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Inside the gallery of our soul

In Insight and Experience by Jo BuchananLeave a Comment

We are the sum of all our past experiences, whether they are experiences in our current life or those from another incarnation. What is important is the learning achieved from those experiences – the positives and strengths we have gained, what mistakes we have made. Or are we still repeating the same self-defeating patterns?


The more knowledge and understanding we have of past experiences and how they affect our reactions to people, places and events, the nearer we are to true freedom.

We can accrue this knowledge by working on past issues within our current life, or we may delve deeper to see if the original causes of unwanted repetitive behaviour, habits, phobias or desires lie in a past life.

Reincarnation is the theory that humankind’s consciousness or soul, survives death and returns to be reborn into a different physical body in order to learn and grow. It is the belief that for the soul to truly evolve, it must experience many lives in various races and social classes. This creates a balancing-out process, which in turn generates compassionate acceptance of all souls. Prejudice and bigotry are difficult to maintain when we have remembered living in bodies of other races and passionately defending their beliefs. The concepts of ‘male’ and ‘female’ take on new dimensions. Remembering lifetimes as each sex, we come to understand that we are simply a soul that happens to inhabit a male or female body for this particular experience, to learn and grow. What we did yesterday has shaped today. What we do today shapes tomorrow. Each experience, each past life, is like a different piece of artwork in the gallery of our soul.

It has been well documented that a trauma can create a neurosis. Severe traumas of different kinds may happen to a person. The traumas may be forgotten, and yet the effects of these can remain in the mind for a long time. As Peter Ramster states in his book The Search for Lives Past, “Past lives are important because the concept has wide-reaching and important ramifications to psychology. If past lives have existed, then they could have created problems for people in much the same way as the present life can. Our present day society in many ways is reasonably tolerant, but it has not always been so. The likelihood of trauma and danger, of torture and brutality, become increasingly greater the further back into history one travels. If we accept the premise of many lives, then we must also accept that most of us must have witnessed times of great brutality and have probably suffered great traumas of one kind or another, possibly leading to death. It’s possible that the personalities of young children are formed long before they are born, explaining why some children are born shy and timid and others are born angry and aggressive.”

The ancient Egyptians believed that life on earth was a temporary phase in an existence that was to last forever. The artwork on the walls of their temples depicts this. They even prepared maps and charts of the heavens to guide the spirit on its way. The ancient Egyptians also believed that they could leave their body before death and travel into other dimensions. This too, is repeatedly depicted on their temple walls and inside tombs. There is much similarity between some aspects of recorded modern day near-death experiences and the descriptions of out-of-body experiences in ancient Egyptian writings.

Often the theory of reincarnation is confused with the theory of ‘transmigration of the soul’, which is the belief that the soul of a human reincarnates and resides inside the physical body of, say, a dolphin or a hummingbird. A small group in India believes in this theory, which may have originated from the ancient teachings of humankind’s responsibility towards all forms of life. However, there is no supportive evidence that humans are ever been reborn as anything but humans.

Florence Wagner McClain states in her book Guide to Past Life Regression, “The spark of life which animates the cells of our bodies comes from the same source which gives the spark of life to all living things. Therefore, there is a kinship between all life forms and that kinship should be recognised and valued and treated in a responsible manner”.

Often, different parts of the body have an interesting story to tell. For example, being hanged in a past life may be the cause of a stiff and painful neck and shoulders in the current one. A prominent birthmark in the centre of the back may indicate the point of entry of an arrow. A fear of enclosed spaces was resolved for one person through the discovery of a previous death by entrapment inside a submarine that went down suddenly with no means of escape. There is also the interesting case of a young adolescent boy with a fear of fire. Despite this fear, he would sit in front of huge fires in the family home and stare into them for long periods at a time. Eventually, in a kind of trance, he saw himself and his parents burnt as heretics in the sixteenth century. Many who fear heights recall deaths from being thrown over cliffs or falling from planes. Crowd fears frequently bring back memories of being crushed in a riot or stampede. Many a person with ongoing financial hardships will reveal from the unconscious, memories of lives as a beggar, or an outcast living on the fringes of human society. When we are subject to such past life fears about material security, we find ourselves either re-living them (carrying over into our present life the belief that we are poor and impoverished). Alternatively, we obsessively compensate for the fears by an over-accumulation of food, money and material possessions – “I’ll never be without again”.

Roger J. Woolger in his book Other Lives Other Selves speaks of “acting out” unconscious influences of past life compulsions. He uses as an example, a client who was suddenly driven to certain kinds of behaviour by becoming intensely involved in a political cause, having shown no interest in politics before. What was activated from the unconscious was a past life memory of having died around the age in question, powerless to combat political oppression. He was making up for it now – seeing to “unfinished business”.

Palden Jenkins is a British author, humanitarian, and political activist. I took Palden through a regression process several times in Glastonbury where he lives, in 1992. These regressions revealed a former identity as General Saladin, who led his armies to battle the Crusades War in the Middle East. In this lifetime, Palden is instigating reform through the power of the pen instead of the power of the sword. A few years after we had done the regressions, I was in Egypt, visiting the immense Saladin Citadel and took photos of the great general’s armour on display in the museum. I sent the photos to Palden accompanied by a note saying, “ Here’s a photo of some old clothes of yours”. Palden is currently focusing his attention back in the Middle East, with his voluntary work in establishing the Hope of Flowers school in Palestine and the Jerusalem Peacemakers organization…a far cry from the war-hungry Saladin.

Another example of unconscious influences from past lives is that deep yearning we have in our current life, to visit a certain country. This unconscious yearning may be the result of having been exiled, or forced to abandon that country in another incarnation, another example of “unfinished business”. Many of us also experience deep yearning to return to particular countries because of significantly fulfilling past lives experienced there. Most people who join spiritual tours to places such as Egypt, India, ‘the old country’ and South America, are acting on these compulsive yearnings.

Herman Hesse said in his work Steppenwolf  “Only within yourself exists that other reality for which you long. I can give you nothing that has not already its being within yourself. I can throw open to you no picture gallery but your own soul.”


Jo Buchanan is a qualified hypnotherapist and PSH therapist based in Melbourne. She is author of the book, ‘Wings of Madness’ published by New Holland. 

Recommended Reading: ‘The Search For Lives Past’ by Peter Ramster, ‘Other Lives Other Selves’ by Roger J. Woolger, and ‘Past Life Regression’ by Florence Wagner McClain.

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