Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

Reincarnation and Emotional Wounding

Posted by Mike on December 20, 2012

Reincarnation has been the topic of the week in Golden Dawn circles, something I’ve found ironic on a personal level. This started with a post by Nick Farrell on Facebook that caught me by surprise because the argument essentially came across as a straw man, something that is muddied by the unfortunate truth that there are a lot of people who believe in a previous life event that is somehow responsible for their current place in life. The argument that reincarnation shouldn’t be the blame or focus for one’s current problems is an excellent one, a point that really should be highlighted more often. The straw man argument, however, is assuming that one reincarnation model being false or useless means more subtle models are also false or useless. It seems to me that it is reasonable to consider reincarnation as a living hypothesis, something flexible we can talk about, rather than as a statement of dogma, either pro or con.

I’ve never engaged in past life therapy nor intend to, but can imagine it’s as subject to Sturgeon’s law as much as astrology, tarot or anything else the Golden Dawn shares with the new age. In this regard what is always important is what it’s supposed to accomplish and whether this type of therapy actually accomplishes that goal. The idea is usually that we bring a negative karmic balance over from previous lives and the question is what we can do to balance it. I’m unaware exactly how past life regression leads to releasing negative patterns, but there is work out there that implies that the model helps people go onto better lives, in fact even if most of it is just fantasy and creativity it still appears to do this.

But the question is whether we even need a reincarnation model to explain negative patterns, since it’s unlikely there are patterns that can’t be explained by what has happened in this life.  In fact some reincarnation models will posit that the negative karmic balance is a pattern that is duplicated in just this way, via our childhood and subsequent experiences. You, then, don’t actually have to worry about what got you here, you operate focused solely on the pattern’s “inheritance.” The idea in some karmic models is that for whatever complex and varied reasons, you inherit a life situation that isn’t really optimal, usually because emotional wounding had reduced you to powerlessness. This is an important point because nothing else has fixed the problem. We usually want to heal because the Old World has become the problem and we come to the dawning that you have to heal yourself first. This is where reincarnation can become the illusion, all of a sudden a past life is a reason for why we’re stuck, we now have something to blame and the healing stops. But this is just a reflection of the old powerlessness, it’s the old model supposedly giving way to the new. Again is this mode leading to healing or is it just getting in the way?

In the Golden Dawn we purify ourselves for the influx of the Divine. In doing so we reach a point where your buried shit is going to get the highlighter treatment. The modality should always be how the problems get resolved. Someone blaming their past life for being stuck is finding another excuse. Someone who finds a past life therapist who managed to release them from emotional damage and harmful patterns, even if the entire idea of reincarnation is just a nightmare from an Elizabeth Clare Prophet book, is moving to a more purified place, assuming the initiate has worked through Yesod and hasn’t gotten stuck on conspiracy theories or that it “all might be true.”

It is possible to work with spiritual healing models based on the dissipation of karma and not even touch on the idea of what happened in a previous life. In my last post I touched on the idea that the Golden Dawn curriculum may be weak in the area of dealing with emotional wounding, the same emotional wounding that is often considered karmic debt in other models. Really, the debate shouldn’t be about whether or not reincarnation is true so much as whether the model can be used to dissolve blockages on an initiate’s progress. This isn’t an entry/probationer issue because a lot of emotional wounding is unconscious and won’t come up in force until the emotional body comes into play.

I would, however, posit that it is often this very emotional damage that can initiate a spiritual search even if its entirely unconscious when the search begins. Many people in healthy families and relationships will often not have that feeling “something is missing” that often drives people into alternate spirituality or aren’t as likely to hang up when working on the emotional body. Whether we call it emotional wounding or karmic debt or Bill, there is an impetus at work that is likely to continue directing emotionally damaged people to real spiritual systems. And while there are karmic and reincarnational models that can actually help with some of these problems, it seems a bit hasty to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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