In the Ancient Mystery Schools and in their contemporary equivalents, the Doctrine of Reincarnation has been revealed and taught to every aspiring initiate that was believed capable of accepting this profound, liberating understanding and knowledge of the structured cosmic spiritual evolutionary schematic. In the Mystery traditions of Ancient Greece this concept was termed Metempsychosis and was a secret held by only the Adepts given to aspiring neophytes only once initiated into the higher Mysteries.
This doctrine has been held by a plethora of respected and sagacious individuals including Pythagoras, Plato, Buddha, Iamblichus, Porphyry, Henry More, David Hume, Schopenhauer, Emerson, and even Nietzche. The foundation upon which the Cosmos has structured its evolutionary process and schema for continual progress to be attained is entirely predicated upon this singular Doctrine, for without which the totality of Human suffering would remain purposeless and an eternal enigma.
The Law of Reincarnation stipulates that every monadic spark must by necessity and according to Law be subject to cycles ensoulment subject to the causes and effects resulting from actions undertaken in this life or previous ones. This cosmic chain of rippling causality is designed to aid in the progressive experiential and spiritual evolution of the immortal monadic essence, or divine spark.
Each monad attains growth with every new incarnating personality and its subsequent consequential Karmic reciprocity that it undergoes. Every action generated, be it positive or negative, induces an effect, Karma, which will inevitably be experienced by the incarnated monad and absorbed into it.
The Cycle of Reincarnation is not solely attributable to Human experiences, being a process of grand Cosmic involution and evolution. This Cycle permeates the totality of existence. The Incarnating Monad, monadic essence, is a differentiated spark of divinity from the ON, and must experience all forms of life before ensouling a human one.
Thus, the Monadic Spark is "incarnated" into first the Mineral world, evolving from there into ensoulment in the Vegetable or Plant state of existence, then ensouling into the Animal Kingdom, and once all those experiences are absorbed into the Monadic Entity, it finally Incarnates into a Human form.
It has been stated by some that the Master Sages and Divine Teachers such as Buddha, Jesus Christ, and even Pythagoras, were individuals that were subject to Reincarnation through Avataric descent by higher Deities, thus their innately advanced and immense spiritual capacity for occult knowledge.
However, this is not as it appears to be and a more systematic explanation is in order. These Individuals of advanced spiritual knowledge have attained highly elevated, evolved principles for use by their Monadic essence. Consequently, these individuals are by consequence of such prior achievement, further along the cosmic developmental path.
This is due to already having struggled through enormous Karmic harmonization, achieved extraordinary levels of wisdom through previous incarnations, and progressed beyond the average human state of evolution in the current epoch. Their Monad is simply much older than those around them, or even compared to our own in the present day.
The concepts of Metempsychosis (Reincarnation) and Transmigration are often used interchangeably to delineate the same process of cyclical ensoulment. Many conflate the two unknowingly erring and supposing their equivalence perpetuate fallacies. However, there exist intrinsic and distinct differences between these two terms and their conceptual spiritual processes of rebirth.
In metempsychosis there is often the erroneous belief that upon physical expiration the soul essence of the incarnating entity can become re-ensouled into a lesser form such as an insect or animal. This is in actuality is the very definition of transmigration of the soul, and was not taught by the mystery traditions.
The true reincarnation process involves a progressive and systematic re-ensoulment into a vehicle of similar type to its previous one, though it may still suffer from karmic consequences depending on how its previous personality lived, but never will it be regressed into a lower vehicle or form.
In the Reincarnation cycle, the post death state of a disincarnated personality undergoes a particular systematic process whereby the knowledge, understanding, experience, and resulting karma of the personality is filtered and then absorbed into the totality of its eternal monadic essence or spark. This process of subsequent absorption occurs over a lengthy period of time with the disincarnated personality continuing to exist in an extra physical state until the totality of its data is incorporated into the monadic experiential blueprint.
This process stipulates that the previous incarnated personality's mental and emotional bodies supersede physical expiration continuing to reside in a state of personalized existence until incorporated into the monadic essence totally. The process, according to Manly Hall and others, transpires in two phases.
