On 8 March 2010, I underwent a ‘life-between-lives’ (LBL) regression session with a hypnotherapist, Hazel Newton. To begin the session, we began by dropping into a past life, one chosen by the wisdom of my higher guidance. In this post I focus on the past life itself. In the next post I give an account of the LBL phase.
Again, I have borrowed some images to illustrate what I experienced. These images are not identical to what I saw, but are a reasonable approximation.
Ireland, 18th Century
I found myself in female form, wearing a simple, check-patterned dress and some kind of shawl. I had black wavy hair which hung down the back of my neck but something like a headscarf was tied over my head to keep the hair off my face.
I was in my early twenties and my name was either Mary or something like it. The surname sounded like Donegan or Gallagher or something similar with three syllables.
I lived in a small town or village by the Irish coast in the eighteenth century. The only place-name I got sounded something like ‘Fairer’. Other place-names seemed too obscure to me, though I had the impression of Irish-sounding names with four or five syllables.
I was serving in a bar or perhaps more precisely a tavern or hostel. It was daytime, sunny. The customers were mostly sailor types with faces that were red, shiny and bearded. There was a cheerful atmosphere but at that moment I was feeling overworked. I think we were under-staffed so I was having to do it all myself. Certain customers kept interrupting me, which I found irritating though I knew they meant well.
Next, it was a dark and murky evening and I was looking at a tall sailing ship which had arrived at a local harbour. I intended to get on it. My plan was to run away on that ship tonight to start a new life, to have adventures.
I had dressed to look older than I really was and I had with me a couple of travel cases. I was drumming up the nerve to ask the guy watching the gang-plank to let me go aboard. But then I started feeling nervous. I was having second thoughts, worrying about what dangers might lie waiting for me.
In the end I got cold feet and just went home.
Now I was really disappointed with myself. Disappointed but also confused.
‘Maybe I made the right decision. Maybe it’s best to play safe.’
I felt cross with myself for giving in to my fears. I felt like I had lost my one chance at starting a new life.
In the next scene I again found myself in the tavern, some time later. A tall, blond man had entered in with a couple of other men. I was very attracted to this blond man and as he sat at a table I soon began flirting with him — not too obviously, just catching his eye now and then and smiling. When he smiled back, I was thrilled!
The next scene was of me just having had a baby. I was exhausted but delighted with this ‘little pink thing’ being placed on my chest. And my husband — the blond man! — was very pleased for me, knowing how much I had wanted a child.
The next scene was a shocker. I was out with my husband and baby, taking a walk along the tall coastal cliffs. It was a sunny but windy day, and I have the impression that it was a Sunday afternoon. My husband was ‘playing silly buggers’, prancing near the edge of the cliff … when suddenly he slipped over the edge and fell straight to his death. I saw his body down on the rocks below.
I was in a state of panic. I looked at my baby and thought, ‘What are we going to do?’ I lay on the grass on the top of the cliff, holding the baby, sobbing.
But then a weird peace came over me. Everything seemed strangely beautiful — the sunshine on my baby’s soft face, the grass blowing in the wind, the clouds scudding overhead. As I looked into my baby’s face I had a sense of knowing that everything would be alright.
It seemed to me that in that moment God had smiled reassuringly upon me, and I felt blessed.
Some time later (days? weeks?) there was a memorial event at the spot where my husband had fallen. The local priest or vicar had organised this service and at my behest we had also erected a little ‘monument’ at the spot, partly to remember my husband and partly to warn others not to get too close to the edge of the cliff. (The ‘monument’ was like a miniature obelisk, about 1 meter tall, and possibly no more than a wooden post.)
Since the accident, my baby and I had been taken care of by the local church — named St. Cuthbert’s? — by the priest (Father John somebody) and some good Samaritans. Now this priest was telling me, ‘We have been good to you. Now you have to do something for us.’ Basically he wanted me to become his housemaid.
I was disheartened — it meant an even duller life than I’d had before I was married. But I felt obligated.
A Strange Turn
So in the next scene I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor of the priest’s cottage. It was several years later — 1791 came to mind.
It was a dark little house with a very low ceiling. There were lots of books and and ornaments and trinkets in the cottage which I liked to look at while the priest was out. But I felt that I was already turning into an old maid — I was losing my looks and had kind of given up on myself. I’m not sure what had happened to my child, our boy, Roger, who it appears would be seven now. I think the church had somehow taken him on and sent him away somewhere for an education or training.
Then I was having an argument with the priest. I was putting my foot down, saying, ‘I’ve paid my dues. I never wanted to work here anyway!’ This felt strange in that it was the first time I had ever known of anyone shouting at a priest.
