Discussing faith, spirituality and religion is generally a very hit-and-miss affair. You never know, after all, who you’re going to piss off. (In fact, the most insulting thing anybody has ever said to me followed hearing I’m an atheist: “Oh you poor thing”. The lady in question was a Baptist. And Australian. And my ‘line manager’. In case any of those facts are important.) Consequently, it was never my intention to write about any of that here – purely because in my life right now spirituality doesn’t play a major role. That and the fact that I’ve become more … “rational” as I’ve aged. (A sentence that possibly deserves more focus …)
However, since undertaking the Zero to Hero challenge I’ve discovered a ‘new’ blog (new to me, that is) and upon reading a post this morning, was struck by an otherwise innocuous (and possibly throwaway?) line regarding one of the author’s past lives:
Several years ago a past life therapist told me I was a Viking in a previous life.
It made me stop and recall a time in my life (late teens/early twenties) when spirituality – including the concept of reincarnaton – played a bigger role in my life.
I was raised in a ‘traditional’ country home – the youngest of four boys – in a quiet village. We went to church (Church of England) every Sunday, at Christmas and possibly Easter, but I never remember religion being a fervent part of home life. I was schooled in CofE schools and ran the usual gamut of Nativity plays, carols, hymns and the like. This was all done because … well, that’s just what you did. It wasn’t until I got to secondary school that I met anybody with an alternate religion (and even then it was a denomination of Christianity – Baptist, Methodist, etc).
However, one of my earliest memories is of leaping into my parents bed early one morning clutching a book in my hand. I forget the exact title, but it had no doubt been purchased for one of my older brothers and was entitled something like “Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals” – I barely remember the contents but the cover was banded in black and white and I loved it. I think I probably loved it to death. Anyway, I remember leaping into bed with them and explaining all about evolution and the Big Bang and whatnot. I loved all of it. When I went to church (and the joy of Sunday School) the only thing I enjoyed was Noah’s Ark and that only because of the animals. This didn’t even change when, upon moving house, my mother signed me up for the local church choir.
That’s me, by the way, the boy child slap-bang in the centre of the photo. Despite the … smirk on my face, I don’t really recall enjoying myself very much whilst part of the choir. I couldn’t sing (still can’t) and I didn’t like what I was singing about.
Sorry, I’m getting off the point of this post. I think what I was trying to illustrate was that even from a young age, despite what I was exposed to as a child, I never believed in the God of the Abrahamic religions so was, perhaps, more open to … other belief systems.
Fast forward from my cherubic pre-teens to my not-quite-so-cherubic mid-teens and I started to investigate modern paganism, predominantly Wicca. Part of the attraction was that these belief systems accepted the sexuality that I was rapidly identifying with at this stage. The internet helped me out a great deal over these years and pointed me to a number of books and authors. One of which was Denise Linn’s book ‘Past Lives, Present Dreams’. By some … coincidence this was available at my local library.
The book contains a couple of guided meditations that can be used to regress a person in a hypnogogic state and allow them to explore their past life. Or lives. I would imagine that its beyond the point of this post to set out any tenets of reincarnation or to examine the arguments for and against and the ramifications of such – there’s a whole internet of opinion out there if you wish to do so yourself and I’m not going to pass judgement on anything. My aim here is to only set out my own experiences.
Whilst initially, perhaps, undertaken through curiosity with like-minded friends, regressions were – for me at least – an interesting entry into exploring spirituality as a whole. Spirit guides, animal guides, past lives, energies … it opened my mind up in surprising ways (some of which are private and personal).
But the past lives. They were often presented as snapshots. There were no names, only a sense of gender, and no dates, only rough estimates driven by fashion and context. They were also often only presented as flat. That is, only having an impact in that existence. It was through discussion with somebody who was gifted in past life analysis (for want of a better word) that I was able to integrate those experiences fully into my current life and – to use a term that was introduced to me – clear karma, both mine and of other people.
In no particular order I’ll sketch out what I recall of some of those past lives.
- Classical Greece (broad term, I know); I was a youth with an older lover – the erômenos to his erastês – but was left alone following his leaving. This subsequently engendered a sense of looking to others for support and wanting to put others before myself.
- ‘Pioneer’ Canada; I was a young child, left orphaned in a small village, and used as a whipping boy by the settlement. One of the punishments I received was being lowered into a pit for days on end. I died following the pit caving in, burying me alive.
- American Revolutionary War/War of 1812; I was a young lady dancing with my soldier lover the night that he left for war. I was determined that he wouldn’t be faced with my tears so shut parts of myself down.
- Edwardian London; I was a young man from a good family and wandering through the house at a party my mother had arranged in order for me to choose a wife. Killed by my brother, although not by his own hand, for my part of our father’s inheritance.
- France, unknown time; I was informed of this past life, with the relevance being it was set in the house my parents purchased in France. I grew to be an old lady at the farm, surrounded by family and happiness and singing. And a red dress.
I’m sure that there are more, both explored and unexplored, but those are the most prominent ones.
Its strange. I don’t think that this topic is necessarily done with, despite my opening paragraph.
Now I have about 10 minutes to myself before today’s Zero to Hero assignment is posted …