>> I am particularly interested in is the process of incarnation itself. <<
Once the astral body of the former incarnation has completely disintegrated, the temporal mental body (Individual Self) is freed. At this stage, there is a degree of unification between the temporal Individual Self and eternal mental body (Greater Self) and a temporal "conference" of sorts occurs. This is when the eternal Self informs the temporal Self of what is to come and what lessons the temporal mental body must undergo in the next incarnation. Even though these details are know as fact to the eternal Greater Self, the Individual Self *chooses* to embrace and enact them within the temporal realm. The Individual Self, following the instruction of the Greater Self, then chooses the right time and place for incarnation, the parents, the circumstances of the incarnation that will force the needed lessons and experiences, and the time of death.
Once all of these decisions have been made, the desire to procreate arises within the parents. At the pre-determined moment of conception, the temporal mental body descends into the fertilized egg and the astral body begins to crystallize. As the egg develops, so too does the astral crystallization. During gestation, the mental body becomes gradually more and more attached to the physical body until at the pre-determined moment of birth, it emerges bound to the nascent astra-physical body. At the moment of birth, the astral body is formed sufficiently for the new incarnation, nonetheless, it continues to mature throughout the incarnation.
>> Also, I would like to relate this issue to another, very controversial issue of abortion. Namely, what are the implications of abortion (also having in mind different stages of pregnancy) in the light of the Hermetic explanation of incarnation. <<
Abortion is death. The moment of death is fated, from the eternal perspective, just as the moment of conception and birth. With abortion or fetal death of any sort, the incarnating mental body is meeting the lessons it must meet in order to evolve. From the perspective of the aborted spirit, the abortion is necessary for its development. The temporal mental body along with the partially formed astral body of the fetus, is released from physicality and re-enters the process of astral disintegration. This is very brief compared to the process that follows an incarnation of longer duration.
The moment of death, whenever it may occur, is an expression of the karma of the incarnating spirit. The circumstances of death however, are an expression of a mixing of the karma of the incarnating spirit and the person(s) who function(s) as the agency of death. In the case of abortion and fetal death that's due to parental negligence, etc., there is a karmic debt formed between the incarnating spirit and the parent, doctor, drug dealer, etc. The nature of that debt depends entirely upon what is in the heart of the parent(s) and can very from the extremely negative to the extremely positive.
The stage of fetal development has no bearing upon the karmic consequences that those participating in the abortion incur.
Karmically, it is the right of every woman to choose what she will do or not do with her own body. Therefore, abortion does not equate karmically with murder.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
13 Nov 2002