That the condition described in the ancient texts and myths as death actually refers to the soul’s condition when plunged into the realm of matter during this incarnate life — a point missed by almost all modern scholars and researchers of ancient myth, who have perhaps been misled by nearly two centuries of literalistic interpretation of ancient wisdom: literalistic interpretation which has missed the metaphor entirely
We have the whole idea most tersely expressed in the Gorgias of Plato:
“But indeed, as you say also, life is a grievous thing. For I should not wonder if Euripides spoke the truth when he says: ‘Who knows whether to live is not to die, and to die is not to live?’ And we perhaps are in reality dead. For I have heard from one of the wise that we are now dead; and that the body is our sepulcher, but that the part of the soul in which the desires are contained is of such a nature that it can be persuaded and hurled upward and downwards.”
[. . .]
The great Plotinus (Enneads I, lviii) gives us a clear presentment of the Greek conception:
“When the soul had descended into generation (from this first divine condition) she partakes of evil and is carried a great way into a state the opposite of her first purity and integrity, to be entirely merged in it . . . and death to her is, while baptized or immersed in the present body, to descend into matter and be wholly subjected to it . . . This is what is meant by the falling asleep in Hades, of those who have come there.” (Lost Light, 160 – 161).
Through these incredible symbolic allegories, the ancient myths given to humanity (at some point in extreme antiquity, predating the earliest texts of Egypt and Mesopotamia) endeavor to convey to our understanding the nature of our sojourn here in this incarnate life — and to assure us that the soul does not die: its “periodic release from the body no more breaking the sequence of lives than does our nightly sleep break the continuity of the experience of the days,” as the soul “steppeth onward through eternity.
The Lost Light An Interpretation Of Ancient Scriptures
Useful Resources – http://www.adishakti.org/_/great_cover_up_of_reincarnation.htm
Heaven is not reached at a single bound;
But we build the ladder by which we rise
From the lowly earth, to the vaulted skies,
And we mount to its summit round by round – Gradatim By Josiah Gilbert Holland