By Peter Woodbury
“I see myself on a boat…a very old boat”, I said as I lay on the couch in a friend’s office. It was my very first past life regression. And it felt as if I was making the whole scene up, a byproduct of an overactive imagination. But then I said, “I am the purser”. Now that got my attention. I had never used that word before and I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I knew I was the purser, the banker, of the boat. I have since learned that while under trance, you can get a sense of parallel levels of consciousness. Part of me was the purser on this old boat, part of me was talking, and yet another part of me was noticing I was using words that I had never used before.
“We are bringing early settlers to America and we then bring back goods on the return trip to England.” I knew all this quite clearly. I knew I was British and I felt a sense of both superiority and emotional detachment. I was doing a job. I could also see my parents and my childhood. I came from a well to do family. Cold. Proper. I was doing what was expected of me. I kept the books for the boat. I paid the tariffs. I was honest. I knew no other way. Then the therapist instructed me to go forward in time. Now I saw myself having settled in America, except now I didn’t quite recognize myself. I had gone native! The native people of America had touched me. Their engagement to my detachment. I could see my hair in braids. I didn’t look so good. But I had made an important evolution towards integrating myself as a human being. Then in my next regression experience, I was a Native American.
Cayce once said that what difference does it make to know you lived and died and were buried beneath Grandma’s cherry tree? But to know that now, today, you have the chance to right a wrong. Now that makes a difference! I have had the honor of conducting past life regressions for almost 10 years now. I would say that almost each one has served an important purpose. Sometimes they affirm a current path. They can highlight a latent ability. They can show you how you have both succumbed to and overcome a current challenge. They oftentimes will reveal the karmic origins of current relationships. But the experience is lived and felt, not intellectually conceived. We all know what we should do. I have found that past life regressions have the power to awaken the will to actually change. Let me give you some examples.
I went to train with Brian Weiss in the summer of 2012. What a wonderful man and what a life changing experience. He teaches 100 students at a time and about 30 have taken the class before. I wondered why so many returned until about the third day. Then he began to speak of his personal transformation, largely as a result of his work with past lives. I realized he was not only a teacher, but a spiritual master. We underwent many group regressions during the course week. I have never been one much for group regressions. But during our private practice time, I had this experience. First let me give you some background: In this current life, I am the youngest of four. I have two older sisters and a brother, the oldest. I have many childhood memories with my brother and my closest age sister. I have almost none with my oldest sister. We got along fine, but I never felt any real closeness with her, neither positively nor negatively. Later in life, after she married, she began to withdraw from our parents, then from her siblings and lastly from her own son. I became very angry with her over this withdrawal. She reached out several times, but I rejected her attempts at reconciliation. When I spoke to a friend about the situation, hoping for confirmation, he instead asked me why I couldn’t just accept her the way she is? If she had chosen this path, why couldn’t I just love her anyway? I thought about that often afterwards. Why couldn’t I just love her anyway? I knew the answer was emotional and not logical or spiritual. That is the first clue to a past life influence according to Cayce. He said that while intellectual influences are largely astrologically driven, emotional reactions are of past life influences. How you feel when you meet someone for the first time. Parts of the world that you long to visit and when you do, you feel at home. These are past life clues.
So in my regression at the Brian Weiss training, I saw myself as a monk in Ireland. I was terribly unhappy as life at the monastery seemed stale and spiritually dead. The other priests seemed mentally ill. As I explored this life, I came to see how I ended up there. It was not my choice. I saw myself as a boy of about 7. I had a small suitcase. I was from a large family and there were just too many mouths to feed. I was the one chosen to be taken to the orphanage. And the mother who was leaving me behind was my sister in this life! That explained so many of my feelings. I never trusted her in this life. I was angry as she withdrew from the family AGAIN! But what I saw in the regression was that she was beside herself and in tears. I realized that the scared and hurt boy did not realize her situation. There was not enough food for all the children. I was seen as the strongest one and the one most likely to survive. The emotions of the experience brought me compassion and understanding for myself and my sister. As a result of this awakening, I contacted my sister this past spring and asked if she would like to get together. I didn’t mention the regression as she doesn’t believe in such things. But I was able to forgive her and let it go. I felt I took a big step in realizing a part of my mission in this life which was to grow in compassion and to forgive her and let go of my toxic emotions.
