Some years ago, soon after qualifying as an Egyptian energy-healing therapist, I was invited to the home of Susan, a homeopathic vet. In an effort to clear some 'stuck energy', which she believed was the spirit of a previous resident, we placed some powerful symbols in the air and felt the energy shift quite palpably. Afterwards, as I was giving Susan a healing, she suddenly exclaimed "I am in a young Roman boy in a field, you are with me, we are picking herbs for use with our clients. It is a beautiful sunny day, no clouds in the sky."
She may have listed some herbs, but I wasn't listening to the detail; I was stunned. Could it be that Susan was experiencing a spontaneous Past Life memory? I hadn't been told that this was a possible consequence of a healing. At the time, I actually felt a bit panicky, what if I couldn't cope? What did she mean by 'you are with me'? The session opened a 'can of worms' and I was going to have look into it!
I'd never really thought much about re-incarnation at that time, I wasn't a believer or disbeliever. Brought up in the Church of England, but not a regular church goer, I considered myself a Gnostic - a believer in the existence of a 'Creator' (and that Jesus and other 'Prophets' had most likely lived and delivered their parallel messages) - and sympathetic to a myriad of religions at core level, but not a 'follower' of any. I remembered a couple of strange experiences in my childhood, a visit to Bangkok, aged 9, with my sister then 13, when we insisted to our father that we had visited the Emerald Buddha Temple before and seemed to know the layout with uncanny familiarity. Another episode when I was 18, I was working part-time in my father's travel agency and was offered an 'educational' trip to Israel. The trip involved a walk along the The Via Dolorosa; the route that Christ took carrying the cross on his shoulders before his crucifixion. I was inexplicably moved to tears for the entire journey.
The experience with Susan led me to investigate what proof, if any, there was for re-incarnation and more to the point, Past Life recall.
In her book Yesterday's Children, Jenny Cockell, from Northampton, was haunted from early childhood by memories of her 'past' life as Mary Sutton, living in rural Ireland; even including her 1930's death shortly after giving birth to her eighth child. As a small child, she drew maps/plans of where Mary lived and following painstaking research and past life regression, she was able to pinpoint the village. After further research and a visit to Ireland, she was finally able to trace two of the 'children' from her former life as Mary. Although a practising Catholic and therefore against the principle of re-incarnation, Mary's oldest son, Sonny, felt a strong bond and recognition immediately on meeting her. He then verified that many of the 'memories' Jenny recounted involved details never divulged to anyone and known only to him, his siblings and his late mother.
Further empirical data is supplied by the late Dr Ian Stevenson, an American scientist who compiled an amazing amount of circumstantial evidence for reincarnation. He spent decades tracking down over 2,000 children who demonstrated memories of a 'previous life'. Situated mainly in Lebanon and rural India, where re-incarnation within one or two generations is accepted as fact, many were able to give precise details including their former names and the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Often they can recall the names of friends and family, several of whom Dr Stevenson traced through birth records. Many knew intimate details known only to the deceased's family.
Furthermore, follow-up studies were witnessed by Tom Shroder, a sceptical journalist, who accompanied Dr Stevenson and subsequently evaluated his research.
Intriguingly, Dr Stevenson found that some of these children displayed birthmarks or deformities reminisent of the injury that killed them in their former life. The case of Daniel Jirdi, in war-torn Lebanon, is typical.
From the age of two, Daniel repeatedly proclaimed to his 'birth parents' that he was not their son and theirs was not his home. He insisted that he was Rashid Khaddege, only son of Muntaha and Naim, who died of a head wound after being thrown out of a car following a high-speed crash. He recalls onlookers rushing over and saying "leave this one, he's dead".
Daniel would give his name as Rashid at school, such that the school contacted his mother about it, but she didn't tell them the full story until they called again to say that he made a suggestive comment to an attractive young teacher at school and pinched her bottom. Apparently, acting much more mature than their physical age is another common feature in these cases. Interestingly, Daniel was born with a lemon-shaped lump on his head, which was concerning enough for the birth parents to take him for a check-up. It disappeared after 3 months.
Daniel has since met the Khadegge family, convincing Rashid's mother and sisters that he is Rashid reborn. He even remarked about a jumper that Muntaha was knitting for him when he died. She unpicked it and knitted a tiny jumper for Daniel! Daniel has identified several relatives and friends of Rashid's and given personal details about each of them. He has confronted his cousin Ibrahim, who's bad driving caused the fatal crash. Now adult himself, Daniel, who was born three years after Rashid died, now has children of his own, and together with his wife, they regularly visit Rashid's former home seeing them all as extended family. Rashid's mother proudly displays pictures of Daniel's family and his birth parents seem to accept the situation, as re-incarnation is part of their culture.
