The belief in reincarnation dates back to around the 6th century BC, and first appears in primitive Indian religions. Reincarnation is the belief that the man’s soul is reborn time and time again after the body has died.
Most Western religious denominations believe that they person who dies retains their individuality after death, whereas the Eastern religions often believe in the possibility of returning as an animal or a plant.
According to Buddhism and Hinduism, the man or woman is reborn in accordance with how they lived their previous life. This is commonly referred to as Karma. There are some sects of Hinduism that hold the belief that reincarnation does not necessarily mean that they will be reborn as another human. If the person has lived a bad life of crime, then it is possible that they could be reborn as a lizard, worm, or even a cactus!
The Kikaya women of Kenya often worshipped at a place that they believed was inhabited by their ancestral souls. It was the belief that for them to become pregnant, their ancestral souls must enter their bodies.
Within Christianity, certain Gnostic sects during the 1st century AD believed in the idea of reincarnation. this idea was obviously reputed by the theologians at the time, and in 553 AD, the Emperor Justinian condemned reincarnation as heresy.