This is the last episode of February and next week we will be speaking to each other in March 2023. Welcome to Pisces season, happy birthday to my baby sister, I hope everyone had a lovely new moon, and a great Mardi Gras. The energy this week has been everywhere. But I’m here for it. I get too comfortable when I’m too comfortable, and it’s nice when things get shaken up. A little bit.
I wanted to start this episode with an email:
Hi, Eli. I’ve been listening to your podcast for several months now. I’m 50, male, and never been religious. I would definitely NOT call myself a witch, pagan, or really anything at this point. I’ve always been the rational, science-minded type. I do, however, find the idea of witchcraft appealing. I like the idea of personal power and being able to have some influence over — or at least familiarity with — the forces that shape our lives. I enjoy listening to your podcast and I follow several witches on YouTube and other social media sites. I would say that I have an interest in witchcraft, but my brain just can’t make that leap of faith. I’m perfectly willing to accept that it’s just not my path, but I’m also thinking that there must be something there if I’m this interested in it. Do you have any suggestions for someone at the “shit or get off the pot” moment? Thanks!
Well I was so happy to get this question. I understand so completely where this–well I won’t call him a witch, because he doesn’t– but I get where this man is coming from. And as I told him, I don’t talk about it too often, but my own journey down the left hand path started with just this kind of ambivalence. I was raised in religion, by a religious mother. I married a religious man. But it always rang false to me. God knows I tried, I did try to believe. I went to the services and I paid the tithes and I said the prayers and I observed the rules. But it felt false to me. When my husband and I eventually left the faith together, we both kind of went all the way to the other side of things: staunch atheism and science over all.
But as we know, science doesn’t explain everything. It can’t. So while I was really trying to now be a good atheist, I couldn’t shake off the sense that, while monotheistic Abrahamic religion wasn’t the solution, neither was total blind allegiance to science. Doctors will tell us that healing spells only work because of the placebo effect. Therapists will tell us that manifestation only works because of a growth mindset. That we are only seeing angel numbers because of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.
That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that the mind can literally create its own reality. But that’s all that magick, when we get down to brass tacks, really is. And isn’t that something amazing? And for all the scientific resistance to the idea of magick being real, it still can’t explain how the mind is able to do all this. So I don’t really get too caught up on the mechanics of WHY it works; I just care that it works.
Once I realized that I could improve so many aspects of my own life, and that I could create the outcomes that I wanted, I was all in. And at this point, I have seen too much to doubt it.
So my answer to someone who needs to either shit or get off the pot is to recognize that you can try this with no risk. Witchcraft doesn’t require a membership, there are no fees, you don’t even have to tell anyone about it. Just try it; you could really surprise yourself.
And then there was one other quick email that I wanted to read, too.
I’m a new (or perhaps returning) witch, and a new avid listener of your podcast. My spiritual journey is all about recapturing the wonder and magic I could feel around me as a child, and your big witch-sister guidance has been so comforting and invaluable at a very trying time.
I tried my first deliberate spell recently (a manifestation on a bay leaf) to call a little money to myself. More an attempt to get my feet wet and see how things feel than an attempt to get rich. My wording was vague and my bay leaf just wouldn’t burn… but wouldn’t you know that I got a refund on an item for the exact amount I was hoping for the very next day. I learned quite a bit about the importance of specificity, and enjoyed the chuckle at the universe’s sense of humor.
I have a million questions, but the most pressing is about protection magick. I need to cleanse my house before I get too deep into spellwork. You advise opening all windows and doors, and scouring all corners to get out all of the nasties. But I have two darling cat children who I very much do not want to let out with the metaphysical dust bunnies. Do I have to keep them in their crates and keep everything open for energy flow, or can I keep them in a small room that I’ve already cleansed without worrying about lingering energies?
So first of all, congratulations on the successful bay leaf spell! Anytime we get a result from our spellwork (even if it’s not quite what we intended), I consider it a win. And if we learn a little bit too, that’s even better. And now to your question, either way you decide to do this would work! Most of the time, for general cleansing, if you want to do one room first and then move onto the rest of your home, that’ll be just fine. It’s exceptionally rare that you’re going to have some kind of particularly negative or nasty energy or entity in your space that you need to worry about.
HOWEVER, if there ever does come a time when you think something especially ugly is lurking around your home, then you may want to break out the cat crates and cleanse the entire house in one go. Otherwise, your plan to do one small area that you can then lock the cats in the clean room will be more than sufficient.
So today we are going to talk about reincarnation and past lives. This was a subject that was a suggestion by a witch called Susan, and it is a big topic, so we are going to do our best. Now as I often say before I begin any discussion really, but particularly this one, I want to be very clear that everything I say today is my own opinion and is only as true as my own personal experiences. If I say something today that contradicts your own thoughts and experiences, it’s not because either of us is wrong. It’s because our perspectives and our observations differ. That’s all.
So every tradition that subscribes to the concept of reincarnation has different ideas about what it is, what it’s for, and what the ultimate point of all this is. Certain sects of Hinduism, Buddhism, many of the early indigenous tribes of North America, of Australia, and of course pagans are no strangers to the philosophical or religious concept of reincarnation. The idea that, once our physical bodies die, our souls will pass into another body.
