Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shadows of Past Lives



Disclaimer: Many people in many cultures throughout history have believed in the transmigration of souls from one body to the next. So although this is not a popular belief in this culture at this time in history, I'm not really a weirdo, just a stranger in a strange land. ... end disclaimer ...

I've always envied (and felt suspicious of) people who have had glamorous past lives. You hear about them, they write books and go on lecture tours because they can remember living on Atlantis. Or they were Cleopatra or Jane Austin, you know. They brought all the glamour and wisdom of those famous people with them into this lifetime and now they're making a buck off their memories. OK. Why not?

I remember past lives, lots of them. Unfortunately my past lives were anything but glamorous. In the recent past I was a military nurse which meant I cleaned up blood and vomit, and mopped the foreheads of young men while they died of infections. Not glamorous. No one is going to give me a book contract to write about those lives.

I've also served many a lifetime as maid, cook, and nanny. It has been my job, over and over again, to make the beds, do the laundry and clean the quills of folks like Jane Austin, to ensure that these people could write down all their beautiful words for posterity. Actually, those lives weren't all bad. I believe I remember having a lot of fun in those lifetimes, you know, nipping a shot of the cooking sherry then sneaking out for wild trysts with the gardener. Oh yeah.

Of course I've also had thousands of lifetimes as a shaman, dancing around like a madman, battling demons, beating my drum, trancing ecstatically and often getting sucked into power struggles with other shamans, never to a good end. Shamans do not necessarily ever develop "people skills." Maybe that's why I'm so introverted in this life.

It's these photos that got me to thinking about my past lives. Gazing at the shadows of these objects is somewhat like looking at their past lives, at least that's what I see. The leaf at the top, for instance, must surely have been a bird in a past life, yes? And the twig below? A little garden snake. Don't you think?

21 comments:

Steve said...

In Zen there are teachings that mention the similarity between a stick and a snake. Good call!

I don't remember any past lives. It's interesting how so often people remember glamorous lives but not tedious ones -- you're different (or maybe just more honest!) in that respect.

willow said...

I've often wondered if our feeling of past lives has something to do with our DNA, considering it only takes 20 generations back for us to link to one million ancestors.

Cyndy said...

I wish I were aware of my past lives. I have a friend who is and he has learned so much about himself through discovering his previous incarnations. The closest I ever came to that was the first time I visited the Netherlands. I felt this weird vibe of suddenly for the first time being amongst "my people" - it was very strange to feel that way about random people on the street who I may or may not share DNA with.

Miranda said...

Ah great post! I'm fascinated by past lives.I only remember (I think) one where I was a shepherd in ancient greek times and made the landowners daughter pregnant...heh heh

Reya Mellicker said...

Miranda - Well done, you! That's the kind of detail I remember.

Cyndy I think past lives leave their shadows, making it possible to feel perfectly at home in a place you've never set foot before, or feeling that sense of having known someone "forever" when you first meet.

Past life regressions can be very illuminating. I know someone who does them professionally. She calls herself Serena and practices at Healing Arts of Capitol Hill.

Willow - yes, DNA, yes. And there's the long-lasting nature of atoms, too. Individual atoms get stirred in and out of the mix with every generation.

Steve you've had many Zen monk lifetimes. Check out the pics your friend took at your retreat. I was astonished when I looked at those pics. It was you, yes, but it was also a very old wise Japanese monk I saw in the pics. Amazing!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderfully entertaining and interesting post and photos!!! I would love to know what types of past lives I've had (or maybe I don't...)

should I come back as a human (do we always stay within species?) may the progression be onward and up until I get it right.... I hope in the next one I don't come back as a cockroach, a snail, or some cute little animal that people like to eat!

Lynne said...

Wonderful photos and wonderful past lives for your subjects! The leaf was surely once a bird. What a great shadow.

I wish I knew about my previous lives. How can I find out? I have such an affinity for England ... close to Wales even though I have never been there. Everything I see or read gives me chills.

I have this feeling that I was one who was waited upon instead of the other way around, but it would be interesting to find out! Yours sound fascinating. How did you learn about them?

ArtSparker said...

