery, or not permitting decisions to be made for the sitter. So there may be an argument for different qualities of spirits and therefore different and sometimes contradicting messages.

    The development of the spiritist movement was according to spirit information (see books by Dion Fortune) created to make people really believe in the afterlife. And that was the only purpose. Since most of those people had a Christian background it was probably wise not to confuse the message. Spirit appears to follow the principle of giving you what you can handle. I do not believe however that all spiritists still deny reincarnation. After all a large number of members of all religions can reconcile their beliefs with reincarnation (Edgar Cayce is a good example, and he was a Christian if there ever was one).

    It would be very intriguing if channeled entities respond to direct questioning about reincarnation differently depending only whether the questioner is a spiritist (according to Webster) or in the other camp (call them Theosophists, New Age followers, or others).

    Rejection of reincarnation for lack of proof or other explanations for the phenomena:
    Some contributors seem to reject reincarnation whilst accepting our spiritual nature and an afterlife. However, it appears to me that the argument for the rejection of reincarnation may equally well be applied to any issue of spirituality. We can always find other (unproven) alternatives for anything.

    Other theories:
    Just to complicate things a bit further, I cannot find any reference to reincarnation in the Urantia book which appears to describe an entirely different reality. Can anybody suggest where that fits in?

    * 75 Lives of Haran, New Insight into Reincarnation, by Haran

  55. Biology gives you a brain, living life gives you a mind.
    Reincarnation indicates and endless loop of developing a person, a spirit, then ripping out the personality they have developed and making them start again as a ripe brain-not mind.

    I completley disagree with reincarnation.
    Past life regressions are not “proof”. They could easily be possession, repressed memories, active imaginations, or simply people seeking attention.

    Peace 🙂

  56. Hi all.

    My reading on reincarnation has unfortunately led me to an emotional breakdown. I’m 19 years old, trying to live my life how I wanted to. Reincarnaton has scared me no ends.

    It’s like the Borg from Star Trek. When in Heaven/Summerland/Higher Astral Planes, your Higher Self seeks to learn lessons, so they return to Earth in order to achieve learnt lessons to be assimilated into the overall Source/Light/Divine One. It’s as though we lose our individuality.

    I’ve got a problem with Soul Groups too. It is said that we can be connected to everyone through 5-10 people. That makes the soul group huge and not feasibly possible.

    I woke up a couple of days ago crying at the thought of not seeing my parents again, because their higher selves will decide they want another lesson in order to be assimilated into the overall collective consciousness.

    Like many apocalyptic messages in religions, reincarnation follows a similar principle. We have to endure lifetimes of suffering, lessons in the name of love in order to achieve utopia.

    I feel completely lost, with no purpose. I wanted to write a book, get a job, find a wife, enjoy life. Now I fear that every mistake I make will be pounced upon by this Higher Self of mine and used to reincarnate in the name of love and assimilation into the overall consciousness.
    All these things about Astral Planes and not having fear in order to reach the higher ones when you die. I’m so full of fear of not seeing loved ones, trying to avoid making as many mistakes as possible in fear of having to reincarnate to rid myself of this bad karmic debt.

    It’s funny that when my mental breakdown began, it literally occured overnight with no thought on death and the afterlife. A paranormal explanation to look for alternate truth perhaps?

    Just to let you know that I believe in a Creator, but I follow the ancient astronaut theory regarding Jesus and God from the Bible.

    Good debate. It’s a shame I’m writing this as I’ve been prescribed anti-depressants over the fear of reincarnation and not seeing loved ones again. Reincarnation has created fear, no hope, no motivation, a loss of identity. I wish I was like others who could accept this so freely, but I’m not.

    Many thanks for reading.

    • Alex, I am on the computer now, because it’s about all that I can do. I was so surprised to see what you wrote. It is exactly what has happened to me, it’s exactly the same thing.

      I used to be a person who was strong and confident…a writer/composer, producer and arranger. I am not giving my real name but I am someone who has had my productions on national hit charts.

      Now, I live in a world where nothing matters anymore. Like standing in an open field in the dark, with no one and nothing in sight, and a cold wind blowing.

      What happened to you, happened to me as well, and there are others. I’m now practically incapacitated and have been for almost four years. I’ve gone through an endless array of medication such as Zoloft, Paxil, Cymbalta, Lorazepam, Diazepam, etc., which has done absolutely nothing. I’m now taking Seroquel, which also does nothing, except make me so tired that I sometimes cannot get up.

      I’m not even going to bother going into the whole story here…in fact, I couldn’t get into it even if I wanted to. I am unable to accomplish the smallest tasks, and I exist in a world where I’m not sure who I am anymore. I’m not sure who my family, or anyone else around me is anymore.

      All of this started after both my father and mother became ill with cancer. When my father died, I had a very difficult time, but my mother helped pull me through it. After mother died, in the interest of being “true” to “truth”, they told me that I should grow up and just accept that I won’t ever see my mother and dad again because they’ll have long ago reincarnated as someone else, or as an animal.

      No matter where I went, all I ever got was this wonderful news. As it slowly drove me into the ground and nearly killed me, I was just told to grow up and get over it. I was told that I’m just not advanced enough to be able to accept the reality of this.

      I started making plans to end my life because I couldn’t stand the constat pain under my ribs from the contraction of my diaphragm. I couldn’t stand the storm that went round and round in my mind. I didn’t know who I was, I had no idea who my family was, and I had no hope of being together with my mother and father again.

