Introduction to reincarnation

From Anthroposophy


Lecture coverage and references

Rudolf Steiner covered the process between death and a new birth throughout his 20 years of lecturing between 1904 and 1924. Besides the standard works (books), we can list some 45 lecture cycles that, relevant lectures taken together, contain a foundation for study.

Below are some starting points selected to initialize one's understanding by studying a number of complementary perspectives:

  • books:
    • 1904-GA009: Theosophy
    • 1910-GA013: OES or Outline of Esoteric Science
  • lecture cycles
    • 1912/13-GA140 (various) - 20 lectures
    • 1914-04-GA143 (Vienna) - 3 lectures
    • 1923-08-GA227 (Penmaenmawr) - 4 lectures 8 to 11
    • 1923-11-GA231 (The Hague) - 3 lectures
    • 1924-05-GA236/239 (Dornach/Paris) - 5 to 6 lectures
    • 1924-06-GA239/240 (Stuttgart/Breslau) - 5 lectures

20th century after WWII

In 1950, the influential book 'Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce story on reincarnation' was published.

In the period 1960-1980, a number of authors started to publish their work in the area of reincarnation and research into past lives. This provided a foundation on which many more authors could build to take this work into the mainstream in the period 1980-2020.

  • Ian Stevenson, and Jim B. Tucker
    • Stevenson wrote his first paper with 44 cases suggestive of reincarnation in 1960. His first book dates from 1966: 'Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation'. His systematic research was published in four volumes in 1975, 1977, 1980, 1983, with follow up books in 1984 and 1987.
    • Tucker followed into his footsteps and published Life before life in 2005 and Return to life in 2013
  • Raymond Moody's bestseller 'Life after life' was published in 1975
  • Morris Netherton and Roger Woolger pioneered regression therapy with books in 1978 and 1987.
  • Helen Wambach (1978, 1983) and Carol Bowman (1997, 2001)
  • bestselling books on the theme came from eg Brian Weiss (Many lives, many masters, 1988) and Michael Newton (Journey of Souls, 1994)


This has to be put in perspective with parallel developments, in the same timeframe, in the areas of Near Death Experiences (NDE)?

Kenneth Ring did research into this with publications in 1980, 1984, 1998, 1999. Another influential book was ao George W. Ritchie's Return from tomorrow (1978).

This was the time period when much new material was being published on other states of consciousness: Out of Body experiences (OOB), astral travel, remote viewing, and lucid dreaming.

Examples illustrations are:

  • Albert Taylor's 'Soul Traveler' (1996), Robert Petersen (2002, 2013) books on Journeys out of the body. As well as Robert Bruce's books (1999, 2004) such as ao 'Astral dynamics' as well as books by William Buhlman (2009, 2011) on the topic.
  • Stephen LaBerge's on Lucid dreaming (1985, 1990 onwards), see refererences here.
  • Joseph McMoneagle's 'Mind trek' on remote viewing (1993).


In summary, the above shows how a new wave of interest has arisen through these and many other authors bringing topics of spiritual scientific nature to the mainstream media in quite a different way then the theosophical and anthroposophical wave of say 1880-1930.


Related pages

References and further reading