I have a leaf that I scanned in - I picked it up because it reminded me of Mikhail Baryshnikov

Pod said...

yes i always find it funny that everyone was joan of arc. i am very conscious of the 1800s especially. there are three people in my life at the moment, all i have met in the last 2 years, that were there with me. you are one. i helped load your suitcases onto a big ship. we exchanged knowing glances. remember?

(i didn't enjoy full moon this time at all! if i could have i would have spent tues in bed sleeping, i felt so drained and heavy like the real me was miles beneath wet cotton wool. thank heavens it has lifted to reveal the all new sparkley pod)
x

Pod said...

ps. my hairdresser thinks that i was his wife in tibet some centuries ago....but i think that's a little fantasy of his. i keep well buttoned though)

tam said...

I have done a couple of regressions. They've been most helpful in illuminating my relationships in this life. I was a Chinese potter, (I have a fascintation and love for pottery in this life - took to it almost immediately with few lessons, I've retained that skill.) My daughter in that life is my partner in this. I was also a bitter old blind woman who lost her only son to war (1918) and that son turns out to be my dad in this life... wildly fascinating. I love it. But, I do think its important to just be here now and not get too entranced by all that was.

lettuce said...

an eagle definately - thats amazing.
the shadows are so wonderful this time of year

i don't know about my past lives.... except for some of the people i know i've known before, and thats the most important thing of course.

Pam said...

A little girl with a tambor or tambourine, that's what I remember so vividly, the procession,the sun, the dusty road-very suprised to actually become conscious in this century...felt actually truly there.And I KNOW, don't laugh, KNOW what it feels like to be a warthog or boar,to my mind I really have experienced this, and there's nothing glamorous about that!(In a wart-hog state though, it was just fine thank-you very much!)This last one was an extremely vivid dream. Glad it was just my husband who witnessed that and not a regression therapist."What on earth?..what the???" hardly covers it!

Angela said...

Tam, has Vic told you that our grandmother lost two sons in the war of 1942/43 in Russia (our father`s brothers)? And that Vic looks like the oldest (his widow always gasped when she saw Vic)?Is this some unsolved problem in our family? Sons going to war...leaving women mourning? What is it that we should learn here?
Fascinating stuff. With my husband and me it was like, "Hey, there you are!" when we met on a blind date. And we sort of got engaged the same night. Did we "know" each other??

Reya Mellicker said...

Cool responses, all!

Pod - yes, keep well buttoned! You would know in an instant whether or not there were past life connections with anyone. Yes of course I know you very well. I am enriched by that connection.

Same with you, Tam. I "know" you. And I agree that with past life stuff (as with everything really) it serves to Be Here Now, though an exploration into the past/future is always enlightening.

Angela - I'm so sad that your family has lost so many to war. Don't know what to say except what the Quakers say: War is NOT the answer.

Art sparker! Will you post a pic of the Baryshnikov leaf? Very cool.

Let's all make a pact to meet up again in the next lifetime, yes? Have a drink together, at least. Yes? Yes.

hele said...

I once went for a past life regression only to end up with a message that I need to first allow myself to fully experience this life before I could learn from my past. I still remember strange visions of round balls but I can't really remember what they were up to. Sigh I'm still working on being in this life.

Is it a leaf dreaming it is a bird or a bird dreaming it is a leaf? :)

Reya Mellicker said...

Or a leaf dreaming it's a ballet dancer?

tut-tut said...

I can't remember past lives, just those feelings of deja vu. But that's so common. Lucky you to actually know what you've done.

Washington Cube said...

Skeletal finger beckoning.

Reya Mellicker said...

Just in time for Halloween!

Rose said...

Once upon a time I was sat talking to two friends. One turned and said they could see me as an oriental man on a boat wearing one of those wide hats, paddling their way through the jungle. The other agreed. I said it was odd because I had been seeing leaves and such. They told me to look in the water and i saw my face. And that is it. A tiny snippet.... Many years ago now.

A friend of mine recently visited me in Cornwall and discovered that the Lizard lighthouse matched a memory she had, except she had never been there. She also discovered that the huge painting she did that hangs in her lounge is in fact of a cove in the same area. She had never been there either.