Chapter One of "Children's Past Lives"

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  1. Steve

    Steve Grand Poobah

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    Chapter 1 from Children's Past Lives by Carol Bowman

    Copyright 1997 by Carol Bowman and Steve Bowman. All rights reserved.
    www.childpastlives.org

    ***************************

    CHASE AND SARAH

    "Sit on your mom's lap, close your eyes, and tell me what you see when you hear the loud noises that scare you," instructed hypnotherapist Norman Inge.

    My heart pounded with excitement. Maybe now we would solve the mystery of my five-year-old son's hysterical fear of loud noises. My mind raced back to an incident months earlier—to the Fourth of July, when Chase's unusual behavior began.

    July 4, 1988

    Every year my husband Steve and I hosted a big Fourth of July party at our house, which was a short walk to the best spot in all of Asheville for watching the city's fireworks. Our friends and their young children looked forward to joining us in our back yard for an afternoon of picnicking and celebration. The party always culminated with a walk down the hill to the municipal golf course to watch the grand fireworks display.

    For weeks Chase had been talking excitedly about the fun he had had in previous years at our parties, and especially about the fireworks. His eyes got bigger as he remembered the bright colors in the sky. This year he was hoping for a long and spectacular show.

    On the afternoon of the Fourth, our friends arrived with pot luck, Frisbees, and sparklers. The yard filled up fast, and kids were everywhere—hanging from the swing set, crowded in the sandbox, hiding under the back porch. Our quiet neighborhood was charged with the sounds of squealing, laughing children. Adults tried to relax on the porch while the children ran circles through the house and around the yard, usually with red-headed Chase in the lead.

    Indeed, Chase lived up to his name. Always in motion, full of energy and curiosity, often unstoppable, it seemed we were always two steps behind him, trying to catch him before he knocked something over. Friends teased us about choosing the name Chase, saying we got what we asked for.

    Our nine-year-old daughter, Sarah, and her friends retreated to a spot on the side of the house under the hemlocks and set up their own small table and chairs, just outside the range of watchful parents. For hours they entertained themselves, decorating their table with flowers and toy china, creating their own holiday party apart from the "wild" little kids. The only time we saw the girls was when they bustled back and forth from Sarah's room, modeling different dress-up clothes, jewelry, and hats on each trip.

    When the sun sank low in the trees, throwing orange light into the back yard, we knew it was time to corral the kids and prepare for the march down the hill. I grabbed Chase as he ran by, washed the cake and ice cream off his face, and forced a clean shirt onto his squirming little body. Armed with blankets and flashlights, we joined the parade of people headed down our street toward the golf course.

    Unexplained Fear

    Chase, holding my hand tight, bobbed my arm up and down as he skipped along with the crowd. The older girls, Sarah's gang, formed their own giggling procession. They clutched the sparklers that we promised they could light once we got to the golf course. We reached our favorite spot just as the sun set behind the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, then spread our blankets on a strategic slope.

    From the slope we watched the plain below—the lower nine fairways—fill with people. Soon blankets and lawn chairs were strewn everywhere. As the sky grew darker, boys and men set off firecrackers and Roman candles, filling the valley with flashes, bangs, and smoke. Nearby our children waved sparklers in the air, drawing bright circles and zigzag trails in the dusk; fireflies danced and blinked in approval.

    Chase, pumped with excitement and sugar, ran up and down the hill with his friends until he finally ran out of steam and collapsed on my lap. We watched the noisy party below while we waited for the big show to begin.

    Suddenly the cannonlike booms announcing the start of the fireworks reverberated off the hills, echoing all around us. The sky lit up and crackled with giant starbursts. The crowd around us oohed and aahed at the extravaganza of light and color against the black sky. Hearing the shots and booms at such close range added an exciting intensity to the show.

    But Chase, instead of being delighted, began to cry. "What's wrong?" I asked him. He could not answer; he only wailed harder and louder. I held him close, thinking he was exhausted beyond his breaking point and that the loud noises had startled him. But his crying got deeper and more desperate. After a few more minutes, I could see that Chase was not calming down—his hysteria got worse. I knew I had to take him home, away from the noise and confusion. I told Steve that I was leaving with Chase and asked him to stay with Sarah until the fireworks were over.

    The short walk home seemed long. Chase was sobbing so deeply, he couldn't walk, and I had to carry him all the way up the hill. But even when we got home, he was still crying. I held him on my lap in a rocking chair on the back porch, amid the debris of the party, hoping he would calm down. When his deep crying softened enough for me to ask him if he was sick or hurt, he could only whimper and shake his head no. When I asked him if the loud noises scared him, he cried harder. There was nothing I could do but hold and rock him, while I watched the fireflies' silent show in our back yard. Chase gradually settled down and nuzzled into my chest. Finally, just when my arms were too stiff to hold him any longer, he fell asleep and I put him to bed.

