I took an intensive eastern seminar on Reincarnation in the Fall of last year. But the introspection it caused at a family reunion a few months later was unexpected. Reincarnation is the belief that after the death of the body, the soul comes back (or incarnates) into another body or form. It's a key tenet in many Eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Jain, and Druze. Though Christianity disdains the concept, Jesus, who studied these teachings in the Far East said, "If you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is Elijah who is to come." Now, in the last fifty years or so reincarnation has become part of the mass consciousness.
But whether or not you subscribe to the notion of reincarnation isn't important, because what I experienced recently at our family reunion in the West Indies certainly shined light upon the idea of the continuity of Life. And within that continuity, was the passing forward of ideals along with genetic materials. It makes one ponder if such things as ideas, beliefs and yes, soul preferences, might also be handed down through the DNA along with facial traits, hair color and height. And it makes me wonder at how close my connection still is with ancestors who have long ago passed to the other side even as I formed new bonds with the youngest children of my extended family who are just setting out on their soul's journey in life.
The endless continuity of life became clear as a lineage expanding across four generations unfolded both visibly and ethereally. Two grandparents, born in Antigua in the late 1800's, birthed 8 children and left a family tree numbering more than 120 aunts, uncles, cousins and grandchildren. Only twenty cousins and three surviving children who grew up on the island knew those grandparents. But, we were able to look across the field of generations gathered for a week and identify the stature, characteristics, gait, personalities and familial resemblances embedded in most of their distant offspring.
It began for me as soon as the plane arrived on the island. Leaving customs, a familiar face on the sidewalk outside beamed at me in welcome. I stopped mid-stride because the face belonged to my close cousin Frankie. Except Frankie had died in 2007. With brain cells racing to clarify the impression I watched the family resemblance morph into the face of Brian, Frankie's younger brother. It was not to be the last encounter with long departed relatives.
The esoteric reincarnation seminar taught that life "over there" is not separate from life here on earth. We believe its separate because it cannot be seen. It cannot be seen because the vibrations of those on earth are denser by nature than the vibrations of the spirit realms. The fact is, the soul does not "go anywhere after death" but rather occupies all space. It retains memories, knowledge, impressions, thoughts and vibrations from its life on earth and holds that together in ethereal energy packets. Those packets are picked up and used by both the incoming incarnating souls and the outgoing souls leaving incarnation. The question has to be, does choosing a packet filled with my grandparents energetic materials then draw that new soul into this family and this history?
When we journey into incarnation we do not journey alone, but rather pick up the vibrations and packets of the family relationships. The familial connection is held intact in soul groups by using the DNA of the family tree to anchor the relationship connections. So, seeing resemblances in multi-generational descendants of family members is not unusual. Rather, its proof of how group souls continue to incarnate in families. But, as each generation processes the energy packets of information and live out the karmic purposes of the group, the family tree begins to branch out from its origins. And as karmic lessons are learned, different packets will then be deposited for the new comers (or returning souls for the reincarnationists) which then further alters the family destiny and forms new purposes.
When families gather for events like a reunion, it's more likely that well-known ancestors, or those recently departed, will make an appearance in one way or another. All of us who knew my grandfather on the island saw him "reborn" in the image of his twenty-first grandchild. We all remarked that Michael not only was the image of our grandfather in stature and mannerism but also carried a strong resemblance to our great-grandmother. The reincarnation seminar taught that the heredity of physical attributes are more easily passed on, and if the grandparent had strong qualities they would more readily appear in a daughter or grandson than in a son. This turned out to be accurate because my grandfather had eight daughters and one son. Each daughter inherited his strength, confidence, steadfastness, creativity, passion for learning and business acumen. In grandson Michael's case those grandfather qualities helped him conquer difficulties in life and be successful in his own family business.
While heredity plays an important part in the family tree, the veils between the dimensions thin out during significant family gatherings. My mother who grew up on Antigua always called it "home." She learned to body-surf as a child at the sometimes treacherous Half Moon Bay, her favorite place on the island. It was also the place the family always met on Sundays. During the reunion it was one of the spots selected for a day-long picnic and swim. I watched my seventy-six year old aunt, the youngest of the eight girls, go out to the towering waves and body surf with her nephews "one last time." Though tossed around by the pounding surf, she gamely took the swells for about twenty minutes. She said it was like surfing with her sisters in the 1940's and 50's.
Very early the following morning while it was still dark outside, I recapped the day at Half Moon Bay and commented how much my mother would have loved to be there. At that instant, two of us witnessed the bathroom door which had been closed all night, open up slowly revealing a ray of light across the hallway floor. After the chills up and down my arms eased I simply said, "Hi mom!" knowing beyond a doubt it was she. It was one of the unusual happenings with the ancestors that many experienced during the reunion.
The reincarnation seminar said these occurrences would happen with regularity, especially when emotional family events were taking place. It was a way for spirits long departed to communicate with empathic family members still living, sending a message that life continues beyond the grave. Some cousins had an affinity for repeat numbers like 11:11 or 12:12 or 3:33. They may have been sharing a story about their deceased parent and suddenly note that the clock face said 3:33 or 12:12.
The stories by themselves and the unusual experiences do not prove reincarnation but they do reveal a continuity of life and a strong connection within families. When we held a ceremony at the family grave site, unveiling a new headstone marker, it gave all of us pause when a mourning dove, the family's "bird totem," appeared in a tree overhead cooing its mournful sounds. When grandchildren who did not know the ancestors began to cry quietly, a nerve was struck. To all of us present on that January morning, the family members long departed still held silent vigils watching all of us still in human form. We are their continuity of life.
Jo Mooy - February 2013