Past life memories

From Anthroposophy

Past life memories is the term used for various kinds of remembrance by a person of events that do not belong to his/her current incarnation.

The remembrance can consist of images and/or visions that arise naturally, or are triggered by processes of regression therapy or even hypnosis.

The following categories can be distinguished:

  • 1 - natural children memories of a previous (or several past) incarnation(s)
  • 2 - 'natural' remembrance that occurs later in mature life (so not childhood) - from latent images down to clear visions and images
  • 3 - remembrance as result of undergoing past-life regression techniques

From a spiritual scientific perspective: The human being's 'book of incarnations' is denoted as Individuality and corresponds to the spirit-self or manas in Man's bodily principles, it is also sometimes called 'causal body' in theosophical and early anthroposophical literature.

Rudolf Steiner describes that natural remembrance of previous (and future) lives would arise as natural future faculty for the whole of mankind, starting in the next incarnation(s) and becoming mainstream by the third millenium.

Aspects

  • terminology
    • a distinction is made between 'memories' as a general term, and remembrance, recollection and reminiscence (see Blavatsky below)
  • the faculty of clairvoyance that enables remembrance of past Earth lives
    • is based on to the forces related to lung/heart or rhythmic area (1913-10-11-GA140)
    • is purely a matter of spiritual maturity. It means nothing for the faculty of such remembrance, that most people don't have this faculty today. However one needs to to be careful as the manifold cases and appearances can have the most varied causes (1914-03-31-GA069D Q&A)
    • is developed on the path of initiation: Franz Bardon covers past live memories based on the developed faculty of clairvoyance in IIH step 9
  • natural future faculty for the whole of mankind
    • numerous souls today are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations (or at least the last one). Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. (1909-12-04-GA117)
    • in future earth lives it will be normal to remember previous incarnations, it will be the normal thing for people to have an ever stronger memory of their previous lives. However this will only be for those who have done inner soul work and spiritual science (1916-02-08-GA166)
    • remembrance of earlier incarnations will in times to come, be possible for every human soul, enabled by Man's new organ (1913-05-01-GA152)
    • as Man has developed a feeling for his I, and the forces are unfolding which will make it necessary in our coming incarnations to remember those that have gone before .. The days are drawing near when people will feel bound to admit .. it can only be that I am looking back on earlier incarnations of my own (1911-12-03-GA130)
    • in the future there will again be a time (and it will manifest with particular significance in the third millennium when it will be impossible for anyone not to possess a certain power of looking back into earlier earth-lives), and more especially also: a clear realisation that there are more lives to come. This particular consciousness or perceiving repeated earth-lives is germinating differently in the two regions and will appear in varied forms in the orient (from Eastern Europe into Asia) and the occidental region (incl. Western Europe and America) (1918-07-09-GA181)
  • other related
    • how memory in general works is explained in 1916-01-02-GA165 ("Remembrance is the perception from the outer ether of inner etheric movements; the perception from the outer light-ether of movements in the inner light-body, that is to remember.") and 1922-10-20-GA218
    • potential confusion arising from 'living Akashic pictures (eg confusion examples Caesar & Goethe)

evolutionary

  • third Egypto-Chaldean cultural age - sentient soul: "it was the normal thing to experience" and "upto the seventh and eighth centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha, people had memories of previous lives.". This was related to the dreamy faculty of the sentient soul: "The strength of this feeling made the teaching of reincarnation, at that time consciously given, very powerful; for looking back, a man saw a vivid image of his spatial form in the dream of his earlier earth-life. His veritable self appeared, as it had been in many different circumstances." (1918-07-09-GA181)
  • fourth cultural age - intellectual-soul: " in the early centuries of the fourth post-Atlantean age Man could still remember it vividly" and "in the course of the fourth Post-Atlantean age the faculty of directly perceiving repeated Earth-lives gradually disappeared, but it remained with a good many people, and those who had it looked back to see themselves as “possessors of the sentient soul”. Nevertheless, his living vision of himself was lost to many during the fourth post-Atlantean age. Man became incapable of producing a force strong enough to grasp what was present in him as dream-like remembrance of a former Earth-life" (1918-07-09-GA181)

Young children memories

  • A certain kind of remembrance appears to arise naturally with certain children of young age, typically between 2 and 5 years old. The memories start to fade afterwards (from the age of 6 to 7) until they disappear completely as the child matures.
  • As children approach age seven, they undergo a kind of retrospection of all the events that took place before their birth. They often tell of the most curious things about that earlier state, for example rather typical children say, “I came into the world through a funnel that expanded.” They describe how they came into the world. (1919-09-25-GA300A)
  • In the last decades such case reports and stories have become subject of considerable contemporary popular/mainstream literature as either suggestive of, or proof of, reincarnation. See the Discussion area below for a commentary.
  • research
    • Ian Stevenson (1918-2007) pioneering work and publications (1960, 1966, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1980, 1983) resulted in the book (1987) 'Children who remember previous lives'. Stevenson's rigourous research and scientific approach provided an impressive foundation of well documented cases that are impossible to ignore.
    • Stevenson inspired other researchers such as 1) Erlendur Haraldsson (1931-2020), who spent a sabbatical year in 1982-83 with Stevenson at the University of Virginia; 2) Antonia Mills (who met Stevenson in 1984), and 3) Jim B. Tucker (who contacted Stevenson around 1999 and followed up on his work). Other authors followed, such as Carol Bowman (1997). See also 'Further reading section' below.

Mature natural remembrance

  • denotes 'natural' remembrance that occurs later in mature life (so not childhood)
  • as related to spiritual maturity
    • "it may happen that modern Man, in contemplating memory pictures, looks at experiences in previous lives. Then in those remote ages this soul would have been an Initiate". (1913-02-05-GA144)
      • observe a number of stories are Individualities that were students of initiation already in earlier incarnations. In some early publications of books such as Joan Grant (Winged Pharaoh, 1937), Elisabeth Haich (Initiation, 1953), or Walter Weber (Der Druide von Aiona, 1975) .. all three examples are memories where the individuals talked about the Mysteries and initiation. See also the link 1908-09-14-GA106 that describes that "the souls of today are reincarnations of the ancient Egyptian souls
    • see Schema FMC00.428A on Human character - the I and threefold soul and Schema FMC00.128 on Man's higher triad. Study of these two elements will show that the consciousness soul - also called spiritual soul - is the connection to the spiritual, the spirit-self 'book of life' (or causal body).
  • examples from initiates for who this is a natural faculty (some examples)

Regression

  • past-life regression therapy or techniques: from the 1970s onwards several people pioneered regression therapy techniques, starting with Thorwald Dethlefsen (DE, 1974, 1976) and Morris Netherton and Helen Wambach (both 1978), followed by others such as Roger Woolger (1987), Hans ten Dam (NL, 1990). Various techniques were and are used, from active imagination to hypnosis
  • several psychologists and therapists wrote books describing case studies, examples of international bestsellers are Brian Weiss 'Many lives, many masters' (1988) and Michael Newton's 'Journey of souls' (1994).

Illustrations

Lecture coverage and references

Helena Blavatsky

clarifies terminology in 'The Key to Theosophy' (see 'Further reading' section below) (SWCC)

.. there is a great difference between the three accepted forms of memory. Besides memory in general you have Remembrance, Recollection and Reminiscence. Have you ever thought over the difference? Memory, remember, is a generic name.

They are not synonyms in philosophy.

  • Memory is simply an innate power in thinking beings, and even in animals, of reproducing past impressions by an association of ideas principally suggested by objective things or by some action on our external sensory organs. Memory is a faculty depending entirely on the more or less healthy and normal functioning of our physical brain; and remembrance andrecollection are the attributes and handmaidens of that memory.
  • But reminiscence is an entirely different thing. "Reminiscence" is defined by the modern psychologist as something intermediate between remembrance and recollection, or " a conscious process of recalling past occurrences, but without that full and varied reference to particular things which characterises recollection." Locke, speaking of recollection and remembrance, says: " When an idea again recurs without the operation of the like object on the external sensory, it is remembrance; if it be sought after by the mind, and with pain and endeavour found and brought again into view, it is recollection." But even Locke leaves reminiscence without any clear definition, because it is no faculty or attribute of our physical memory, but an intuitional perception apart from and outside our physical brain; a perception which, covering as it does (being called into action by the ever-present knowledge of our spiritual Ego) all those visions in man which are regarded as abnormal -- from the pictures suggested by genius to the ravings of fever and even madness -- are classed by science as having no existence outside of our fancy. Occultism and Theosophy, however, regard reminiscence in an entirely different light. For us, while memory is physical and evanescent and depends on the physiological conditions of the brain -- a fundamental proposition with all teachers of mnemonics, who have the researches of modern scientific psychologists to back them -- we call reminiscence the memory of the soul. And it is this memory which gives the assurance to almost every human being, whether he under-stands it or not, of his having lived before and having to live again.

Coverage by Rudolf Steiner

1909-12-04-GA117

Humanity is becoming evermore individual, and this has further implications for human individuality. It is important that this individuality develop in the right way. The anthroposophical movement is to help people become individualities, or personalities, in the right sense. How can it accomplish this? Here we must look to the most striking new quality of the human soul that is being prepared.

People often ask why we do not remember our former incarnations. I have often answered this question, which is like saying that because a four-year-old child cannot do arithmetic, human beings cannot do arithmetic. When the child reaches ten, he or she will be able to multiply with ease. It is the same with the soul. If it cannot remember our former incarnations today, the time will come when it will be able to do so. Then it will possess the same capacity initiates have.

This new development is happening today. There are numerous souls nowadays who are so far advanced that they are close to the moment of remembering their former incarnations, or at least the last one. A number of people are at the threshold of comprehensive memory, embracing life between birth and death as well as previous incarnations. Many people will remember their present incarnation when they are reborn in their next life. It is simply a question of how they remember. The anthroposophical movement is to help and guide people to remember in the right way.