    Chase's unusual behavior puzzled me. He had never cried so long or so deeply in his short life. And he had never been afraid of fireworks before. This incident seemed out of character for Chase, who was not easily frightened by anything. I put it out of my mind by reasoning that he was frazzled from the long day, and maybe he had eaten too many treats, or something had just set him off—after all, things like this happen with children.

    But a month later it happened again. On a hot August day, a friend invited us to cool off at their town's indoor swimming pool. Chase loves the water and was eager to jump in the pool. As soon as he entered the pool area, where the sound of the diving board and splashing and yelling echoed in the big hall, he began to cry hysterically. Howling and screaming, he grabbed my arm with both hands and dragged me toward the door. Reasoning with him was futile; he just pulled me harder. I gave up and took him outside.

    We found a chair in the shade. I held Chase and asked him what was bothering him. He couldn't tell me, but he was obviously deeply disturbed, terrified of something. He finally calmed down, but even after he stopped crying, I couldn't persuade him to go back into the pool building.

    As we sat outside, I thought back to the other time he had acted this way—on the Fourth of July. I recalled the sound of the fireworks reverberating in the hills, which had triggered his first attack of hysteria. Then I realized that the sound of the diving board reverberating off the bare walls of the pool building sounded the same. I asked Chase if he was frightened by the sounds. He sheepishly nodded yes, but still would not go anywhere near the pool.

    So that was it—the booming sounds! But why did Chase suddenly have such a fear of loud noises? My mind tried to put all the pieces together. I couldn't remember anything that had happened to him in the past that would cause such a severe reaction to booming sounds. And this was the second time it had happened in a month. The fear seemed to come out of nowhere. Would it happen more often now, every time Chase heard a loud noise? I was worried! This could develop into a real problem, especially if I wasn't there the next time he became hysterical. I didn't know what to do, except wait and hope that he would outgrow this mysterious fear.

    A few weeks later, we were fortunate to have a wonderful man and skilled hypnotherapist, Norman Inge, as our house guest. He was staying with us while he conducted workshops in Asheville on past life regression and did private sessions with some of my friends. With Norman as our teacher, we were all just beginning to explore the realms of past life regression.

    One afternoon during his stay, Norman, Chase, Sarah, and I were sitting around the kitchen table having tea and cookies, laughing at Norman's stories. Something reminded me of Chase's irrational fear of loud noises, and I asked Norman about it. He listened to my story and then asked if Chase and I would like to try an experiment. Though I didn't know exactly what Norman had in mind, I trusted him and knew that he would be sensitive to my young son's limits. And since Chase was as eager as I was to solve this problem, we both agreed to try.

    Still sitting around the kitchen table, Norman began. That moment, I realized later, was a turning point in my life. Up to that time I had never thought that children could remember their past lives.

    Chase Sees War

    "Sit on your mom's lap, close your eyes, and tell me what you see when you hear the loud noises that scare you," Norman gently instructed Chase.

    I looked down at Chase's freckled face. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear.

    Young Chase immediately began describing himself as a soldier—an adult soldier—carrying a gun. "I'm standing behind a rock. I'm carrying a long gun with a kind of sword at the end." My heart was pounding in my ears, and the hair on my arms stood up as I listened. Sarah and I glanced at each other in wide-eyed amazement.

    "What are you wearing?" Norman questioned.

    "I have dirty, ripped clothes, brown boots, a belt. I'm hiding behind a rock, crouching on my knees and shooting at the enemy. I'm at the edge of a valley. The battle is going on all around me."

    I listened to Chase, surprised to hear him talk about war. He had never been interested in war toys and had never even owned a toy gun. He always preferred games and construction toys; he would spend hours at a time happily building with blocks, Legos, and his wooden trains. His television watching was strictly limited to Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, and none of the Disney movies he had seen depicted war.

    "I'm behind a rock," he said again. "I don't want to look, but I have to when I shoot. Smoke and flashes everywhere. And loud noises: yelling, screaming, loud booms. I'm not sure who I'm shooting at—there's so much smoke, so much going on. I'm scared. I shoot at anything that moves. I really don't want to be here and shoot other people."

    Although this was Chase's little-boy voice, his tone was serious and mature—uncharacteristic of my happy five-year-old. He actually seemed to be feeling this soldier's feelings and thinking his thoughts. He really didn't want to be there shooting at other men. This was not a glorified picture of war or soldiering; Chase was describing the sentiments of a man in the heat of battle who had serious doubts about the value of his actions and was terrified, thinking only of staying alive. These feelings and images were coming from someplace deep within him. Chase was not making this up.

    Chase's body, too, revealed how deeply he was experiencing this life. As he described himself shooting from behind the rock, I could feel his body tense on my lap. When he admitted he didn't want to be there and shoot at other people, his breathing quickened and he curled up into a ball, as if he were trying to hide and avoid what he saw. Holding him, I could feel his fear.

