Souls before birth

From Anthroposophy

In the 1960s to 80s, a number of medical docters started observing a pattern, and documenting this by logging specific cases of quite remarkable reports regarding pre-sentiments, signs, and dreams of mothers and close relatives before birth, of the 'coming of a new human being', and also of small children's memories of the path before birth.

The experiences could be of different natures, consisting of images and messages through dreams, as well as daylight consciousness flashes of the soul of a future child announcing itself. The experiences were mostly by mothers, but also fathers or other close relatives in the family. They happened as foresight before conception, sometimes before awareness of pregnancy, but more often during pregnancy, sometimes even during conception. The reports were remarkable because of the correlation with the actual factual happenings at birth and afterwards.

Furthermore also small children, typically aged two to three years old, were reported with statements describing experiences in images that unmistakenly had to relate to pre-birth experiences.

Obviously and understandably, mothers and parents are quite protective of such very personal experiences, and to date no further research has been found on the theme.

This topic page serves as a reference to document the phenomena and gather source references in the 'Further reading' section, see commentary in the 'Coverage' section below.

Taken together as a factual experimental dataset, the common denominator in all these stories is the theme of 'soul communication before conception and birth', as well as early memories of children of their pre-birth path. The three main categories of reports are:

  • dream experiences (visions, images, voices), experiences while awake, and pre-sentiments (prior to pregnancy), mostly by expectant mothers during pregnancy: through which they may get to know or intuit something of the child's character, appearance, life path, or name. The experiences are so overwhelming that the mother is absolutely certain of the being of the (soul of the future) child even before conception, or consciously experiences conception.
  • young children's memories of the path before birth
  • presentiments in the circle of relatives


  • Some five thousand years ago, the European people known historically as the Ingaevones, had a particularly strong experience of the process of conception through a kind of dream annunciation or ‘knowing dream-consciousness', in which a spiritual being appeared to the one who was conceiving and announced to her the human being who was to come to the Earth through her. This is described extensively on the topic page Nerthus, and Rudolf Steiner's descriptions given there have a striking resemblance with the above.
    • for positioning, see also Schema FMC00.013 on Current Postatlantean epoch: at the bottom it shows how humanity went through a dark age, but before had innate natural clairvoyance. Similar patterns are bound to appear now mankind is at the other side of the parabole curve, and Rudolf Steiner describes this as the new emerging clairvoyance, the experience of 'Christ in the etheric', etc.
  • relation with other topics
  • Note this topic is focusing on the 'pre-birth' stage and is therefore kept separate from the related topic of 'Children who remember previous lives' (topic page does not exist yet, but as an introduction see ao the work by Ian Stevenson and Jim B. Tucker), a subtopic of 'Individuality remembrance' (or 'Past life memories' whereby a person has remembrance of past incarnation(s) of its Individuality).
  • some elements or patterns recurrent in experiential reports (potentially characteristic): (tentative and to be worked, requires further qualification)
    • mothers having a spiraling sensation
    • children experiencing a highly dynamic or high-speed process
    • as if between the very large and expanded, and the very small and condensed


Lecture coverage and references


This describes the source references found to date with a short commentary. It does not claim to be exhausive.

As an introduction, the best entry point is the 1986 book by Bauer, Hoffmeister and Goerg available in English since 2005. The first contribution by Dietrich Bauer focuses on aspects of pre-sentiments, signs, dreams of mothers and close relatives before birth, and young children's memories of the path before birth. Some additional case examples follow in the two other sections by Hoffmeister and Goerg, who develops his section around concrete cases from his lifelong practice as a gynecologist.

From investigations to date, the first documented reports that were later published appear to have been by Hugo S. Verbrugh and Wilhelm Gäedecke. Verburgh writes that his attention and documenting cases of 'the coming of a new human being' were from the period 1965-1975. In the 1986 book, Dietrich Bauer makes reference to Gaedecke's collection of accounts by children. Gaedecke seemingly published only articles, not in book form.

All authors make a selection of cases, see more in Note '[1] - Empirical data (of patterns observed and relating to spiritual science)' in the Discussion section below.

Reference extracts

"When I had been expecting my daughter for five months, I had a dream. I saw the face of an embryo with large, wide-open eyes. It looked at me with an infinitely profound look, full of peace. It was almost smiling, and without moving its lips I felt it speaking to me. It gave me to understand that it was looking forward to coming to me, to being born and to lie in my arms. This unborn child looked at me for a long time, and its eyes were full of love... When my daughter had been born, she opened her eyes and looked at me, and it was the same look, the same eyes which had looked at me in my dream..."


[1] - Empirical data (of patterns observed and relating to spiritual science)

This topic belongs to a category of subjects that have in common that a certain segment of the population (or cohort), has experiences of a similar nature under certain conditions. The scientific hypothesis is that only a (small) subset get reported. Furthermore that they are not valid for the whole population and/or under all conditions (and can thus be disregarded as 'general and universal' for humanity), but they are therefore no less real for a selected segment of the total population.

The above leads to positioning of such topics as pseudo-science in the frame of the contemporary scientific approach, see eg as an illustration how Precognition is positioned on wikipedia.

In this category of topics can be grouped (definitely not exhaustive):

[2] - Related topic - Prenatal education

Rudolf Steiner quote:

Prenatal education can only be an unconscious result of what the parents, particularly the mother, do. If, until the child is born, the mother acts in such a way that she expresses what is morally and intellectually correct, then what she accomplishes in her own continuing education will transfer to the child.

Further reading, see also:

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov: 'Education Begins Before Birth'

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Wilhelm Gäedecke: Réminiscences de vie antérieure à la naissance'
    • published by Guy Lorge in Printemps-Eté 1984
    • (original not found, FR title translated as Lebenserrinnerungen vor der geburt)
    • Dietrich Bauer makes reference to Gaedecke's collection of accounts by children in the book below.
  • Hugo S. Verbrugh: '...wiederkommen : Erfahrungen des Vorgeburtlichen und der Reinkarnationsgedanke' ( in DE 1982, original in NL 1980 as: 'Een beetje terugkomen - reïncarnatie als denkbeeld en ervaringsgegeven')
  • Dietrich Bauer, Max Hoffmeister, Hartmut Goerg: 'Children who communicate before they are born' (conversations with unborn souls) (2005 in EN, original in DE 1986 as 'Gespräche mit Ungeborenen: Kinder kündigen sich an')
  • Wayne W. Dyer: 'Memories of Heaven: Children's Astounding Recollections of the Time Before They Came to Earth' (2015)