...

.. then we will be reborn in the next incarnation with this developed I, and we will be able to remember it.

It is the deeper task of the anthroposophical movement to enable a number of human beings to enter their next incarnation with an I each remembers as his or her own, individual I. These people will then form the nucleus of the next period of civilization. Then these individuals who have been well prepared through the anthroposophical spiritual movement to remember their individual I will be spread over the earth. For the essential characteristic of the next period of civilization is that it will not be limited to particular localities, but will be spread over the whole earth. These individuals will be scattered over the Earth, and thus everywhere on earth there will be a core group of people who will be crucial for the sixth cultural age. These people will recognize each other as those who in their previous incarnation strove together to develop the individual I. That is the proper cultivation of that soul faculty we have spoken of

This soul faculty will be so developed that more and more people who have not developed their I will also be able to remember their former incarnations. However, they will not remember an individual I, but only the group-I in which they had remained.

In summary,

  • people who are working in this incarnation to develop their individual I will be able to remember themselves as this or that independent individuality; they will be able to look back at the individuality they were.
  • People who have not developed their individuality will be unable to remember any individuality.

Do not think that mere visionary clairvoyance will enable you to remember your previous I. Humanity was once clairvoyant, and if that in itself sufficed, then everyone would have remembered because all were clairvoyant. Thus, what matters is not clairvoyance; people will indeed be clairvoyant in the future.

Rather, what matters is whether we have cultivated our I in this incarnation or not.

[A 'second fall']

If we have not cultivated it, the I will not be there as the innermost human essence, and we will remember only a group-I, only what we had in common with others. In that case we will have to look back and admit that we did not free ourselves from the group-I in this incarnation. People to whom this happens will experience it as though it were a new Fall, a second Fall of humanity, a falling back into a conscious connection with the group-soul. Not to remember oneself as an individuality and to be hemmed in by one's inability to transcend group-soulness will be something terrible in the sixth epoch. To put it bluntly, we can say that the earth and all it can yield will belong to those who now cultivate their individualities. Those, however, who do not develop their individual I will be dependent on joining a group that will instruct them in what they should think, feel, will, and do. In the future development of humanity this will be felt as a regression, a second Fall. Therefore, we should not regard the anthroposophical movement and spiritual life as mere theory but rather as something that is given to us now to prepare what is necessary for the future of humanity.

When we understand our present condition correctly — understand where we have come from and where we are going — then we must realize that humanity is now beginning to develop the ability to remember beyond the limits of the present incarnation. What matters now is that we develop it in the right way, that is, by developing our individual I. For we can remember only what we have created in our soul.

If we have not created it, we are left only with the fettering memory of a group I, and we will feel this as a falling back into a group-soul of higher animality, as it were. Even if human group-souls are more refined than those of the animals, they are still group-souls. People of an earlier age would not have considered this a regression because they were just in the process of developing from group-soulness to the individual soul. However, if group-soulness is retained today, people will consciously experience this falling back into group-soulness. In the future, this will create an oppressive feeling in those who cannot catch up with the development of the individual I either in the present incarnation or a later one; they will feel their falling back into group-soulness.

1911-GA015

Lecture 2 – Spiritual Guidance of Mankind

The importance of the year 1250 for the spiritual evolution of humanity is specially apparent if we look at the result of clairvoyant research given in the following fact: Even those individualities who had attained high stages of spiritual development in previous incarnations, and who were re-incarnated about 1250, were compelled for a while to undergo a complete clouding over of their direct view of the spiritual world. Quite enlightened individuals were as though cut off from the spiritual world, and their only knowledge of it was through their remembrance of earlier incarnations.

1911-12-03-GA130

Faith, Love, and Hope: Lecture 2 - Towards the Sixth Epoch

Thus we see that the I-consciousness men have today does not go back as far as is usually imagined. Only a few incarnations ago, men had no I-feeling such as is characteristic of them today. And as the I-feeling is intimately connected with memory, we need not be surprised that many people should not have begun, as yet, to look back on their previous incarnations.

Because of the undeveloped state of this feeling for his I during early childhood, a Man does not even remember what happened to him then; so it seems quite comprehensible that, for the same reason, he is unable yet to remember his earlier incarnations.

But now we have come to the point when Man has developed a feeling for his I, and the forces are unfolding which will make it necessary in our coming incarnations to remember those that have gone before. The days are drawing near when people will feel bound to admit: “We have strange glimpses into the past, when we were already on the Earth but living in another bodily form. We look back and have to say that we were already then on Earth.”

And among the faculties appearing more and more in human beings will be one which arouses the feeling: It can only be that I am looking back on earlier incarnations of my own.

1912-01-30-GA135

Titled: 'Need for the development of a ‘feeling-memory’ before direct experience of reincarnation is possible'

The lecture can be read in full, as it starts to explain relevant context (no conceptual thoughts after death, child development).

[self-recollection as ‘feeling-memory’]

We must realise that when we enter physical life the position as regards the feelings and the impulses of will is in no way the same as it is regarding the life of concepts, for we enter an incarnation with a very definite equipment of feeling experiences and impulses of will. Correct observation might indeed make us surmise that in the feelings and will-impulses we have something that we have brought with us from earlier incarnations.

And all this must be brought together as a ‘feeling-memory’ in contradistinction to the ‘concept-memory’ which belongs to one life only. We can arrive at no practical result if we take into account only a concept-memory. All that we develop in the life of concepts cannot call forth an impression which, if rightly understood, says to us: You have within you something which entered this incarnation with you at birth. For this we must go beyond the life of concepts; recollection must become something different, and we have shown what recollection can indeed become.

How do we practise self-recollection?

We do not merely picture to ourselves: “This was accidental in our life, such and such a thing befell us, there we were in a position of life which we abandoned,” and so forth. We must not stop at the concepts; we must make them living, active, as if there stood before us the picture of a personality who had desired and willed all this. We must experience ourselves in this willing. This is a very different experience from that of merely recalling concepts; it is an experience of living oneself into other soul-forces, if I may put it in that way.

[re: Concentration exercises (imagination)]

This practice of drawing on will and desire in order to fill the soul with a certain content — a practice that has always been known and cultivated in all occult schools — is confirmed by what we know from anthroposophical or similar knowledge of the life of thinking, feeling and willing, and can be understood and explained thereby. Let us be quite clear that in giving a specific content to the life of feeling and will we must develop something which resembles memory-concepts, but does not stop there. It is something which enables us to develop another kind of memory — one that gradually leads us beyond the life enclosed in one incarnation between birth and death.

It must be strongly emphasised that the path here indicated is absolutely good and sure — but full of renunciation.

It is easier to imagine on all sorts of external grounds that one has been Marie Antoinette or Mary Magdalene, or somebody like that in a former incarnation. It is more difficult by the methods described to construct out of what actually exists in the soul a picture of what one really was. For this reason we have to renounce a good deal, for we can readily be deceived.

If someone says: “But we may be simply imagining it all,” then we must answer: “Yes, and it is also quite possible to imagine something in relation to our memories that never existed.” All these things are no real objections.

Life itself can provide a criterion for distinguishing real imagination from fancy.

  • Somebody once said to me in a town in South Germany that everything in my book Occult Science might be based on simple suggestion. He said suggestion could be so vivid that one could even imagine lemonade so strongly that the taste of it would be in the mouth; and if such a thing is possible, why should it not be possible for what is present in Occult Science to be based on suggestions. Theoretically such an objection may be raised, but life brings the reflection that if anyone wishes to show by the example of lemonade how strongly suggestion can work, we must add that he has not understood how to carry the idea to its logical conclusion. He ought to try not only to imagine lemonade, but to quench his thirst with purely imaginary lemonade! Then he would see that it cannot be done. It is always necessary to carry our experiences to their conclusion, and this cannot be done theoretically but only by direct experience.

With the same certainty by which we know that what arises from our memory-concepts is something we have experienced, so do the impulses of will we have called forth with regard to the accidents and undesired happenings arise from the depths of the soul as a picture of earlier experiences. We cannot disprove the statement of anyone who says: “That may be imagination,” any more than we can disprove theoretically what numerous people imagine they have experienced and quite certainly have not, nor prove to them what it is they really experienced. No theoretical proof is possible in either case.

We have shown in this way how earlier experience shines into present experiences, and how through careful soul-development we really can create for ourselves the conviction—not only a theoretical conviction but a practical conviction—that our soul reincarnates; we come to know that it has existed before.

There are, however, experiences of a very different kind in our lives — experiences of which, when we recall them in memory, we must say: “In the form in which they appear, they do not explain an earlier life to us.”

1912-02-20-GA135

titled: 'Knowledge of reincarnation and karma through thought-exercises'

In contrast to what has just been said, we can think more about our destiny in outer life. There again, two groups of facts will have to be kept in mind.

  • There are cases where it is inwardly clear to us that in connection with events that befall us—not, therefore, those we ourselves initiated — we did certain things and consequently are to blame for these happenings.
  • But of another group of experiences we shall be very liable to say that we can see no connection whatever with what we resolved, what we intended. These are events of which it is usually said that they broke in upon our life as if by chance; they seem to have no connection whatever with anything we ourselves have brought about.

It is this second group of experiences in their relation to our inner life that we shall now consider, that is to say, those happenings where we are unable to perceive any direct or immediate connection with our faculties and shortcomings — outer events, therefore, which we call chance events, of which we cannot at the outset perceive how they could have been brought about by any preceding factor.

By way of test, a kind of experiment can be made with these two groups of experiences. The experiment entails no obligations; it is a question merely of putting to the test what will now be characterised.

...

The endeavour has now been made to draw attention to something that can ultimately promote in every human being a kind of certainty of having existed in an earlier life — certainty through having engendered a feeling of inner impressions which he knows were most definitely not received in this present life.