    Norman sensed Chase's distress with his role as a soldier who, in order to survive, had to kill other men. He explained to Chase, talking slowly, "We live many different lives on Earth. We take turns playing different parts, like actors in a play. We learn what it means to be human by playing these different parts. Sometimes we are soldiers and kill others in a battle, and sometimes we are killed. We are simply playing our parts to learn." Using simple language, Norman emphasized that there was no blame in being a soldier. He assured Chase that he was just doing his job, even if he had to kill other soldiers in battle.

    As my son listened to Norman's assurances, I could feel his body relax and his breathing become more regular. The anguished look on his face melted away. Norman's words were helping. Young Chase was actually understanding and responding to these universal concepts.

    When Norman saw that Chase had calmed down, he asked him to continue telling us what he saw.

    "I'm crouching on my knees behind the rock. I'm hit in the right wrist by a bullet someone shot from above the valley. I slide down behind the rock, holding my wrist where I was shot. It's bleeding—I feel dizzy.

    "Someone I know drags me out of the battle and takes me to a place where they took soldiers that are hurt—not like a regular hospital, just big poles, like an open tent, covered with material. There are beds there, but they're like wooden benches. They're very hard and uncomfortable."

    Chase said that he felt dizzy and could hear the sounds of gunfire around him as his wrist was being bandaged. He said he was relieved to be out of the fighting. But it wasn't long before he was ordered back into battle, and he reluctantly returned to the shooting.

    "I'm walking back to battle. There are chickens on the road. I see a wagon pulling a cannon on it. The cannon is tied onto the wagon with ropes. The wagon has big wheels."

    Chase said that he had been ordered to man a cannon on a hill overlooking the main battlefield. He was visibly upset by this order and repeated that he didn't want to be there. He said he missed his family. At the mention of his family, Norman and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. But before we could learn more, Chase started to fidget and told us the images were fading. He opened his eyes, looked around the kitchen, looked at us, and smiled. The little-boy glow in his face had returned. Norman asked him how he felt. Chase chirped, "Fine." Then he hopped off my lap, grabbed another cookie, and ran into the other room to play.

    As Chase pattered out of the kitchen, Norman, Sarah, and I looked at each other with our mouths open. I glanced at the clock on the stove: only twenty minutes had passed since Norman had told Chase to close his eyes. It felt like hours.

    Norman broke our stunned silence to ask for another cup of tea.

    We talked about the small miracle we had just witnessed. Norman was sure that Chase had remembered a past life. He explained that a traumatic experience in a past life such as being in war—and especially a traumatic death—can cause a phobia in the present life. Could this past life war experience be the cause of Chase's extreme fear of loud noises? Possibly. Norman said we'd have to wait and see if the fear went away.

    Norman admitted that he had never worked with a child so young and that he was surprised at how easily Chase had retrieved his past life memory—no hypnotic induction had been needed, as with his older clients. Apparently, Chase's memories were close to the surface and needed only gentle encouragement to come out.

    Sarah, who had been quietly absorbing everything that happened, suddenly bounced up and down in her chair, waving her arms, and piped in, "That spot on Chase's wrist, where he was shot—that's where his eczema is!"

    She was right. The location of the wound Chase described was exactly the same location as that of a persistent rash he had suffered since he was a baby. He had always had severe eczema on his right wrist. Whenever he became upset or tired, he scratched that wrist until it bled. Sarah said that it sounded like Chase was "ripping his flesh" as he relentlessly scratched that one spot. I often bandaged his wrist to prevent his scratching and bleeding. Without a bandage, Chase would wake up with blood streaked on his sheets. I had taken him to several doctors because of the severity of his rash, but allergy testing, a food elimination diet, salves, and ointments failed to clear it up.

    To our astonishment and relief, within a few days of his regression to the lifetime as a soldier, the eczema on Chase's right wrist vanished completely, and it has never returned.

    Chase's fear of loud noises also totally disappeared. Fireworks, explosions, and booming sounds never scared him again. In fact, soon after the regression Chase began showing an intense interest in playing the drums. For his sixth birthday he got his first drum set. Now he's a serious drummer, filling the house with loud booming sounds every day.

    Dolls Under the Bed

    Nine-year-old Sarah had taken in everything Norman said, and during Chase's story she seemed to be in a trance herself, hanging on to every word. When we were finished processing Chase's experience, she asked Norman if he could try an experiment with her too. She confided to him that she had been struggling with her own terrible fear of house fires.

    Like Chase's fear of loud noises, Sarah's extreme fear of fire was inexplicable. Though she admitted now that fire had terrified her as long as she could remember, Steve and I had become aware of it only a year earlier when, one evening, Sarah spent the night down the street at the home of her good friend Amy. The girls stayed up late and watched a movie on television that featured scenes of burning houses and buildings. Sarah was so distraught from seeing these images that Amy's mother had to bring her home in the middle of the night, waking us out of bed. Nothing like this had ever happened before; she had spent the night at Amy's many times.

