Saturday, October 8, 2016

Reincarnation—for Research, of course! by Andrea Downing



Reincarnation has been on my mind recently.  Maybe it’s the fact I have a story in a paranormal western historical anthology, or maybe it’s just that Hallowe’en is not too far off.  Or maybe it’s that I’m sitting here in Jackson, WY, looking out at the beautiful mountains, and wondering about getting back to the book I started writing two years ago, which centered on reincarnation. 

Reincarnation is an element that most western religions have left behind, and I’ll leave that part of the discussion there.  For me, reincarnation is a comforting thought to hang on to.  You know: if I didn’t get it right the first time, maybe I get a second try.  Or, closer to home, why am I, a girl brought up in the New York suburbs, who has spent most of her life in the U.K., so dang involved with the American West?  With that question on my mind, I started to write the above-mentioned book based on the premise, but, as any author knows, research was required.  Enter ‘Past Life Regression’ therapy.
Now let me make this clear:  I’m not a bell-ringing, incense-burning, crystal-toting sort of gal.  My years as a hippie are long gone---looooonnnnng gone. But this question was nagging me as regards my love for the west, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.  My googling brought up a former nurse and qualified psychotherapist who lived not too far away, in one of the more staid areas of the city. I made my appointment and went off in some trepidation. 
The apartment was comfortably decorated in Salvation Army chic, and I found the woman friendly and straightforward.  She put me at ease, had me stretch out on her sofa and get comfy, and then hypnotized me.  Now, I have to say here, this was not the first time someone attempted to hypnotize me and claim they had.  I have my doubts and no proof.  The thing is, she asked me to go back in time, and things started to float into my mind I had never considered:  a small girl who was adopted; a young woman meeting her beau in the pergola outside her home before he went off to WWI; back further there was a young girl kidnapped by Indians.  And, finally, a young wife standing on the porch of her cabin home, saying good-bye to her ‘cowboy’ husband.  At that point, I was crying slightly.  So my question to her, when I ‘woke’ from this spell, was: maybe the fact that I write western historical romance had put that into my head.  Her reply?  Maybe the fact that I had lived that life had put the stories into my head.
There was a bit more to our discussion I won’t relate here, but her reply was as sensible, I suppose, as my question.  The final answer is, who knows?  When we write sad scenes or highly emotional scenes, as authors we feel those emotions, so it is quite possible that that same instinct brought on my tears.  But, for now, I’m sticking with reincarnation.
And what do you think?  Do you believe in reincarnation?
 

And reincarnation plays a role in my story, Long a Ghost, and Far Away available with seven other spooky stories, all connected by one ghost-hunting agency, in the anthology The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly—perfect Hallowe’en reading at only 99¢ and available at http://mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly     








18 comments:

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I've never given too much thought to reincarnation. I do know I feel very much at home in Paris. I've never been to the Scottish Highlands, but adore writing about them. And, truly, have never felt comfortable in this time period. I attribute all that to being an odd duck, of sorts. So, who knows. We've all heard the expression "the eyes of an old soul." There might be more to that.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Totally a believer here. Started a story once but couldn't get it right. Forty years ago, when my son was not quite two, we were on our way out of the house. This is one of those crystal clear moments in time frozen in my memory. He stopped in the doorway and gazed up at me. He said "I was in the war and got killed. You wanted a baby so I came to you." I damn near fainted. He had nothing in his short life to have influenced his thoughts. Children are closer to their past lives and early on just might remember. I've always wanted to be transgressed.

Andrea Downing said...

Vonnie, my (ex) husband used to tell me I was in the wrong time period because, while I didn't act Victorian or earlier (I think!), my sensibilities were very much inclined that way. So, who knows, perhaps we carry those feelings over from one life to another.
'Brenda, fascinating story about your son. That really would have knocked my socks off! Wondering if he ever mentioned it again?!

Charlene Raddon said...

Andrea, Very interesting post. I enjoyed it. Some years ago I did some research of my own and found it fascinating. I'd like to believe in reincarnation. It makes more sense to me than most theories about the hereafter. When my grandson was about three, he was telling me something (I wish I could remember what) and then he said, "But that was in another life." Still shakes me to think of what it could mean.

Keta Diablo said...

Hello pal Andi,

Never say never, right? I mean, when it comes right down to it, we have no proof or disproof or any life-beyond-theory, right?

I've delved a little into reincarnation research because a woman I once worked with swore by it. She had adult asthma quite bad and ended up in the emergency room more times than I can count. Finally, like you, she wanted to know why all the sudden asthmatic episodes and saw a therapist. Apparently, she was on a horse in the past (think Wild West) and drowned in quicksand. You can't make this stuff up, can ya? I'm always been terrified of bears (think phobia) and yet, have never encountered one in my life. Hmmm. Makes me wonder why I'm so repulsed by them. Did I encounter one in a past life?

It's a fascinating subject and too many children claim they have been here before in some life or other.

Back to The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly - enormous fun! So many readers have liked the idea of one common thread that runs through all the stories - a psychic investigations agency.

We hope if your followers read TGTBTG, they enjoy the stories. We surely enjoyed writing them.

Humble thanks to all the ladies of The Roses of Prose for hosting us.

Keta

Andrea Downing said...