Such an impression, however, arises the same way as a recollection arises in ordinary life. We may now ask: How can one know that the impression is actually a recollection?

There it can only be said that to ‘prove’ such a thing is not possible. But the process is the same as it is elsewhere in life, when we remember something and are in a sound state of mind. We know there that what arises within us in thought is actually related to something we have experienced. The experience itself gives the certainty. What we picture in the way indicated gives us the certainty that the impression which arises in the soul is not related to anything that had to do with us in the present life but to something in the earlier life.

We have there called forth in ourselves by artificial means, something that brings us into connection with our earlier life. We can also use many different kinds of experiences as tests, and eventually awaken in ourselves feelings of earlier lives.

1913-02-05-GA144

When as a modern Man you ascend into these higher worlds, you are met by forlornness, despair. But pictures call up for you long-past happenings, showing you that in distant times men ascended into the worlds into which you now wish to rise. Yes, from these memory pictures you may well come to recognise that in earlier incarnations your own soul took part in what these men experienced when formerly they rose into the higher worlds. It might even appear that the soul of a present-day man, in contemplating these pictures, looks at experiences of his own, gone through in times long since past. Then in those remote ages this soul would have been an Initiate. In other cases, the Man would know only that his soul had been connected with those who as Initiates had then risen into the higher worlds; but his soul now feels lonely and forsaken, whereas those once initiated souls did not feel lonely and forsaken in the same worlds, but experienced innermost bliss. He will recognise further that this was so because in those ancient times souls were differently constituted, and for this reason they experienced differently what they beheld in the higher worlds. What is it, then, that is really experienced?

1913-05-01-GA152

see full extract: Man's new organ#1913-05-01-GA152

When this new organ has developed it may either be used rightly by mankind, or it may not.

Those people will be able to use it rightly who are now preparing the possibility of having in their next incarnation a true remembrance of the present one.

For this organ will be the physical means for remembering an earlier incarnation, which in the case of by far the greater majority of people is possible now only through higher development, through Initiation. But a faculty which in the present age it would be possible to acquire only through Initiation will later on become the common property of mankind. Our modern knowledge was formerly the special knowledge possessed by the Atlantean initiates only; everyone can now possess it.

In the same way, remembrance of former lives on Earth is possible at present only for initiates but in times to come it will be possible for every human soul.

...

Through the study of spiritual science, which includes, among other things, the study of the intrinsic nature of the soul, we prepare in ourselves that which will enable us in a future incarnation to remember what happened in the present one. There are, however, many people nowadays who are not willing to devote themselves to the study of this knowledge. These human beings will be reborn, perhaps in their next incarnation, with the above-mentioned organ for the remembrance of former lives physically developed; but they have not prepared themselves in such a way as to be able to remember the past.

What, then, is the significance of Spiritual Science or Anthroposophy in the life of the present day, in addition to all that has been said?

Through Anthroposophy we become able to use in the right way the organ that will be developed in human beings of the future, the organ for the remembering of former lives on earth. In our present incarnation we must inscribe in the Akasha-substance the knowledge we acquire in order that in our next incarnation we may be able to use this organ — which is developing in man whether he wishes it or not.

In the future there will be men who are able to use this organ for remembering past lives and others who are not able. Certain illnesses will appear in the latter, owing to the presence in their physical bodies of an organ which they are unable to use. To have an organ and be unable to use it gives rise to nervous diseases in a very definite form, and those that will be caused in cases of this kind will be far worse than any yet known to man.

1913-10-11-GA140

This lecture describes Man has to develop three types of forces to

  • have remembrance of past Earth lives (forces related to lung/heart or rhythmic area)
  • oversee and understand the large general development of mankind and Earth (forces related to the head area)
  • get to know the life between death and new birth (forces related to the metabolic limb area)

quote A

In answering such questions one is often obliged to go more deeply into the connection of cosmic facts in so far as the spiritual world affects these facts, and particularly into the connection between these facts and the nature of Man. One question may arise in a person's mind when he gradually sees the importance and great significance of what we call reincarnation. He may ask:

“How is it that in his ordinary life today Man has no recollection of preceding earth-lives?”

Clairvoyant consciousness can actually expand the memory to such an extent that recollections of former earth-lives rise to its surface; but in the ordinary life of present-day humanity this does not occur.

If the question is put from the standpoint of clairvoyant investigation, however, it takes the following form. It is then realized that the force required for clairvoyant investigation arises from the innermost part of Man, from the very soul itself. One must develop from the ordinary human standpoint to the clairvoyant standpoint.

The forces by means of which we look back later at our former earth-lives must naturally exist in every human being. The question, therefore, is:

“What becomes of these forces? What does Man's nature do with these forces which are present in him, which are born with him, but which he cannot bring to the point of helping him to a retrospective memory of his former earth-life?”

If we investigate this clairvoyantly we find ourselves obliged to look for them in very early childhood. There only do we find those forces at work which can be used in clairvoyance for the retrospective vision of former lives.

In present-day man they are used to construct the human larynx and all that appertains to it; and especially in all which enables that organ to be used later for speech.

These forces are in every man, for the purpose of enabling him to look back into earlier earth-lives. But at the present day they are so largely used in constructing man's organ of speech that, under normal circumstances, he cannot in later life have that memory of the past.

There were earlier times when Man had this retrospective memory and this was the case almost all over the world, but this was because the said forces were not all used in building up the larynx; some were kept back. The development of humanity was such, however, that speech gradually assumed a form which in our present cycle depends more upon the forces of the etheric body than was formerly the case. At the present time, therefore, man fails to observe the forces which remain behind after the greater proportion have been used in building the larynx. If he were to do so, as the clairvoyant must, he would be able to look at his earlier earth-lives.

That is the reason for the fact which I indicated in the public lecture:

If a man gets so far as to develop that activity of the etheric body which is otherwise only developed for the need of the organ of speech, and releases that from the larynx; if he is gradually able to listen inwardly without speaking, and to develop this feeling more and more, the exercise of that force can really reproduce the memory of past lives.

Modern man pays no attention to the surplus forces of his speech-organ which are capable of being used for the retrospect into earlier earth-lives. This is one of those cases in which through clairvoyant investigation one can indicate the place occupied in normal life by those forces which are otherwise used to enable Man to have insight into the spiritual life.

quote B

When a man discovers the forces that remain over from his learning to walk, they will enable him to become clairvoyant, and to see into the worlds we inhabit between death and a new birth. This can also be done through meditation, which must, however, be carried so far as to merge into feeling; but feeling is the hardest of all things to acquire through meditation. Those forces must be found which enable a Man to look into the world between death and rebirth, forces by means of which he can contemplate what happened a long time before birth. In this domain there is a great deal which enables one to understand life as never before.

quote C

[unused forces of the etheric body from learning to walk/talk]

The power of investigating one's own life, or that of another, in the spiritual world, can be acquired — curiously enough — through the forces left over in the etheric body from our learning to walk. Practical clairvoyance shows us that these forces, when really developed, have certain advantages over the clairvoyant forces developed for the purpose of looking back into former lives.

I want you to pay particular attention to this difference between them, for it may throw light in many respects on various things. There is no way in which a dangerous clairvoyance is more easily developed than by using the forces which exist in present-day man for developing the organs of speech, and which, if kept back, enable him to see into his former earth-lives; for they are mostly connected with the lower instincts and passions in man's nature. In no other way is one brought so near to Lucifer and Ahriman as by developing these forces, for although they certainly lead one to the height of being able to look back into one's own and other people's past lives, yet they lead to the powers of illusion; and if not rightly developed the clairvoyant may, under their influence, fall morally low, rather than rise to the heights.

Thus these forces are among the most dangerous of all, and should only be developed if at the same time the teacher is determined to develop the purest morality in his pupils. For this reason an experienced teacher will not easily allow himself to be persuaded systematically to develop the forces which enable a man to see former incarnations. It is just as rare to find the forces developed objectively, in the right way, i.e. by only using the speech-forces for this purpose, as it is common to find a certain lower clairvoyance which can see into the spiritual worlds and give descriptions of certain spiritual regions.

That is why other means are generally used when it is desired to lead persons to see their earlier incarnations, and here we reach an interesting point — showing how necessary it is to pay attention to things which are generally disregarded.

It is but seldom that anyone is able through his spiritual teaching to look back at his earlier earth-lives by developing the speech-forces only; that is a very rare occurrence, yet there are many persons at the present time who can do so. This has generally been reached by other means, one of which may strike one as strange, but it rests upon a profound truth.

Suppose that a man is well advanced in years; it would need too much of an effort, and perhaps lead to too much temptation, were he to look back karmically at his former lives by developing the speech-forces. Therefore the spiritual forces have recourse to another means, which many suppose to be merely accidental.

[external trigger]

He may meet a man who calls him by a special name, or mentions a certain time, or a certain people. This works externally upon his soul in such a way that as a result he may develop the necessary forces to serve as a support for clairvoyance etc. will then notice that the name he was called by, or the words mentioned, will, without any knowledge of this on the part of the speaker, lead to a retrospective view of his past lives. This is a case of outer means being resorted to. The Man in question hears a name or an era or a nation mentioned, and is thereby stimulated from outside, as it were, to see his former earth incarnations. Such external stimuli are sometimes of great importance to a clairvoyant observation of the world. One has what seems to be an entirely accidental experience, but from this rays forth a stimulus for clairvoyant forces which one otherwise possesses only in rudimentary form.

These are a few aphoristic indications which I wished to give you as to the way the spiritual world interpenetrates the earth-world; it is really a very complicated matter.

We see, therefore, that looking back into former earth lives is a more or less dangerous proceeding, because the forces of temptation are connected with it; but, on the other hand, there are very few men who, having developed their clairvoyant forces for, the purpose of seeing the life spent in the spiritual world before birth, would be liable to the temptation of misusing them.

