‘A reincarnation from Ancient Greece or a mad delusion?’ ~ Charles Gates, archaeologist, art historian, and author of Ancient Cities.
Is there a definitive answer? I tend to let my books write themselves so I’m afraid I can’t say one way or another. Although, as I’ve always been interested in Buddhism, it’s a doctrine I’d never dismiss.
Here’s an excerpt from Ch 25, Temple of Dreams: A Novel of Now and Then. (Seb has been reporting his dreams of Apollos, a young Athenian warrior, to Sybil, one of his tutors at the Asklepios Foundation, a college of natural medicine.)
‘Could there be a future for Pelagia and Apollos?’ said Seb, surprising himself at how much he wanted it to be so.
‘Doubt it. Pelagia’s not wife material,’ she said, laughing. ‘But then, he’s too young to marry, so she’s probably perfect for him at this point in his life.’
‘That’s if he ever existed,’ said Seb, a strange feeling of loss sweeping over him. ‘Isn’t he just a figment of my imagination?’
Sybil’s reply held a hint of impatience.
‘But how can he be, Seb? You’re no historian. You couldn’t make up the sort of things you’ve described. You’ve never heard of most of the activities and customs of Apollos’s era.’ She paused. ‘With the exception of incubation therapy, of course.’
‘I don’t have an explanation,’ he said, feeling confused. ‘I thought that was your job.’
‘Do you believe in reincarnation?’ she said, her voice shaking slightly.
‘The rebirth of the soul? To believe that, I’d have to believe in an immortal soul. I told you, I’m an agnostic.’
‘Well, I do. And I think your dreams possibly took you to a past life.’ She made a note in her notebook. ‘I’ll have a word with someone who knows about regression and get back to you . . .’
Seb brought his cup down on its saucer with some force, bringing her speech to a halt.
‘Thanks for the tea, Sybil.’ He picked up his dream journal and grabbed his coat from the newel post. ‘I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough of being your lab rat. You promised some sort of diagnosis and treatment of a phantom “condition” but you haven’t delivered. This mad theory of reincarnation has just about put the tin lid on it.’
He opened the front door and glared at her startled face.
‘See you around. Good luck finding another mug to experiment on.‘
Are you a Sybil or a Seb? Read the whole book, and it might convince you one way or the other.
I’ll be at Waterstones Book Shop in Watford, Hertfordshire on Saturday, 26 October 2019 between 11 am and 3 pm for the launch of my latest novel ‘Temple of Dreams’.