“Socrates, in the Phaedo, speaks of “the ancient doctrine that souls pass out of this world to the other, and there exist, and then come back hither from the dead, and are born again.”
In Hesiod’s Works and Days there is the image of the Wheel of Life. In the mystical tradition there was prominent the wide-spread notion of a fall of higher forms of life into the human sphere of limitation and misery. The Orphics definitely taught that the soul of man fell from the stars into the prison of this earthly body, sinking from the upper regions of fire and light into the misty darkness of this dismal vale. The fall is ascribed to some original sin, which entailed expulsion from the purity and perfection of divine existence and had to be expiated by life on earth and by purgation in the nether world.”
Both Plato and Empedocles were expelled from a Pythagorean society or school, for revealing the secret teachings to the profane.
(R.D. Hicks: “The Platonic myths afford ample evidence that Plato was perfectly familiar with all the leading features of this strange creed. The divine origin of the soul, its fall from bliss and the society of the gods, its long pilgrimage of penance through hundreds of generations, its task of purification from earthly pollution, its reincarnation in successive bodies, its upward and downward progress, and the law of retribution for all offenses.”)
“There is evidence pointing to the fact that Plato was quite familiar with the Mystery teachings, if not actually an initiate. In the Phaedrus he says:
“….being initiated into those Mysteries which it is lawful to call the most blessed of all Mysteries….we were free from the molestation of evils which otherwise await us in a future period of time. Likewise in consequence of this divine initiation, we become spectators of entire, simple, immovable and blessed visions resident in the pure light.”
–Alvin Boyd Kuhn, A Modern Revival of Ancient Wisdom, pg. 8.