      There is no way to fix this anymore. Nothing works. I now exist in this black hole of bizarre higher selfs, multi-faceted diamonds, and astral planes where thoughts become monsters and no one is who you think they are.

      If there’s life after death, I don’t care, because it means nothing to me. Why should I care if there is? I will never see anyone again, that I ever cared about, so what does it matter? Why does anyone care if there’s life after death or not? You’re not really who you think you are anyway, and your family is someone else and are all reincarnated as other people or animals.

      This is what has become of me…I went from everything to nothing. Incapacitated…my wife now works to support both of us.

      And Alex….about this “haran” …you’ll notice in all of his “pick you up” words of “wisdom” he never touched what you wrote about never seeing your family ever again, did he?

      I hope “haran” will get to live the way I now do.

    • Alex – may I just say that there is nothing to fear, because reincarnation simply doesn’t happen? We are ourselves, our souls, we’re not some mask put on by a soul that becomes umpteen different people. You WILL see those you love again, nobody returns to this world (would you repeat kinder when you’d gone to high school?)

      You might like to read The Risen, by August Goforth and Timothy Gray (available on the internet). Tim expected to be reincarnated because that’s what he believed in … he soon learned it wasn’t so, he’d gone Home.

      My own questions on the matter were answered a few years ago in a laconic reply from my beloved (who crossed over long ago, certainly long enough to be reincarnated if such things happened) – “Connected lives.” Past-life memories are of others’ lives, not the same person receiving them. It’s like a chain, but we are all individual links.

  57. Dear Alex,

    I was quite alarmed hearing your story, which reminds me again not to take anything for granted. The good news is , I hope, that somehow you got the wrong idea. Using an analogy, just remember who you were as a small child. Obviously, you are not that child anymore, and I assume, you don’t want to be it either. However, you could go back there if you wanted in your memory. You would also remember only issues of significance, may be with high emotional content, but most likely you would not reconnect in a way which allows you to relive that time completely, because there would be no time to live in the now. Therefore whatever that ‘now’ is, is what we exist in and it is forever changing. I am quite happy to be in my now although I am quite a bit older than you and went through many more ‘pasts’. Incidentally, I wrote a book on reincarnation (75 Lives of Haran) and I fondly look back on all those lives and what they taught me, but that does not mean that I want to get back into them. If I may take it a bit further, I think it must be fun on a soul level to reminisce with your soul friends about all the lives you shared. The way I see it, this principle of consciousness including more and more lives as it expands applies to many more levels going higher and higher until eventually God encompasses all of them?

    So do all the things you planned to do, you will lose nothing and gain everything!



  58. To “moderator” and other “powers that be” here:

    Since other people that you are affiliated with in at least some way, have had the chance to utterly cripple my life, as well as Alex’s life…at least do the right thing and let us be heard, and DON’T remove my post/comment here.

    Leave it out here for the world to see how wonderful the work of people can be. And, finally, please don’t insult my intelligence by blaming me for my present circumstances…I didn’t go from what I once was, to this, willingly.

    Don’t try to blame the victim…lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators.

  59. To Alex,

    What you have written is exactly what has happened to me, you are not the only one, and there are others as well. I am someone who was strong and confident. I will not give my real name, but I am a person who was a composer/writer, producer and arranger. I have had 5 of my productions on the national hit charts.

    Now, I can’t perform the smallest tasks. I exist on an endless array of medications which have included Zoloft, Paxil, Cymbalta, Lorazepam, Diazepam, and now Seroquel. All of which do absolutely nothing. Small seizures (from panic) now sometimes occur after “truth” goes round and round in my mind.

    It started with the loss of my father and mother to cancer. After my father died, my mother helped pull me through that. When she died, it almost destroyed me. Then “help” came from everywhere…I was informed that I would never see my mother or father again because they will have long ago reincarnated as someone else, or as some animal. I was told that I was not sufficiently advanced to accept “truth”. Apparently my mother and father didn’t really care about me, they were only getting their experiences from me and have now lost their identity and have become someone or something else. I was told to grow up and accept the reality of reincarnation…I was told that just because I don’t like what I’m hearing doesn’t mean it isn’t true…I was told that I can’t do anything about it anyway so I should just accept it. I was told all of this in the name of “being faithful to truth”.

    After four years of “help”, this is how I now live: I now live in a bizarre world of higher selfs and multi-faceted diamonds where no one is who they think they are. I live in world of astral travel where thoughts become monsters and nothing is real. This is my existence. I don’t know who I am anymore, and I don’t know who my family is anymore either. I went from what I was, to this.

    Life after death? I no longer care if there is life after death or not, in fact, I’d prefer it if there was not. Why should I care about life after death if I never see my own family again? Why should life after death matter to me? It doesn’t.

    I now can’t accomplish the smallest tasks. I am barely able to get up, and some days, I’m not even able to do that. My wife now works to support both of us, and when I’m not able to pick her up she has to take a bus because we cannot afford a taxi. This is what “truth” has accomplished for me.

    In his “compassionate” answer you’ll notice that this “haran” never touched your comments about seeing your family again.

    Read my post carefully, “haran”, may it resonate loud and clear with you. And may Alex’s post resonate loud and clear with you.

    All I hope for now, is that people like you, “haran”, will get to experience what it is like to live in my “world”. Then you’ll be able to fully appreciate your own “truth”.

