The concept of the soul or some other part of a person living over and over again in different physical bodies, is one found in many philosophies and religions. The word reincarnation means, quite literally, “entering the flesh again.” Other terms include rebirth, transmigration, metempsychosis or palingenesis.
While the origin of the idea of reincarnation is hard to determine, it is pervasive. Early writings from India, ancient Greece, Celtic Druids, Norse and Chinese mythology, and Indigenous traditions are just some of the places it can be found throughout the world. Whether philosophical or religious, reincarnation is based on a belief that there is some kind of life after death, and that the world is in the constant state of being reborn.
In the 20th and 21st centuries, scientific study of the concept of past lives led to the use of hypnotherapy to explore this phenomenon. Subjects (especially children who seem to have an easier time remembering past lives) can have vivid (and highly historically accurate) memories. One of the most extensive investigations was by psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, who conducted more than 2,500 case studies of young children who claimed to have past life memories over 40 years of study.
In the world of SPIRAL, the concept of past lives is integral to the connection between the main characters. If you want to learn more, here are some great online resources to get you started: