Where do past-life memories come from?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by Ailish, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    The following is an article by Henry Leo Bolduc, C.H. and Marjorie V. Reynolds, B.A. Ed, M. Ed., C. Ht., M. Ht.

     
  2. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Part two

     
  3. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Part three

     
  4. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    All thoughts and comments on the article are welcomed :)


    Aili
     
  5. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    It is an awesome section of his thoughts...Perhaps members are speechless? Anyone?


    Thanks for posting it Aili. ;)
     
  6. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Thanks for that, it's really informative - I've been considering doing (having?) a regression, and it's helpful to know what to expect (e.g. "VI Traveling through Time: Three Steps").


    A couple of things puzzled me:


    Firstly, the part about learning from past lives - if we really do learn from past-life memories, what is it that we learn? Over the generations, a huge amount of cultural knowledge, spoken, written, & artistic has accumulated, but kids still have to learn it pretty much from scratch. Similarly, over the generations, a huge amount of past-life wisdom should have accumulated, but people today don't seem to be any wiser or smarter than in our earliest recorded history. On the other hand, if not everyone benefits, who does? if it's only people who've been regressed that gain significantly from learning past-life knowledge, then we'd expect them to be better than average in some way (wiser? smarter? more knowledgeable? more successful?). It would be interesting to see if this is true.


    But now I wonder whether I have I just misunderstood what it means by 'learning from past lives'?


    Secondly, in 'part VII. Analyzing the Data', it says:

    My bolding
    Is he really saying that it's possible to go to any past life under regression? If so, how do you tell which past life memories are your own past lives and which are not? :confused:


    Also, if the possibility of going to any past life explains the many reports of having past-life memories of the same famous people, then we should see a closer than expected correspondence between most of these reports, especially in incidental detail, because they are memories of a single person. I wonder if there are enough reports of 'duplicate' past-life memories to get a good statistical estimate of their similarities...


    ETA - But now it occurs to me that Bolduc & Reynolds might be saying that these famous past-life reports are not necessarily true memories:

    What does it mean by 'true memories' here? If all these people failed to realise that their memories were not true memories, how can you tell what is a 'true' memory and what is not?
    [Apologies if I seem over-analytical, it's the result of a long career as a programmer - but the 'learning from past lives' and the 'true' memory quote genuinely have me puzzled]
     
  7. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Hiya Dlorde :D


    Well, since there isn't some general grand theory - yet - on this subject I'll take the freedom to give my own opinion.


    What do we learn from our past lives? It is true that when born we all start from scratch - we need to learn how live all over again it seems. However, in my personal opinion, what we learn is something different than morals and ethics of societies. Those are culturally defined and are variable. So, imo, what you learn (or is attempting to learn) from life to life is something that sticks deeper. Compassion and mercy could both be things learnt through past lives. Someone once wrote on this forum that we all have to learn what it's like to be the perpetrator as well as the victim in various aspects of life (love, economically, crime, etc.). It teaches us to show forgiveness and mercy towards those who hurt us (in whatever way), because we have been in their shoes.


    It sounds exciting about a possible regression :thumbsup: I hope you'll share some of it with us if you do it :)
     
  8. stardis

    stardis Senior Registered

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    (Emphasis added by me.)


    Just my two cents: perhaps the idea that we are learning anything in our many incarnations is just an erroneous myth that has become so firmly entrenched in our thinking that we accept that it is true. If you think about it, who is doing the learning - is it the eternal spirit or the mortal human being or both? Maybe we, as eternal spirits or Beings of Light (my own penchant), are just having a sought-after experience of living a corporeal lifetime and in return for that experience, we are attempting to grow this species into one that will endure through out the ages of this planet. We are growing this species so that we can continue to return here for the experience of living a physical lifetime.


    It is too easy to assume that we are in need of learning "something" and I think that propensity comes from our cultural histories and religious influence as human beings. All of our thoughts and theories about reincarnation come to us as human thoughts or at least through the filter of the human mind and we therefore attach a lot of baggage to Beings that naturally have no baggage. We try to apportion to the spirit those qualities that are distinctly human when it may be completely inappropriate.


    If anything, I think that we are eternal Beings of Light who have found as the alien said in the movie Contact, "In all our travels, we've found the only thing that makes the emptiness bearable...is each other." And so we come here to this planet hoping to engage each other in delightful ways and to just enjoy the experience.
     
