Since the earliest recorded times, the image of the human soul as a traveller, a sojourner in a foreign land, or the wandering heir to a forgotten inheritance, appears in religious texts, philosophical discourses, poetry, and tribal legends.
Age after age, the same idea repeats itself: we pre-exist as spiritual beings in another world — a world which exists out of sight, but sometimes very near our ordinary world. If there is life prior to conception, what can kind of life is it compared to the life we know here? Was our soul merged with God? Did we dwell in the sky, the Earth, or in a world of light?
Great seers from ancient traditions tell us that creation is cast in layers of universes, analogous to a giant onion, with physical life constituting a middle layer. The legendary Greek philosopher Plato pictured creation as three zones: ethereal, aerial, and material. He said the soul’s journey to Earth begins in the ethereal universe, its birthplace.
Descriptions of the soul’s pre-earthly home vary according to cultural background. Cosmic Cradle depicts the soul’s true home in the light of religion, philosophy, poetry, and tribal legends.
Regardless of whether people prefer to locate our original home in the sky world, the lower world, or interpenetrating the physical world, they generally portray it in glowing terms.
Sufism — Every soul is an angel before it touches the Earth.
Judeo-Christian tradition — The biblical Jacob witnessed the ladder between Heaven and Earth — angels escort souls from and to Heaven via this stairway.
Hebrew — Souls dwell in metaphysical silos in the seventh heaven, the most subtle ether, or the air.
Islam — A sanctuary conjoined to Allah’s heavenly throne.
Mormons — “There is not a soul [who has not lived in God’s] house and dwelt with him.”
Thomas Carlyle (19th century Scotland) — “[My body is] . . . a visible Garment for that divine Me . . . cast hither, like a light-particle, down from Heaven.”
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton (19th century England) — [My] soul descended into its “dark sarcophagus” from its “eternal, star-like” sphere.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (19th century Germany) — Our higher soul “seeks to rise with mighty throes to those ancestral meadows whence it came.”
Thomas Taylor (19th century England) — “The soul, while an inhabitant of earth, is in a fallen condition, an apostate from deity, an exile from the orb of light.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (19th century USA) — The human soul is “a ray from the source of light” which comes into the human body, “as into a temporary abode.”
Christianity – “Glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:6-5)
Philo of Alexandria (Judaism) – Our life is a passage through a foreign city, in which before birth we had no part, and in this city does but sojourn.”