As a rule only souls of a certain purity, of a certain natural morality, can look back with a measure of certainty into the life spent in the spirit before their present earth-lives. That is because the forces used as clairvoyant forces for the purpose of looking into the prenatal time are the child-forces, those economised when learning to walk. They are the most sinless forces in the nature of man. These innocent forces — I beg some of you to note this — are also those through which, when a Man develops them, he is able to see into the life preceding his birth. This, too, is the reason why a little child is so enchanting and satisfying because it is surrounded in its aura by the forces the greater part of which are used in learning to walk — forces which are also able to illuminate what took place before birth. In this respect to the clairvoyant experience a child in whose countenance is expressed innocence and inexperience of the world expresses in its aura something a great deal more interesting than what can be seen in the aura of many a grown-up person. The struggles and conflicts it went through in the spirit-land before birth, and which determined its destiny, make what surrounds the child as its aura something immeasurably great and filled with wisdom. That wisdom is often much greater than a human being can put into words in later life. The countenance of the child may as yet be undefined, but the clairvoyant who sees it can learn immeasurably from the child if his vision is able to perceive what surrounds it as aura. And if the forces belonging to childhood are later on developed clairvoyantly one can perceive the concrete circumstances which precede human birth. It may perhaps be a personal satisfaction to be able to look into that world, but it is more particularly of interest to one who is anxious to understand the whole connection. A search into the Akashic Records concerning certain personalities of the world's history not only consists in reading what is therein inscribed about their lives on the physical plane, but also shows us how they are preparing their next lives on that plane, while living as souls in the spiritual world between death and rebirth.

Now the forces which can throw light on former incarnations, if we keep them pure, are not so much saved over from childhood as from that age in a human being when the passions (and often the lowest and worst) are developed. These forces which have quite different tasks in the nature of Man are developed long after those connected with speech-formation. They hang together with all that develops in Man as feelings of sensual love and everything connected with it. There is a special relation between all that leads to sensual love and all that leads to speech; and this is, indeed, expressed in the nature of man in the breaking of the voice, the change of voice. From that age in particular many of these forces are stored up, and if we keep them pure they lead to a retrospective vision of our former earth-lives; but if they are not kept pure they can be brought out as the sensual instincts of man, and may then lead to the greatest occult depravity. These clairvoyant forces, economised from that particular time of life, are the most subject to temptation.

Thus you understand the whole connection, my dear friends. The clairvoyant who is willing to talk about the time spent between death and a new birth (and some of you may have noticed that there is but little talk about that), has developed in himself the forces economised from early childhood. But one should mistrust the clairvoyant who talks a great deal — mostly nonsense — about people's former incarnations, and this happens very frequently, for some people dish up such information on a salver as it were. We should mistrust such persons, because in this domain forces may be drawn upon which are most of all open to temptation. The forces that may be economised for this are saved from the time when sensual love develops, while man does not yet stand outwardly in social life. Sometimes these forces lead to great nonsense, and particularly to occult nonsense, because these, more than any others, are subject to delusion after delusion in the realms of the spiritual world.

Why, then, is the information of clairvoyants who are subject to these particular forces so frequently unreliable?

Because among these arise at the same time out of man, like a mist, the lower instincts and impulses; and then Ahriman and his Ahrimanic spirits approach, and out of what thus arises they form phantoms which can be seen, and are then regarded as belonging to former incarnations.

The right sort of clairvoyance through which to describe circumstances such as are given in Outline of Esoteric Science can be easily developed by economising the forces which can only be economised in later life — after the age of twenty to twenty-five. The forces developed then are usually such as are connected with the life of the intellect, and during this time life can be regarded with a certain calm common sense. Thus the investigations in this domain are least of all subject to error and illusion.

We see, therefore, that the great world-relations, the great spiritual world-relationships, can be ascertained through those forces in human nature which work at the development of the brain.

The vision of former earth-lives can be acquired by cultivating those forces which are economised in youth, when they are no longer required for developing the speech and rule the realm of sense desires and their organs.

The spirit-land proper, which is specially interesting because there the new life is being prepared, can be investigated through those forces which can be economised in earliest childhood, when the child is learning to walk.

the lecture conclusion also mentions the misunderstandings in our contemporary materialistic culture and its implications for the soul and further development of mankind

1914-03-31-GA069D

Extract from Q&A (of this excellent lecture) stating it is a matter of maturity, it means nothing that most people don't have it

Question: Can one have memories of a previous life?

Rudolf Steiner:

That is purely a matter of spiritual maturity. It means nothing for the faculty of such remembrance, that most people don't have this faculty today.

One can compare it with the following: one claims that a Man can calculate. Now I bring you a person who cannot calculate. A person can be very famous in one Earth life, and exactly through this it may happen that totally different circumstances will be triggered for a next file.

This rembrance should really be seen and understood as an increase of understanding for a Man.

in the same Q&A session he states

One has to be careful .. as the manifold cases and appearances can have the most varied causes

1916-02-08-GA166

longer extract here: Human 'I'#1916-02-08-GA166

.. how could people have said in earlier times that it used to be the normal thing for people to remember previous incarnations? Yet for our coming earth lives it will be normal.

Just as in the fifth post-Atlantean age human beings have to take hold of their I and bring it to life, so it will be the normal thing in the future for people to have a stronger and stronger memory of their previous lives. We could just as well say, “Spiritual science is the right preparation for remembering earlier lives in the right way.” But those who run away from spiritual science will not be able to bring this memory of past lives up into consciousness. Their inner being will feel something lacking.

That is to say, people will fall into two categories.

  • One group will know that when they examine their innermost soul, it will lead them back into earlier lives.
  • The others will feel an inner urge that comes to expression as a longing. Something does not want to emerge. Throughout their whole incarnation something will not want to come up, but will remain unknown like a thought one searches and cannot find. This will be due to insufficient preparation for remembering previous earth lives.

When we speak of these things, we are speaking of something real, absolutely real. You have to have properly taken hold of the I through spiritual science if you are to remember it in later earth lives.

Is there anything you can remember without making a mental picture of it? Need we wonder that people cannot yet remember the I when they did not have a mental picture of it in earlier epochs?

1918-07-09-GA181

quote A

One important epoch in the development of humanity — particularly of Western civilised humanity — comprises the seventh and eighth centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha. Just then, a rapid, significant change took place in human souls, especially those of Western civilisations. We remember that this was the time when the third post-Atlantean age gradually changed into the fourth. Before this particular period, (700 or 800 B.C.) the characteristics of the sentient soul were most conspicuous in humanity; afterwards, those of the intellectual soul were acquired.

In the fifteenth century after Christ, not so very far behind us, there was again an important turning point, when the stamp of the consciousness-soul became apparent. Different soul-qualities were acquired; there was also a difference in the dreamlike retrospect into an earlier incarnation.

For instance, at the beinning of the Graeco-Latin civilisation, in the third fourth century B.C., a man of normal development in the West, or thereabouts, manifested the qualities of the intellectual or mind-soul. Yet his “dream” was concerned with an earlier earth-life in which the characteristics were those of the sentient soul. To be sure, in the course of the fourth Post-Atlantean age the faculty of directly perceiving repeated earth-lives gradually disappeared, but it remained with a good many people, and those who had it looked back to see themselves as “possessors of the sentient soul”. There was a comparatively great difference between what man met within himself at that particular time, and what he saw when the retrospective dream became objective to him, and he realised: “That is what I was in my last earth-life”. Many people saw that they differed widely in their present incarnations from what they had been in the last. Because in their then incarnation they felt according to the intellectual or mind-soul, they realised that they had been sentient-soul beings in their earlier life.

What did it mean to have this feeling: “I was a sentient-soul in the last incarnation”?

It is an impossible feeling for present-day Man, but in the early centuries of the fourth post-Atlantean age Man could still remember it vividly.

In the third age, the Egypto-Chaldean, it was the normal thing to experience — and it means that Man was unaware that he was a thinking being. To have thoughts meant nothing to him; but he had an unbroken, vital feeling of standing, in connection with the outer world — an outer world entirely steeped in spirit.

It is extremely difficult to describe this sentient-soul consciousness, because it was so vivid to the senses that really a Man continually felt himself remaining behind as a shadow in each par; of space through which he had passed, For instance, as we should express it, to have sat on a chair and left it for a time, produced the feeling, “I am still sitting there”. The feeling of union with outer things was very vivid. Above all, a complete, clear view of one own spatial form was continually present, and the corresponding feeling of that form. The strength of this feeling made the teaching of reincarnation, at that time consciously given, very powerful; for looking back, a man saw a vivid image of his spatial form in the dream of his earlier earth-life. His veritable self appeared, as it had been in many different circumstances.

This living vision of himself was lost to many during the fourth post-Atlantean age. Man became incapable of producing a force strong enough to grasp what was present in him as dream-like remembrance of a former earth-life — chiefly because men who reincarnated later, did not, in this dream of earlier earth-lives, remember the sentient soul, but an intellectual mind-soul, destitute of this vision, vague and inward and not objective. Man could not grasp its the consciousness of earlier earth-lives entirely ceased.

In a quite definite way it will come back in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, and no one can truly understand human development without taking account of such truths as these.

What arose in humanity was to be found under varied forms in the most diverse regions of the Earth. As I have often pointed out, we must expect that in the future there will again be a time—and it will manifest with particular significance in the third millennium when it will be impossible for anyone not to possess a certain power of looking back into earlier Earth-lives, and more especially also a clear realisation that there are more lives to come. This particular consciousness will appear in varied forms in different regions, a fact which it is specially important to understand.

Let us consider the main regions where this will come about in various ways: the great oriental region, stretching from Eastern Europe, into Asia, and then the occidental region, including Western Europe and America. The capacity of the future for perceiving repeated earth-lives is germinating differently in these two regions.