He was saying, ‘Mary, you don’t know what will become of you. Where will you go? What will you do? There’s nothing you can do! You won’t survive on your own.’ I felt that he wanted me to stay as much for his own convenience as it was out of concern for my welfare.
Suddenly I felt dizzy (both in the memory and in reality). My body became numb from the feet to the head and I felt like I was blacking out. There was no more awareness of that scene.
I wondered if I had died. The therapist got me to go back over it more slowly. We went back to the argument with the priest.
I felt torn — hmm, just as I had that time at the boat. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the whole decision to stay or to leave, thinking ‘I can’t stand this again.’ I felt I couldn’t cope. I was also feeling abandoned by God, the God who had reassured me at the cliff-top. Doubts also came in: ‘Maybe I’m wrong to want to leave.’ Then there was a dizziness and a numbness spreading up my body, just like I was shutting down.
Aha! — I had fainted.
But thereafter, I was willing myself to die. I spent the rest of my days in my bed, becoming increasingly unwell, never to recover, and wanting the priest to feel guilty for it.
At the point of death — I sensed my age as being 37 — I was done with life, just hoping I wouldn’t be punished in the afterlife. As I looked at the sky out of the window off to my right, I had hopes of meeting up with my husband.
I died in my sleep. I hazily found myself floating up like a balloon, directly above my bed, not quite sure of what was going on. I imagined at first that I must be dreaming. I noticed with some curiosity that, even though I must have been twenty or thirty feet up, I could still see ‘me’ on my bed below rather than the roof of the house.
(This episode continues in my life-between-lives regression in the next post.)
As with my previous past life regression, I have no way of knowing how much of this is valid memory and how much is imagination. Even if I was tapping into a genuine memory, I can’t say if I was getting the details correctly — my name could have been Jenny instead of Mary, for instance, or the child could have been a girl instead of a boy.
For the duration of this regression my trance state was fairly light (I went deeper during the actual LBL phase). My attitude during it was to be open to anything and to be honest about whatever occurred. It was a case of just allowing images and words to come to me in response to what I was being asked, or in association with what I was feeling. It is interesting, then, that a complete and coherent story unfolded which had a good deal of emotional resonance for me.
Following my regression session I undertook some basic research to see what, if anything, tied up with historical reality. I didn’t know what to expect, and was prepared to find nothing of interest. If I were to learn, for example, that there were never any churches called ‘St. Cuthbert’s’ in the whole of Ireland, it probably wouldn’t have surprised me.
As it happens, I was able identify two (and only two) churches of St Cuthbert in Ireland. One is near Navan, an inland town about 50km north-west of Dublin, which doesn’t seem right. The other, dating from the 17th Century, stands in ruins on the rugged north coast at a place called Dunluce in County Antrim. The coastline there, which includes the famous Giant’s Causeway formation, looks similar to what I ‘saw’. There is also a coastal feature nearby called Fairhead which sounds a bit like “Fairer” (tenuous, maybe).
There are some famously huge cliffs in Ireland, among the biggest in Europe, but the ones I saw during the regression weren’t enormous — just enough to kill a man if he were to drop onto the rocks below. The cliffs along the Antrim coast, between Fairhead and Portrush, look just like the ones I saw.
Although I’d never heard of it, Dunluce Castle is actually one of the most photogenic (and photographed) tourist attractions on the northern Irish coast.
As for the church of St Cuthbert’s in Dunluce, I have discovered that the minister for the Dunluce parish at the time in question (mid to late 18th Century) was a Rev. JOHN Cameron, who died in 1799 aged 75.
I have also come across a list of the people buried at the church on a genealogical website. I am not sure if either ‘Mary’ or her husband would have been buried there at all, but for the record we have among those listed a Mary McInaul who died in 1791. She is aged just 24, however, and her husband died five years after her rather than before her. There is also a Mary Matthews, d. 1794 aged 41. She had a daughter who would have been five at the time.
None of it fits exactly, but then the details of the regression were also blurry. It is of course possible that I recalled the name of the church incorrectly. And even if I got it right, it also entirely possible that ‘Mary’ could have been buried in a different churchyard altogether.
Overall, I would say that the choices facing ‘Mary’ certainly seemed real and do resonate with my character, but I cannot claim that any of the details — names, dates, places and so on — are valid. I do know that my imagination is sorely lacking at the best of times, so the fact that I came up with any of this impresses me no end. And if you think it reads a bit like a historical novel, all I can say is that I never read novels, historical or otherwise!
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