  60. Silver Birch once stated that there are as many in spirit for re-incarnation as there are against it, but why trouble yourself on such matters, live for the day not for the past or future, one is past and behind you, the other has yet to happen.
    I question any statement that we can re-incarnate as an animal, we know there is progression of the soul, always moving forward, never backwards. We have reached a certain level of consciousness, able to recognise self, and able to think. Spirit often talk of our lower brethren, the animal kingdom, to help them also on their pathway. As we are now, when our time comes pass to the Summerland, we move to the level of vibration we have created for ourselves, our true self comes to the fore.
    As regards meeting our parents etc, if there is love between you and them, they will be there to greet you, if there is no love, then meeting is more difficult. With our greater awareness when we pass over, our differences may seem very trivial and the bridge between you is created.
    Many times when people pass over, after a time of reflection and help from others in spirit, they may wish to draw close for a chance to say the simple words “foregive us”
    I have had a regression reading, it was interesting due to the closeness of characters to what I am, but that is as far as I will go, will not have another one, put it to one side and get on with life in the physical and learn what I can.

  61. Having begun the reincarnation debate with Leslie Price and contributed a few further comments in the early stages, I have left it to others to continue arguing the pros and cons of rebirth. But I couldn’t let the contributions of Alex and Bob pass without commenting on them in a way that I hope they will feel is helpful. As someone who finds the evidence for reincarnation very strong, I have never gone so far as to so it is a universal law that applies to everyone. I just don’t know. It could just happen that it occurs only in a minority of cases where a soul decides, in discussion with its spiritual guides, that rebirth could be useful. There are so many conflicting ideas about what reincarnation is and how it might operate that I would urge you both not to listen to only one source of information or become too attached to one interpretation (advice I would also give to anyone who identifies too closely with any religion that claims to have all the answers). If thinking about the concept of reincarnation (or any other aspect of life after death) frightens or troubles you, focus your thoughts on other topics with which you are comfortable. After all, knowing whether we do or do not reincarnate will make no difference to the eventual outcome. It is important that you draw on your inner strength to cope with and overcome your problems here and now, rather than worrying about why you are experiencing what you are going through or looking for reasons for your present circumstances. Know that you are spiritually indestructible and a bond will always exist between you and those that you love. And the loudest voice you should listen to is your inner voice. I do hope that these comments will help you in some small way to focus on bringing your lives back into balance, because, even if you have lived past lives, this current existence is the most important right now and you should seek to live it as positively as possible. I truly hope you both achieve that goal.

  62. Hi Alex & Bob

    Your concerns together with the terrible problems that you are having I have heard before from some others who became deeply involved in all of the theories surrounding past lives and reincarnation. As a Spiritualist I remain neutral on reincarnation. If you look at our 7 Principles you will see many of those theories which are about reincarnation do not fit within Spiritualism. Indeed, in my opinion, I feel that some of these theories require a suspension of the natural laws of the universe.

    To me, to achieve what I set out to do in this life is about focusing upon the present moment, not past or future. To live life to your maximum potential, without worrying about what lies at the next level. Live it fully in the best way you can whilst working through this single life experience.

    I certainly have no remembrances of a past life and have very little interest in this area. I also realise that even if I did, or was told of one, this purported memory could arise from a variety of factors. It may be real, it may be a genetic memory from my DNA, it may be a projection from the regression therapist and it could be something from my subconscious memories or even imagination.

    I know many wish to delve into this area but I fail to see how looking back helps this physical existence to achieve what it should. In my opinion, if I had a past life, part of my transitional phase, in moving back into Spirit, would have been to review that life and resolve the issues. If there was something I missed in that journey it would form a part of this life’s purpose, not as a punishment but as a challenge.

    So my work is to remember somehow, despite the ongoing interference of human existence, what on earth I was meant to do? Quite honestly I fully imagine arriving back in Spirit and my Guide telling me that he tried to remind me but I was not listening. However I do not see this as a signal for some devastating punishment, just another thing to work through in my life review. Indeed, given the strong possibility that I will never remember what it was I meant to do with my life, I had better try to do the best with it that I can.

    In an earlier post I made the point that to discuss reincarnation you need to understand the philosophy that you are considering. There are very wide variations in the ideas put out about it and even in the religions or the philosophies that promote it. This interesting discussion has brought in many of these differing views.

    There is not one unified philosophy on reincarnation, about what it means and how it works. Therefore they are all, at best, theories, most of which I would reject because of the inconsistencies with the 7 Principles. Indeed the inconsistencies in theory are clearly identified in this debate. This makes it very hard to incorporate it into my system of belief. Why do I say my system of belief? Because it is not a proven fact and anything that is not a truth is a belief.

    There is no substantial, conclusive evidence that reincarnation actually exists, this debate has not convinced me to incorporate it into my beliefs, albeit the evidence may appear substantial. The strongest suggestion of its reality is the work of Dr Ian Stephenson and even he stopped short of claiming that he had undeniable proof.

    It seems to me that all we could accept is that reincarnation may be possible. The extension beyond that into past lives and the reason for reincarnation are theoretical constructs from within the limitations of the human mind. If we remember they are theories with many alternative choices then it is easier to prevent them from disturbing our lives during this one very important existence in our physical world.