In the West it is already clearly recognised in initiated circles, and the significant thing in the West is that occult capacities are reckoned with, and their employment in outer life is contemplated. To omit this from consideration shows a very indifferent understanding of the development of the West and its whole influence on the history of mankind. Precisely the most important things in the West, the occurrences due principally to the Anglo-American race, happen under the influence of mysterious inner knowledge such as this.

[continued]

quote B

also east-west

.. considerations have shown once more that the soul's life, in all its aspects, is complicated. Threads unite the soul to numerous realms, farces, and centres in the universe. We will remind ourselves of what was said a fortnight ago, in order to give us a link with certain truths that we shall begin to consider to-day, and which will bring a certain aspect of world-happenings before our souls in a way that is important for use I will recapitulate very briefly what was said a fortnight ago.

I said that to know man in reality, it is useless merely to keep to the track of the ordinary consciousness which predominates in him from waking to falling-asleep, for we must recognise that within it, other states of consciousness exist, dim and shadowy, to be fathomed only by looking at man in his threefold division of head, breast, limbs.

  • Of course his whole being makes use of the head, on which depends the familixe form of consciousness; but we have established the fact that he has also, by means of his head, a dream-like consciousness which enables him to look back into his earlier earth-lives.
  • In the same way we have found that the limb-man, but in conjunction with the whole man, unfolds a continual dream-consciousness of his next life on earth.

What we bring forward in our spiritual science as a theory of “repeated earth-lives” already exists as a reality in the human soul. Dim and shadowy it is, but nevertheless a reality.

Besides this, it was said that

  • through the process of out-breathing, which belongs to the breast man, a similarly dreamy consciousness develops of the life between the last death and the present birth; and
  • through the process of in-breathing, likewise belonging to the breast-man, a dim consciousness of the life to come after death until the next birth.

In short, all these forms of consciousness interweave in man. Thus we see that in the whole an we have to do with a delicately-woven organisation, and that what is customarily dubbed man, what people visualise as man, is in fact only a very limited part of his whole being, and the coarsest part, at that.

This complication comes about through man being embedded with his various members, in worlds which are unknown and “super-sensible” so far as the ordinary consciousness is concerned. What is embedded in this way in a spiritual world, and proves to be not by any means a very delicate, refined soul-life — as we observe in ordinary human existence if we follow it through different earth-lives — that is not so simple. Yet the total significance of human life can be arrived at only by observing the complicated human being in his progress through various lives.

For human vision of today, this intricate web is altogether veiled, disguised. (we shall speak further of this ‘disguise’) All that is known of a man, as a rule, is the disguise. For that which descends from the spiritual world, takes up its abode in physical man and re-enters the spiritual world at death, does not crudely advertise itself in human life; indeed, much that happens in human life is so crude that the processs whereby man is led from one earth-life to another are hidden, disguised. An idea of the complication of human life is arrived at only by tracing it through long periods of time.

[Intellectual soul and consciousness soul]

And please observe that this tracing — what I have to tell you of the true course of human soul-life through long periods, — is widely removed from what outer history relates. The reason for this has often been pointed out. (We will speak of it more exactly later on.) One important epoch in the development of humanity — particularly of Western civilised humanity — comprises the seventh and eighth centuries before the Mystery of Golgotha. Just then, a rapid, significant change took place in human souls, especially those of Western civilisations. We remember that this was the time when the third post-Atlantean epoch gradually changed into the fourth. Before this particular period, (700 or 800 B.C.) the characteristics of the sentient soul were most conspicuous in humanity; afterwards, those of the intellectual soul were acquired.

In the fifteenth century after Christ, not so very far behind us, there was again an important turning point, when the stamp of the consciousness-soul became apparent. Different soul-qualities were acquired; there was also a difference in the dreamlike retrospect into an earlier incarnation.

For instance, at the beinning of the Graeco-Latin civilisation, in the third fourth century B.C., a man of normal development in the West, or thereabouts, manifested the qualities of the intellectual soul. Yet his “dream” was concerned with an earlier earth-life in which the characteristics were those of the sentient soul.

To be sure, in the course of the fourth Post-Atlantean period the faculty of directly perceiving repeated earth-lives gradually disappeared, but it remained with a good many people, and those who had it looked back to see themselves as “possessors of the sentient soul”. There was a comparatively great difference between what man met within himself at that particular time, and what he saw when the retrospective dream became objective to him, and he realised: “That is what I was in my last earth-life”. Many people saw that they differed widely in their present incarnations from what they had been in the last. Because in their then incarnation they felt according to the intellectual soul, they realised that they had been sentient-soul beings in their earlier life.

What did it mean to have this feeling: “I was a sentient-soul in the last incarnation”?

It is an impossible feeling for present-day man, but in the early centuries of the fourth post-Atlantean age man could still remember it vividly.

In the third age, the Egypto-Chaldean, it was the normal thing to experience — and it means that man was unaware that he was a thinking being. To have thoughts meant nothing to him; but he had an unbroken, vital feeling of standing, in connection with the outer world — an outer world entirely steeped in spirit. It is extremely difficult to describe this sentient-soul consciousness, because it was so vivid to the senses that really a man continually felt himself remaining behind as a shadow in each par; of space through which he had passed, For instance, as we should express it, to have sat on a chair and left it for a time, produced the feeling, “I am still sitting there”. The feeling of union with outer things was very vivid. Above all, a complete, clear view of one own spatial form was continually present, and the corresponding feeling of that form.

The strength of this feeling made the teaching of reincarnation, at that time consciously given, very powerful; for looking back, a man saw a vivid image of his spatial form in the dream of his earlier earth-life. His veritable self appeared, as it had been in many different circumstances. This living vision of himself was lost to many during the fourth post-Atlantean epoch. Man became incapable of producing a force strong enough to grasp what was present in him as dream-like remembrance of a former earth-life — chiefly because men who reincarnated later, did not, in this dream of earlier earth-lives, remember the sentient soul, but an intellectual mind-soul, destitute of this vision, vague and inward and not objective. Man could not grasp its the consciousness of earlier earth-lives entirely ceased.

In a quite definite way it will come back in the fifth post-Atlantean epoch, and no one can truly understand human development without taking account of such truths as these. What arose in humanity was to be found under varied forms in the most diverse regions of the earth.

As I have often pointed out, we must expect that in the future there will again be a time — and it will manifest with particular significance in the third millennium when it will be impossible for anyone not to possess a certain power of looking back into earlier earth-lives, and more especially also a clear realisation that there are more lives to come.

This particular consciousness will appear in varied forms in different regions, a fact which it is specially important to understand.

Let us consider the main regions where this will come about in various ways:

  • the great oriental region, stretching from Eastern Europe, into Asia, and then
  • the occidental region, including Western Europe and America.

The capacity of the future for perceiving repeated earth-lives is germinating differently in these two regions.

[West]

In the West it is already clearly recognised in initiated circles, and the significant thing in the West is that occult capacities are reckoned with, and their employment in outer life is contemplated. To omit this from consideration shows a very indifferent understanding of the development of the West and its whole influence on the history of mankind. Precisely the most important things in the West, the occurrences due principally to the Anglo-American race, happen under the influence of mysterious inner knowledge such as this. To describe the things in question is apt to land us in paradox, because they are things of which the shrewd observer (he always is so shrewd and clear-sighted!) says: “Well, why do not the initiates know that?” We need only recollect what I have told you of the activities of Lucifer and Ahriman, in the past and present, what they do and feel and specially what they have done; yet people think themselves cleverer than they, and claim that they themselves would have avoided “remaining behind”, etc. A correct view of such things is necessary. Certain things can be done by those who are cleverer than man.

There is apparent in the West, from certain mysterious depths, a tendency to oppose the teaching of repeated earth-lives. An opposition to it as regards the future is noticeable in certain very enlightened circles amongst the English and Americas . That is the paradox to be noted. It is desired in certain spiritual centres in the West to cause the gradual cessation of these repeated earth-lives, alternating between birth and death, death and rebirth, so that in the end a quite different arrangement of man's life may be brought about — and means do exist for achieving such a purpose. The object is this: through a certain schooling, a certain acquisition of forces, to transpose certain human souls into a condition in which, after death, they feel themselves more and more akin to the conditions and forces of the earth, acquiring almost a mania for the earth-forces — of course those of a spiritual nature — quitting the neighbourhood of the earth as little as possible, remaining in close proximity to it, and by means of this nearness hoping to live on as “the souls of the dead” around the earth, exempt from the necessity of again entering physical bodies. The Anglo-American race is striving after a remarkable and strange ideal: no longer to return into earthly bodies, but through the souls of the living to have an ever greater influence on the earth, becoming, as souls, more and more earthly. All efforts are thus to be directed to the ideal of making life here on earth and life after death similar to one another.

Thus will be attained — in our day only by those instructed according to this rule, which will become more and more the prevailing custom — as immeasurably greater, stronger, attachment to the earth than the recognised 'normal' one.

But for the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influence on humanity in Lemurian and Atlantean times, the human soul would feel itself less intimately connected with the physical body than it does today. This would have been shown by the fact that numerous people, (indeed the majority of mankind), would have regarded their bodies as belonging to the earth, and would have felt, “I live within my body”, in the same way as we today experience, “I walk on the solid Earth”.

Thanks to the Luciferic influence, we feel our bodies nearer to us than the Earth. We say that the earth is “outside us”, but we reckon our bodies as part of ourselves. From a certain lofty spiritual point of view, we are just as much outside our bodies, even in waking, as we are outside the earth. In a sense our soul only ‘stands’ upon the brain; the brain is the ‘floor’ for our thinking. This is no longer recognised because of the effect of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influence. Had there been no such influence, we should have felt ourselves as souls, more alien to the body; we should have regarded it as a sort of movable hillock, on which we supported ourselves, just as we do on a heap of sand. In certain Anglo-American circles this is organised into a science. They cultivate especially the powers of perception belonging to the body which strengthen the subjection of man to the body, through the incoming of forces not belonging entirely to the body but binding it to the earth. Various practices are intended to bring home vividly to the man of this race that his body belongs to the earth. He is to feel not only, “I am my arm, my leg”, but “I am also the force of gravity passing through my limbs; I am the weight which encumbers my hand or arm”. A strong physical sense of relationship between the human body and the earthly elements is to be acquired. This strong feeling of relationship between the creature in the physical body and the earth exists today in certain species of apes, which have it as their soul-life. In them it can be studied physiologically and zoologically.

