Tuesday 31 March 2020

Previous Existences

     Some  people think I'm crazy but I'm pretty sure I've remembered six or seven previous existences. This started when I was about ten years old.  I was quite sure I'd led a previous existence as a Scots terrier.  I don't remember all  the details now but I did then.  I used to tell long detailed stories about it to my four-year old sister Ann in bed at night.  Apparently I had all kinds of adventures.  Furthermore I also knew that in the life before that I had been a bad human being and had to retrace my evolution by sinking to the level of a dog.  However I had been such a good little dog that I had been allowed to become a human being again.

     If I had been living in the Far East when I had this experience and talked about it my story would have been accepted without question, as reincarnation there is a matter of accepted belief.  There  are all kinds of stories in India of a child born in one village remembering a life in another village, being taken there and being able to prove it.  Remembering previous existences is particularly important for establishing the credentials of certain holy men, as we see from the example of the present Dalai Lama.  And the Buddha went through all kinds of animal existences, as the tale is told, being a particularly noble, self-sacrificing animal in each one.  But I was living in twentieth century England in a home devoid of Hindu or Buddhist beliefs.  My father was a freethinker and my mother a Scottish Presbyterian.   What could have induced me to come up with these stories?

     However I was in fact subject to certain occult influences which could well have excited my imagination along these lines.  My mother might have been expected to be dour, hardheaded and canny.  But it is the Lowland Scots who have earned this reputation and my mother came  from the Outer Hebrides where people believe firmly in psychic powers, known as the Second Sight, and put out milk at night for the fairies to keep them from draining the cows, while my English scientist father tried and failed to convince my mother that all this kind of thing was superstitious rubbish.  My mother managed quite easily to reconcile her religious beliefs with her more magical ones.  So did her best friend, whom I was taught to call Aunty Maidie, who was a Highlander, at the same time as she was sufficiently canny to hold quite an important job in the Civil Service.

     Living as we did on the outskirts of Birmingham, we found ourselves on a Romany travelling route.  On my way to school I would frequently see their painted, wooden, horse- drawn caravans pass by, with the men driving and the women, who were the fortune tellers, walking in the road.  My mother was always inviting these women in, and they chalked their patterans, which you would call hobo marks, on our gate posts.  My mother said "Oo, I wonder what they mean!" and my father said "they mean {A fool lives here.}".  But she was able to defend herself.  One day  my father came home from work and said, "Well Mary we're moving".   He expected her to be surprised because he never told her anything of his plans beforehand, but she just said, "I know." "How do you know?" he asked.  "A gypsy told me."

     My mother also subscribed to an occult magazine called "Prediction" which featured horoscopes by her favourite astrologer.  According to her we were all supposed to do exactly what this astrologer said.  I too read this magazine and believed in it.  I probably learned from it about reincarnation.  So right now I might dismiss my ideas on this subject as childish fantasy if I had not had several memories of previous existences, quite unexpectedly, in middle age.

     I was taking a course in ancient Greek at Brock when I found certain words which sounded Greek but weren't in the Greek dictionary, popping into my mind.  I asked the professor, Fred Casler, about them and he said they were Doric.  Doric was the ancient Greek spoken in the countryside and I had never been exposed to it.  It must have come from somewhere.  Shortly after this I stayed in bed for a week, feeling ill, and spent the whole week watching pictures of former lives flash across my mind as if on a movie screen.  To this day I cannot be entirely sure that they were real memories, but how did I come up with the Doric?

     I would like to write them all up and see if I can get them published.  I have finished one account, in narrative verse, about a descendant of the Witch of Endor who falls in love with Jesus and follows him around Galilee.  I have shown it to an Anglican priest who liked it and even admired it.  I have also done some work on the others.  There is a great deal of variety but this time round I did not see myself being a dog!

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