    When Sarah got home, her eyes were red from crying. She wept as she told us that she had cried uncontrollably when someone in the movie was killed in a fire. We were surprised by Sarah's reaction and asked her if this had happened before. She confessed through her tears that she was so terrified of fires—especially house fires—that she kept a bag packed under her bed with her favorite Barbie dolls and some clothes, ready for a quick escape. The revelation surprised us even more because this kind of precaution was totally out of character for our self-assured and independent Sarah. Where had the fear come from? I hugged her until she calmed down. Exhausted from her emotional experience, Sarah finally fell asleep. But she remained upset for days. Despite repeated assurances that she was safe, and even after reviewing escape routes from every room of our house, her fears became more pronounced. Sarah would become agitated even if we lit candles on the dining room table, and she insisted that we blow them out. She would not believe us when we promised that we would protect her if our house ever caught on fire.

    As I had done with Chase's fear of loud noises, I reasoned at the time that Sarah would outgrow this fear. After all, many young children have irrational fears that dissipate naturally as they grow older. Besides, I didn't know what else to do. But now, seeing how Norman had worked with Chase, Sarah sensed an opportunity to get help with her fear of house fires. Norman agreed to try. Still sitting at the kitchen table, Norman instructed Sarah, "Close your eyes, feel the fear of fire. Now tell me what you see."

    With her arms resting on the table, Sarah closed her eyes and squinted in deep concentration as she began describing what she saw. I, still trying to recover from the surprise of hearing my young son speak like an adult and describe war, didn't know what to expect from his older sister. All I could do was listen and watch.

    Sarah described a simple two-story wooden house, shaped "like a barn" and surrounded by woods and farmland. A wagon road, overgrown with grass, passed in front of the house. She saw herself as a girl, about eleven or twelve years old (older than she was at the time). She said she spent most of her time working around the house helping her mother and sometimes helping her father with the animals. She didn't go to school because "they don't believe girls need education." She saw a younger brother who couldn't help with the work. Squeezing her closed eyes to see more details, she added that her brother may have been handicapped in some way.

    Up to this point, Sarah told her story as an observer, objectively reporting what she saw, without any involvement or emotion. Then Norman suggested she "move ahead to the time when your fear of fire started." Sarah's perspective shifted. Now she spoke as the young girl, in the present tense, totally absorbed in the terror of her predicament.

    "I wake up suddenly and smell smoke—I know the house is on fire. I'm scared. Panicked. Can't think. I jump out of bed. Flames and smoke everywhere. I run across the hall looking for my parents. Big flames cover the stairs and banister. Small flames shoot up through cracks in the floor. The bottom of my nightgown is on fire! I'm running into my parents' room. They're not there! Their beds are made. Where are they? I keep running until I'm trapped in the far corner of the room. I'm shaking as I stand in the corner. Why don't they save me? Why don't they get me out?"

    Sarah paused for a moment to catch her breath. She was still leaning with her arms on the table, her eyes closed, her face contorted and pale. She was reliving this painful memory with all of her being, panicked like a trapped little animal, pressed into the corner of the room by flames and heat.

    The terror in her voice drew me into her story. I felt the adrenaline pumping in my body, accelerating my heart and sending jitters through my veins. The air in the kitchen was taut with danger. Driven by motherly instinct, I shifted to reach out and comfort Sarah. But another instinct told me not to interrupt the flow and drama of her experience. I glanced at Norman for a sign. He sensed my question, nodded to assure me that Sarah was all right, and gestured for me to remain where I was. Sarah continued, crying with panic.

    "A beam covered with big flames falls down right in front of me and breaks a hole in the floor. Fire is everywhere. There's no way out. Oh, it really hurts to breathe. I know I'm going to die!"

    Sarah sat silently for a while at the kitchen table with her head in her hands. Her breathing slowed, her face relaxed. I discovered I had been holding my breath and let it out with a rush. A calm settled on the room. All was quiet, except for the purr of the refrigerator.

    Norman waited, then softly asked Sarah, "What are you experiencing now?"

    "I feel myself floating high above the treetops. I feel light, like air. I guess I'm dead. I don't feel any pain. I'm relieved that it's over. That was awful."

    Norman asked Sarah if she could see her family below.

    "There's my house—it's totally covered with flames. The roof is gone. I can see my family in the yard. My brother is sitting on the ground, and my father is holding on to my mother, who's crying and waving her arms at the house."

    Sarah began to cry deeply as she described her family. She said she knew that they had tried to save her but were driven back by the heat and flames. They were devastated that they could not save their daughter. Clearly Sarah was deeply moved by the grief of her family. Through her sobs, with her eyes still closed, she said she realized that her family had really loved her after all. She now understood that there was nothing they could have done to save her life, and she was greatly relieved to know the truth. She admitted that she had carried into her present life the false belief that her parents hadn't tried to save her from dying in the burning house.

    Sarah's sobbing gradually stopped. Norman and I sat silently and waited as she rubbed her eyes, then opened them and looked at us. She sniffled a few times and gave us a big smile. The panic and terror were gone. She looked peaceful.