    As John points out even the information from some of the best teachings, such as Silver Birch, show an inconsistency in the viewpoint upon reincarnation from the Spirit side. I doubt that is surprising because I believe, even after we return to Spirit, we have free will. If we do not and a natural law imposes a return to this world then maybe we need to take one of our 7 principles away. Yet we seem to accept that they were given by Spirit too.

    Looking at some of the philosophical variations which do appear in the debate, if we look at Haran, with 75 lives, this is in keeping with Madam Blavatsky’s Theosophical teaching, that you had to live 100 lives to reach perfection. Unfortunately part of that concept reduced the contact of Medium’s with loved ones into being purely with the astral remnant, which faded away after a couple of years. Spiritualist Mediums rejected that on the basis of their very real experiences in contact with Spirit. It is not uncommon to find that loved ones, as far back as great grandparents, wish to try to communicate even though their passing may be many years ago. Neither you nor your loved ones cease existence when you leave this physical life. Mediumship has proven time after countless time that the individual Spirit survives complete with its personality. Indeed it would seem that this is an immutable natural law of the universe.

    In a practical sense for someone to remember so many lives must be difficult and then to verify their reality a challenge. To highlight this if we look at Haran’s case of 75 lives we allow for a break between existences with an average life span of 40 years then his time here spans a period of over 3,000 years, back to before 890BC . I have not read his book, because as I have said reincarnation is not something I spend very much time on but it must be interesting to see the viable evidence which proves existences over such a long time period. Multiply this further to incorporate Madam Blavatsky’s alleged 100 lives then someone who has just reached that stage would have stated their journey around 2000BC.

    So Alex and Bob I do not know whether this has helped but try to just focus on this very great life that, whatever hardships we may face, we are privileged to have. Remember the most important moment is this current one, not what has passed or what will be. This is the moment of your life that you can control and change. The theories that exist about other things in life should not be allowed to make our already problematical and demanding journey through the physical life become harder.

    • I only now came across the comments from Jim about the 75 lives I wrote about. I think we must be very careful here not to jump to conclusions. The book describes only a selection of lives. We know far too little about reincarnation and the spiritual reality and there are far too many contradictions in the information we have to draw any conclusions from it. As I already said, all this is a very personal thing and is meaningful to some and not to others. You decide whether you can and want to explore it and let it widen your horizons. If you do, you need to be ready to be confronted with new insights every day.

  63. These recent posts from Alex and Bob are examples of the appalling destruction to peoples lives this insidious belief and following of reincarnation has and is causing. I feel such sympathy for them as well as being emotionally charged with anger because for over thirty years I have been fighting reincarnationism and getting involved with many unpleasant arguments and even received abusive and hate letters. It has become more like another cult. I have written endless articles, letters, joined in debates and lectured and also published a second book.
    I can assure those who are caught up with this dreadful confusing and false doctrine and are seeking a way out, that there is light at the end of the tunnel which I discovered for myself many years ago after I was already partly caught in the trap!
    There is far too much to go into in this response although I have provided several earlier posts included in this debate, but if Alex and Bob and anyone else needing help would care to contact me through my website I will gladly and freely discuss the matter further and offer help in any way possible.
    Be assured we most certainly are reunited with our loved ones, family and friends and there is no coming back!

  64. What has happened to Alex and Bob is outrageous. Let’s deal in facts and only facts. There are three in my opinion.
    1. Reincarnation has never been proved as a reality. Even its most famous researcher Dr Stevenson admits that.
    2. Regression therapy has no scientific basis at all.
    3. Survival over death and communication from those who have died (including those who have died scores or even hundreds of years ago) is a fact which has been proved over and over again to the satisfaction of many trained scientists under laboratory and other test conditions. If ‘dead’ people can communicate with their living loved ones, even when they have been ‘dead’ for a century or more, they have obviously not reincarnated. Geddit?

    Don’t allow amateur mind-bending nonsense to screw with your head and your happiness. It is rubbish and needs to be treated as such.

  65. Many comments have been made after Alex’s sad disclosures. Many of those I found very constructive and to most what was said I can fully subscribe to (even if they come from the other camp). Some comments raise issues, however, which deserve some further discussion.

    Re: the comment ‘To Alex’:

    I believe nobody should be forced into any belief; it offends the basic principle of our freewill to choose. It sounds as if this may have happened. But without further details it is impossible to comment. I truly feel for you and hope that you may find the answers which are definitely out there.

    Regarding your comment that I did not respond to Alex not being able to see his family again, I have to tell you that I know not of a single reference connected to reincarnation that makes that claim. Again, I just like to come back to a basic principle again: We are all one. This implies no individuality gets lost, we are always linked. I think it is dangerous to make all sorts of specific claims when we know so little and when there are so many diverging opinions.

    It is also very disconcerting when behaviors are driven by fear. Sorry to bother you with another principle, but any spiritual thinking is based on love, without exceptions. Often, and I do not claim this to apply in this case, the thinking appears to be connected to very limited and one-sided interpretations of very open and wide concepts which are not meant to close doors but to open doors.

    Re: Comment to Jim’s reply:

    I think we all struggle with having too little information and too many diverging claims. It all comes down to what we choose to believe. I think all beliefs are justified if they work for you and if they are compatible with your experiences, and, of course, if you don’t hurt others. Nobody has all the answers. Because of this situation we should really not try to get involved in number games because that is pure speculation on a subject we have no proof of.

