My memories from another life during regression (past life) therapy.
Curiosity about my past lives.
Many years ago when I was thinking of becoming a complementary therapist I decided to go to a hypnotherapist for regression therapy, which is perhaps better known as past life therapy. I didn't think I particularly had any sort of problem to clear at that time, I was just curious and the secret life of the subconscious mind fascinated me.
But like most of us I had a natural nervousness as to what would happen. I had never had hypnosis before and it was that that made me more anxious than what any past life might reveal.
What the experience did reveal led me not only to train as a hypnotherapist but also to access what apparently were many of the lives I had lived before. These other life memories were always helpful to my present life, giving me insights into whatever life problem I was living with at the time.
A past life in the city of York.
That first session of regression therapy was a long time ago now but it left an indelible imprint on my conscious memory and most of that event is still extremely clear.
It was the inconsequential that hit me first of all as I lay on the therapist’s couch listening to her talk me down into hypnosis. Despite being brought up in Yorkshire I found myself becoming aware of the therapist's Yorkshire accent.
It was not a broad accent but inexplicably I found myself getting annoyed by it. I said nothing, out of natural politeness, I thought. But was it that?
Then, despite being a complete novice, I felt sure that I was not in a deep enough trance. It was obviously not working. I remember a panicked thinking 'I'm not in deep enough, I'm not hypnotised enough, I must tell her'.
Again I found myself saying nothing and it was at that moment that realisation hit me and all my preconceptions faded away. I knew then that I was actually unable to say anything because everything was working just as it should do.
Something was very gently insisting that I let go of my bossy conscious mind and just 'go with the flow'. As soon as I let go of my conscious need to try to control my situation my subconscious took over.
A past life appears ...
Under the therapist’s questioning the first picture that came to my mind was difficult to understand and seemed to make little sense. It was dark, nighttime, and all I could see were shiny, wet cobblestones beneath my hands.
It was raining lightly but I was dry, wrapped in a brown woollen cloak. Someone passed by and scattered a few copper pennies on the ground in front of me and, because I was down there on the floor, I gathered them up. I felt that I was waiting for something, waiting and waiting. It is a feeling I still get sometimes.
Who was I?
At this point, because I was asked if I remembered my name in that life and I answered ‘Dora’, I was suddenly transported back by the name to a life on a farm as a healthy looking girl in early teenage. I was remembering Dora’s earlier life.
I knew I had a brother and he felt familiar to me, as if he was my brother in my current modern life. This part of my remembrance is no longer clear and I do not want to supply this narrative with suppositions as to why I apparently left the farm to find work in the city of York.
I have a vague theory but as it is not a clear memory I will not share it. The memory of the journey from the farm to the city on a farm cart are clear however and as I was smiling it would seem that I was happy with the decision. I was going to work at an inn strikingly called The Gilded Lily and in my mind's eye I can still see the golden Fleur de Lis on the hanging sign outside.
I seemed to have worked as a barmaid which also meant that I also did cleaning jobs such as scrubbing the floors and it was from this floor level vantage point that I got an idea of the time in which I, as Dora, was living.
I saw shoes with large buckles on them and looking up I was aware of the tricorn hats of the men trying to get past me as I cleaned the flagstones in the passageway that led to the bar. I was living in the 1700's but I cannot remember if I was aware of an exact date at this late stage.
My memories were presented to me in vignettes rather like old sepia photographs with soft focus edges. The main drama of the snapshot however was always central and crystal clear.
Remembrance of a lost love.
The next significant image offered by my subconscious was of a man on horseback laughing down at me in a narrow, crowded street, and I, looking up at him, am laughing back.
This was Black Jack, who everyone knows is a highwayman but for whom they turn a blind eye. Although whether that is because he is a loveable rogue or something altogether more dangerous I do not know.
It would seem that I am one of his paramours and I believe I was considered to be pretty, my skin as yet unblemished by any pox.
My subconscious did not allow for any remembered intimacies but I understood the facts of our liaison by that one scene even though I am under no illusions that I am his only woman.
Black Jack ‘felt' very familiar to me and although there is little facial resemblance I believed him to be my current husband in my modern life. There was something very reminiscent about his 'devil may care' attitude.
A distant vow kept in the present life.
Then I was back on the wet cobbles waiting for something, something I dreaded. As the day eventually dawned I watched myself, as Dora, scramble up onto something to get a better view of a gallows and across the heads of the crowd I saw Black Jack hanged.
He wore a white shirt and appeared brave but it was an untimely death. I do not remember my reaction to the sight of the hanging but I remember wailing in grief to some shadowy figure who may have been comforting me that 'I'll never love anyone else like I loved him'.
It is my firm belief that this phrase, uttered in the extreme distress of another life, may have programmed my subconscious as, in my current life, I left my first husband and everything I had to live with this man, a modern day version of Black Jack.
This version of Black Jack was literally a bit of a ‘jack the lad’ too, a man with whom I should have had absolutely nothing in common but whom I felt I had known all my life. A man I believed at the time to be the love of my life, a man who also died far too early at the age of 45.
This single event, more than anything, has made me wary of self-talk and gradually I have become able to watch what I say to myself when emotional. The subconscious is always awake to messages and it always likes to oblige ... but it can be devastatingly literal.
Dora's sad demise.
Finally, as the therapist prompted me forward to the 'next significant event' in this life, the bleakness of the rest of my life in the 1700's was revealed. I had aged swiftly as was customary for the poor at that time and had been relegated to doing the laundry out in the backyard where my unsightly appearance would not be seen by the customers.
I had obviously never married and my wholesome looks had faded. I had missing teeth and my hair was grey and sticking out frizzily at all angles from under my cap. Presumably I became too frail to work so I was thrown out on the streets to fend for myself.
It seemed to me that I died of cold and starvation in a narrow alleyway beside the inn but strangely, this was not a painful memory. It simply seemed to be more of a fact, a scene remembered and shrugged away. I had the impression that I was aged around forty and must have lived a long time with my grief.
Should I have traced this past life?
Of course to many people this may seem a fanciful recollection.To that all I can say is that I am only describing an experience and it all seemed very real to me.
Perhaps many of you think that this is something I read in a book at some time and, being brutally honest, I cannot guarantee that this is not so, though the details of the Gilded Lily in York sound somehow too specific to me.
I am sure that many of you will wonder why I didn't try to trace the Gilded Lily or Black Jack to prove that I had lived before and whilst it is true that I thought about doing that, it just didn't seem that important to me.
It may seem inexplicable to others that I would not try to substantiate a previous existence but I have found that vindication is rarely important in past life therapy.
Rather there is simply a sort of acceptance of the situation shown as if it is known deep in the subconscious that what has been allowed to surface to the conscious mind has been beneficial. It needed to be looked at, acknowledged and accepted before the subject could move on with life.
Did my past life experience help me?
Yes, it did. Very much so. It explained why I had made the painful and apparently irrational decision to leave a safe and loving marriage for life with a somewhat wild and unpredictable man.
At the time of remembering this past life the thought that this decision may have been somewhat out of my control comforted me and although I always bitterly regretted the pain it caused the other people I loved, it was a relationship that endured until his death.
And now, hopefully, Black Jack and I have achieved some sort of closure and can go our separate ways in our future lives. Because this was not the only life in which we had met ...