The first one involves the gradual absorption of the emotional body and its experiences occurring over time, from 150 years to 300 years in length. Once completed the intellectual or mental body remains only. The second phase is its subsequent absorption and typically transpires over 500 to 800 years when ultimately the previously incarnated personality entirely disintegrates and truly ceases to exist, being now merely a part of the monadic spark.
The memory of previous incarnations in a newly generated personality is an occurrence that has been expounded upon by scholars. This is event is atypical and unusual in the reincarnation process, but its occurrence has been documented enough times with adequate diligence undertaken to determine validity.
The vast majority of people have no residual memories of previous incarnated personalities from their ensouling monadic spark, however as previously stated it does occur. The reasoning behind such instances is twofold: first the previous incarnated persona died prematurely, typically in adolescence.
Thus, the monadic entity generated a new physical personality without building a new mental and emotional one leading to energetic connectivity between the old one and newly ensouled.
Secondly, the incarnating personality may exhibit atypical energetic sensitivity of a spiritual nature which enables them to experience flashes or contact with the immortal monadic entity resulting in memetic glimpses of past lives. There exist some very compelling cases in which certain reincarnated personalities exhibit and demonstrate such sufficient knowledge and memory of their previous life as to sway even the most skeptical opponent of reincarnation.
In the Mystery Schools of Antiquity, it was commonly promulgated to the initiates as well as the adepts that the act of deliberate suicide was inherently forbidden and would invariably result in existential repercussions to which the individual who took his own life would then become subject to upon death. In the philosophical schools teaching Reincarnation, this was an extraordinarily pervasive teaching and doctrine of all Mystery Schools in antiquity worthy of the name.
Accordingly, if one chose this route, it would be exceedingly detrimental to one's karmic considerations in their next incarnation as well as to their overall spiritual progress as an ensouling monad. It is purported by some occult students and esoteric scientists that when this occurs the result is the individual, that committed suicide, remains linked to their post-death state of soul-consciousness in addition to their state being forced to remain anchored upon the material plane for the duration of their naturally occurring lifespan.
Additionally, a further repercussion imposed upon that individual monadic essence, is the failure of the individual monad to absorb any lessons from that incarnation's experiences during that life. Thus, the incarnation they cut short ultimately is one that becomes a totally wasted opportunity to gain experiential soul growth.
It has been argued by many people who fail to adequately comprehend the reincarnation cycle of necessity and its intricacies, that the process of karmic law is the seeming death of free-will and postulates a process whereby individuals are ensnared in a cosmic box without recourse or choice in their life. However, though it appears this way at a glance, that is not the case once the process is properly delineated.
Karma is in essence a process of reconciliation between causes and their effects, and while particular causes may be residual from a previous incarnation it doesn't encompass the entire gamut of your life in this incarnation. Once those are worked out, the proceeding karma acquired during this life results from YOUR actions which then manifest karmic effects as a result.
Individuals have choices in life, some very many some very few, as well as circumstances and it is through the free-will navigation of your choices that then stipulate the karma manifested, thus free-will does exist and it is not fate but an endless cycle and process of causes and effects.
In the Occult and Esoteric traditions there is an aphorism which states, " A rock becomes a plant, a plant an animal, an animal a man, a man a spirit, and a spirit a god" and this is accordingly the monadic ensoulment evolutionary schema for all the endless sparks of the One Cause or Primordial Essence which manifest into the world. It is a cyclical and perpetual involutionary and evolutionary system of activity which proceeds over eons of time only ending (seemingly as there are no true endings) in the stage of cosmic pralaya when all becomes reabsorbed into the One to eventually be remanifested on a higher level once again upon the next manvatara, or Great Cycle of manifestation and differentiation.
This Great Cycle of monadic evolutionary ensoulment is effectuated by a septenary, seven based, system occurring in a sequential fashion upon seven stages or rounds of the evolution of our globe which runs concurrently with the monadic one. The entirety of this cosmic process is delineated and elaborated upon in "The Secret Doctrine" by H. P. Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society in the 1880's and wrote the entirety of its system into her Volume the Cosmogenesis.
