Reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, and future lives – Useful definitions

When talking about reincarnation or past lives, different authors use different definitions for these and related terms. It can be confusing!

I thought I should explain what I mean by these terms when I use them in my blog posts, eBooks, and audio recordings. In this post, I will define four terms: reincarnation, past lives, life between lives, and future lives.




I define reincarnation as the belief that:

  • Our soul has lived lifetimes before this one.
  • After our physical death in our present lifetime, our soul will very likely be “reborn” into a new life experience.

There are many theories regarding how this occurs and what these experiences are like, and these theories often vary depending on religious upbringing and/or the author writing about this topic.

However, most people in the metaphysical field agree that each lifetime is designed to provide our soul with unique life experiences. This is done so we continue to learn and grow.

Just some of these differences that we may select in different lifetimes include:

  • Genders
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical characteristics
  • Physical problems or conditions
  • Family structure and relationships
  • Friendship groups
  • Careers
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Country of origin (or even planet/dimension)
  • Religious and spiritual beliefs
  • And many others


Past lives

I define past lives as the lifetimes that our soul has lived previous to our present lifetime. Different theories exist regarding how many lifetimes each soul will experience, ranging from just a few to many hundred.


Life between lives

In between each of our incarnations, those in the metaphysical field believe that we exist on a plane of existence that is sometimes referred to as “the other side” or “the other side of the veil.” This is a non-physical realm of existence. We are energetic in form.

During our time between lifetimes, it is believed that we have relationships with other souls and we fulfill certain responsibilities. We also review and study our most recent lifetime in order to learn lessons and make plans for our next lifetime.

By connecting with our guides, angels, and even our higher selves, we can learn about our life in between lifetimes. This may involve accessing our Akashic Records, which can tell us about our past lives, as well as our current life script. These insights are given to us by the Divine to help us live a fuller, happier, and healthier present lifetime.


Future lives

Sometimes, we are given a special gift. We are given information about possible scenarios regarding one or more of our future lives. This is often done through hypnotic regression, but your angels and guides can sometimes provide this information.

This glimpse into a possible future is rare. It’s given in order to clarify what might happen if a specific choice(s) is made in the present lifetime (i.e., what will our future life look like if we choose one particular course of action). 

However, these glimpses are believed to be very tentative because you, as a soul, haven’t yet finished the present lifetime. Your choices in this lifetime may impact this possible future life. Those on the other side give you this glimpse in order to help you make healthier choices in your present lifetime.


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By Anne Reith, Ph.D.