I tried past life regression and what I discovered about my life before this one was absolutely fascinating
I figure that digging about in my past lives could hold some clues to feelings I’m experiencing today.
There are acceptable levels of hippie. Crystal-toting is fine, almost expected these days. A bit of reiki is the step above, combined with a cosmic chat about the ‘universe’ and chakras. That’s when people tend to drop off, TBH. Heart chakras, shamanic healing and cacao ceremonies are most people’s woo woo limit/nightmare. But they’re not mine. I have zero limits around what I’ll try in pursuit of wellness. And the one thing I’ve always wanted to try? Past life regression, I figure that digging about in my past lives could hold some clues to feelings I’m experiencing today.
It’s kismet too; I happen to meet Fiongal Greenlaw aka The Wellness Foundry when I’m taking an excellent tarot class he’s teaching. He mentions in passing he’s a past life regression practitioner (among a host of other things) and within a few weeks, I’m booked in, sitting in a chair, about to undertake something that pushes even pushes my boundaries. So what is it? “Past life regression is a gentle healing technique that takes you on a hypnotic journey, safely into a past life. I never convince people of their past-lives, in a spiritual form or otherwise, it’s more of an exploration to represent the power of the subconscious mind,” he explains.
I like the sound of that, it takes the fright factor out of it a bit (I do have some trepidation about what I could unleash – what if I was like, Satan, in another life?) as does its spiritual usage: “Past lives can be found in most Eastern religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, and they come in different forms,” he explains. Those five types are fascinating. ‘Past life memory’ is where your soul takes on a new physical form (ie…you) but it carries memories of its former reincarnation. There’s ‘inherited memory’ which comes from our ancestors (“in particular through the mother,” says Fiongal.) ‘Cryptomnesia’ is when you can pick up on collective thought-forms, for example from other people’s memories, ‘parallel lives’ is when we pull through a life from alternative universe and imagination, which is simply accessing the subconscious.
So what am I hoping to get from it? Well, there are certain things I wonder about myself. I’m so pulled to certain eras in history in a borderline obsessive way and I have some emotional stuff I can’t explain – like always feeling abandoned – when that’s never actually happened to me. Therapy hasn’t been able to shift it, so I wonder if past life regression could bring me some resolution on that, or even just some insight. And, I often have this nostalgic feeling of deja vu in certain places, which some say we get when we’re somewhere that we’ve been in a past life. Like a merger of the former and present, which is kinda beautiful, when you think about it.
But I’ve got a dose of side-eye too. My biggest question is how do we know what we’re seeing is true? What if I’m just seeing what I watched on Netflix last night? And I watch a LOT of Netflix. Fiongal reassures me: “I always say it doesn’t matter too much where the memories are coming from, but rather the content. Even if it simply imagined or ideas from the subconscious it still has meaning. For instance, one client might picture themselves as a father of six who works on a farm, whereas another person brings forward a young lady of a rich family. There are insights and understandings to be found in these differences.” I feel a bit calmer about it, and less like I’ll be accessing something I can’t control. But Fiongal cautions: “It’s not simply a trip down memory lane, but it can be a tool for insight as to where the causes of certain traits or ways of thinking stem from. You can come away from the session with a much broader concept of who you are, and perhaps explain the source of some of your issues in this lifetime, such as phobias, addictive traits and compulsive behaviours.”
After 20-30 minutes, I feel myself becoming sleepy. My head drops a little, as Fiongal asks what I can see through a mirror we’re visualising. I see an old man in a deck chair. My rational brain kicks in to ask why? I can’t make any sense of it, it’s so random. Fiongal gently nudges to see what else I can see. It’s on a pebble beach, definitely in Britain. It looks like Margate or something like that. It’s very empty and he’s not super friendly. I don’t understand why I’m there – it’s pretty odd if I’m honest.
Next Fiongal asks me to look down at myself – and it gets weirder. I’m small, I’d say about four and I’ve got a retro bowl-ish haircut and patent shiny black shoes. The weirdest part? I keep looking at myself and realising that I’m white. I get stuck on that actually – being it’s so, so weird to me – but Fiongal tells me afterwards that people are often a different race in past lives and find it bemusing. He moves me past my current block, and we explore my relationship with that man in the deckchair. He’s a caretaker, but I don’t feel any emotional connection to him. We live around the corner in a small, bare house. I feel like a burden to this man and I definitely don’t feel any love.
As we go back to the seaside situation, I get a deep sense this story doesn’t go any further. I can see myself looking about six years old, still in that room, with the same solitude. Nothing else comes up, and it just feels like the story ends – as if there are no more memories. Fiongal asks if I can see anything else and I feel a rush of sadness. I’m pretty sure that I passed away at that age, from some kind of childhood illness of the time, in that room. It feels like my soul never really leaves it like there’s no future past it. I also think I’m alone when it happens. And there is something about that seems so real, and so sad.
Fiongal guides me through that experience and then very slowly back to the present day – the whole process takes an hour and a half. It gives me plenty to think about afterwards. I feel wiped out, but I also feel a sense of sadness as I leave the session, and I still can’t get over being white – that felt so alien to me. But over the next few days, things start to click a bit. I am obsessed with the ’20s-’50s and British wartime history. To the point where my house is a mid-century shrine, I almost exclusively buy vintage clothes, listen to music and watch films from that era. It could just be a coincidence of course, but it’s also a possibility this love came from a former life. Another curious coincidence, I also LOVE slightly grotty British seaside towns and the slightly maudlin historical feel they have. There are a few other similarities too; my bedsheets now are the same dark salmon shade of those walls. The patent shoes I’m wearing are a child version of an adult pair I’ve been lusting over. And that strong sense of abandonment I’ve felt and clearly feel in my past life? Well, I’m trying not to read too much into that – it could totally be something triggered by my current life – but who knows?
So would I recommend it? Absolutely. Anything that can give you insight into how you feel and potential reasons why can be useful, if you’re able to cope with it emotionally that is: “Any good past life regression therapist will give you the tools and prompts of how to navigate the session safely, you can return to a safe space at any point the client feels a sense of overwhelming. That said, often the lives that are brought forward have issues and difficulties that are left unresolved, so carry with them sadness or other difficult emotions.” I feel that a little – but I’m just sad for my tiny past life self, actually. It’s not always a sad ending though, Fiongal says the insights clients get can be fascinating: “I once did a past life regression session on a couple who independently brought through lives from the same era and country. They were a couple in this past-life too, which was fascinating.” I’d absolutely try it again because it does feel like something has finally clicked a bit – even if it’s not given me the concrete answers I was looking for.