    Re: Comment to James Webster’s reply:

    It find it disheartening to see a fruitful discussion derailed by passing judgment on different beliefs. My understanding of one of the aspects of spirituality is that we are trying to get away from dogmatism and not by replacing it with another one.

    I don’t think it is the theory of reincarnation which is to blame. There are just too many humans who greatly benefited from their beliefs and who show it. You can use anything in the world and corrupt it by misuse or even evil intent. But it can also be ignorance about our responsibilities and the choices we can only make ourselves. For instance, if we accept the scientific version of no meaning in life which is just based on chance, how many fearful lives (and deaths) do you want to blame for those ideas?
    Lastly to ‘To”moderator” and other “powers that be”’:

    There are many out here who really would like to contribute in a constructive manner. We are not in the business of blaming or judging. It is also impossible to comment on the information provided. Or do you believe that nobody is able to help or willing to listen?

  66. The whole point of SPN’s For and Against series of debates is to provide a platform for an open exchange of views on issues which are controversial. Such issues can by their very nature provoke strong feelings, and over the past few days I have had to edit one or two posts for offensive language. We believe passionately that frank and honest debate is important, but would ask all posters to remember that comments must be courteous and free from offensive language or personal abuse. Ed.

  67. If there is one thing we can take from this debate it is that no matter what people write, if a person’s mind is focused on a fixed point it is not going to change course.
    Not two but three camps, one fore, one aginst and one undecided, all engaged in a debate and quoting a host of admirable referenced material from genuine published sources, and some from a host of different philosophical standpoints.
    I would suggest that the majority if not all of the research has been from data collection and analysis, plus some from literature either written by well respected practitioners of one faith or another, or written by some of the debaters here.
    All this literature may well fit the definition for research however none of it actually involved ‘scientific’ testing in a laboratory or laboratory type investigation.
    So nice as it all is to hear all the points of view it must be accepted that no matter what anyone says or states as fact, all the points are no more than anecdotal personal revelations and I would suggest heresay.
    I could have amazingly clear dreams, irrational fears, even undergo a past life regression and then write a book about all of my past lives. Lives that to me would appear as real today as if they occured yesterday, yet it does not make them real and definitely should not constitute evidence of past lives.
    Many people who profess to be Spiritualists, and I have discussed this in open forum for quite a few years, are completely convinced that they have had a sequence of past incarnations, maybe they have? However as stated in an earlier post what they experience may well be a consequence of sublimnal false memory taken in from media, films, books, advertising, or unconscious mediumship chanelling a, or many, close discarnate spirit intelligences.
    Some Spiritualists and non-Spiritualists I have spoken to have recounted how they are now on their n’th incarnation and this shows how ‘evolved they are spiritually’, “what twaddle”!
    If such a thing as ‘reincarnation’ or communication from discarnate intelligences feed our egos then it is (from my view) wrong and should be treated with skepticim as well as caution (I believe Kardec said as much).

    • ‘Some Spiritualists and non-Spiritualists I have spoken to have recounted how they are now on their n’th incarnation and this shows how ‘evolved they are spiritually’, “what twaddle”!’

      I agree with that! How does it say one is spiritually evolved if they’re still here? Sounds like saying you’re highly educated because you’ve done kindergarten a dozen times …

  68. Peter Raggett

    I think its rather sad when people get so up tight over the arguments for and against reincarnation. Its something that probably cannot be proved or disproved. We can only go on the evidence and balance of probabilities and there is much evidence for it in my view.

    Its also sad when people develop a phobia regarding the prospect of reincarnation. People develop phobias regarding many things and there is no reason to use these phobias as a club to beat the object of the fear to death.

    However, if you consider the Christian and Muslim concept of divine punishment in eternal hellfire , that’s something that is really scary if you have been indoctrinated to believe it and must lead to many phobias. I think the Bible and Koran should contain a health warning.

    If you believe in such a thing as natural justice or karma then reincarnation can be regarded as a tool to help achieve this end. We are on the earth for one reason and that is to evolve our individual consciousness and thus add to the gestalt of collective consciousness, and reincarnation is probably a fast track method to achieve this aim. Its not a punishment but a learning process to help us evolve. Although there are probably exceptions I suspect we can, if we have led a half decent life, opt out of reincarnation if we so wish as we have free-will, but peer pressure to keep up with the soul group and avoid being left behind in the dunces class is probably a strong motivator to keep the cycle going.

    Our consciousness can be in more than one place at a time so the prospect of reincarnation rendering a soul being unable to reconnect with a loved one on passing over is a non starter as far as I can see. Even if this was not the case then, given free will, its not inconceivable that someone with a strong love bond would delay their pending reincarnation till they had been reunited with a loved one who had not yet passed over.

  69. Robert writes: What has happened to Alex and Bob is outrageous. I do so agree, and want to share my outrage at the lack of ‘ethics’ of those who told them they would never see their loved ones again. Where do those people get their information? And to use it in such a way that harms and distresses someone. However, we too must use our precious discernment to guide us as to what we read or hear.
    My heart goes out to both these men, and to the many who are mistreated by the psychiatric world. The standard of mediumship is difficult to control, but these so called ‘channelers’ who let all and sundry use their consciousness are a blight on Spiritualism.

  70. Peter Raggett

    I think Michael Tymn’s Blog ‘The enigma of Reincarnation’ explains the conundrum far better than I was able to.

    The link was provided by Victor Zammit on his website.
    You could say its reincarnation, but not as popularly portrayed.

