Working with Tarot cards as a part of ceremony is always a great way to tap into the subconscious mind and find out what’s going on with you in that hidden world.
I love the Osho Zen Tarot card pack that was used during a weekend Cacao Ceremony. At the beginning of the ceremony I plucked out the Past Lives card, which seems very apropos for me at this point in my life. I’ve recently said goodbye to my life as a samana (shaman) in a Therevadan Thai Forest Buddhist monastery.
There were a number of reasons for leaving, but now I am well and truly on the Path that I believe in — the path of the Shamanka.
I’ve received the blessings of my teachers, both plant teachers and human ones, to work with Amazonian and African medicines, some of which are mind-altering and some of which are less so but still offer powerful healing.
But although we may go through life casting off an old skin for a new one like a snake we are always where we are meant to be at any one time. And, our past lives are there for us to learn and grow from.
I really appreciate the past lives of this present incarnation. I have had such a rich, beautiful and challenging life. I see each period in my life as a stepping stone leading to the next phase and incarnation. Nothing is irrelevant. Everything is a teaching.
Certainly my time as a Theravadan Buddhist samana has given me something very special to take with me on the path I now tread with the Ayamorphosis Circles & Vision Quests. Meditating, fasting, periods of isolation and the rituals and discipline of the monastery have all helped to clear away certain cobwebs in the psyche and given me added strength. It was a heart-opening training and very much built on the Rinzai Zen training I had previously done in Japan. But without a doubt it is the Plant Medicines, the entheogens, and the work that I’ve done over the years with AA and such great teachers as Byron Katie that have really put my life on track. And that wonderful man Tony Parsons of The Open Secret (See: the-open-secret-by-tony-parson) explains where the ultimate Truth is — it’s in the Here and Now, and there’s absolutely nothing that You can do to become Awakened. Once You, the me, the “I”, has fallen away and realised that there is Nobody and Nothing, then, and really only then, is there Awakening.
Tony will tell you that talk of Past Lives, Tarot, Therapy, Religious Training, Buddhism, Meditation, and work with the entheogens is all part of the dream state that virtually all of us are in. And, I’m sure he’s right. I’m sure it’s correct when he says that Awakening just happens; that it’s not anything that You can make happen. There’s nothing right or wrong about being a seeker, he says. In fact, it’s a very enjoyable path for us all to tread because whether you’re experimenting with various spiritual paths or chasing money it is the actual seeking that maintains the egoic state — it is the seeking that keeps us away from the present and keeps us in the story of who and what we are or have been.
But certainly the Shamanic Medicines, meditation and spiritual practice can help us work with this ego that most of us carry around. These practices can help us lead healthier, happier lives while we live in the story of who and what we are. We can find a temporary comfort and joy in day-to-day living until we do actually die to who we think we actually are — and for really most of us this won’t happen until we experience the physical death of our body.
So, as a person with ego I still relate very much to the story of my life. My past lives in this life have been as a travel writer and photographer, a radio journalist, digital media journalist, author, world traveller, Buddhist monastic etc. All these roles, past lives, have given me access to all sorts of experiences, and people around the world, and I’ve had the great privilege of gleaning wisdom from cultures as far apart as the Beni Pygmies of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) to the itako shamanesses of Osorezan, in northern Japan.
I’m truly grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life so far, and I continue to be open to more teachings on this great journey we’re all on. People and Plants are my teachers. I bow deeply to Mother Nature.
Although in the 1990s I had a Past Life Regression session with a therapist in Tokyo, Japan, and experienced myself as a slave in Roman Britain, an impoverished potter in the Galilee at the time of Jesus, and as a middle-class woman living in 11th Century Japan, I don’t dwell on these “past lives.” I question whether “I” really truly was any of these people in the past, and whether knowing of these lives could possibly mean anything to me now in this life.
I think it’s impossible to find meaning in these experiences or to know if they are actually truly past lives, although I do appreciate that researchers like Dr. Stanislav Grof claim we can tap into our past lives. Dr. Grof, who is a world-renowned psychiatrist, pioneer in the field of LSD-led psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychology, says he has accessed his past lives through psychedelic trips and by accessing altered-states of mind via such methods as Holotropic Breathwork, a technique he developed with Christina, his wife. But who can really say whether this is really true or just the mind creating fantasies, but certainly we can have some very uncanny experiences when working with mind-manifesting medicines. We definitely seem to enter different time spaces and realms. It truly is extraordinary where the mind can take you.