“Enq: I have read a good deal upon the subject, and it seems to me that the notions of the older philosophers differed a great deal from those of the medieval Kabalists, though they do agree in some particulars.
Theo: The most substantial difference between them and us is this. While we believe with the Neo-Platonists and the Eastern teachings that the spirit (Atma) never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only showers more or less its radiance on the inner man (the psychic and spiritual compound of the astral principles), the Kabalists maintain that the human Spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and Universal Spirit, enters man’s Soul, where it remains throughout life imprisoned in the astral capsule.
All Christian Kabalists still maintain the same, as they are unable to break quite loose from their anthropomorphic and Biblical doctrines.
Enq: And what do you say?
Theo: We say that we only allow the presence of the radiation of Spirit (or Atma) in the astral capsule, and so far only as that spiritual radiancy is concerned.
We say that man and Soul have to conquer their immortality by ascending towards the unity with which, if successful, they will be finally linked and into which they are finally, so to speak, absorbed.
The individualization of man after death depends on the spirit, not in his soul and body.
Although the word “personality”, in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is, as our individual Ego, a distinct entity, immortal and eternal, per se.
It is only in the case of black magicians or of criminals beyond redemption, criminals who have been such during a long series of lives – that the shining thread, which links the spirit to the personal soul from the moment of the birth of the child, is violently snapped, and the disembodied entity becomes divorced from the personal soul, the latter being annihilated without leaving the smallest impression of itself on the former.
If that union between the lower, or personal Manas, and the individual reincarnating Ego, has not been effected during life, then the former is left to share the fate of the lower animals, to gradually dissolve into ether, and have its personality annihilated.
But even then the Ego remains a distinct being. It (the Spiritual Ego) only loses one Devachanic state – after that special, and in that case indeed useless, life – as that idealized Personality, and is reincarnated, after enjoying for a short time its freedom as a planetary spirit almost immediately.”
H. P. Blavatsky