The latest from Goddart (Bliss,1999, etc.) is a veritable epic of reincarnation literature; the author outlines the 4,137 lives he says he has lived prior to his present incarnation.
The author’s various existences extend thousands of years into the past and sprawl over all kinds of occupations, ages, races, and cultures delineated here in quick vignettes corresponding to the “recovering” experiences the author has undergone since 2013. He was an herbalist working in Warwick, England, from 1181 to 1204 (“I died of illness,” he relates. “Life was tough in those days”). He was a mathematician in Sigtuna, Sweden, where he worked doing administrative duties for the school to which he was attached. He was a teacher of young boys in many cultures and climates, including ancient Greece—memories of which were triggered by the author reading Mary Renault’s ancient Greece novels. (Goddart notes ironically that he was grateful to “confirm” that he’s never had lives in ancient Rome or Egypt: “This should relieve all those women and men who ‘were’ Cleopatra.”) In addition to tracing his own incarnations throughout all these ages, he also follows the “Cohort of Seven,” a group of similarly reincarnated beings who’ve been accompanying him. And in all of this, Goddart pays attention to the grander themes of reincarnation—the goal of living significant lives by concentrating on “karmas” over the centuries. “Karma: Again, the good and bad debts that we accumulate through our actions, speech, and thoughts,” he writes. “We have the current karmas of this life, the new ones we create, and our great, great reserve of karmas that is the accumulation from millions of lives.”
There’s a good deal of vibrancy in Goddart’s piece-by-piece tapestry of his extended personal past, particularly in its free-flowing treatment of concepts that are typically fixed in accounts like this, such as gender and particularly sexuality: In his earlier lives, Goddart was often “homophile,” his term for men loving men before terms like “homosexual” were coined. And Goddart’s larger concepts are touched on regularly enough to bring cohesion to the entire work; “there’s a purpose to human life,” he writes, “a specific purpose for each human life.” The author is continuously listening to his sanskaras, the warning bells that alert him to the details of previous lives. Those details are strictly for fans of reincarnation literature who will find Goddart’s account both fascinating and ambitious, an attempt to map the entire tangled biography of one spirit. Nonfans will read Goddart’s claims about having lived lives on alien planets and in mythological locations like Atlantis over 17,000 years ago and will determine immediately that all of this is fantasy, but then, the book probably isn’t for them.
A fascinating spiritual composition of one soul’s journey through hundreds of incarnations.