The concept of reincarnation is difficult for some people to accept. The idea is not new, in fact it is universal and an ancient concept. Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation and the transmigration of souls is based on karmic action in past lives and its influence over this incarnation of the soul.
Dr. Ian Stephenson, psychiatrist, had studied systematically reports of reincarnation in his work , (Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. 1974) both in the West and in Eastern cultures. Stephenson mostly reported on case studies of children before the age of 7 who because of innocence and lack of life experience seem to be more in contact with attitudes and beliefs of their own past lives. But there is evidence of past life memories occurring in the dreams of adults, the most common of which are nightmares of traumas that occurred in past lives. Dreams and past life memories surface occasionally in the dreams of children and adults but they are rare and when the historical reality of the dream is completed, there are distortions. Generally the facts do bear out that adult dreams clearly do reflect past life experiences in children and adults. (Psi Encyclopedia, Dreams and Past Life Memory. Conclusion )
The definition of reincarnation is reflected in many works including the Theosophist Annie Besant. “The theory of reincarnation, then, in the Esoteric Philosophy, asserts the existence of a living and individualized Principle which dwells in and informs the body of a man (woman), and which on the death of the body, passes into another body, after a longer or shorter interval. Thus successive bodily lives are linked together like pearls upon a thread, the thread being the living Principle, the pearls upon it the separate human lives.” Reincarnation, Annie Besant, F.T S., London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1892)
Edgar Cayce conducted past life regressions to identify certain patterns of past lives that still contribute lessons to his patients lives in the present. Roberto Assagioli in his model of Psychosynthesis had believed that the Transpersonal Self is at the center of the higher functions: artistic inspiration, ethical insight, and scientific intuition. He believed the “Self’ is a composite, made up of different elements having diverse origins. ” The Self can be a source of guidance, illumination and inspiration; and a source in developing our human potential” (Interview with Stuart Miller, August 1973). For Assagioli, dream information comes from the transcendent realm, in the form of symbols from the collective superconscious; this information can be ‘downloaded’ to our consciousness through dream images.
In Astrological Psychology Bruno Huber conceived of the Moon Node Horoscope to identify cumulative past lives to shed light on the reincarnated behavioral patterns. ” Such ingrained character traits and modes of behavior are like an internal template for living. They rule the present from the past, are translated into flesh and blood, and reveal ( in addition to an inner potential or capacity) psychic compulsion mechanisms and set ways–or fixed tracks.” (Moon Node Astrology, Bruno Huber, Hopewell Publishing, Knutsford, UK, p. 155). Sometimes the individual has a compelling need to identify with a historical figure that embodies and demonstrates their behavior patterns from reincarnated templates. To do so may be a sign of “mental illness and is a delusion. All that can truthfully be said is that in their shadow personalities they have certain things (e.g., reactions or motivations) in common with these figures.” (Huber , Ibid, p. 156).
The mirror reflection of the shadow in the Moon Node Horoscope when compared to the egoic goals of the Natal Horoscope of this life is usually hidden to our conscious mind. The shadow acts like a background set of values or attractions which can be triggered by dreams, the imagination, or reincarnation therapy. (Huber Ibid. p. 157) I use the Moon Node Horoscope in my consultations as a ‘mirror reflection” of past behaviors contrasted to the motivations revealed by the aspect patterns in the Natal Horoscope. When the comparison of the two horoscopes is analyzed, the Natal horoscope shows compensatory behaviors which could effectively balance out templates in the unconscious from past lives. Consider for example, in a past life– You were a devoted monk and living in silence, protected by the church , approaching mystic union with God; you died and then were reincarnated with a growing awareness in this life, to be aware of possessing an attitude of reverence for God. Your dream images could induce you to some kind of spiritual yearning. Where did this come from, you ask? Is it inherent in DNA, this wanting to find a union and mystical identification with a higher soul? No, it is coming from motivations of cumulative past life experience. Taking the example further, in this life , your pursuit could be totally secular and your concern could be to bring others to a spiritual understanding but not through the church. The goal of work with the Moon Node Horoscope is to make conscious past life patterns in order to enhance our understanding in a non-judgmental manner, to reach our human potential and lead to self-actualization.
