I'm currently reading the Hermetica.
Hermetics was highly influential in the Renaissance. The Renaissance an emerging from the Dark Ages to bring a reawakening of new learning into Europe. This reawakening brought ancient Paganism back into the consciousness of Europe. Hermetics of Ancient Egypt at least as far back as 3000 BCE with the Hermetica's origins unknown but suggested as being descended from the ancient philosophy of the Egyptians.
One of the chapters discusses in the Hermetica is Death and Immortality, only one of the many topics in this book. Below is an excerpt describing one of the passages of the Hermetica...
In this chapter Hermes explores the nature of death and the fate of the soul which survives it.
From mankind's perspective, time is a destroyer. Through the process of time we age and die. From a cosmic perspective, time is an endlessly repeating cycle, measured by the constant revolutions of the stars. Whilst the things of the Earth are always changing, the orbits of the stars always remain the same. Hermes asks, could something as impermanent and transitory as our earthly existence be regarded as anything other than an illusion? Yet this illusion arises from an underlying permanent reality. The discovery of the permanent within the impermanent is the reward of the spiritual quest.
Hermes teaches that we must accept the inevitable transitory nature of all physical things. Everything is in a process of being born and then dying. The old must pass away so that the new can come into existence. New shoots are born from the decaying remains of old vegetation. And these new shoots will in turn eventually decay and die. he teaches, however, that a human birth is not the beginning of the soul, only of its incarnation as that particular person. Death is simply the end of this particular person and the soul's transformation into another state. Death is just the discarding of a worn-out body. Most people are ignorant of this fact and therefore needlessly fear death.
After, leaving the body at death, the individual soul is judged by the chief of the gods, to see if it is pure and honourable. Pure souls are assigned to a heavenly realm. Ignorant souls fall once again into the material realms and are reincarnated. A soul which during it's earthly life has come to know God, will have become all Mind. When it leaves the body it takes on a body of Light and is free from all limitations. Such an enlightened soul has recognized that its essential nature is god-like, and on death it communes with God. It has 'run the race of purity' and is now completely spiritual and divine. Such a soul has become a 'god'.
After reading this I pondered my current existence and how much evolution in my spiritual self I have accomplished and would like to accomplish during this lifetime. I, as so many, naturally gravitate towards learning and growing in this lifetime, and with great gratitude I have the ability to do so now. So with knowing that the who "I" am in this lifetime that I recognize and am familiar with, how much do I want to accomplish as this current representation of the higher self in material form is of primary importance.
For if I am to be reincarnated at some point in time in the future, may I not have the opportunities to evolve then as I do now? This is of great motivation to move forward with the journey of evolution with the time I have now... but then I wonder if this has more to do with an attachment with who I am now, thus possibly through this attachment, slowing the process. Although there is no rush, it is still motivating to accomplish as much growth as possible while I am who I am now. There is so much to learn, so many interests, so much to experience, I want to take advantage of that which is available to me now and not waste the moments I have while in my current life path.