Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Past Lives

This week’s topic for The Writers’ Post is ‘Past Lives’, chosen by Joyce Lansky. You can read her ‘past life’ experience at http://joycelansky.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/im-host-for-this-post-past-lives.html
Joyce’s post made me think of my own experience, which is actually in two parts.

It starts when I was about sixteen and had a very vivid dream where I was walking along a street in Paris. I had never been to Paris so I wasn’t drawing on any memories, but somehow I knew I was in Paris. There were buildings on one side of the street, with 5 or 6 stories and high, steep roofs. On the other side were lower stone buildings, at right angles to the street, and linked by stone walls. I don’t recall any traffic, but when the buildings on the left ended, I discovered I was in the square in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. And that was it, or at least all I remembered later. Nothing dramatic happened, nothing to make this particular dream stick in my memory. But, for some reason, it did.
Jump forward about 4 years. I’m 19, and visiting Paris for the first time, with a college friend who has lived in Paris for a year, and knows it well. We were due to meet a friend of hers at a café near Notre Dame, and so we took the Metro to Ile de la Cite, the island in the middle of the River Seine.
When we came up out of the metro, my friend said, “Notre Dame is this way.”
I replied, “No, it isn’t, it’s that way.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know.”
So, you know that déjà vu feeling? Well, I had exactly that as we walked along the street, but I knew where the feeling came from. My dream, of course, because it was the same street, and I knew at the end of it, Notre Dame would be on our left, which it was.
I’ve been to Paris many times since then, and the Ile de la Cite, and particularly Notre Dame Cathedral, continue to hold a special kind of attraction for me, and they feature in my next novel ‘Dream of Paris’ (due for release next month – I hope!).
So, in a past life, was I a stonemason who built the cathedral? Or maybe I was guillotined during the Revolution, or I was a student in the 1832 uprising (as in Les Miserables!)
Jump forward another 25 years or so, and a group of us were discussing past lives, and I told them about my ‘Paris experience’. One of the group was a doctor, with a qualification in hypnosis, so I agreed to be hypnotised to see if Paris featured in my hypnotic regression.
Instead, I had a totally different experience. I was in a crowd of people, most wearing woollen tunics, and the kind of long hoods you see in pictures of medieval peasants. I could only see their backs as they were facing ahead of me, and some of them were shouting. I was trying to push my way through the crowd, because my young brother had been put in the stocks, and the villagers were pelting him with rotten vegetables. He was only twelve and he was crying, and I wanted to rescue him.
So – are these some snippets from a past life or lives, or what are they? And have you any experience of seeing or feeling anything from a past life?


  1. That is facinating and oh so spooky - it made me all tingly!

    Janice xx

  2. Thanks, Claudia!

    Janice, that tingly feeling is exactly what I get once I cross one of the bridges onto the Ile de La Cite!

  3. Love this post! AND yeah, I have those type of dreams. Whenever I go to England, I feel like I've come home so I'm convinced I was there some other lifetime ago.

  4. I feel like that when I go to Ireland, Jillian, and I think some of my ancestors may have come from there, but haven't yet found a definite link.

  5. That's an eerie story for sure. Thanks for sharing.


  6. Wow, Paula..you know how to relate a good story. I can't say what it was you experienced, but I do believe the human mind is capable of so much more than we can possibly imagine.
    I've not had anything remotely similar to your experience, but I had a problem in my younger adult years that would not go away, and would not be solved. It drove me crazy. Often, I'd dream I was in an audience at a play and the actors were moving along, etc.....and the dream would end.
    But my very real problem continued.
    Then one night, maybe even 20 years later, I dreamed my same dream, and this time when the actors finished....a heavy red curtain closed. This had never happened in my dream.
    Yes, and of course my problem at last was over.
    And so, I don't doubt anything anyone tells me.
    Very good, Paula.
    Remember I said I cried when I first saw Notre Dame? I've seen it twice, and it affected me the same way.It really wasn't the religious aspect so much, but knowing this place was built over centuries, begun during Medieval times. That is incredible, almost surreal.

  7. Celia, that recurring dream is fascinating, especially with the red curtain at the end. Presumably the 'actors' represented your problem, and the curtain couldn't come down until you had resolved it. Amazing!
    We have so many medieval (and older) buildings here in the UK that I'm afraid we tend to take them for granted!

  8. Fascinating experience, Paula. I'm totally into past lives, and I used it as a theme in my book Fly the Wild Echoes, which looks at the lives of 3 different women and asks whether two of them are the same person.

  9. Really intriguing, Paula. Fascinating post.

  10. Fascinating, Paula. I'm especially interested in your description because this is the subject of my next release later this year (Unworkers).

    Jury's still out on the past lives question, but surely your experience was more than just a coincidence.

    Your regression experience is also fascinating. Did you ever repeat it to try to find out more?


  11. Liz, your book sounds fascinating - I must add it to my TBR list!

  12. Lyn, I can't make up my mind about past lives, but it's certainly an intersting topic to ponder. I did have one more shot at regression, but there was absolutely nothing the next time, just blackness.