My Past Lives, and Maybe the Future

I frequently hear this inane argument against reincarnation that "no one ever imagines a past life where they're just some ordinary yahoo; everyone always believes they were Cleopatra, or Attila the Hun, or Casanova, or Joan of Arc." Not me. I once got hypnotized in order to do some work on my early childhood and ended up progressing right through three past lives, each one every bit as nasty, brutish and short as Thomas Hobbes would have imagined. In the most recent I was a British farm girl raped and murdered during some civil war. In the next I was some hot Teutonic babe, imprisoned in some fortress on some cliffs over a river. I hated my husband, a nasty little rodent of a man, and I was very mean to him--I was very mean to everyone, in fact, except my children, whom I loved devotedly. To punish me, my husband had me shut up in this tower unless I agreed to be nice, and since I wouldn't agree, I died of starvation and heartbreak.

In the earliest past life, I was some six-year-old child taken captive and enslaved during some ancient war--the Peloponnesian or something--and had to watch my parents' brutal murders. That was bad enough, but what really upset me about that past life was the realization that that particular time around, I was male--I remember the hypnotist asked me, "Are you a little boy or a little girl?" and I responded, in complete indignation, "I'm a little boy!"

Anyway, skinny, starving, abused little boy that I was, I didn't stay a boy for long. I was housed under some mildewy stone staircase, fed next to nothing, beaten often, raped a time or two. I died soon thereafter.

Understand: I'm not claiming that these "memories" constitute evidence that reincarnation is a fact. I remain skeptical of memories retrieved under hypnosis. But I'm as willing to entertain the possibility of reincarnation as I am any other idea of an afterlife or prior life--including oblivion. And while I can't and won't say absolutely that I was hot Teutonic babe in some past life, I can't and won't say absolutely that I wasn't.

There are also past lives I haven't "remembered," just imagined. I occasionally suspect that I was a Viking warrior who died of a festering stomach wound, and a Mongol invader of China who really, really wanted to go home.

I've been asked what I want to be in my next life, if I'm offered one: my answer is, "Me, only smarter." I think it's a good answer. I'm sticking by it. I want to put the things I've learned in this life to good use, and I'm fairly happy with the personality I've got. I wouldn't mind being me again at all.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on October 10, 2005 8:13 AM.

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