What is present there can be gradually formed into a “system of instruction for human beings”; all that has to be done is to develop the coarse side of relationship with nature into a system of bodily education. (In saying this I am neither railing nor criticising; I am merely stating facts.) Thus it will be possible to bring about a sort of practical Darwinism, intensifying the relation of man to what binds him to the earth in a certain sense, to “monkeyfy” him. That is the practical side. It will be pursued through the intensive cultivation — ostensibly instinctive but in fact carefully directed — of sports and such-like things. This fetters the soul, drawing it into a sense of kinship with the earthly, with the earth itself, and so a spiritual ideal such as I have described is set up. By this means the continuing alternation of spiritual life and physical life will be overcome, and by degrees the ideal will be realised of living in future periods of earth-evolution as a kind of “phantom”; of dwelling on earth in this guise. A very interesting point is that this ideal can be appropriately followed only by the male population, and hence, in spite of all politicl endeavours, an increasing difference between men and women will arise in Anglo-American civilization (Political endeavours certainly seem to be aimed in the opposite direction, but in the inner depths of their being men often want sonething quite different from what they are pursuing by political means.)

Anglo-American spiritual life will in essence descend to future ages through woman; while that which lives in male bodies will strive towards such an ideal as I have described. This will set the pattern of the future Anglo-American race .

[The east]

If now we look at the East, we have an entirely different picture. Modern man may well look towards the East, for what is to develop in Eastern Europe is at present entirely hidden and suppressed. What for the moment has taken root there is of course the reverse of what has to come about. In Russia there is a battle against spiritual life of any kind, against any spiritual foundations for humanity, although it is just in the East that some of these ought to be laid. We are nowadays little inclined to open our eyes and rouse ourselves to an understanding of what is happening. We sleep and let things pass over us, although it is absolutely necessary — in our day particularly — to exercise our power of judgment concerning what is going on. Men such as Lenin, and Trotsky should be seen by their contemporaries as the greatest, bitterest enemies of true spiritual development, worse than any Roman Emperor, however atrocious, or the notorious personages of the Renaissance. The Borgias, for instance, are proved by historical events as far as the conflict with the spiritual is concerned to have been mere babes compared with Lenin and Trotsky. These are things which people do not observe today, but it is necessary sometimes to draw attention to such matters.

For one thing surely should attract the attention of our souls — these four years (of war) should have taught us that the old history-myth, elaborated in so many forms, is no longer tenable. Once and for all it should by recognised that in the light of present events the tales about the Roman Empire of the Renaissance are worth no more than “school-girl fiction”, and anyone who clings to them is incapable of being corrected by what can be learnt through awakening to a real estimate of recent events.

Something escapes the notice of sleeping mankind — escapes it more now than it did a short time ago, when the as was judged more by its spiritual creations, for in them one could find a true indication of what might be called the elements of a real understanding of Eastern Europe; and if we are to look into what is preparing over there we must take account of this.

This region — Eastern Europe — will, although not in the very near future, produce people who will cultivate a survey of repeated earth-lives, although in a different way from the West. In the West a sort of battle against such an idea will be fought, but in the East, there will be an adoption, a reception, of this truth. There will be a longing so to educate human souls that they will become attentive to what lives within them not only between birth and death, but between one earth-life and another. During this training certain things will be pointed out which these Eastern people will experience with peculiar force.

[Description]

Even to children it will be explained that man possesses something — something he can feel and experience — which is not accounted for by the life of the body.

  • Older people will make the following clear in teaching the young; they will say, “Now notice; what do you feel in your soul”?
  • When this question is put to him in various ways, the pupil will have the idea: “I feel as if something were there; something has entered my body which was on earth long age, went through death, and will come back again some day — but it is a very dim feeling.”
  • Then, bringing it home more closely to the pupil: “Try to explore further behind this: What relation does your dim feeling bear to the rest of your soul-life?”
  • And the pupil, going behind the various forms of the question (of which the right one will certainly be found) will say: “What I feel, what is destined to live again, is something which destroys my thinking; it will not let me think, its aim is to slay my thoughts”.

This will be a very important feeling, arising and being inculcated as a natural thing in Eastern people. They will acquire a feeling of something within, which endures from life to life, yet deprives them, as earthly-beings, of thought; it benumbs them, renders them empty, deadens them.

  • “I cannot think correctly; thought grows blunter when I feel the depths of my human nature; this part of me entombs my thought; although I feel something within me which is eternal, I possess it as a sort of inner murderer of my thought”. That will be the feeling.

Among all exceptionally interesting psychic things which the world has yet to learn from the East, will be this; and it occurs to me that those who have concerned themselves with the East if only in the domain of its art and literature, will find that indications of such thins are already there. In Dostoevski's writings such indications are not lacking, where men strive towards the best and highest within them, only to find an inner murderer of their thoughts.

The cause is the coming to fruition in a quite special form of the consciousness soul, the most earth-bound of all the members of the human soul. As time goes on, and the soul feels the capacity for experiencing its repeated earth-lives, it will not feel as in ancient Greece in the days before Christ, when the sentient-soul was seen in all its vividness; no, the Intellectual soul will gradually be felt as something lying further away behind, and as the direct killer of thoughts.

The training will go further. These souls will seem to themselves as an inner tomb for their own being, yet a tomb through which the way will be made clear for the manifestation of the spiritual world, and this is the next feeling I will describe. They will say: “It is true: when I experience my immortal part which goes from life to life, it is as though my thought-effort died; my thinking will be put aside, but divine thought streams in and spreads over the tomb of my own thoughts.” Thus the spirit-self arises: the consciousness (or spiritual soul) descends into the grave.

No diagram is needed here — the consciousness soul is superseded by the spirit self — but I want to show how it will be for the human soul when the I experiences the gradual transition from the one to the other.

In the East this experience will be like this: “The eternal has so developed on earth (descending ever since the Graeco-Latin epoch) that ordinary thought, which springs only from the human side, is disturbed by it. Man becomes empty, yet not for nothing: into the void gradually flows the new manifestation of the spirit, in its infant form of the spirit-self, filling the soul of man.

Dramas of the soul, tragedies of the soul, necessarily accompany the achievement of such a development. In the East many a man will endure deep inner tragedy and suffering, because he discovers: “My inner being kills my thought”. Those who seek the ideal humanity, because the first step brings no freedom, will succumb to something akin to inner weariness, deadening, dimness.

In order to enable these circumstances to be seen objectively, so that they can be understood with a proper sense of whither they are tending, the Central European peoples are there. That is their task, but they will accomplish it only if they recall to mind what I have spoken of in my book, “The Riddle of Man,” as a forgotten stream of spiritual life. It is very, very important that this stream, which today is mostly forgotten but once existed as a force of spiritual understanding in relation to the whole world, should be taken hold of again in Middle Europe.

Who today realises what a magnificent understanding of all aspects of human culture was evinced by certain personalities, such as Friedrich Schlegel for example? Or the deeply significant insight into human evolution of such thinkers as Schelling, Hegel, Fichte?

People talk a great deal today about Fichte, but, needless to say, thore who talk most about such great thinkers, understand least. What a revival of understanding would be possible if, in the genuine, real sense of the words, “the Goethe-spirit” animated mankind! We are far from that at present! To keep on saying that the Goethe-spirit must be revived at once, today, is beside the point; what does matter is that in the world we are unjustly criticised because we give, the impression of no longer possessing it. The connection, for instance, of our Building at Dornach with the Goethe-spirit — I do not believe that many people understand that. Nevertheless it is not unimportant.

What I have been telling you today from the aspect of spiritual science as to the characteristics of West and East is declared by the thinkers of West and East alike, only it must be correctly understood. What emerges from political discussions of today in the West must be interpreted in the right way, and certain impulses which appear in connection with man's soul-development must be correctly perceived.

  • The impulse to conquer the earth, as it prevails amongst the Anglo-American peoples, is inwardly connected with the ideal of becoming disembodied earthly beings in the future; and
  • Rabindranath Tagore's remarkable lecture on the “Spirit of Japan”, now published in book form, is entirely impregnated with what is dawning in the East. Not that it contains what I have been saying; but pulsing through it are the experiences which such an Eastern thinker, at any rate one from the Far East (what dawns in the Far East is more significant), has to express concerning the coming development in Eastern Europe.
  • It is, however, necessary for everybody, whether in the West or East, to recognise the content of the spiritual substance of Mid-Europe.
1919-09-25-GA300A

As the children approach age seven, they undergo a kind of retrospection of all the events that took place before their birth. They often tell of the most curious things, things that are quite pictorial, about that earlier state.

For example, and this is something that is not unusual but rather is typical, the children come and say, “I came into the world through a funnel that expanded.” They describe how they came into the world.

You can allow them to describe these things as you work with them and take care of them so that they can bring them into consciousness. That is very good, but we must avoid convincing the children of things. We need to bring out only what they say themselves, and we should do that.

1923-04-18-GA349

covers:

why do we not remember earlier lives on Earth?

if one has taken up the right thoughts in the present life, one will remember the present life rightly in a later life on earth

Rawn Clark

also touches on past lives memories in the Q&A of A Bardon Companion

In Bardon's IIH is mentioned that one should not look into his past lives because one will inherit the karma from those lives and carry it in one's current incarnation. However, I thought that we were already carrying the Karma from our past incarnations, so why Bardon's distinction or admonition?

I don't think he was saying that one should not ever do this; rather, he meant it as a caution for the new student.