    She saw the worry on my face and assured me that she was all right. Then she recounted the last moments before her death. She said that it all happened so quickly—in just a few seconds—from the time she woke up to her last memory of the fiery beam falling in front of her and fire exploding all around. She explained that she had run into the corner of her parents' room out of pure panic, with no time to think of a way out of the house. Her only thought had been to find her parents. She admitted that her last moments had been filled with anger for her parents, believing they did not love her because they hadn't gotten her out of the burning house. She said again that she had carried that anger—her last dying thoughts—with her into her present life, misunderstanding what had really happened and confused by the sudden terror of her death. Then she explained that her current fear of fire was a reminder that she still had something unfinished from that lifetime to work out.

    Norman and I were both amazed that we didn't have to interpret anything for Sarah. She understood intuitively, without prompting or explanation, the connection between her fear and anger at the time of her traumatic death and her present fear of fire. Many adults who remember past lives, Norman explained, are not as quick to process these connections between past and present. Sarah did it immediately on her own.

    A few days later, Sarah unpacked the bag she had kept under her bed with her dolls and clothes. Her "irrational" fear of fire disappeared after that day, though she is still very careful when she lights a match.

    Interlude

    A few days after Chase and Sarah remembered their past lives, Chase entered kindergarten and Sarah began fourth grade. Chase looked forward to school every morning. He went to a small alternative school, Rainbow Mountain, that emphasized storytelling, music, and creativity. He loved dictating stories to the teacher and was especially proud of his saga of his two mischievous hamsters, Romeo and Juliet, which was displayed in the classroom for all to see. Each afternoon he came home and excitedly reported the progress the class was making on the life-size dinosaur habitat they were building with papier-mâché. Chase was thriving and growing.


    Sarah began fourth grade in a new, experimental public school. She was placed in the accelerated program and spent some of her time in class doing independent projects, which made her feel grown up and responsible. Of course, as she started noticing the boys, she wished she could grow up faster. She spent more and more time on the phone with her friends gossiping about the constantly shifting alliances and affections among her classmates.

    These new adventures in school upstaged the intensity of my children's extraordinary experiences with Norman just a few weeks before. The regressions, in their minds, quickly faded to the status of "something that happened."

    On a few occasions Sarah, Chase, Steve, and I talked about their memories among ourselves and with a few close friends. But for the most part we kept it within the family. I was careful to protect my children from anyone who might laugh at them or accuse them of making up stories. I was afraid that mockery might shut Sarah and Chase down completely and that the door to their past lives, which had so miraculously opened, might close. I instructed them not to talk about their past life experiences with anyone unless they consulted me first. I assured them that what they saw was real, but I explained that most people would not understand and some people might even make fun of them. They readily understood and accepted this advice.

    I thought often about their amazing past life memories, and had many questions. Do other children remember their past lives too? And if they do, are the memories as close to the surface and as easy to access as they had been with Chase and Sarah? How many other childhood fears and physical problems have past life origins? The questions kept coming. I wanted to find answers. But a few weeks later, Steve accepted a new job in Pennsylvania, and three months after that, in December, we sold our house and moved. Because of this upheaval in our lives, I didn't have the time or energy to pursue the answers to my questions—just yet.

    In suburban Philadelphia we moved into a centuries-old stone farmhouse surrounded by beautiful old trees and in a neighborhood with cul-de-sacs and streets that were safe for bikes and skateboards. Chase and Sarah entered public school, which was a new experience for both of them. Sarah was disappointed to find that students' desks were arranged in rows and that the children were forbidden to talk to each other during class, though she quickly adapted to public school mode and made the most of it. Chase rode the transition to the new kindergarten easily. Within a few weeks they were both making new friends.

    After we were settled into our new house, Chase didn't mention his regression once. I thought he had forgotten about it. But one morning a few months later, while six-year-old Chase and I were enjoying breakfast together, he startled me with more information from his soldier's life. The conversation went like this:

    "Mom, remember when I saw that I was a soldier with Norman?"

    "Yes," I answered, surprised that he was bringing this up after so long. I could feel the goose bumps rippling all over my skin. I took a deep breath to calm myself as I looked Chase straight in the eye.

    "Well, we talked funny," Chase said, looking right through me.

    "What do you mean—did you speak English, the language that we speak?"

    "Yes," he responded, squirming, looking a bit puzzled, "but we talked funny. We sounded different." He hesitated, groping for words to explain what he meant, and then said, "You know how black people talk?" I nodded. "Well, I was black."

    After recovering from my shock, I managed to ask, in a more or less conversational tone, "Were you with other black soldiers?"

    "Yes. There were black soldiers and white soldiers fighting together," Chase replied. I watched Chase's face. His eyes looked to the side. He seemed to be viewing images in his mind and reporting to me what he saw.

    Remembering Norman's questions, I asked, "What else do you see?"

    "That's it."

    And that was that. Chase lost the image and went back to spooning his cereal.

