Posted by: aediculaantinoi | January 2, 2013

The New “Queer I Stand”–Reincarnation: The Old Normal

My latest “Queer I Stand” column at Patheos.com just went up today; I had hoped it would go up before the end of December, but alas, it didn’t. (The people who run the site take a vacation due to religious holidays in late December. What a weird thing to do!)

As I wrote about the television show The New Normal a few weeks before, and had done so under the rubric of “reincarnation,” now I’ve actually directly dealt with the question of reincarnation, one of the few things found in modern pagan and polytheist religiosity that is, most certainly, a belief more than it is a practice (and often one not based on experience), and thus an oddity of sorts within a religion that tends to be more practical and experiential and which is generally opposed to (or at least skeptical of) creedal religious formulations, no matter how formal or informal they might be. Here’s the link to the column.

I’d be interested in your thoughts on the matter, which you can post in comments there, or here, as you would prefer!


Responses

  1. I tend to believe in (eventual) reincarnation/transmigration of some sort, based on (as you say in the article) certain personal experiences for which that seems to be the simplest explanation. There’s certainly precedent for it in the Classical Pagan world, although it often seems to be a “second level” teaching – the basic cultural stories describe the underworld, while different philosophical or cult groups proclaim transmigration.

    • Yes…that “second level” nature of it is important to consider. I wonder if, Gnostic-like, the reason such teachings are second level is because the people who hear those teachings are second level, and therefore not prone to have happen to them what happens to almost everyone else…

      As an example, Taliesin in Welsh myth has various poems where he says “I have been ___,” and while many have taken that to be a kind of monistic mysticism, I suspect it means that he’s an exceptional being because he remembers all those different lives and forms, and that because of his special-ness, he was able to assume all of them. Whether that happens to Joe Average Welshman, though, is never stated–Celtic literature is pretty indifferent to the lives of “ordinary” people, but the same is true of Greek, Roman, Indian, and many other literatures, mythologies, and so forth as well.

      So, maybe it doesn’t happen to everyone…?!?

  2. My personal take is that most people are shit and only good for composting. So when they die their essential essence gets dumped into a giant krater and mixed with the essence of everyone else. Out of this soul soup new people are made. Hence “past life memories” aren’t memories of the individual, but lingering bits that resisted dissolution in the krater. Now, a few transcend their mortal limitations (the general suck of the human condition) and retain their individuality after death, those few being the heroes. Others, the elect, are preserved because of initiation or the favor of their gods.

    Unsurprisingly, this view does not find favor with most pagans.

    • I heard it phrased in a slightly less horticultural manner by “a certain someone” who said that queer people are immune to getting thrown back in the cauldron for rebirth; I don’t think that’s a useful notion for a second, in the sense that I think it takes more than being queer to “opt out” of that line in the otherworld and go for the strip search instead, as it were…

      But, yes, I think you’re on to something.


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