It is true that when you regain the entire corpus of your Individuality [Individual Self's] memories (i.e., of all your past lives), you do become painfully aware of your past actions. This should be put off until you have directly addressed the karmic load of your present life, otherwise the realization of what you've done in the past can make the whole load overwhelming.

Our accumulated karma is always with us, yet we are normally only 'conscious' of our most recent accumulations. Being 'conscious' of your karmic indebtedness transforms your relationship with it. It makes it very real in that sense. It's sort of like when you cut your foot while walking through the cold water of a creek -at first you barely feel it because of the cold, but when you leave the water it hurts and you realize you're bleeding.

There are often opportunities in the early stages of initiation when the student might glimpse the memories of their past incarnations. It is always tempting to go there and explore. The "Was I Cleopatra?" syndrome is very enticing. ;-) But in the end, if this excursion into the past occurs prior to our truly exploring the present, it can delay the true resolution of karma. In other words, if your grasp on reality is at all weak, then the past-life memories can be very deluding and diluting.

"Does an individual Self retain its unique set of experiences (i.e. memories and associated Karma) from one incarnation to the next?

Yes, this is the sequential or temporal mental body wherein the lifetime's memory of time-space experience resides.

Or, does every individual after death eventually merge irreversibly with the Greater in such a way that subsequent projections of the self into the physical plane carry with it the entire set of experiences of the Greater.

No. When I wrote "merge", I should have qualified and explained it. :) Let me explain it better in reference to your next question . . .

In an earlier thread you stated that the incarnating spirit after death goes to the astral plane. Their astral body eventually disintegrates and the mental body eventually merges with the Greater. What do you mean by eventually? How long is eventually? Does a self have to merge with the Greater prior to incarnating again?

Let's start at The End, as it were. Upon physical death, the focus of the astra-mental awareness is shifted to the astral realm. Over a span of astral-time, the persona works out all the unresolved emotional issues left over from the immediately previous incarnation. This is the dis-integration of the astral body and it takes as long as it takes, depending upon numerous factors unique to the persona.

When that process is complete, the awareness of the solitary mental body or Individual Self is shifted to the mental realm. The level or "zone" to which the Individual Self shifts corresponds to the Individual's level of spiritual maturity.

It's at this point that the Individual Self becomes consciously aware of its Greater Self. When I spoke of "merging", it was not an irrevocable merging; but rather more akin to a conference or face-to-face meeting. This interaction between Individual Self and its Greater Self occurs within the mental 'zone' where the Individual Self resides, as opposed to within the eternal realm where the Greater Self resides.

Since this meeting involves the eternal and the temporal aspects of self, it does not involve any space-time duration. In other words, from our physical perspective, this meeting takes no time whatsoever -even though the experience itself can seem very prolonged or lengthy.

This interaction between Greater and Individual occurs before each incarnation.

It isn't until the Individual Self attains to the level of Binah/Saturn 'while incarnate' that the opportunity to merge irrevocably with the Greater Self arises. The attainment of Binah 'while incarnate' means that after the astral disintegration, the Individual Self automatically rises to the Saturn zone. This means that the Individual Self and its Greater Self have become as one. Only then is an 'irrevocable' merging even possible.

Does this "forgetfulness" always occur, or does a more evolved mental body remember more than a less evolved one?

As a person evolves over lifetimes, the memories become easier to retrieve; or rather, to re-connect with at the level of the mundane awareness. And eventually, it is possible to intentionally incarnate without losing one's connection to those past-life memories.

[ In order to explore pas life memories, one must probe much deeper into the Individual Self and also one must 'consciously and intentionally' pursue those memories. Regaining these memories is a choice]

In any case, by raising one's conscious awareness to the level of the Individual Self, it is possible to re-connect with all of those past lives in the most intimate manner. Given that trauma, tragedy, very painful death and criminal behaviour will no doubt feature if one goes back far enough, how does one integrate these memories into oneself harmoniously? I have no doubt elemental equilibrium plays a crucial role, but as one progresses, does one learn additional techniques that aide this process?

As you state, the elemental equilibrium is the crucial factor. The other thing is the awareness that these are 'past' actions that one cannot change but must accept as being part of one's history. In a sense, this is no different than accepting the present self during the soul mirror work.

Ian Stevenson

Five features

In Chapter 5 of his 2001 book on 'the recurrent characteristics of the cases', mentions five major features. Few cases show all five features, but even when 3 or 4 feautures occur, usually some elements appear much more prominently than others.

  1. a person, usally an elderly one, predicting he will be reborn after he dies
  2. someone (not necessarily family) dreams about his returning
  3. baby is born and found to have birthmarks that correspond to wounds or other marks found on the body of the deceased person whose return was expected
  4. as the small child begins to speak, he makes statements, first rudimentary then more detailed, about the deceased person's life
  5. finally, the child behaves in ways that are unusual for his family, but informations say match behavior that the deceased person had shown or that might have been expected of him
More characteristics

Note the book covers many more characteristics taken from the thousands of cases studied. Just a few topics selected here, but they are listed here because they are very relevant in context of trying to position and understand the phenomena that are truly studied here, because they may point to various other spiritual scientific explanations than plainly labelling everything as reincarnation. The latter is a result because contemporary mineral science has a huge blind angle in this area stemming from a simplified materialistic worldview.

1 - 'gender identity confusion' (in Chapter 9). For references to further study by Tucker, see: D00.001 - topics of gender and sexuality

2 - Xenoglossy, the ability to speak a foreign language they have not learned normally (see Chapter 5), a feature that occurs but does not figure prominently in these cases. (And maybe related, glossophobia, difficulties learning their mother tongue slowly and imperfectly.) See 'Further reading' section below: and Stevenson's book: 'Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy' (1984)

3 - anomalous death/birth dates. In a small number of cases, the subject was born before the person whose life he/she remembered died. The intervals vary between a day or two and several years. After rigourous study, Stevenson still found at least ten cases of this type where full research confirmed the anomaly. Though the number of these cases is very small and one can not generalize, still Stevenson hints this appears to points to something like a body being taken over and occupied tor taken possession over.

4 - the birthmarks and birth defects correspondence (see feature 3 under paragraph 1/ above) has been subject of extensive separate studies too, see Stevenson's 1997 books which report on a few hundred of such cases.

5 - Statistics of the cases investigated shows that most children (70%) had a violent or unnatural death and relatively short life (median 28 years). See Rudolf Steiner's coverage on the Spectrum of death (topic page still to be added) describing the spectrum of various causes of death.

Selection of some individual cases

1 - Mature natural remembrance

1 - Joan Grant

Joan Grant (1907-1989) became famous with her book 'Winged Pharaoh published in 1937, and although it was generally sold and read as a novel, it contained so much detail that some occultists and historians embraced it as an autobiography of an earlier life. Grant stated her historical novels (she wrote about a dozen) were written on the basis of material from her "far memory" of past lives.

Other later books are:

  • Far memory (1956, autobiography)
  • A lot to remember (1962)
  • Many lifetimes (1968)

2 - Elisabeth Haich

Elisabeth Haich was the name used by the hungarian author Haich Erzsébet (1897-1994) to publish the book Initiation in 1953. The book describes memories of ancient Egyptian initiation, as a young woman is prepared for initiation into the esoteric secrets of the priesthood of the High Priest Ptahhotep, who instructs her - in gradual steps consistent with her development - in the universal truths of life. This way the book presents the workings of reincarnation and karma, and spiritual development. The international bestseller has been translated in about twenty languages with millions of copies sold worldwide.

3 - Arthur Flowerdew

Throughout his life, James Arthur Flowerdew (1906-2002) he has visions and recollections of a stone city carved into a cliff, which he recognized one day (watching a BBC documentary- as the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Eventually he visited Jordan, and before leaving he was interviewed by an archaeological expert excavating Petra to test his knowledge of the ancient city. Flowerdew described the city with astounding accuracy and pointed out three landmarks prominent in his memory. He went directly to these landmarks upon his arrival at Petra, and correctly identified locations of landmarks that had yet to be excavated. His level of detailed knowledge was so convincing that his case is generally accepted as 'highly suggestive evidence' for the existence of rebirth or reincarnation.

Flowerdew's experience was inspiration for the novel 'Youth without youth' (1986, by Mircea Eliade) which was adapted to film by Francis Ford Coppola in 2007.

4 - Others

  • Walter Weber (1898-1991): 'Der Druide von Aiona : eine hybernische Einweihung' (1975, 2016)
  • Note this site has mention and links of other cases, examples are oa:
    • Willi Seiss (see higher on this page) - who however did not write about this
    • Jostein Sæther's 'Living with Invisible People' (2001 in EN, original in DE 1999 as 'Wandeln unter unsichtbaren Menschen: Eine karmische Autobiographie'), from the page: Karma exercises#References and further reading

.

Young children memories

1 - Shanti Devi

Shanti Devi (1926-1987) was born in Delhi, India. As a little girl in the 1930s she began to claim to remember details of a past life. The case was so remarkable that Mahatma Gandhi set up a commission to investigate (with a report in 1936), and the case was also studied in the 1950s and again in 1986-87 with interviews by Ian Stevenson and K.S. Rawat.

2 - Two recent cases: Ryan Hammons and James Leininger

  • Ryan Hammons, born 2005, made some 200 statements of an earlier life which were so specific that it was possibile to identify the earlier life as that of Marty Martyn (1903-1964). Statements were validated by the sister of Marty Martyn.
  • James Leininger, born 1998, similary made statements so specific it was possible to identify the earlier life as that of James Huston (1923-1945). See the book by Bruce & Andrea Leininger, Ken Gross: 'Soul survivor. The reincarnation of a world war II fighter pilot' (2009)

.

Jim B. Tucker investigated both cases, and they appear in episode 6 of the 2021 Netflix series 'Surviving Death' that gives an entertaining one hour documentary introduction to these cases.