In the Cosmogenesis of the Secret Doctrine, the cosmic process of Monadic evolution is one which links the microcosmic with the macrocosmic aspects of the Cosmos in relation to the hierarchy of being corresponding to all previous cycles. However, if one was to attempt an extrapolation of the process from its initial unfoldment, hypothetically since there is no ending nor beginning of it, one would begin with initiation of a Manvataric cycle when the eternal, unmanifested essence, the Causeless Cause, Parbrahm awakens from a Cosmic Night of Pralaya into the next Cycle of emanation and manifestation. Now the ways in which these cycles operate with the Infinite Unmanifest is through these Cosmic Days and Cosmic Nights of Brahma which are essentially the cyclical periodicities of activity or of inactivity of the cosmic root cause.
In the Days of Brahma, the Infinite Unmanifest is awakened into processional activity and multitudinous manifestation and emanation systematically generating the Cosmic Superstructures; and contradistinctively the Nights of Brahma are the periods in which the totality of manifested existence becomes disintegrated and subsequently reabsorbed into the root Causeless Cause, the Infinite Eternal Unmanifest which then "rests" in an "Unconscious" dreamless sleep for a cycle. This process is consecutive, successive, and periodical in nature and one Day follows a Night and then lapses back into another Day on an on for eternity. Furthermore, the Days and Nights of Brahma are purported to be identical in duration or length.
The Beginning of a Manvataric Cycle, Day of Brahma, of successive manifestation and differentiation is initiated by the emanation of the Unmanifest which manifests the First Cause, Logos or Brahma, from the Causeless Cause. The First Cause or Logos then produces the two, Cosmic Ideation and Cosmic Substance, which in turn proceeding and working in tandem manifest the Hierarchy of Dyhan Chohans which are in essence the multitude or host of creative potencies or divine architects, in one sense of the manifested Universe which is engineered on a septenary scale. The Dyhan Chohans are in the aggregate referred to as the Second Logos or the Demiurge in Theosophy.
The Monads come into the equation through the emanations of these Dyhan Chohans which are their fractal spark of spirit inherited from the First Logos. The Monads are the highest aspect of the septenary nature of Man as well as being the first he becomes endowed with evolutionarily, and i say evolutionarily because the first men that came into existence had essentially only that aspect out of the seven acquiring the remaining six aspects over time and through subsequent evolutionary processes based in spiritual schematics. However, before the stage in which man manifests around his Monad, there are all the preceding stages the monadic essence must undergo before reaching that one.
The systematic process of monadic re-ensoulment transpires over Eras and undergoes involution and Evolution in Rounds and upon different Globes (Earth), each globe contains 7 rounds. These stages (cycles), rounds, and globes are also all of a septenary (seven-fold) sequence whereby the manifestations in the initial cycle, round, or globe are of an exceedingly spiritual constitution which progressively involutes towards denser, grosser, and more material manifestations until we arrive at our current world paradigm in the fourth round and fourth earth, the middle of the total cycle. However, these concepts of rounds will be covered elsewhere as will the seven earths and seven root-races of humanity.
The Monads undergo progressive ensoulments in the various stages of cyclical cosmic evolution which begin with incarnation into the mineral world, then the plant world, then the animal world, and finally into the human world. The entirety of the process is designed so that the ensouling monadic essence gradually partakes in the myriad of experiences associated with each type of incarnating vehicle from rock all the way to human thus accumulating the totality of possible and potential experiences for monadic growth in every and all forms offered by manifested existence. Thus, the monad undergoes every mineral experience through all possible mineral vehicles before proceeding to ensoulment in the vegetable vehicle, from all vegetable vehicular experiences before ensoulment into the animal vehicle, and from all animals' vehicular experiences before ultimate ensoulment into a human vehicle.
There is no regression and thus the concept of reincarnation post-death into a plant or animal, as some think and postulate it, is essentially nonviable and impossible since incarnations follow a evolutionary schematic and structure designed for progressive accumulation of experiences from the current stage of the manifested cycle. Therefore, the human monad will always and invariably reincarnate back into another vehicle of the same type, meaning a human vehicle, never regressing back into the previous stage of animal or plant incarnation since those experiences were already absorbed and finished.
In Blavatsky's Cosmogenesis the totality of this monadic process is rendered and with extraordinary details and postulations upon its many stages. For further information on this topic and the extended scope and magnitude of its unfoldment see the page specifically devoted to the Arcana of her Secret Doctrine with its rounds and root-races.