From Plastic Tub

rebirth n. 1. A literal episode of being born anew, as with reincarnation. 2. metaphorical A profoundly transformative experience, often involving sensory loss as a symbolical re-wombing.


Metaphorical rebirths are traditionally triggered by some great physical tribulation that, like the womb, involve a separation from the world as represented by a loss of sensation. Classic cases include the blinding of St. Paul; the hand burning of Paracelsus; the bodily ablation of Jesus of Nazareth; the entrapments of Toru Okada and Jessica McClure in wells; and the whale-swallowings of Jonah, Pinocchio and Grigio.

Religious rebirths are often noted with rituals that mimic the conditions of the womb. New Christians are, for example, welcomed to the faith through a ritualistic immersion in water, where, like a fetus, they are cut off from the world and surrounded by fluid.


"Oh God! that man should be a thing for immortal souls to sieve through!" -- Melville. Moby-Dick.

See Also