"If the doctrine of reincarnation is an illusion," Barfield has Burgeon comment in Unancestral Voice, "it has been a very persistent one. Has not the greater part of humanity held the belief in one form or another?'" (84).

In keeping with the teaching of Anthroposophy, Barfield espouses his belief in reincarnation on several occasions.1 Indeed, reincarnation is essential to his understanding of the evolution of consciousness. In Unancestral Voice, the Meggid elucidates reincarnation for Burgeon, willing to present its truth in broad outline but always hinting at greater mysteries yet to be revealed. "It is only through repeated earth-lives," he explains,

that mind could gradually, and as an historical process, become more and more individualized, that is to say, could gradually emerge from the spirit which gave birth to it and from the nature which it is learning to contemplate from without instead of merely participating from within. From that contemplation it derives its separate existence, from that participation its continuous existence; and therefore the condition of its being is that these two states should rhythmically alternate. (105)

"Some day," he hints, Burgeon (and, by implication, mankind in general) may understand the role incarnation plays in the formation of the physical body:

it may be that you . . . will learn, even in detail, how the lower part of the physical organism, or let us say the part through which will and desire have functioned on earth, the part which remains instinctual and asleep even when the head is awake--how all this is transformed between one life and the next, disappearing into the bosom of the hierarchies for some hundreds of years and then reappearing on earth as the head and the brain of the new organism. (107)

But "the Western understanding of man's repeated earth-lives" the Meggid foresees is not to be confused with that of the Orient, for "when at last it does awaken. . . , it will be virtually opposite to, the Oriental doctrine of 'reincarnation.'"

For it will not, as the East has done, lay the whole emphasis on the period of life on earth, but will understand that the opposite pole, the period purgatorial and celestial between death and birth, is of at least equal significance for the present predicament of the human soul; and it will seek to investigate that, too. . . . And secondly, it will, though with a sober realization of the cost of suffering, see rebirth as a thing to be sought rather than one to be avoided. (108)

See in particular Unancestral Voice, Chap. 7.
1In Worlds Apart the anthroposophist Sanderson expresses Steiner's faith that
    Each time we die, we must expand through space and beyond it into [the spiritual world], where with our mind we nevertheless remain domiciled even during our life on earth. We take back from each embodiment on earth, or we may do so, an increasing power of retaining our self-consciousness during this other phase. We bring back from there to earth, or we may do so, an increasing recollection of the strength and grace which our sojourn in the spheres has bestowed on us. (198)