Up to the mid 80s, the strongest external influences on my belief in reincarnation were Edgar Cayce, Dennis Wheatley and Shirley MacLaine. Reading their stories and experiences helped me piece together my afterlife belief system as it was at that time.
I believed in a simple form of karma - that we have lessons to learn. That we live a number of lifetimes, often travelling through time with the same group of beings with whom we interact repeatedly, sometimes as friends, sometimes as enemies, but always with karmic implications.
One of the books I had read suggested an exercise in which you recorded your dreams, so for some time I had been keeping a dream journal. Most of my dreams seemed like symbolic collages of a number of different happenings superimposed on one another, full of characters I didn't recognize in strange and unfamiliar environments. Yet occasionally I'd have a dream that was so vivid I actually experienced my surroundings in the same way that I experienced my daily waking existence. In other words, in these dreams I knew exactly who and where I was. I came to believe that these weren't dreams at all, but past life memories - brief snippits of specific and particularly emotional events.
There are 4 of these dreams in particular and even though they occurred more than 20 years ago, they remain as clear in my mind today as any "real life" memory.
In the first, I'm a young native American boy - perhaps 13 or 14 years old. I'm wearing a buckskin outfit, not particularly adorned, but simply cut and serviceable garments for a cool evening walk along the banks of a fairly wide river. The river runs on my lefthand side. It's getting dusk and I'm walking along in the tall grasses, deep in thought. I didn't hear the bear until it was too late. The attack was swift and I had no chance. There the dream ends. Strangely, in this lifetime I've always been terrified of bears for no apparent reason, perhaps this dream is the answer to a phobia that I've puzzled about for years.
In another of the dreams I'm a ship's officer in revolutionary France,recently returned from sea. I'm climbing a set of wooden stairs and when I look down, the fine buckled shoes, white silk stockings and dark worsted pantaloon style pants are as crisp and clear in my memory as if I'd worn them only yesterday. I reach a door at the top of the stairs and enter the comfortable, and nicely appointed apartments of a woman who I recognize as my lover. My homecoming is poignant and emotional. When I think of that dream, the emotions and feelings of that moment are still clear, vivid and raw.
Another dream finds me a very young woman, perhaps 12 or 13, waiting nervously in the secret apartments of the cold stone castle of a feudal British Lord. I could still describe to you the furnishings in the chamber, the clothes I was wearing and the dread I was feeling. This tryst was not a joyful event like the previous dream, as I was there at the Lord's command and against my own wishes. Still, when he entered, I instantly recognize that he is the same entity that was the woman in the French revolutionary life. It seems that we have changed genders and centuries, but continued our relationship. I find it interesting that I "remembered" the dream that occured in the 1700s before the one that happened in the 1400s. I don't know why they occurred out of chronological order, but I DO know now why I dreamed of that relationship, although it puzzled me at the time.
The final dream that I consider a past life memory finds me thousands of years ago, long before the others. I'm a woman scientist. I travel up a long shaft from deep underground where I've beeen working at a mining site far from my home country of what Edgar Cayce called Atlantis. The sky is grey and the mine entrance is on the edge of an ocean, though high above the seashore. As I stand on the cliff, I realize that hovering overhead is what looks very much like a modern day airplane, and that its pilot is Steve, my current brother in law. I ask him, "What can you see?" and he says "Nothing... nothing at all... It's all gone". My heart is breaking and I say to him, "Please come down, you should land now". But he replies, "If I come down, I'll never be able to get back up again" and the dream ends there.
All four dreams are only tiny snippits, but each is of an emotional event that impacted my 'focus' life dramatically. The dreams occurred over a long period of time, perhaps 2 years, not in quick succession. No others of such clarity happened until many years later. I was in my 20s at the time and I believe today that each of the dreams was carrying a message to help me prepare for relationships and events that were to come in my future. This is directly connected to the cornerstone beliefs that I described in my first few posts. The plan was in place and my spiritual entity was preparing me for what could happen.