  9. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    If this was the case, wouldn't you expect mankind to become increasingly compassionate and merciful (even empathic) over time?

    Well, 'The Past Life Therapists Association' have a therapist within reach, so I'll check it out... I guess it's a question of cost now - being recently retired, I need to be prudent.
     
  10. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Looks like that to me - man's behaviour doesn't show much overall improvement since the earliest times...
     
  11. stardis

    stardis Senior Registered

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    This is just my opinion, so take it as you will.


    In his book Journeys Within, Henry Leo Bolduc writes:

    I added the bold emphasis to illustrate what I feel is important to remember about past lives and that is that we are not sentenced to keep reliving the past until we somehow get it right. We only need to get this lifetime right or at least do our best to find happiness and peace because in so doing we will probably be on the correct path for this lifetime.


    As Bolduc says "insight and self-knowledge" may be helpful to us but I don't really think that is the same as "lessons" that we need to learn or get right before we can move on in some sort of spiritual development. It may just be semantics but I feel there is a distinct difference. I do seek insight and self-knowledge and always have in this life so the recall of past lives is for me a productive exercise but even more important to me is that the faith in reincarnation provides a moral compass in that I can live a lifetime that is adding to the greater good for humanity.


    The book Journeys Within is a free download and if you download the ascii text file it only takes about two seconds. I have enjoyed reading it.
     
  12. Florence

    Florence Senior Registered

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    Yes, I agree that if you do your best to be a kind and loving person....that's all that is expected.


    Cayce says you don't have to do great things....just do what is at hand. In other words you don't have to save the world....just be loving and helpful to those souls who are around you.


    "Seth" says you are here to return to spirit and to remember how to use energy....So to return to spirit you must be on the path of purity and that is probably why people speak about learning lessons.


    Re-learning to use your energy I assume means learning to go out of body....learning to heal others, learning to talk to your spirit guides and various other skills. I guess whatever we originally were able to do before we became trapped in a human physical form.


    I personally think that people are much kinder than they were in the distant past. I think people used to be far more cruel and it was OK. Today when people hear about such things they are shocked and horrified.


    Today people steal.....It almost seems as though EVERYONE is a thief these days...It used to be the worst thing you could be was a liar or a thief...I don't know what happened....
     
  13. Sunniva

    Sunniva Administrator Emeritus

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    Touché :laugh: You are correct! And yet, some people would argue that this is not the case. We are more involved in beneficial organisations than ever trying to save the planet, various animals, children, etc. Even our governments are more involved in it. In most countries around the world the death sentence has been abolished, which I also - personally - think is a huge step forward for humanity. Even war, though still immensely horrible, seems to be slightly more focused on helping and not killing too many civilians (at least theoretically) rather than just wiping out every moving creature.


    There are still many problems today, but don't you think that from a general perspective we have become more humanitarian? : angel
     
  14. Truthseeker

    Truthseeker Former Moderator

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    I agree. Who is to say that the world is not more caring and compassionate today? I would argue that it is. A couple hundred years ago in France, who was supposed to be the most cultured and sophistocated country in the world at that time, during their revolution the streets ran red with the blood of those who were executed at the guillotine. I can't imagine something like that happening today. In recent years here in the US things have happened that have been publically unpopular, but I have yet to hear anyone suggest that people start getting drug out and executed in the streets. In the past looting, burning peoples homes down, raping and killing women and children was all part of the spoils of war. Like Sunniva pointed out, in today's age people can't stand the thought of any civilians being collateral damage. I don't want to see anyone get hurt either, but goes to show you how much attitudes towards violence has changed for the better.
     
  15. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    It would seem to me that any question regarding whether humankind has improved overall is difficult, if not impossible to validate, because so little is known about our own history to make an objective assertion. Second, we are operating only within a paradigm that assumes that this three-dimensional world is the only one in existence. If we are measuring improvement, are we measuring on the basis of today's values? And are we considering collective improvement along with individual improvement? If we are considering improvement within the paradigm of reincarnation, where do souls go when they have improved to the highest known level? Would they keep coming back? If so why?

     
  16. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    From a general perspective, I don't think a great deal has changed in man's psychology. I suspect the majority of people have always been reasonably humanitarian, after all, societies do need to cooperate and altruism is beneficial to the group. But the majority have always been subject to the predation of the sociopathic minority, be they autocratic or despotic rulers and leaders, or external predators such as pirates, gangs, outlaws, etc.