The two cases chosen above are just example illustrations, there are many such cases. However a few dozen of those really stand out.

Discussion

Note 1 - Notes on findings in studies of young children memories of a past life

Introduction

The work done by Stevenson and others is unique in both scope and findings, and has been approached and carried out in a fully scientific rigourous way. The large sets of data (many thousands of cases) and the huge amounts of data available makes the observed phenomena can not be denied.

However, though researchers have been careful on the explanations, with language such as 'suggestive of reincarnation', it has to be pointed out that contemporary science has such lack of required knowledge available in spiritual science, that it is not able to make sense of the data to come up with explanations for the phenomena that are observed and studied.

Fom a spiritual scientific perspective, it is intuitively apparent that quite some elements don't seem to be in line with the findings of spiritual science that details the process between death and re-birth in great detail. See the 'Reference extracts' section above for a description of these features and characteristics, that will be referenced and commented on below.

Commentary (draft and WIP, please send your comments)

Even without much further analysis or investigation, one could put forth a working hypothesis that:

  • we have to do here with an 'abnormal deviation' from the regular process of reincarnation as described by spiritual science. It may be that the collected data is just partial of a specific segment and not mainstream for the process of reincarnation, but like a cohort with these characteristics.
  • it may also be the case that what is observed here has nothing to do with the process of reincarnation at all
  • or, a combination of both, for the large database of cases may and is likely to consist of a variety of phenomena from a spiritual scientific perspective (that are just taken together from a contemporary mineral scientific perspective).
Spiritual scientific explanations

Some things are confirmed by spiritual science

  • Rudolf Steiner (see 1913-10-11-GA140) confirmed that the forces underlying the faculty of remembrance of previous lives are the forces of early child development (hence these forces are available in the child before and during the time they are activated in the child's development)
  • When someone dies young he has strong unused etheric forces, and spends less time in what is called soul world (astral review of life experiences, in reverse, going through approx. the time you slept). Also when one is strongly materialistic with almost no feeling for religiosity or the spiritual or anything non-materialistic, then also the time spent in the spirit world will be shorter.
  • Around age seven is the birth of the etheric body, that is when the child leaves behind what was inherited (see ao change of teeth), and the etheric body is the memory register or time database. That is why the children no longer remember and speak about these memories after that age, because they develop their own etheric body (and whatever is there is 'flushed').
Elements pointing to other phenomena

Certain elements may be pointing to other phenomena than reincarnation (as it is described and understood within spiritual science).

  • the birthmarks and birth defects correspondence.
    • The physical body is the result of a metamorphosis, transformation .. so birth marks in incarnation N+1 that are an exact correspondence in terms of physical location with injuries related to the cause of death in life N, seem not in line with that process of metamorphosis during death and rebirth
  • Xenoglossy (the ability to speak a foreign language they have not learned normally) + the fact cases remember names and specifics (concepts)
    • from a spiritual scientific perspective, a) thought-knowledge is lost in the process of reincarnation (dissolved in the etheric), and can not be remembered; b) true remembrance of previous lives is much more feeling-memory, images, reminiscences, and not the seemingly continuation of an existing life on earth in all its aspects. (For reference, see oa 1912-01-30-GA135 and many other lectures)
  • anomalous death/birth dates (see above) + many cases with very short period between two lives (between 1-2 years)
    • the first points more a seemingly 'transfer of consciousness'
    • the second is such a short time that it does not correspond to the typical times between death and rebirth, taking into account the passage through the astral world (or soul world, or kamaloka) and spiritual worlds (or devachan), in both ascent and descent. Even though materialistic souls incarnate much faster as this time is slower - see Frequency of incarnation. Only initiates with refined higher bodily principles can incarnate allmost immediately (eg Daskalos and others).
  • identification with the previous Personality
    • The children not only have exact memories in the first seven years of their life N, but also identify with the 'I' personality of the incarnation N-1. Examples are not only in behavioural patterns (point 5 of Stevenson's five features listed above), but also emotions such as phobias and revengefulness, and unfished business. (see Stevenson 2001, Chapter 9).
    • In the process of reincarnation, the etheric is dissolved and the astral is worked through (in kamaloka). There is a transmutation of personality characteristics The patterns listed above seem to point more like a 'continuation' of a previous life and Personality, than what is called re-incarnation (with a new Personality). As if the person takes on a new body and just continues living 'asap', or the ghost of the factually deceased person shines through in the newly born.

Furthermore

  • Rudolf Steiner gives concrete examples where it is not always the full individuality incarnating, but a transfer of an etheric or astral body into a newly incarnating person. In such cases the etheric or astral imprint of a previous life gets transferred, but that does not mean that the child is a full incarnation of the '4' and full Individuality of that previous life.
  • Also, Steiner gives examples of how spiritual researchers and mediums can go very wrong by mistaken an astral imprint for the individuality. This might be an angle to approach explaining the anomalous timings cases.
  • Last, one might contemplate the fact that Ahrimanic entity merges with the human soul at birth (see also I-less human beings), and may be making use of the latent forces in a child

Related pages

References and further reading

Books

Theosophy
  • H. P. Blavatsky
    • Why do we not remember Our Past Lives? in 'The Key to Theosophy' (123-133) (online)
  • Annie Besant
    • Memories of Past Lives (1932, Adyar Pamphlets No. 96) (online)
    • Death and After and Memories of Past Lives
Contemporary
  • Ian Stevenson
    • Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (1966, 1974)
    • Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. I (1975)
    • Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. II (1977)
    • Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. III (1980)
    • Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. IV (1983)
    • Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy (1984)
    • Children who remember previous lives (1987)
    • Reincarnation and Biology: a contribution to the etilogy of birthmarks and birth defects (2268 pages, 2 volumes!) (1997)
    • Where reincarnation and biology intersect (1997)
      • a book that introduces and condenses the much longer study volume above (which is a medical monograph with extensive documentation, references, numerous tables and many footnotes), for readers who wish to understand the essential content of the larger work without troubling themselves over details.
    • Children who remember previous lives: a question of reincarnations (2001)
    • European Cases of the Reincarnation Type (2003)
  • Thorwald Dethlefsen
    • Das Leben nach dem Leben. Gespräche mit Wiedergeborenen (1974)
    • Das Erlebnis der Wiedergeburt. Heilung durch Reinkarnation (1976)
  • Helen Wambach:
    • Reliving Past Lives (1978)
    • Life before life (1984)       
  • Satwant Pasricha: Claims of Reincarnation: An Empirical Study of Cases in India (1990)
  • Carol Bowman
    • Children's Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child (1997)
    • Return from Heaven (2001)     
  • Trutz Hardo
    • Reinkarnation aktuell: Kinder beweisen ihre Wiedergeburt (2000)
    • Ich hab schon mal gelebt!: Kinder beweisen ihre Wiedergeburt (2014)
  • Tom Schroder: 'Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives' (2001)
  • Edith Fiore: You Have Been Here Before: A Psychologist Looks at Past Lives (2005)
  • Jim B. Tucker
    • Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives (2005)
    • Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives (2013)
  • Joanne Klink: 'Früher, als ich groß war. Reinkarnationserinnerungen von Kindern' (2011)
  • Wayne Dyer & Dee Games: 'Memories of heaven: Children’s Astounding Recollections of the Time Before They Came to Earth'
Some popular books or bestsellers
  • Joan Grant (and Denys Kelsey): Many lifetimes (1968)  
  • Brian Weiss: Many lives, many masters  (1988) 
  • Michael Newton: Journey of Souls (1994)

Note: both Weiss and Newton have written many other books afterwards, not listed here.

Other languages (non EN)

  • Udo Wieczorek, Manfred Bomm: 'Seelenvermächtnis' (Udo W.: Mein zweites Leben) (2015)

Internet links

Regression therapy

  • Morris Netherton: Past lives therapy (1978)
  • Roger Woolger: Other lives, other selves (1987)
  • Winafred Lucas Regression Therapy: A Handbook For Professional (2 volumes) (1993)
  • Alexander Gosztonyi: Grundlagen und Praxis der Rückführungstherapie - Das Schicksal des Menschen aus Sicht der Reinkarnationslehre (2009)

Scientific papers

  • 'Academic studies on claimed past-life memories: A scoping review'
    • Lucam J Moraes, Gabrielle S Barbosa, João Pedro G B Castro, Jim B Tucker, Alexander Moreira-Almeida; (2022)
    • analysis of scientific method of cases studied and publications by Ian Stevenson, Jim B. Tucker, E. Haraldsson, Antonia Mills, S. Pasricha, and H.H. Keil
  • Stevenson
    • Birthmarks and birth defects corresponding to wounds on deceased persons (1993)
    • Past lives of twins (1999, Lancet)
    • The phenomenon of claimed memories of previous lives: possible interpretations and importance (2000, Medical Hypotheses)
  • Stevenson and others
    • Children of Myanmar who behave like Japanese soldiers: a possible third element in personality
      • with J. Keil; (2005)
    • Some bodily malformations attributed to previous lives
      • Pasricha, Keil, Tucker and Stevenson; (2005, Journal of Scientific Exploration)
  • Erlendur Haraldsson:
    • Personality and abilities of children claiming previous lives memories (1995)
    • Children who speak of past live experiences: is there a psychological explanation (2003)
  • Haraldsson and others
    • 'Replication studies of cases suggestive of reincarnation by three independent investigators.'
      • Antonia Mills, Erlendur Keil Haraldsson, H. H. Jürgen; (1994)
    • Psychological characteristics of children who speak of a previous life. Further field study in Sri Lank
      • Erlendur, Fowler and Periyannanpillai; (2000)
    • 'Persistence of past-life memories in adults who, in their childhood, claimed memories of a past life'
      • Erlendur Haraldsson, Majd Abu-Izzedin; (2008, Journal of Scientific Exploration)
  • Jim B. Tucker
    • A scale to measure the strength of children's claims of previous lives: methodology and initial findings (2000)