  71. Hi All,

    It’s me again. Thanks for all of your replies. I will address them within the next week when I have the time.

    It’s been such a strange week. A lot of episodes of normal TV series I’ve watched have referred to reincarnation (whether it’s true or not), people have been talking about dreams, and stuff I’ve read in the newspapers have been strange too. Even normal websites I visit have debated this recently. It’s as though I’m meant to find something or discover something new, but I don’t know what.

    I feel like there is something I am missing. That link Peter on ‘enigma of Reincarnation’ was OK, but it still doesn’t explain the soul groups for me. There are just so many people on earth. We all know each other through 5-10 people. Soul groups doesn’t work in this sense. Also, it’s back to the Borg analogy I made. A higher self which assimilates all of our experiences from our little diamond facets. I don’t feel like I’m a diamond facet. I feel like a fully formed individual.

    James Webster, I’ll be in touch soon regarding any discussions, advice you can provide and I’ll happy to share some of my thoughts in return.

    Bob, I feel for you. I really do. I’m really sorry about your parents. Have you contacted James yet? I’d be happy to talk with you via James too. I know what you’re going through on an emotional level, but I haven’t lost anyone. It feels like I have, but I haven’t. I’ll be delighted to offer support for you whilst we work through this, and any help from James would be appreciated.

    Of course, additional words from others are welcome.

    Roy, Haran, both make good cases. I’ve read your points from others and in books. A lot of it makes sense and it explains a hell of a lot. I feel that there is more to it, that something is not quite right. I’m finding it hard to explain. When I woke up a week and few days ago, enjoying my life with no thought of death (although I’d fully accepted the notion of reincarnation 6 months ago with great ease), panic, fear and anxiety sank in. I’d read the book ‘Your Souls Plan’ by Robert Schwartz and took it as gospel. Now, I flick through it picking flaws left right and centre. Have you read it? It’s a popular book regarding reincarnation. A whole load of thoughts on the flaws of reincarnation (something which never occurred to me, given that I’m a man who questions everything) rose from within.
    Any explanations?

    I’ll get back to you all soon once I’ve got next week sorted.

  72. Hey,

    Just a quick message for Bob. I’ve been in touch with James Webster.
    Feel free to contact him on his website. Just click on his name and you’ll be taken to his website.

    I feel your pain, although I cannot imagine going through this without my parents. Please get in touch with James. Hope to hear from you through him in the future!


  73. I would like to comment on John Gillespie’s summation of the discussion so far (dated 12.4.11).

    Firstly I believe he makes some very valid points – based on scientific principles of physical reality. But obviously science can only confirm itself within its accepted system of reality and could never comment on issues outside of this reality. So one could argue that it is a self-imposed limitation which may well close avenues of research.

    But even if we accept a strictly scientific view, we cannot get away from the fact that our mind entertains many beliefs, some small and some big, and they create our reality as much as our physical reality. These beliefs can be based on as yet unproven physical realities or worlds quite beyond that, whether they exist or not, and all this has just as strong an effect on our lives. If those beliefs enrich our lives, which they certainly do in my life and many others I know of, and if they do not harm others, then I would consider them legitimate. I see this as a valid use of our mental capacity. The evidence suggests that if this is truly accepted and understood it creates a positive and unselfish attitude in life. If we all had it we would certainly live in a better world. So why not try it?

    We have an opportunity to widen our horizons if we include spirituality in our reality. We then expose ourselves to the great unknown of which, admittedly, we understand but little, and which we cannot prove, and reincarnation is just one aspect of it.

    We have to accept that it is an experiential thing and therefore personal and it appears to play out differently for everybody. It cannot be proven in a laboratory. The question is, is it meaningful to me (and may be others). As far as my own experiences are concerned I have to admit that I only have some unsubstantiated albeit sensible theories of where it comes from. Nevertheless the exposure had a very powerful impact on me and certainly helped getting me on the road of evolution as a human being. Being directly confronted with what is my hidden truth forced me to accept that there are definitely powers which have immensely wider understanding and knowledge than a human being can have.

    I also agree that if any of that feeds our ego we must be extremely circumspect, however, any such communication always refers to using discernment and not to take every word as gospel. Actually I believe that all knowledge transmitted so far is only a tiny percentage of what can be known and that it is also structured via analogies in such a way that we can understand it with our simple linear minds. Also, in my experience, insights were never given to flatter me, but on the contrary, to challenge me to an ever greater extent.

    It is also true that there are overzealous proponents of beliefs with often over-simplistic views who can easily discredit any argument and we need to take them with a pinch of salt. These attitudes are generally of a temporary nature which life teaches us to get out of.

  74. I always try and keep an open mind on any subject and reincarnation is one such subject that I’ve often pondered about.
    Considering I once thought mediumship was nonsense I find myself reflecting on my personal experiences and knowledge of past lives wondering what will I believe ten years from now. As such I’m a great believer that our inability to explain a phenomena today doesn’t necessarily means it doesn’t happen.
    Some might like to read my article:

  75. Chris Johnson

    Reply to Chris, I live near to Stansted Hall and would like to have a meeting when you next visit, had a read of your comment and your article; think people get mixed up with the names we use, for spirit, soul and ghosts etc,. I was told that a Spirit was the life we were living, and the Soul was the link between lives. The Spirit returned to the Soul like an actor looking for a new part to play, but trying to understand and close the past life down; would thus form attachments to role play with others; before finding and taking the leap into the new life/part. You never completely forget your past life, but focus on the new part you are now playing. How would this fit in? By tha way, it is a beutiful story, I agree that it was a real event; hope the original subject, June, can now move on.