    I still see these patterns in the world today - the bloodiest wars have been the wars of the 20th century. I agree that the increasing individual wealth brought by technology, and cultural changes such as democracy have made some states more humanitarian, but even then, many democratic states have a dark side. For example, the United States has the highest documented incarceration rate (~1%), and highest total prison population in the world (it has less than 5% of the world's population but 23.4% of the world's prison population). About 10.4% of the African-American male population aged 25 to 29 in the US is in jail...


    I suppose it depends what you mean by humanitarian.
     
  17. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Something else to think about - we perceive that the 200,000 years, give or take a millenia, that humans have been on this planet is a long time, but how do we know it's not just the blink of an eye in the soul's evolution? How do we know what stage of growth we are at? It's easy to compare for example, the level of learning between a 5 year old and 50 year old while in our physical form, but does the soul have a lifespan? or if it's eternal, then we still have the rest of eternity to learn, which is a very long time ;) we could all still be 'baby' souls for all we know! As things stand, we don't have any perception of a 'beginning and end' to gauge the soul's evolution against :)
     
  18. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    I was raised Roman Catholic (it didn't 'take'), but I never got coherent answer to the question 'What is the soul?'.


    Presumably past-life memories must be transferred from one person to the next via some mediator - is this the soul?


    Do the members of this forum have a good definition of the soul? If so, what is it, or does the word apply to a variety of concepts?
     
  19. kmatjhwy

    kmatjhwy Senior Member

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    Chris, here is something I that have heard that goes along with what you were saying above that in reading your post just have to share that puts some humor in the situation. This concerns the definition of an 'Old Soul' so to speak. Since in some circles, one will hear every so often how someone has an 'Old Soul'. Now what I heard was this that the definition of an 'Old Soul' is .... 'Slow Learner'.


    For Whatever it is worth. Have a Good Day!
     
  20. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    Hi Dlorde!


    Like you, I was raised a Roman Catholic and spent twelve long years under the stern hands of semi-cloistered teaching nuns. Obviously, it didn't take for me, neither!


    Many of those I've known have henceforth gone through the usual phases of throwing out the whole "magilla" the kitchen window -- the baby with the bathwater -- but, have since recovered the baby (Christs central ideas) without the dirty bathwater (religion). To most of us the truly valuable part was Christ's message: that we don't die; that what we do to the least of our kind, we do to ourselves; and that we do in one life doesn't necessarily condemn us to an eternity of punishment. Whether Jesus was really "the" son of God really didn't seem to matter as much; while, the continuity of soul seemed to matter much more.


    I don't think that any of us can define soul as anything more than what survives when nothing physical is left. But many people have a sense that there is much more to our souls that what we sense, imagine, or remember. It seems that what we are here on earth is only a small fraction of what we really are, and that most of us are cut off from the rest of our individual souls by varying degrees and for various reasons.


    This is just one opinion from a fellow ex-Catholic and Forum member. But, I suspect that we have also shared a common distrust toward dogma, which can only be maintained by blind faith. Fortunately, you are not alone.
     
  21. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Hi dlorde,


    I've only got a simple answer, but it's my personal opinion, and it works for me! You know when sometimes you are faced with a dilemma where your head is telling you to do one thing, and your heart is telling you to do another? Well I think that when this happens, you are experiencing a conflict between your physical self and the soul. Our emotions, like compassion, empathy, and even the negative like anger, jealousy, I believe they come from the soul. So the soul is the driving force behind how we react to different circumstances. For example, someone makes you angry, and you decide you want to punch him on the nose. He also makes your friend angry, but your friend decides to turn and walk away. Why does that happen when physically we are all composed of the same material? What exactly is it that made you do one thing, and your friend do the opposite when physically, we are all made up from the same elements, so why don't we all react in the same way to every situation? It's because we each have our own soul, which is unique to us, the soul is our identity.


    If the human being had no soul, then I believe we would all behave exactly the same, like automatons. We are all made of the same flesh and blood, yet no two of us are the same, it's the soul that gives each of us our unique personality, we are the sum total of everything that we've ever experienced.
     
  22. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    Wow, twelve years! I spent seven years under Benedictine priests - not quite so long, but they were pretty keen on physical punishment - no wonder some of us lost interest while counting the bruises!

