By Katie Ammon
In our dream class at Earthsong, we have been discussing how our dreams may be showing us parts of our past lives. Much research on this subject has been done over the years. Some of the earliest studies in our culture were done by those in the Spiritualist movement in the late eighteen and early nineteen hundreds. Later, Edgar Cayce, while in his dream/trance state, giving advice for medical problems, began to talk about some of the ailments being caused by past life events. Much later in the nineteen sixties and seventies, the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation in their rebellion against society, began to adopt Eastern religion and philosophy. In response, many universities and colleges started adding parapsychology classes to their curriculum to follow the trend and explore these “newer” beliefs. Soon psychologists and psychiatrists began to look into past lives through hypnosis to see if they could help people who exhibited chronic mental difficulties. Many books and articles have been written about reincarnation. Research and investigations are still going on today.
The theory is we live many times. We are given a spirit, a physical form, an emotional body and a mental body. We use all these bodies in our lives as modes of expression. Unless we live a cloistered life or one of extreme isolation, we become attached to people, places, material things and ideas. Then as we approach the end of our time here, we leave behind forms in the astral plane. These can carry heavy emotions or ideas that tend to clutter that higher plane. We are like all good students, who attempt to write a good essay and throw the first ten rewrites on the floor: we toss our emotions and ideas out without any closing conclusions. So we leave a mess in the astral plane. When we return in a new form, we are confronted with these energies. Often this can occur in the dream state. But we can also experience Deja vu or, a feeling of being in a place we visited before or of having a familiar experience. To complicate matters further, we can pick up other people’s debris from their past lives. To understand what is our own, we need to have a strong attachment to the place, the life story, probably have some physical sensations and be aware of details.
Unfortunately, our past life memories are usually vague and not readily available to our conscious mind. So our progress is blocked due to sleeping memories. We can reawaken memory gradually by small incidents or dreams that jog our memories. Then we can strive to see clearly and understand how we incurred our habits, attitudes or karma. As we struggle to clear out negative habits, judgments or ideas, the karma begins to resolve. To summarize one view point…the reason we need to clear past lives is to become part of the new cycle, as the old darkness cannot be taken into the new cycle. In other words, we are not here to remember personalities of the past, but to clear up past karma so this cycle can be completed. The resolution involves using knowledge and spirit, which may entail loss, suffering, and giving up physical, material and spiritual achievements and attachments.
In my own journey, I have experienced several occasions that may be related to past lives. The one that stands out was when I was plagued by a dream during childhood that affected my physical health.
In that instance, I had a reoccurring dream from around age four to age eleven. In the dream, I am walking with three companions, one in front and two in back. The day is very warm and it feels like an early spring day. We are all dressed in khaki wool uniforms with scarlet scarves. I feel sweaty and itchy in the uniform. We are walking along a river bank among tall grass and some reeds. It seems as if we are searching for tracks or a sign of something. Suddenly, I hear three loud popping sounds. I feel a heaviness between my shoulder blades and feel myself falling into the river. Soon I am in the water, looking up at the sunlight sparkling through the water, while the water forms concentric circles over my head. The dream ended here and I would wake up gasping for breath. At times, my parents would be standing over me, and a few times they had the doctor with them (They made house calls back then!). I was told I had had a severe asthma attack.
I did have other strange experiences regarding this young soldier’s memory. At about age five, I was getting dressed and an odd thought crossed my mind. I wondered why I was dressing this little girl’s body when I was a soldier who should be putting on my uniform and boots. Other bizarre connections with the soldier were that I was always fond of the scarlet color of his scarf and that I was born with a life-long allergy to wool as shown in my baby picture, where I had facial eczema due to contact with woolen blankets.
Since this dream had occurred so often, I tried to figure out why I kept having it. In my young mind, I came up with the idea that my spirit had crashed into the soldier’s spirit as he was leaving and I was coming into this world. Then I began to wonder if the dream was related to my mother’s brother, Uncle Eddie who died in the Second World War. So one day I just blurted out that question to my parents, asking if they knew how my uncle died. At first, they told me that my Uncle Willie, another maternal uncle drowned when he was sixteen. I told them I meant my other uncle who died in the war. At first, they just looked at each other. After a little time passed my father said, “Eddie drowned in the Rhine River during the invasion of Germany.” In another part of my mind I thought, well that wasn’t me, because I drowned In the Po River in Italy. After that the dream did not come back and soon I stopped having such severe asthma attacks.
I am not sure if this was a past life but it fits the theory. Perhaps the soldier left an emotional imprint due to the fact that he was young and was strongly attached to physical life. He may have been able to accept his death once there was spoken acknowledgement that many other young people died in that war.
Whether I lived before as other individual human beings or am part of a collective who are sensitive projectors and receivers I think reincarnation provides us with a whole new field of ideas to think about. The verdict is not in yet in regard to reincarnation, but thinking about these abstract ideas helps us expand our minds and learn more about ourselves and the unseen worlds around us.