I personally tend to believe that this transmigration doesn’t happen immediately, at least not usually, and this is why we sometimes still feel the spirits of the departed around us. We feel our ancestors, our loved ones. I believe this is because there’s a gap between when we die and when we are reborn. Usually.
The idea is that we keep coming back to this reality over and over again, so that our souls can learn certain lessons. Our memories of those previous lives are wiped away with each incarnation, but hopefully, the lessons have remained. We can refine ourselves, we can learn new lessons, we can make better decisions, and exercise more discipline. Ideally. Obviously, not everyone makes it out of each incarnation better off. I’m sure we can all think of examples.
But the point is, our souls are here to have new experiences.
There are stories, of course, of children who still remember their previous lives. Past life memory claims have been studied by anthropologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa. These are not the kinds of claims that are limited to certain cultures or geographic regions or religious traditions. And the interesting thing is that, even when accounting for other possible explanations, such as children’s imaginations, fraud, or the socio-psychological influences of families and cultures that openly embrace the idea of reincarnation, which is to say, these kids are just repeating things that they’ve heard their families and friends say, there exists in a lot of these case studies, no other explanation to account for the information, the details, that some of these children recall.
To quote the University of Virginia School of Medicine:
“Some young children, usually between the ages of 2 and 5, speak about memories of a previous life they claim to have lived. At the same time they often show behaviors, such as phobias or preferences, that are unusual within the context of their particular family and cannot be explained by any current life events. These memories appear to be concordant with the child’s statements about a previous life.”
And the last part of this statement is why, at least in my opinion, I think it’s worth the effort trying to discover what we can about our previous lifetimes. Maybe it’s cheating a little bit, but if we can understand at least some part of the lives that came before this one, we can maybe avoid having to repeat some of those previous lessons. We can also, maybe, have a little insight about some of the things we do, some of the things we fear.
I do believe that, based on the limited memories I have been able to cobble together, that some of the experiences that I have had in former lifetimes have informed some of the habits that I have in this lifetime, some of my personality traits, some of my quirks. And damnit, it’s just interesting to know.
I’ll give a trigger warning here in case it’s needed because I may get a little bit grisly, but I have a terror of knives. I don’t know why this is, I have never been attacked with a knife, I’ve never been threatened with a knife, I don’t even personally know anyone who has. But I have vivid and specific sense memories of being sliced very deeply through my fingers. I suspect this is something that happened to me in some other lifetime, but so far, I haven’t recovered any more about that particular incarnation.
On the other hand, I have, through some past life regression meditations connected to a couple different lifetimes. Mostly, these excursions have been completely peaceful and mundane, I haven’t discovered any lifetimes where I was anyone important, I’m no Shirley McLaine, I didn’t witness the sinking of Atlantis as far as I know. But knowing these things, exploring them and being able to have that perspective, actually helps me to approach things in this lifetime in a healthier way. I don’t have to take everything so goddamned seriously. I don’t need to overreact. Ultimately, whatever it is, will pass. Just as everything before this lifetime has passed. It’s nice to be able to stay in the present moment that way.
Which brings me to one of the easiest ways that we can try to pull back the curtain on our memories, without going to a professional hypnotist. Because those memories are definitely there, they’re just behind a few layers of drywall inside our heads. And there are so many different past life regression guided meditations on YouTube. Some are better than others, so all a person can really do is try a bunch of them until you find one that clicks for you. It’s just like I said in the Mediation episode, you’ve just got to try them and see what works.
And I will once again suggest listening all the way through before attempting to like, settle in and actually do the meditation. I personally have to know what to expect or else I just cannot relax. That’s probably some kind of issue I have related to some past life trauma, who the hell knows? But listening once through before I try to properly meditate just helps me to stay immersed.
Generally, you’ll be guided first into a general meditative state, allowing the conscious mind to relax and let the walls down a little bit. Once you’re there in that relaxed, suggestible state of mind, you may be prompted to go back to another lifetime, one you’ve lived before. You may then be led through a series of questions that you’ll ask yourself. What is your name in this time? Where are you right now? What are you wearing? Do you have a family? And so on.
Now, for the most part, doctrines that believe in reincarnation state that we must continue to be reborn until we achieve some form of enlightenment, at which time we will transcend this mortal coil. I tend to share that belief. And I must say, it does give me some comfort to know that everyone I meet is still here, still trying to figure things out. It’s kind of a load off the mind sometimes, if I’m feeling like a particularly hot mess, to know that I’m not the only one. We are all here at different levels, learning different lessons.
And maybe I’m more advanced in some ways, and I’m less evolved in others, but all of us are on our own schedule. I don’t know how many more times I’m going to make this circuit, maybe I’m still a yellow belt, who knows. But the more I know and understand, the more I can try to figure out what the hell I’m doing, what this lifetime’s lesson is all about, and maybe, the less I’ll struggle next time. At least, I certainly hope so.
And there is one other aspect of all of this that I won’t get into today, because it is an entire subject unto itself, and that is the Akashic Records. I’m gonna save that for later in March. It dovetails nicely with past lives and reincarnation, so I am excited for that.
And hopefully in the meantime, we will all find some time to do some past life regressions and find out a little about our soul selves. If you have a story to tell about a past life, or reincarnation I would love to hear it. Please email me at email@example.com, leave a message on the website, middleagedwitch.com, or DM me on social media at @middleagedwitch.
Have a lovely weekend and we’ll talk again soon.