    OK, thanks. As far as I recall, I never really believed in God any more than I did Santa Claus, and when that partial belief evaporated, the dogma and the soul and everything else in the same basket went with it.
     
  23. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    OK, so by this definition the soul is the source of the emotions and personality. But we know where in the brain emotions arise (hypothalamus & amygdala), and the frontal lobes mediate our social behaviours & personality. Also, some people who suffer brain damage to these areas (e.g. strokes) have changes to their personalities and emotions, often permanent. Does this mean that their soul is damaged too? Are souls that fragile?

    But each of us have different development, upbringing, experiences, and learning - our brains are a unique blend of these and the genetics of our parents (and our personalities often show similarities to our parents). We behave differently because we develop differently according to our genetics and environment; I don't see what more your definition of a soul gives us...

    Animals that have a large enough brain (e.g. mammals) don't all behave exactly the same, like automatons - they have distinct personality traits and unique behaviours. Do they have souls?


    At the level between insects (which have really tiny brains and do seem to be like automatons) and the mammals, which show emotions and individual personality, there are creatures that don't behave like automatons, may show very basic emotions, yet don't really seem to have discernable personalities - do they have souls?


    You see my problem with this definition of the soul as the source of emotion and personality - it really doesn't seem necessary, and it seems to raise more difficulties than it resolves.
     
  24. ChrisR

    ChrisR Administrator Emeritus Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Yes but emotion is not a physical thing is it? You can't "touch" emotion, or study it under a microscope. It may originate in the hypothalamus and amygdala, but what is the "spark" that triggers it there in the first place? Every single element that makes up the human body can be found elsewhere throughout the universe, so why can't we take those elements and recreate 'emotion' in a laboratory?

    Although I haven't given it that much thought to be honest, I believe that the soul can be hurt, but not damaged, I do think it can be affected by physical AND non-physical change, whether that be a traumatic accident, or falling in love, or losing a loved one etc, this is how the soul develops with experience. You mention changes in personality after brain damage, but I've also seen changes in personality after non physical trauma like divorce, or the loss of a loved one, physical or non-physical, it can all have an affect on the personality. You are right of course when you say that we all have different upbringings and circumstances which influence our personality, and yes we do inherit certain traits from our parents, but apart from all of these things adding more depth to the soul, I think there is more besides that. I think some traits we are born with, carried over from previous lives. I don't think upbringing alone determines whether an individual is inherently good or bad, shy or extrovert for example, I think some of these traits were determined before we were born.


    I know I'm only fantasizing here, but I sometimes wonder what would happen if it were possible to put all the elements together that make up a human body in a lab, and then bring it to life, kind of like a Frankenstein's monster, except everything from the brain and heart, to the limbs and all the other features have been built from the ground up using the base materials. What kind of personality would it have? Or would it be just like a living 'zombie'? How could you 'create' a personality for it?

    I do think animals have souls, and I do believe that they reincarnate just as we do. Not sure about insects and plants though, but why not? What makes us so special than any other form of life on this planet?
     
  25. Nightrain

    Nightrain Senior Registered

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    I strongly suspect, as Chris opined, that animals have souls. Their behavior, however, may not be a function of their soul. In like fashion, when our behavior changes as a result of an injury or operation, I suspect that the soul, itself, is not altered in any way. It might, rather, affect our connectivity with the soul.


    Such physical changes and certain inborn handicaps troubled my mind for many years, and only seemed to confirm a growing distrust for the concept of God. However, a more current theory suggesting that our physical brain, indeed our entire physical form, may be some sort of radio that connects us with our souls. Under this paradigm, it would make sense that any injury or handicap would interfere and possibly change our behavior as a result.


    It is true that certain parts of the brain can be activated to induce a feeling there are entities near us. But, does this necessarily disprove that such entities don't exist? It is also true that we can ingest certain substances that will cause us to see things that don't exist in this world; but does it negate that these things don't exist? What if they do? What if memories of past life memories do exist in the repository of our souls? And, what if we are in touch with only a small portion of our souls through the medium of what we call our physical body -- more specifically, our physical mind?
     
  26. Florence

    Florence Senior Registered

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    From what Cayce and Seth write....Your Soul is in your subconscious.....Whuile it resides there as the keeper of your past lives...it is also recording every action and emotion in your present life. The soul also may leave the body in "out of body" experiences and return. Many say we all go out of body, often in our sleep.