  76. My personal view is that reincarnation is not forbidden, but it is not necessary for spiritual progression. How we progress is up to us with guidance from and in the spirit world. No one is forced to return to earth after passing.
    The idea that we will somehow miss out on reunion with our loved ones because they are absorbed in a collective or universal soul, or have been reincarnated is erroneous, they are capable of existing independently of either state because of the phenomenon of spirit being in all places at once, which for us is a difficult concept to grasp. We have universal existence , and (to borrow an analogy) different facets of our diamond can be viewed at the same time, even while some are still in the process of being polished.
    No doubt others will disagree with this view but it works for me.

  77. Chris Johnson

    We have so many points of view on this debate, from all directions, lives and experiances to date. But try to think of the life as a way of learning, like playing a role as an actor. The part you play may be self contained, until the Actor, returns to him or her self, the Soul. Having a problem understanding the various forms or understaning of Karma, can see instant Karma at work; or is it just us making it fit? We know we have done a bad thing, thus the next few bad things to happen to us are our Karma, what about the good things we tend to ignore, because we are not expecting them. But do a Good thing, all the rewards flow, we forget the bad things, on a high of doing some good? I think we create harder lives in the future to tackle harder problems, so no carry over, just your objective to learn and overcome the problems. help others, or maybe, just an attachment to help and learn. But why do people only speak of the Jews that were Murdered? what about the others; Gypsys, Gays, Disabled people; would it go on to those with dark hair and or no blue eyes? Sorry about the typos and errors, had rather a good Fathers Day with a nice bottle of Port, can only just see the screen; but the words come from my heart…. or could it be inspired by others, in my altered state??

  78. Lesley Harris

    Whew, what a long thread. Being a fan of Bollywood films, I’ve got a passing interest in reincarnation but I never imagined there could be so much to it, or so much not to it, depending on what side of the debate you come down on. I do hope that the people on this thread who have been so damaged by reincarnation theory have now received the help that they so desperately need. I also congratulate the one of them, who has had the courage – in this age of the false positive thinking brigade – to say “Blame the perpetrator not the victim”.

    But to these damaged people and to any others who have been damaged by any so called pearls of wisdom from any possibly suspicious sources, who come and lecture and terrify you when you are down, , I’d recommend a passage from Catcher In The Rye by J D Salinger when the main character complains that “People always think that something is ALL true”, when of course it isn’t, things may be partially true but are seldom totally true, and can sometimes be mendacious, . There may be something in reincarnation, there may not, but even if there is, why should it happen to everyone, and so why should it cause such fear.

    It seems that some people can find it terribly difficult to shrug off the idea of reincarnation because it is a different sort of afterlife which tries to convince them that they will never see their loved ones again. But that is precisely what the great majority of secular sceptical people who are not Spiritualists think anyway and it would seem that Spiritualists have no problem in shrugging off the opinions of the sceptics who do not believe in any form of life after death full stop so why have such difficulty in just calmly rejecting the “wrong sort of afterlife”?

  79. Peter Raggett

    What we call reality is consciousness exploring its own potential as observer and observed. If you accept that we are all part of a gestalt of collective consciousness then we are all capable of the most hideous crimes against humanity and the most altruistic actions. What we call reality (matter) is a dream world where we role play without a script but with certain challenges to face within affinity groups

    Our individuated consciousness cannot come to any real lasting harm. I cannot accept that the collective consciousness would devise a system that would damage itself! As a communicator once said, there is no such thing as evil, only experience. That’s why being judgemental is counter productive.

    We are all in this together and its up to us to pull ourselves up by our own boot straps in order to contribute to the collective learning experience of the affinity group which in turn contributes to the gestalt. There is no outside agency like the god of the dominant religions that is going to intervene, forgive our mistakes, and let us side-step our responsibilities otherwise the learning process would be corrupted and there would be no point to our existence in this world.

    We all know that we learn best by experience and correcting mistakes. I cannot see, given the extreme inequality that exists in the world, how it would be possible for an individual consciousness to learn from just one lifetime. If you believe in natural justice then reincarnation and Karma would appear to be the most effective learning tool.

    The learning process could take many forms, from karma (reaping what we sow) to some courageous individuals wanting to experience extreme emotions under despotic rule, or the frustration of disability, in order to add to their own portfolio of experiences and those of the affinity group.

    A final thought. We have been told that when we sleep we return to the spirit realms so regular contact would be possible even with someone who has reincarnated at an inconvenient time.

  80. Not wanting to be seen sitting on the fence, I think whatever you believe about Re-incarnation, the important thing is to live in ” the now”.
    I’ve found that some people get so lost in previous lives, that they forget to live this one.
    I’m quite happy with the life I have at the moment, and don’t feel incomplete not knowing if I’ve been here before. If I did know, how would that affect me?
    If it was vitally important to know the details of any previous existances, if indeed there have been any, then we would be born with full recollection. Most of us don’t have this, so why not accept this. I have never had past life regression, and fail to see the point. If I was meant to know, then my Guides would tell me when I’m attuned, or if I’m meditating. I don’t feel that a third party, in the form of another Human, is the right person to be telling me.
    But that’s just my opinion. It wouldn’t do for us to be all the same.

