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Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Coffee Hour at Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can discuss what’s happening in our lives, what we’ve been working on, and our opinions on current events. Our starting topic today is reincarnation.

In cultures around the world over the past few hundred thousand years people have wondered what happens after death. One of the most common beliefs is that of reincarnation. The basic idea of reincarnation is that living entities—both animals and humans—are animated by a soul. Following death, this soul is then reborn, thus animating a new living entity.

In many American Indian hunting cultures, this concept can be seen in the hunting rituals. After harvesting an animal (killing the animal in non-Indian terms) the hunter offers a prayer to the spirit of the animal, thanking it for giving up its life and explaining that the hunter’s people had need of it. By doing this, according to the traditional beliefs, the soul of the animal will then be reborn as an animal with good feelings toward the hunter. Failure to do this ritual thanking the animal’s soul, may result in that soul being reborn as a rattlesnake or as a grizzly bear with a resentment toward the hunter.

For hunting people living outside of the tropics and watching the world change as it goes through the seasons, the idea of reincarnation is in harmony with the world as the people observe it.

We also find the concept of reincarnation in modern urban religions, such as Umbanda. Umbanda is a Brazilian religion which originated in the 20th century that integrates various religious movements: Condomblé, Catholicism, and Spiritualism. With regard to reincarnation, one Umbanda manual states:

“Reincarnation is a divine precept of the Father, through which he rewards or punishes, according to each person’s merit, since reincarnation has the following as its predetermined ends: to rescue the individual from errors and sins committed in previous lives; to furnish spiritual development for the individual; and to impose on each new arrival certain missions of great importance which must be fulfilled while on Earth.”
Welcome to another reincarnation of the Street Prophets Coffee Hour, an open thread. Feel free to talk about reincarnation, or to change the subject to something more important, such as food, drink, and, of course, politics. If you are new to Street Prophets, please introduce yourself.
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