    I was caught off guard by Chase's sudden announcement and wished later that I had kept my wits about me and asked better questions, or had figured out a way to keep him talking. Was there more to be revealed about his experience as a soldier? Was his past life memory still affecting him in ways I didn't understand? Perhaps there were more issues and emotions from that lifetime that needed to surface. And why had this shard of memory surfaced spontaneously during breakfast? Chase's observations weren't prompted by anything we were saying or doing at the time, as far as I could tell. Had he been thinking about this? Had some incident in school triggered more memories? I didn't know. It was a mystery. I wanted to know the answers but realized that I needed to wait for another opportunity to ask Chase more questions.

    I pieced together this new bit of information about being a black man with what Chase had described during his regression with Norman the year before: the battlefield, the description of the field hospital, the horses pulling cannons, and the gun with the sword at the end. And, I reasoned, since he spoke English and was black, the soldier Chase remembered was probably an American. This detail added a new twist to the story. Could he have been a black soldier in the Civil War? The Spanish-American War? World War I? Did they still use horse-drawn cannons in World War I? My limited knowledge of history failed me at that moment.

    Coincidentally, the next day, The Philadelphia Inquirer featured an article, illustrated with photographs, about a local exhibit of memorabilia of black Civil War soldiers. I learned from the article that regiments of black soldiers had fought in the Civil War alongside white soldiers, just as Chase had said. I looked closely at the photograph of the black soldiers and then glanced at red-haired, freckle-faced Chase. I laughed, thinking God has a weird sense of humor.

    This article gave me an opportunity to ask Chase more. Since he couldn't read at the time, I simply showed him, without comment, the pictures in the paper to see if they would prompt him to say anything. I watched his face closely as he looked at the photographs of the black Civil War soldiers posing in uniform. "Does this look familiar?" I ventured.

    "Yeah," he responded matter-of-factly. He was not offering any more information, so I tried coaxing him by telling him how the article described black soldiers fighting in the Civil War alongside white soldiers, just as he had told me the day before.

    "Do you remember anything else?" I asked him.

    "No, not really." he said. This wasn't working. There had been a look on his face the day before—an energized, glowing look as he spoke of his memory. It wasn't there now. So I put the newspaper away and changed the subject. I didn't want to push him or betray how eager I was to know more. I wanted him to feel comfortable talking about his memories again, if they should resurface.

    "Chickens Walk Free"

    February 1991 was a frightening time for many of us. The conflict in Iraq brought the reality of war into our homes and, for the first time, into my children's lives. Although we didn't watch television, we anxiously listened to the radio and looked at newspapers as the fighting escalated. Everyone was feeling the tension.

    One night, as we listened to the radio announce the first Scud missile attack on Israel, thunder crashed, lightning flashed outside our window and the power went off. We were all shaken, and Chase began to cry. Steve and I did our best to calm our children's fear that the war would spread to Philadelphia.

    The day after the ground war began, I picked up Chase at school. He got into the car and announced, "They'll never make me fight again!" I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly and asked him to repeat what he had said. Again Chase said, "They'll never make me fight again."

    "What do you mean?" I asked, trying to figure out the context for his remark.

    "I want to do another regression like I did with Norman that time when I was a soldier. There's more coming up. The kids in school keep talking about the war on TV, and I keep thinking about what I saw with Norman." Evidently the war news had triggered Chase's memory. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for.

    During the ride home Chase explained to me that the school was decorated with yellow ribbons, showing unquestioned support for the American troops who were fighting. He described how the kids and teachers were uneasy about the war, but at the same time everyone was proud that America was leading the attack on Iraq. This glorification of the war, he explained, brought up uncomfortable feelings for him. He told me he knew these feelings had to do with the lifetime he had seen as a soldier. Chase's mature observation rang true. I agreed to regress him.

    It had been two years since Chase last mentioned his past life as a soldier. During that time I had trained in hypnotherapy and studied past life regression techniques with Norman Inge and Dr. Roger Woolger. I apprenticed in guiding adults through their past life experiences and learned about the range of issues and trauma that can emerge during regressions. I also knew, from being regressed myself, that past life regression is a safe process. The unconscious mind, where past life memories reside, is selective in what it releases to the conscious mind: it will allow the person to go as deeply and as far as they need to go, and no further. I felt confident guiding Chase through a past life regression. I knew I could handle anything that came up.

    I waited until we had a quiet stretch of time during the afternoon, then turned off the phone and made Chase comfortable on his bed. Remembering how easily Chase and Sarah had accessed their memories with Norman, I decided to follow his example and not use a formal induction technique. I simply told Chase to close his eyes, take some deep breaths, and "go back to the scene you saw with Norman when you were a soldier." This time, I took detailed notes as eight-year-old Chase told his story.

    "Can't hear sounds, but can see it. I see horses coming in the valley. Men with guns with spears on the ends. I see myself crouching behind a rock, looking up at them. I'm feeling sad, scared, proud. There are soldiers on horses on my side. I'm now kneeling behind a rock. Waiting.

    "There's a battle going on. Smoke everywhere. I'm not shooting, I'm waiting. I start to shoot at the enemy—I don't have any choice, I want to protect myself. The people on the horses are white, I'm black. White soldiers are on my side. There's too much going on. Confusion everywhere. I'm scared half to death. Oh—he gets my wrist with a shot. It hardly hurts. Everything goes black."