Many Past Life Regression Therapists have presented transcripts from client sessions, which ultimately lead to new discoveries; unknown at the time the session was taped. Joanna Prentice has co-written a book on the life of the Essenes, derived from data noted from clients undergoing hypnosis, who remember a life concurrent with Jesus Christ. One of these recorded hypnosis sessions referred to a place within the ancient settlement of Qumran, which at that time had not been excavated, but has since been discovered. The book features revelations about Joseph of Arimathea (Jesus's uncle) being a metal merchant, causing him to make regular visits to the Cornish tin mines with his nephew in tow. Indeed, the book suggests that Jesus's heritage may have included some Celtic ancestry and that he may have undergone some training with practising Druids at that time.
Following my bizarre and unexpected encounter with Susan's 'Past Life' recall, I subsequently encountered 'Past Life' visions with other clients - and 'remembered' many snippets through dreams and experiences of my own - relating to Lemuria, Atlantis, Egypt, the Essenes, Shamanic lives of the Americas (North and South), Templars, Cathars, Middle Age Witches and more. I was able to furnish details to some of these through research and even Crystal Skull Readings with accomplished Clairvoyant Edwin Courtney*. I discovered that many of these lives were thought to belong to people whose heritage belonged to the 'Order of Melchisadec' a known lineage of healers through the Millennia. Could it be that I have myself descended from this lineage - that they form part of my ancestry - or might my soul have actually taken these forms in previous incarnations? Or, maybe my personal interest and training in the healing arts enabled me to tap-into this knowledge through the 'Collective Unconscious', an underused resource which, I believe, is available to anyone.
It is a well-documented Shamanic belief that we may carry in our cellular programming the memory of physical afflictions from one or more past lives and even emotions, particularly connected with our thoughts and beliefs in the dying moments of a previous incarnation.
I also discovered that I had a penchant for 'glimpses' of Past Life images when working on people of all ages. Sometimes I would need only to hear their name - or read an account of something that had happened to them - to get a snapshot event coming in via all available senses; sights, sounds, smells, emotions. I somehow 'freeze' this image and can later re-examine the initial sensations and even fill in an extraordinary amount of detail, through further consideration and research of similar events. Surprisingly, I wasn't very interested in history at school and now found that I was fascinated with learning to furnish relevant details to my ever-growing catalogue of frozen 'moments in time'.
Frankly it is exciting, tantalising, entertaining. Of course, I have wondered whether I am embellishing this 'glimpse' with my own imagination and story writing ability. It is as if a mini-novel is being compiled. I cannot refute that this might be the case. However, what cannot be denied is the number of times I have stumbled across a set of circumstances, which have an amazing relevance to that person's current life issues. As if the 'historical' setting with either real or fictitious characters, is a perfect metaphor for their life today, explaining many personal life patterns and emotional triggers. By examining the circumstances in this way, somehow remote to their current life situation, the solution can often be found in a less traumatic way.
Naturally I have been asked how this apparent 'knowledge' comes about. I believe that anybody can do this, but like anything practice makes perfect.
To begin, I offer a telepathic contract between myself, and the person asking for Past Life clarification; let's call him John; on some level, I am invited to decode any messages hanging in his auric field. I then 'tune into' the name and vibration of the person - connecting with the unity consciousness aspect of that person which is therefore in unity with me. In effect, I send a 'probe' from my heart to his, accessing hidden codes in the energy body. It is like the story of the 'message in a bottle'. A message is written, popped inside a bottle and sent to sea. Once discovered, centuries later, it is like a time-capsule, detailing events from a time long passed.
I then map that energy over my body and read the message as it is sensed. Sometimes these relate to actual areas of pain or discomfort in the physical body of the person for whom I am tuning in, at other times they are emotional (often relating to the final emotions in that life which may have left an imprint on this) or they are metaphors ...
When a successful 'connection' is made, I feel sensations within my body, which act as clues. I tune-into these sensations (which may last seconds or longer whilst I concentrate on them) and then my own 'glimpse' appears. Interpretation would rely on feedback from John himself (body language, responses to questions) but in the case of a distant 'reading', then it takes form by itself. It could be a jumble of senses, which I will need to co-ordinate into a sequence of events until a scenario is created.
Sometimes the clue has an obvious linguistic meaning, for example I may see a man running across the top of a high building and flinging himself off. Typically this person will have a personality trait of not facing issues, but always running away. Often there may also be a fear of heights. The same issue on another occasion may involve more detail, I may get a sense that the 'runner' cannot believe who is chasing him to his death, a sense of betrayal is tangible. In this case, there may be an issue with trust in this lifetime.
When I am 'channelling' this sort of information about a person, I have no idea what stream of information is going to come and no time to 'sensor' it before stating some kind of interpretation. It might be an actual past life event or a metaphor invented by my guides (I predominantly work with Angelic energies and Egyptian Deities) to highlight an issue, which needs addressing at that time.
For example, on tuning into Amelia, I felt a pulling sensation under my arm, as if I was hanging from the edge of a cliff, dreading the fall!
