EXPERIENTIAL QUESTS INTO PAST LIVES



Some speculate that the phenomenon of past lives can answer troubling questions in the present and explain deja vu, a feeling that one has seen or heard something before. Many people report that they have walked down a street in a strange city and been overwhelmed with the sudden familiarity of its shop windows, sidewalks, and store fronts. Others say that hidden memories have been stimulated by witnessing a dramatic reenactment of some scene from the past in a motion picture or television production.


Throughout the centuries, millions of individuals, especially those who live in India and Asia, believe that they have lived before, and in recent years increasing numbers of men and women in the Western cultures have begun to explore the possibility that reincarnation is a spiritual reality.

Olga Worrall (1906–1985) doing spiritual healing. (ARCHIVES OF BRAD STEIGER)
Olga Worrall (1906–1985) doing spiritual healing. (
ARCHIVES OF BRAD STEIGER
)

Accomplished Broadway lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (1918–1986) said that the first-act ending of his musical Brigadoon (1946), which features an outdoor wedding ceremony in seventeenth-century Scotland, seemed at first to have sprung spontaneously from his mind. Several years later, when Lerner was in London, he came into possession of a book entitled Everyday Life in Old Scotland and found "his" marriage ceremony word for word. Lerner's later musical success, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, openly declared his fascination with the subject of reincarnation. The storyline tells of a Brooklyn model who is hypnotically regressed to an earlier life in eighteenth-century England.

British psychiatrist Dr. Denys Kelsey believed that his acceptance of the cycle of rebirth enabled him to show his patients how they might begin anew at any given moment. He was also convinced that it was occasionally possible for subjects to recall experiences that were felt centuries before their present incarnation. Belief in the doctrine of rebirth may have come somewhat easier to Kelsey than it might to the average psychiatrist because he was married to Joan Grant, an author who claimed to be 25,000 years old and to have soul memories of 30 prior-life experiences. Grant wrote seven popular historical novels without doing a bit of research, yet none of the material in her books has ever been successfully challenged by skeptical scholars. To the contrary, a good deal of the material in her books that was considered controversial at the time of publication has since been validated by archaeologists and historians. Every time, when queried how she could have acquired such knowledge, she attributed her accuracy to memories of her past lives.

Winged Pharaoh, the novel that Joan Grant wrote in 1937, described her life as a woman pharaoh in the first dynasty of Egypt, 4,000 years ago. On those frequent occasions when she was asked to comment on the book's almost biblical style, she replied that the words had just come out that way. She insisted that she never did any research at all and that she had previously known nothing of Egypt on the conscious level, yet Egyptologists had been unable to fault the book. Grant stated that even her critics had said that she couldn't possibly have made it all up, so she must have experienced it all to write in such detail.

Yonassan Gershom, a neo-Hasidic rabbi who lives in Minnesota, tells in his book Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust (1992) of hearing the terrible memories of concentration camps, gas chambers, barbed wire, swastikas, and the sadistic henchmen of Nazi Germany not from elderly Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but from young people, many of them blonde, blue-eyed Gentiles of Nordic descent, who were being forced to deal with what appeared to be past-life memories of having died as victims of Hitler's "final solution" to the "Jewish problem." At the time he was writing his book, Gershom stated that out of the hundreds of people who had told him their dreams, visions, regressions, or intuitions of having died as Jews in the Holocaust, two-thirds had been reborn as non-Jews. Later samplings, however, indicated that many more Jews have also experienced such past-life memories. Gershom's later book, From Ashes to Healing (1996), focused on stories about the acts of physical or spiritual healing that have resulted from the act of recalling a Holocaust lifetime.

The aspect of physical and spiritual healing that accompanies a past-life recall is one of the principal motives in regression into prior-life experiences for therapeutic reasons. Benjamin Smith of Port Orchard, Washington, has been involved in past-lives therapy for over 25 years, and he stated that when he first began doing regressions, he was concerned with establishing dates, names, and locations associated with the past-life personality of his clients. "Then I discovered that they didn't really care if they would be able to trace and to prove a particular lifetime. All they were interested in was removing the personal problem that they had come to me for help in solving. I quit worrying whether reincarnation was real or not. The important thing to my clients was whether or not they discovered the origins of their pains, their traumas, and their problems. If the solution came from their previous lifetime or from their Higher Self, it really didn't make any difference to them."

In Volume 9 of Collected Works (1981) Dr. Carl G. Jung (1875–1961) expressed his opinion that "the mere fact that people talk about rebirth and that there is such a concept at all, means that a store of psychic experiences designated by that term must actually exist. Rebirth is an affirmation that must be counted among the primordial affirmations of mankind."

Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) saw the whole matter of past lives and rebirth as a practical cosmic recycling: "When I see nothing annihilated [in the works of God] and not a drop of water wasted, I cannot suspect the annihilation of souls, or believe that He will suffer the daily waste of millions of minds ready-made that now exist, and put Himself to the continual trouble of making new ones. Thus, finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall…always exist; and with all the inconveniences human life is liable to, I shall not object to a new edition of mine, hoping, however, that the errata of the last may be corrected."


DELVING DEEPER

Gershom, Yonassan. Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1992.

Goldberg, Dr. Bruce. The Search for Grace. Sedona, Ariz.: In Print Publishing, 1994.

Guirdham, Arthur. We Are One Another. Wellingbor ough, Northamptonshire, Great Britian: Turn stone Press Ltd., 1982.

Jung, Carl Gustav, and Herbert Read, eds. Archtypes and the Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1). 2nd edition. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1981.

Lane, Barbara. Echoes from Medieval Halls. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1997.

Stearn, Jess. The Search for the Girl with the Blue Eyes. New York: Bantam Books, 1969.

Sutphen, Richard. You Were Born Together to Be Together. New York: Pocket Books, 1976.

DELVING DEEPER

Gershom, Yonassan. Beyond the Ashes: Cases of Reincarnation from the Holocaust. Virginia Beach, Va.: A.R.E. Press, 1992.

Goldberg, Bruce. The Search for Grace: A Documented Case of Murder and Reincarnation. Sedona, Ariz.: In Print Publishing, 1994.

Sutphen, Richard. Past Lives, Future Loves. New York: Pocket Books, 1978.

Sutphen, Richard. You Were Born Again to Be Togeth er. New York: Pocket Books, 1976.


DELVING DEEPER

Bernstein, Morey. The Search for Bridey Murphy. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1956.

Steiger, Brad. You Will Live Again. Nevada City, Calif.: Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1996.


DELVING DEEPER

Binder, Bettye B. Discovering Your Past Lives and Other Dimensions. Culver City, Calif.: Reincarnation Books & Tapes, 1994.

Binder, Bettye B. Past Live Regressions Guidebook. Torrance, Calif.: Reincarnation Books, 1992.

Moody, Raymond A., Jr. Life After Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1985.

Sutphen, Richard. Past Lives, Future Loves. New York: Pocket Books, 1978.

Wambaugh, Helen. Reliving Past Lives: The Evidence Under Hypnosis. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

Weiss, Brian. Many Lives, Many Masters. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Whitton, Joel, and Joe Fisher. The Case for Reincarnation. New York: Bantam Books, 1984.


DELVING DEEPER

Stevenson, Ian. Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarna tion. 2d ed. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974.



User Contributions:

Ann Merivale
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Jul 25, 2006 @ 6:06 am
It's good, but I'm sorry that you've left out my teacher, Dr. Roger Woolger, the Jungian psychoanalyst who is undoubtedly the world expert in Regression Therapy (which he has recently renamed Deep Memory Process). He does not use hypnosis, and works mainly from the body, where our "samskaras" are mainly stored. Do you know his books?

I actually came upon this when I was researching Denys Kelsey for the book I'm writing at the moment. Do you happen to know the year of his death?

Thanks, Ann
MYYAH
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Apr 1, 2008 @ 9:09 am
I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START, I AM AT A LOSS AS NO ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH. FROM THE AGE OF FOUR I COULD REMEMBER A LIFE BEFORE THIS ONE NOW AT THE AGE OF 43, I HAVE LIVED MORE THAN THREE PAST LIVES. BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT OR HOW TO PROVE IT? THE FEELING I HAVE WHEN I SEE IT IS A PAINFUL LONGING I CAN NOT EXPLANE. IF YOU CAN GIVE SOME ADVICE IT WOULD HELP A GREAT DEAL. THANK YOU
Delacroix
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Jan 27, 2010 @ 1:01 am
Is Dr Keysey still working ? Where can I join him ?
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Feb 9, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
i hope i will hear from people willing to allow me to communicate with them. i have read "beyond the ashes," definitely recognize some aspects of my own life - am a 58 year old Jewish woman born in 1952 and i fit 10 out of 13 of gershom's listed reincarnated characteristics. but i have so many questions, especially since my full "awareness" has come very late in life (as of about four years ago;)there are only a few specific strong childhood reactions to the holocaust i can point to - now i have extremely strong reactions - and what i wonder about most is the first six years of my life when i was in a constant state of anxiety, fear, a feeling of betrayal, abandonment and a surety that i was never safe. i would like to talk more fully about my experience with others who have a similar conviction and see if my experiences seems to match others at all. behaviors i can point too

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