    Chase was talking quietly in halting phrases and sentences, as thoughts and images poured forth in a stream of consciousness, not always in sequence. He appeared to be watching a continuous story in his mind, reporting only snapshots of the action. He was seeing and feeling much more than he could describe. At times he stopped talking, leaving gaps in his narrative. I encouraged him to continue with questions: "What are you experiencing?" "What happens next?" Without this gentle prodding he might have gotten bogged down in one spot.

    As before, he was talking in his little-boy voice but with the seriousness and phrasing of an adult. Some of the words he used surprised me, because they were a stretch from his usual vocabulary, or words I had never heard him use before.

    As he lay on the bed, Chase's body mirrored the changing scenes and emotions he was remembering. He was stiff as he described himself scared and waiting behind the rock in the battle. When he was hit in the wrist, he tensed up and stopped talking. His body relaxed when he reported that he "blacked out." This subtle body language added an extra dimension to an already fascinating account.

    I encouraged him to continue: "What are you experiencing now?"

    "Now I'm going back to fight with a bandage on my wrist. I see horses pulling a cannon, making a lot of dust. The cannon is on a wagon with big wheels—it's tied down with heavy ropes. There's chickens walking along the road. It's a time between fighting. I'm thinking how unhappy I am about going to war. I didn't know what I was getting into."

    After a long pause I asked, "What happens next?"

    "I'm back in battle. I'm shooting a cannon from the top of the valley. I pull a string, the cannon fires. I'm not loading it, though. I can't shoot a gun because of my arm. I'm scared shooting the cannon. Now I know how the others feel to be shot at. They're scared too."

    Again Chase paused. I asked, "Do you know why you're fighting?"

    "I don't know," Chase murmured.

    On a hunch, based on his earlier comment "I didn't know what I was getting into," I asked Chase to go back to an earlier time before the battle. I wanted to find out about his life before the war, to understand why he kept saying that he didn't want to be there and shoot people.

    "I'm at a house. It's mine. Sort of a cabin made of rough wood. The house has a front porch with a railing—a place to hitch horses. There's a rocking chair on the porch, and a door in the middle. I have two kids. I think I have a wife—I do. I'm happy. It's before the war. I was where the blacks are free. I see my wife—I see her from behind. She's in the house. She's wearing a blue dress with a white apron. She wears a dress with petticoats and black boots. She has straight hair she wears pulled back in a rag.

    "I see a black man on the porch smoking a pipe—it's me. I'm not young—about thirty or something. I'm very happy in the town. I wasn't born there, but I was brought there as a baby in a covered wagon. I'm a painter and a carpenter, and I make pots and sell them and make models out of wood for a hobby. There's a green area behind my house with bushes around. That's my favorite place—that's where I make my pots.

    "There's a dirt road in front of my house that goes to town. My town is a friendly town with wagons and farms. Chickens walk free. There are other black people who get along pretty well. The name of our town is something like Collosso." Chase strains as he tries to remember the name. "It's eighteen-sixty-something, at the beginning of the war.

    "People are standing around a post where the roads meet—it's the center of town. There's a lot of excitement; they're talking about the war. I'm reading a notice attached to the post. The notice says 'WAR' and has little print. I'm not sure that I can read, but I know the notice is asking for volunteers. I get excited too, and I volunteer. I sign a paper. I don't know what the paper says. I can't read.

    "I'm leaving my family. This is a sad time for me and my family, especially my kids. They're crying. I'm very sad. This is the saddest time of my life."

    Again Chase stopped talking, as he felt the sadness. After a long pause, I asked, "And then what happens?"

    "We're meeting with someone important, a general or something, after I join. He's talking about strategy. It's for my own good to listen. But I'm not paying attention—I'm thinking about my family. I feel totally pushed around, and I don't like it. People around me are more sad than scared."

    Chase paused, then jumped back to the scene in the field hospital. "I'm hurt in the wrist. I'm under a big cloth held up by poles—it looks like a tepee or a covered wagon—wide open on the sides. It's very crowded. A lot of noise—war in the background, gunshots. Someone is putting bandages around my wrist. Others are screaming because they're in so much pain. I'm thankful I don't have as much pain as the others. I guess my wrist isn't that bad. I'm sad to go back to battle. I miss my family. I'm behind the cannon. I'm hit!"

    Chase stopped speaking. I felt the energy shift—it felt lighter, like a breeze flowing through the room.

    After a pause, Chase continued on his own. "I'm floating above the battlefield. I feel good that I'm done. I see the battle and smoke below. As I look down on the battlefield, everything is still and smoky—nothing is moving down there. I feel happy that I'm done. I get to go to a happier life. I float over my house. I see my wife and kids. I say good-bye to my family. They don't see me because I'm in spirit, but they know that I'm dead."