I have come to trust the process implicitly. It has never let me down. People get what they need when they cross beyond the veil. My job is to midwife the spiritual birth process. If a person needs a past life memory to awaken to a deeper consciousness, then that will come. If it is contact with an angel or entering a sacred space of pure love, then that is what will come. No one has yet to ask for their money back because instead of a past life regression, they received a healing from an angel instead!
She had come all the way from Scotland. She was very nervous. People are usually excited or curious when they come for a regression. Her anxiety was palpable and it was making me nervous. She explained that for most of her life, she had had visions and dreams of the Crusades. The armor, the roundhead helmets, the white crosses on the red background. She had come to believe that she had been a crusader and had committed unspeakable atrocities. She had avoided facing that life and felt it was important to finally face. She felt ready. And so we began. As we went through the induction process and she arrived at the door, she told me that earlier she had seen a gold key and could she go and get it? I told her absolutely not and that she had to open the door and face the music! (I’m joking, of course! I would never force anyone to do anything, but rather cede to their inner knowing). Cayce says that gold in imagery is a symbol of the divine. Even if the key had been tin, I would have let her go and find it. The “key” was in her experience. She knew what she needed to do. She just needed my permission. And as I said earlier, I trust the process. She found the gold key and immediately knew it was for a treasure chest. When she unlocked the treasure chest, she found a ruby heart shaped pendant that she said Jesus wanted her to have. As she put on the pendant and the ruby heart touched her heart chakra, she was transformed to another place and time. She saw herself seeing Jesus from behind. He was walking and several children were with him. He had his hand on one child’s head. Then he perceived her and turned to face her. As he looked at her, she perceived his message. It was beyond words. Jesus expresses himself through his eyes. She described what he expressed to her like this, “He wants me to know that it doesn’t matter who I have ever been or what I have ever done. All that matters is who I am now. He wants me to know that I have learned from my past and that is all that matters. He says I am a good person. He loves me. He invites me to let go of the past.” We were both in tears. The experience was as much mine as hers. He was showing us what redemption means. All that matters is who you are right now. Once again, let go of the past.
Colin came from Ireland. And I do work with non-United Kingdom folks! I may just have some karma to release from that area! Colin had a life-long problem with hoarseness and with losing his voice. He had been to many doctors and healers, to no avail. He held out hope that it might have been related to a past life experience. As we were going through the induction, he saw a native man with a spear. My thought was that it was an intrusion. I attempted to get him to a deeper place. But wherever we went, the native with the spear followed us. So I once again realized I was fighting a process instead of trusting the process. I had him sit on a bench and get a deeper understanding. He said that in a past life, this man had killed him. He had speared him in the throat. But he had died in fear and anger, which bound the experience. His inner wisdom now saw that entire karma of the event. He was able to see all that came before and all that came after. It was all purposeful. He realized he needed to go back to the moment of being speared and receive the spear in his throat without fear or anger. So we went to that time and he took the spear with understanding and acceptance. He died in peace. When he came out of trance, his voice was normal. He knew he would never have trouble with it again and he never has.
So while Edgar Cayce felt that past life memories were not really necessary, my experience is that they are energetically charged in ways that promote healing and growth. I would be remiss to fail to mention the intention of the hypnotherapist. I believe and teach that the ideal of the hypnotherapist is essential. I open each session with prayer and protection and invite only the highest energies to join us. I accept my role humbly. I do not do anything. I just allow processes to happen and I get out of the way. The person’s soul mind and the guides handle the rest. I have developed some skill with hypnosis and with working in and out of tight spots. As a trained clinician, I am comfortable with intense feeling and have a sense when to move in and out of that space.
I have come to understand that we are all sitting on a treasure chest of love and healing just waiting for us to unlock. We are all Edgar Cayce with latent talents if we will only seek. My hope is that you will find your key and take a peek beyond the veil.