    When you go through regression the memories of those past lives are brought to the surface from the deepest regions of the subconscious....
     
  27. Florence

    Florence Senior Registered

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    BTW...It isn't people or personalities coming back into a new life....it is the SOUL being clothed in a new body. Very often there is a change in the personality but some of the basic traits can be detected also.


    One of our members who comes to mind was very involved in Police work.....a male. In this life she is a female but still works with the police. This time in a very positive way.


    The Soul must live for a very long time as I had read that each life is but a day in the life of a soul.


    I love that line "Old Soul = Slow Learner"


    Very funny !!! It made me laugh because some people like to tell you they are an old soul with a grand expression of pride in their face in their tone....grin.....
     
  28. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    True enough - but 'inflation' or 'recession' in the economy, or a landslide in geography, or instability in a volcano, or destructiveness in a hurricane aren't physical things - you can't touch them or study them under a microscope, although you can measure their effects to varying degrees. They are summary concepts - labels we apply to recognisable patterns of behaviour that have meaning to us. Emotions are also summary concepts.


    The 'spark' that triggers them will typically be an accumulation of events that eventually cause the pattern to emerge. For a cyclone, this will be when a stable rotational system of a certain size is established; for a landslide, when the weight of soil exceeds the resistance of its supporting structure, for an emotion, when the sum of internal feedbacks and external inputs significantly affect or even overwhelm the higher-level filters (frontal lobes) that control & mediate our behaviour. What goes on in our heads is complex, but to simplify (crudely), if you keep prodding someone, they'll eventually become angry ;)

    Well yes, we do seem to inherit some of the general genetic traits of our forebears - but you don't need the idea of a soul for that. Our brains appear to determine our behaviour, and are (like the rest of us) the combined product of our parentage (genetics) and our developmental environment.

    Assuming such a thing was possible, it would likely be a drooling baby - unless you could assemble the brain to such a fine level of detail that it was identical to a brain complete with the desired level of development and experiences - in which case, I'd expect it to behave like one. But you'd need somebody's brain to copy (because we have no other way of obtaining that information).

    You'd have to teach it everything it needed to know, and give it all the necessary experience. In the real world, this wouldn't work with a 'blank' adult brain, because the brain goes through stages, from birth onwards, where what it encounters determines not only what it learns, but how it develops. So to get a realistic person(ality), you'd have to start with an infantile brain and work up from there. There are a number of computer projects aiming to do this kind of thing with computer simulations of infantile brains that can learn.

    Why do you believe this?

    Nothing really. We're better at intellectual stuff than most creatures, and worse at almost everything else ;)
     
  29. dlorde

    dlorde Senior Registered

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    But why do you suspect this?


    If our own behaviour is a function of our soul, then why should animals be different? If our own behaviour is not a function of our soul, then what are souls for?

    OK, this sounds like the soul as puppet-master, where physical damage is akin to cutting a string... ?

    No, it can't disprove them; but if we can induce the feeling at will, does it mean that the entities sensed do really exist? Is it more likely that stimulating an arbitrary part of the brain leads to a sensation of something that isn't really there, or to a sensation of something that really is there?


    For example, if you stimulated someone's brain and the subject felt burning heat, or freezing cold, or great isolation, etc., would you say those sensations are externally real (the subject really is too cold or too hot, etc.), or that they are internal and subjective (i.e. purely an effect of the stimulation) ?

    No, but we can compare the experiences of people from different cultures to see if they always see the same things, and we can compare with people under physiological stress to see if the experiences are similar. For example, the experiences of fighter pilots and astronauts under extreme acceleration or oxygen deprivation tells us that lack of oxygen to the brain often leads to white-tunnel 'walk towards the light' type of experiences, suggesting that lack of oxygen to the brain should be considered in other situations where these experiences are reported. Are the experiences real? - yes, to the subjects. Are they objectively, externally real? not as far as anyone has been able to establish.


    So the effects of the ingestion of substances or the stimulation of the brain can't really tell us anything about what is really out there - but if an unstimulated experience is very like an artificially induced experience, we should be prepared to seriously question the cause of that experience (i.e. was it externally real or purely internal).

    That's a key question I'd really like to know the answer to - what difference would it (or does it) make? How can we tell?
     
  30. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    I have found the work of Fred Alan Wolf very interesting. Especially his views on soul, self and the spiritual universe which is what the first book listed in the link I provided is about.
     

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