    Love and light


  81. Reply to Kevin’s comments.

    Firstly, I believe it is right to trust yourself having the appropriate truth. If some knowledge or belief does not support you, then there is no need to go into it, just as the theory of relativity has no practical value for most of us, which does of course not mean that it does not exist.

    However, I also believe that we should not throw out an idea on the basis of a single logical argument. I don’t think you can argue that reincarnation does not exist because you do not remember any past lives, because there are good arguments that it would be detrimental for most people to remember as it would prevent them from living fully in the now. This does not mean that reincarnation could not or should not exist. It appears to me that what we believe in needs to be built on lots of supportive information. Just think about what your present believes are built on. The danger of that approach is, however, that we shut ourselves off from any new ideas which appear to contradict our beliefs. History is full of examples where new ideas where strenuously resisted and even ridiculed. So, let’s keep an open mind. Nothing is final.


  82. I’m going slightly off topic here, and asking a question on the assumption that there will be reunion in the spirit world for all individuals who have loved each other deeply in this physical world. If that assumption is correct (and all the great guides have said it is), what happens to those individuals who have not had the privilege of deep love on this earth? Who will they reunite with, if anyone? Are they effectively condemned to an eternity without ever knowing the joy of deep one-to-one love? I would be very interested to read other people’s thoughts on this.

  83. Love is within us all, we all have the capability to Love, but it has to come from within.
    As we move forward in life, we learn many things, one of those is the capacity to love, but something will trigger that emotion.

    • Thank you John for replying to me. I agree that love is within us all, and has to come from within. But my question concerned the person who has plenty of love within them but has never been fortunate enough to form a deep reciprocal bond of love with a particular individual in this life. In other words, someone who has never, for example, enjoyed a loving relationship with a wife, husband or life partner. If such a person passes to spirit in that position, it seems they may forever have lost out on the opportunity to enjoy such a close one-to-one bond. On the face of it, this seems a great unfairness, because those of us who have been lucky enough to experience such a thing on earth know very well what joy it brings.

      • That is a very interesting point.
        If you accept reincarnation then the probability is that you will encounter such a relationship in at least one of your incarnations so there would be no one in this postion.
        If on the other hand we pass this way but once there will be some who will not have this experience while on earth.
        The real question is does that affect our progress in the spirit world?
        My answer would be no, because on passing we are being reunited with pure love in the form of spirit. That may well be with the one, or indeed ones, we have loved on earth, but all will eventually experience a special relationship if that is required for their spiritual progress. Just not on the earth we know.

  84. Do not get me wrong Madelaine, you are talking from a physical standpoint, a part of our growth is to go through certain lessons/trials in the world of matter, how we face these lessons is down to the individual.
    When we pass into spirit, we are then, with our greater awareness, able to understand more fully what we have gone through, a time of reflection.
    This is but a very minute part of the whole life that we lead, and the question you raise is a very individual one, so a direct answer is not possible.
    I understand your thoughts and know sometimes, we seek answers to matters that will always be there, but greater knowledge will always chip away the rough edges of living on the earth plane.
    I wish you well in your desire.

  85. Hi Madeleine …………. Your question caught my attention and I just felt that I must reply, although after having made my opinion quite clear over the reincarnation issue, I had intended to leave it at that as old ground was just being ploughed over and over again with the posts. Your question provides another slant.
    With due respect to those who had replied to your important question, in my opinion they have not provided the answer you are really looking for. If you would like to contact me through my website by clicking on my name, I will be most pleased to send you a free copy of a CD about 1 hour duration of a response communication from a profound spiritual teacher who made it clear and interesting and will, I am sure, give you a most satisfactory and acceptable answer.

  86. Peter Raggett


    I think there are two aspects to your question. Love in the earthly realms and love in the spiritual realms. If one was unfortunate not to experience earthly love in one incarnation then reincarnation could obviously redress the balance. However, earthly love is probably not vital to our evolution, or even if it is, it may not be vital in every incarnation.

    On the other hand, if you accept, as some communications have revealed, that we all belong to affinity groups in the spiritual realms then spiritual love would already exist between individuated consciousness in those realms so we would be returning to loved ones that pre-existed incarnation. In other words, as Silver Birch used to say, no one is overlooked.

  87. It appears to me that much of the confusion is created by not defining what we mean by using certain terms, especially when talking about the soul and past lives and reincarnation. I don’t think my beliefs are significantly different from the above although I might not use the same terms. For instance my understanding of my soul is that it exists partly in me and partly in a bigger me in a spiritual realm. This soul creates different personalities. Therefore, ‘my’ past lives are really not my past lives; they are other manifestations of my soul. It that sense I do not get reborn. The other manifestations may well happen simultaneously. I also quite agree that for us to really understand non-physical existence, higher dimensions, and no-time is quite impossible, and only limited analogies can be given to us.


  88. Chris Johnson

    Sorry Vanda, but I do not agree with Blind Faith! We must factor in the many theory’s passed via Mediums and ask; so is that 100% from a Spirit Guide or 98% of what the Medium thinks, has read or been told and forgotten? We must look outside the nine dots and discover new facts, not live in the past. We need more blue Skye thinking, to set up models for scientists and others to test, until it become a science and we can move on to another section of Nature that we can then preserve?

  89. Chris Johnson

    Well Said, I agree!

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