Char, I can see that a grandchild's comment like that would hang over you. Had he just picked up the expression, 'that was in another life' or did he actually mean it, like Brenda's child.
Keta, I wish you could rad one of the books I plowed through also in the name of research...if I only could remember the title! It's true that believers think we carry our fears over from one life to the next. And it's nice to think of lovers finding each other through time as they do in my story in the anthology.

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Hi, Andi, I do believe in reincarnation. I've always wanted to do a past-life regression session. Your memory fragments are fascinating--and heartbreaking! No wonder you love cowboys so much! I feel like there is a man who channels through me sometimes when I write. One psychic (a very good one, btw)told me she could see him standing with a horse and that horses are part of his life and also that he had a lot of stories to tell, which he is now telling through me. She said he had been someone I knew in a past life. This was before I'd even thought of writing my first historic western. Sometime after I was in a deep meditation and all these "memories" of my life with this man (a chieftain and a story-teller, not a cowboy)flashed through my mind until I saw his death! Loved your time-travel story in this anthology! Well done!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Charlene you too! I suppose a 3 year old might have heard something to repeat but if it rocked you then probably not. Like my son at not yet 2, there was no connection to anything he might have heard. We hadn't come to the point of discussing reincarnation or how I'd wanted a child. Im going to have to read your book Andi!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Charlene you too! I suppose a 3 year old might have heard something to repeat but if it rocked you then probably not. Like my son at not yet 2, there was no connection to anything he might have heard. We hadn't come to the point of discussing reincarnation or how I'd wanted a child. Im going to have to read your book Andi!

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my, fascinating! I am not sure what I think of reincarnation, since I'm not sure how it fits in with my belief in God, but I suppose they are not exclusive of one another. I've always had a strong connection to Missouri. Lived there briefly when I was a child, only for three months, and it felt more like home than where I'd lived my previous 11 years, and the years following. In 2006, I was planning to transfer with General Motors and wasn't sure where. I visited one of the options, Kansas City, and knew immediately it was where I belonged. I was only there for three years, and I'm glad to be back with my friends and family, but I do miss it, and I still feel a connection to it. The books sound fabulous. Can't wait until I have a chance to read them!

Jannine Gallant said...

I'd like to believe in reincarnation. Not sure if I do, but I like the thought of getting a second chance. I was a history major and always loved certain periods of the past but not others. Makes a person wonder... But your experience does strike me as the way an author (or at least this author) thinks. Mental pictures that make us say, "What if?" and sets us off on a story idea. Really interesting post!

Andrea Downing said...

Patti, what a fascinating comment. Think about whether there is a theme going through what this guy is 'telling' you. The one thing my therapist told me that really sort of knocked my socks off was that in all the situations I recounted, I was basically an outsider--adopted, kidnapped and so on, and that has carried into this life in a way. Even my brother asks me, jokingly of course, if I'm really his sister as I am so un-New York...and, of course, also lived as an outsider in Britain for many years.
Brenda, I agree with you--very unlikely a two-year-old would have picked up the expression 'that was in another life'. And then told you how he had previously lived! That would definitely have freaked me out...
Alicia, I think connection to a place is one of the stronger elements of reincarnation IMHO. BTW, when I originally drafted this post I did include a discussion on the religious beliefs but had to cut it as it was far too long. Most western religions do NOT accept reincarnation, which to me doesn't make sense in light of belief in the soul and resurrection. But there ya go...
Jannine, the idea of that second...or third or fourth!--chance is REALLY soothing. Though I have to admit I don't think we can count on it!

Ashantay said...

I believe in reincarnation and have had regression sessions. No question in my mind that this philosophy is the correct one for me. i used some of my experiences in my last book, and I know you will have no problem doing the same, Andrea!

Leah St. James said...

Fascinating post, Andi! I think a lot about spirituality and different beliefs. On one hand, I do find reincarnation to be comforting, but on the other, I feel so blessed in so many ways in this life, I'm kind of afraid to think it could go in the other direction the next time around! Thanks for a great discussion.

Margo Hoornstra said...

We never really will know for sure, that's a given, but I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that this is all there is in this life. Like Brenda said - the innocence of children holds so much truth. Truly fascinating subject. Thanks for sharing. (I like the many more chances to come option, too!)

Andrea Downing said...

Ashantay, you're the only other person I know you has done this and I'd like to know more sometime about your experiences--why you decided to go ahead in the first place and if the past lives you found reflected on anything in this life?
Leah, I'm glad to know you find this life satisfying...as do I! I don't think one necessarily has to have a better life before or after, but maybe you were meant to accomplish something you haven't quite achieved? I guess we'll never really know unless, like some, they discover their past lives in full. I do wish I could remember the book written by an Irish woman who actually found her own children still living. Amazing!

Andrea Downing said...

Margo, you made me think about those stories of people who have been 'dead' for a few minutes, like on an operating table or something, and then brought back and they say they've seen the blue light and gone down a tunnel and spoke with relatives who've told them it's not their time yet. To me, if there is that kind of afterlife then there is also the chance of reincarnation. Plus, of course, there are hauntings--again: to me, if there are ghosts, then the possibility of reincarnation also exists.

Diane Burton said...

I've thought about reincarnation on & off. A second, third, etc. chance to do things right? Sounds good to me. Never had any inkling that I've had a prior life, though. Fascinating thought. Best wishes for your latest release.