I use dream interpretation in the context of developmental challenges as identified in Huber’s Age Point Progression through the Houses of the horoscope. It is also known as Bruno Huber’s Life Clock technique. But this method is beyond the scope of this blog which centers on reincarnation and dreams. The reader is referred to my book, (Life Passages, When dreams and Age Point Progression Coincide, 2017, Knutsford UK)
Carl Gustav Jung had defined the shadow in Aion, “The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego personality because no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort…closer examination of the dark characteristics- that is, of the inferiorities constituting the shadow.. (the shadow) reveals that it has an emotional nature, a kind of autonomy, and accordingly an obsessive or better, a possessive quality.”(Aion, Bollingen Series XX, NY, NY, 1968, p. 8)
Thus, the shadow personality shows up in reincarnation dreaming as a powerful, immoral, and autonomous figure usually of the same sex as the dreamer. The shadow can have two qualities- it empowers us sometimes leading to inflation of our egos or degrades us leading to emotional regression and depressions. In dream associations and interpretations, we can learn to connect shadow figures to past historical situations and personality types through research and our imaginations. These connections are not to be taken literally but symbolically and require in-depth research of the context of the dream, associations to the dream images, and finally an interpretation of the dream covering a long period of time, sometimes decades.
When a person anticipates insights from previous lives, he/she usually looks forward to identification with well-known individuals from the past who were admired for some earthly or spiritual accomplishment. This causes excitement due to our presumed kinship with these admired individuals and compliments our reincarnated egos but does nothing more than inspire us or make us proud. The inheritance of karma, however, contains both good and bad elements from our past life experiences. And in this life, we are given the sacred, developmental task of reducing our karmic mistakes and debts, but also potentiating our gifts. The archetype of the shadow is psychically located in our personal and collective unconscious mind. The enchantment of the young child to be attracted by ghosts, goblins, vampires, and the darker side of life shows the shadow’s power to induce strong emotions from the darker realm of the unconscious. We hope the child will not suffer a deflated ego from identification with these forms but find the will to act for the good. As adults we want to confront our ancient origins of good and bad karma in archetypes as symbolized by characters in fairy tales. These archetypes of a hero/heroine battling against the villain, witch or devil has a moral goal; that is, to achieve victory over these forces. As adults we can learn to face the origins of bad karma not by projecting evil motives on our brothers and sisters. Instead, by doing inner work we can discover evil motives in our own sub-personalities. These parts of ourselves come collectively as shadow images in dreams: villains, monsters, brutes and devils, heroes, magicians, kings, and angels. etc. It would be convenient to attribute these obsessive, animalistic, and ignorant shadow personalities to external figures- to someone we know who embodies similar traits. But the moral task here is to own these traits ourselves; we project these traits on others because of their disturbing influence over our egos. My intent here is promote us to ‘own our shadow images”; dreams can help us identify shadow images and learn from them how the inner battle of good over evil shows up in our dream life. I hope to instill a righteous sense in action according to the law of morality and not inflate our egos by over-identification with the good.
Sabine Lucas, PhD. a Jungian psychotherapist identified in her book, Past Life Dreamwork, the archetype of Reincarnation (Bear and Company, Rochester, Vermont, 2005). “Like all archetypes, it is surrounded by a symbolic field, which our dreams are staking out…the unconscious knows a great deal more about reincarnation than we do consciously…Reincarnation seems to be a creative dynamic process that runs in circles of simultaneous existence, with each incarnation being only part of a much greater whole.” (ps. 243-244).
Dr. Lucas identifies 3 types of reincarnation dreams: “1. Classic type: Direct, factual and lacking normal dream features and has the déjà vu feeling of half-conscious memories. 2. Information type in which the dreamer is directly informed or simply knows by direct experience. 3. Hybrid type which is the most common type and combines the realistic and symbolic elements. In this type boundaries are blurred and other interpretations are possible. When ever one is not sure if one is dealing with archetypal material or past life material, use the presence or absence of realistic and personalized elements as decisive criteria, because past life material is personal, while archetypal material is universal and numinous.” (Luca, Sabine, Past Life Dreamwork, pp xix and xx)
In working with my dreams, I have been able to identify two dreams (of the information type) which reference my past lives.