    Chase looked peaceful. I let him enjoy the peace for a minute. Then I asked him what he had learned from his lifetime as a soldier. His reply amazed me:

    "Everyone has to be in a war. It balances everything out. Not necessarily die in a war, but experience it. It teaches you about feelings. It gives you a sense of how other people feel. It's a bad place. I skipped World War II. I was up. I was waiting for my turn to go back to a more peaceful time. I had a short life in between."

    I listened in wonder as my young son talked about universal balance and compassion. He spoke with a wisdom far beyond his eight years. His words and his tone of voice sounded as though they were coming from an old soul. I didn't know what to say. Where was "up"? Where was he waiting for his turn to come back? I wanted to hear more, but he was finished. The window to this mystery closed suddenly, and I knew I couldn't open it again.

    Chase opened his eyes and lay quietly on the bed for a few minutes. He looked distant, but calm. I asked him how he felt. He said that he felt better now that he had remembered more. I gave him a hug and assured him that he was now safe, that he didn't have to fight again, and that we were all safe and together as a family. Chase liked that and hugged me back. He bounced off the bed and out of the room. Within a few minutes he was happily back at play in his own room with his newest Lego kit.

    After this last regression Chase was immediately more confident and relaxed. He was no longer troubled by the war with Iraq, although we were all relieved when it was over a few days later.

    ************************



    [This message has been edited by Steve (edited 10-02-2002).]
     
  2. Aquaria

    Aquaria Senior Registered

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    I had never read this before! I really like it! I'm gonna have to get this book.
     
  3. kathyann

    kathyann Registered

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    Love It!!!!!

    I love this also, does barnes and noble have the book????
     
  4. Fab

    Fab Senior Registered

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  5. rosemary

    rosemary rosemary

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    wonderful to find this forum! my son was born november 1991. He was concieved in feb 1991 and I was fully aware of his conception. It was dramatic and very real. I felt his spirit SLAM into my body through the top of my head. I knew he was a direct casualty of Desert Storm, I just knew. His early terror of loud bangs, especially fireworks continued until he five years old...along with reccurring nightmares of "the earth is burning!" and his preschool obsession with drawing planes, on fire or dropping bombs, and burning buildings, confirmed it for me, though I would never push my belief onto him.
    The thing is, I was not into television, so we didnt have one back then, and his personality is so calm and gentle, it just didnt match the drawings! Actually I can recount with humour, announcing to his dad that I was pregnant, that its a boy, his name....and the correct date of birth, which i immediately wrote down. It was only an hour after we'd had sex, so you can imagine what he was thinking....he thought I was a nut.
    turns out his name is teutonic for 'warrior'.
    just think of it! we give birth to our 'enemies' after we kill them? ...gives a whole new meaning to "love thy neighbour!" give birth to them while you are at it!!!surely if a majority could accept reincarnation, wars would no longer be necessary, as it would be pretty obvious that we are killing our own families, our own future children, even ourselves! then they must heal from such dreadful experiences with the tenderness and love they should have recieved in the first place. we could be spending all this energy on expanding our minds, raising consciousness and building new societies! I know thats where we are headed, if only we could heal the fears this world has.
     
  6. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director

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    Welcome to the forum rosemary.

    I have to say - I am touched by your posts. Straight from the heart. :) What you are expressing is so very true. My I ask; Are you aware of why your son came to you specifically? Perhaps in a new thread . You seem to have very strong experiences and I am interested. :)

    I know that's where we are headed, if only we could heal the fears this world has. --- Namaste.
     
  7. rosemary

    rosemary rosemary

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    Hi deborah!
    I don't know who or what Namaste is, but I will by the end of the evening!!! I sent you an email, if you reply ,maybe send some pics of your work?..love to see them. I'm not aware of any specific purpose for his choice of mother, though I had quite specific visions of his future.

    I dont experience the confrontations he has with his father, so It looks as if his dad has stuff to learn from him...I get along well with his dad but it took some serious work. I had to let go, learn tolerance and compassion with him. As soon as I stopped reacting, he stopped fighting, simple as that, But, my son confronts his dad by being painfully truthful...thats how he reacts. His dad is afraid of him! Not physically, but afraid of what he thinks! And my son uses that to his full advantage...He has a talent for seeing through people and isnt shy about using it. consequently the angel I experience at home is not percieved as such elsewhere...lol.

    My son and I are old souls old friends, we just know each other very well, he is so secure with me. could be former siblings? I'm his rock and he's the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me,....( next to waking up on a mountain and getting blissful with an angel)!...more so as a baby and young child as he had a real glow about him, I've taken striking photos of him that reveal his depth of feeling at ten months old. people mistake them for antique photos of russian royalty!! He had an eastern european look as a baby and child, but, like me, he's a chamelean and changes his appearance to how he wants to look!
     
  8. rosemary

    rosemary rosemary

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    namaste

    Namaste is lovely, thankyou!:tongue:
     
  9. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director

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    For those of you who do not have Carol's book and are considering buying it...the first Chapter is here. ENJOY!
     

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