This represented feeling unsupported and afraid of the future and could be corrected by pulling herself up or by letting go and surviving unscathed. Or did she have a preferred solution of her own? Yes, I'd like to fly away but I'm afraid of birds. Uncensored, I blurted "Well I know why that is" which I immediately regretted as I didn't want to elaborate! The audience looked on expectantly, I'd have to explain "Well, I saw this life where your eyes were pecked out by birds!"
"I know" she remarked, "I've seen that myself, I was telling Helen about it this afternoon (gesticulating towards the audience) and about my fear of heights!" I was speechless, maybe, I had 'tapped-into' the earlier conversation rather than an 'actual past life'.
She left a marriage because her partner blocked her spiritual progress. After years of being alone, she'd embarked on a relationship with a man who seemed compatible, but was now showing an intolerance for her desire to grow spiritually. By imagining herself flying away she could lose her fear of birds and re-pattern her cellular programming, liberating her from repeating this life lesson.
I once looked at Claudia and immediately remarked, "You are like a headless chicken, always juggling lots of activities with no direction". "Yes" she agreed. I proceeded to etherically (go through the imaginary act) sew her head back on, with invisible needle and thread, the intent being to 'trick' her sub-conscious into accepting that she will no longer need this life pattern. It was very surreal. A few weeks later, I received a tongue-in-cheek but none-the less heartfelt e-mail stating "Since you stitched my neck back on ...ha ha ... it is uncanny because I have felt more grounded and my head actually feels it belongs to my body which was an underlying issue for me."
I recently tuned into Maria in Mexico, via an email she had sent me. The 'knowing' I received from de-ciphering her auric codes, was that she had a connection with the barbaric 'hung, drawn and quartering' process seemingly unique to our glorious isle! I undertook some research on the grizzly practice. Apparently, victims, were dragged behind a horse, hung until they were almost dead, they were publicly disembowelled, and finally split into four with each quarter being separately buried. Although I felt she had died via this torture, it could simply indicate that she would have physical issues with her throat (or difficulties expressing herself), digestive complications (Crohns Disease, Coeliac or more minor issues such as ulcers, acid reflux etc.) and feel generally fragmented with at least four projects on the go at any one time. Incredibly, all this proved to be the case, as well as the fact that she had actually been 'dragged' behind a horse in this lifetime! This Past Life glimpse - whether a genuine Past Life or not - was a comfort to her as it explained a great deal and she was able to concentrate on re-integrating her soul fragments.
Another lady, Wendy, was 'seen' leading a Macedonian Army to victory during a healing session. Afterwards she was 'found' to have a head injury from her helmet, so we applied healing to the wound. Subsequently, her recurring headaches stopped, but furthermore she felt empowered by our discovery. In her own words "When in my mind's eye I see myself riding the horse, going into the battle, I get this fantastic brave and magnificent feeling of utter strength in my chest. I have already recalled few times and boy it works!!! I would also like to say that the visualisation I had during the session was sooooo clear; like taking pictures with the best camera."
In my own client therapy sessions, past life images have been coming up more and more. Sometimes I alone get the image and at other times the client is also able to tune into it.
Of course the sceptics view is how can so many people have been 'Cleopatra' and 'King Arthur' and the like. This gives rise to the understandable concern that it is 'ego' that drives people to discover who they may have been in previous lives.
With regard to the issue, over whether hundreds of souls could have been Cleopatra. My view is that, if on one level we are all one, then surely we could all have been Cleopatra! At least we should all be able to access the aspect of 'ourselves' that could have been Cleopatra. Maybe the process is easier if we are personally derived from her soul group.
In other words, when working with a client, a competent past life 'decode', may be able to access a key archetype - sometimes represented by a famous iconic personality - which somehow identifies the key life lesson for that client in that moment in time. However, in my experience, more often than not, the remembered life is mundane but generally sums up a current issue in that person's life, which may need to be resolved.
Past Lives: Future Impact by Joanna Bristow-Watkins of Harmony Healing, originally written July 2009.
(Pseudonyms are used throughout for client examples)
A 10 minute podcast of Joanna, talking with Jill Bennett from Brooklands Radio, called Do Past Lives Exist?
Yesterday's Children by Jenny Cockell, Paitkus Press, 1993. Not the most well-written book, but a touching account of her relentless search for the children she remembered leaving behind.
Old Souls by Tom Shroder, Simon & Shuster, 1999. I really enjoyed this book, which I felt was very evocatively written and analysed Dr Ian Stevenson's work thoroughly.
Essenes: Children of the Light, Stuart Wilson & Joanna Prentis, Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2005. I found this gave fascinating insights into the life of Jesus Christ and his uncle Joseph of Arimathea.
Joannas website: www.harmonyhealing.co.uk, e-mail:
Harmony Healing, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, UK, KT12 3BH. Tel: 01932 244518.
*To book a channelling with Edwin Courtenay (clairvoyant) contact Carole Humber on 020 8337 4122. There may be a long waiting list. He may offer personal readings in Carlisle or even Newcastle-upon-Tyne.