Dream 1. Dream on 07/12/1992 – Fagin was with this poverty-stricken family but they ate well. The food was mixed with rice and meat. They ate on metal plates but the stew meat dish was made of dog meat. The man was tall, lanky and a dirty man. He had a woman who worked for him, a servant type but who was from a higher class. She added discipline and daintiness to his world. But she was addicted to a white powder. She would spill quantities on the table and pick it up with her finger and eat it. It was a narcotic. The man loved her secretly. One time she was tidying a room and the door was closed. A shadow appeared under the crack in the door. It was he peering at her. He entered and clumsily embraced her, hardly touched her, telling her in his drawl, his affections for her. This man had gained the trust of 2 bearded schoolmasters, but in the process had stolen their books. They caught on and went to his house to assemble the contraband where they found over 3,000 volumes of 3 varieties of books he had stolen over the years. He had gained their confidence and had betrayed them. Before this discovery, they were about to bestow upon him the assistant principal of the school job. I was walking with this man. He was very friendly on the surface but was a sleazy person – a snake. I confronted him with all this garbage he had hidden in this one corridor. It was rotten. He poked me slightly in the ribs and smiled saying he never did like me. He was despicable in his cowardice trying to pretend he was assertive when he was not. I had just uncovered another of his games and he was trying to weasel out.
Associations and Dream enlargement:
Setting: 19th century, Character of Fagin as one who was low born and treated his family poorly, had prostitutes on the side which he kept addicted and dependent on him, had stolen from the public trust and was found out and discredited.
Correlation with historical research: Corrupt men in the 19 century who rose to the ranks in respectable society usually got that way by association with the military and monarchy. They were handmaidens of the policies of those who ruled. Sometimes during the colonial era, they made themselves indispensable by carrying out policies of the Ruler or King of a European country. The dream image of Fagin was that he was dressed in a naval military uniform with a bicorn styled hat and cape fashionable in French and Napoleonic wars and after. In June 1815, Napoleon’s forces marched into Belgium, where separate armies of British and Prussian troops were camped. Napoleon was defeated in the battle of Waterloo. The influence of the bicorne naval military had was common in the 19th century among naval officers.
Dream 2. Dream on 11/10/2022
I was with a group of people and someone discussed the assassination of King Leo. We talked about it but I did not know about it.
Associations and Dream image enlargement:
I conducted volume of research on this image. I had not been a student of European history and never before heard of King Leo. so I was wondering, “where did this image and pronouncement come from?”
The history shows that King Leopold II was the second Belgium King from 1865 to 1909 There was an attempted assassination of him in November 15, 1902 by an Italian anarchist, named Gennaro Rubino who fired 3 shots at him when he was riding in a carriage after a ceremony at Church of St. Michael in memory of his recently deceased wife.
King Leopold II started the Congo Free State in February 1885 as a colony and presented himself as a philanthropist to free slaves and bring them to Christianity; but was famous for his exploitation and cruelness toward Africans who he forced into work groups to work the rubber plantations and lucrative Ivory trade to increase his personal wealth. He is responsible for the deaths of many Africans who drained villagers of the men to work for his army and the army is said to have raped the African women by his 19,000 (Force “Publique”). It was Leopold’s private and strong army of enforcers.
By the end of his life, King Leo was unpopular with his people. He spent long winters in luxurious quarters on the French Riviera, and was estranged from two of his three daughters. Moreover, he had a well-known penchant to conduct sex with teenaged girls. When he was 65, he began a liaison with a teenaged former prostitute who bore him two additional children.
Conclusion: Relationship between the two dreams:
I believe that Fagin in dream 1 as I called him could have belonged to King Leopold’s II Force “Publique” and as one of King Leo’s soldiers, he could have been a previous incarnation of myself. He may have been enforcing King Leopold’s cruel policies in the Congo and after discharge, may have risen to a trusted position in society in Belgium as a teacher maybe of history. But like Leopold II, he had frequented prostitutes, was a thief and was ultimately dishonored.
Through repetition compulsion I had some behavior character traits passed over to this incarnation: like going to prostitutes when overseas and being a thief in my younger years- shoplifting as a teenager (for which I eventually got caught and stopped immediately). I considered these traits my shadow where I would exploit women and society in an unlawful manner. I overcame these patterns of behavior by owning them and thanks to my dreams taking these inferior traits in myself as reflected in these dreams from the collective unconscious seriously.
These two dreams were 20 years apart and showed a common thread which I connected into this story you are reading now. Although they do not reflect historical exactness as past life dreams, What is important is what I learned from these subpersonalities and how they gave gravity and ballast to my personality. I can have empathy with all people for I believe, by the “grace of God, Go I”.