First Experience

(Travels in Time)

It was the early 1980’s when I first started reading about past lives and recovering memories of them.  These were pretty traumatic years in my life.  My dad died in early 1981 and my marriage was a mess.  In 1984 my husband gave me an ultimatum:  Move out and give him space to get his head together, or he’d simply file for divorce and force the issue.  I was addicted to this patently dysfunctional relationship, and I was still fighting to keep it, so I moved into an apartment complex close to my work.

One evening, lying in bed in the early evening in abject misery, I asked to see a lifetime that would shed light on the relationship between me and my husband.   I wasn’t meditating, and can’t explain how I was simply “dropped into” a very clear vision.  Oddly, the images that came did not directly answer my question at all.  They simply showed me a different time, place, and life experience.   If I were to relate it to my current life, it seemed specifically to address my relationship with my second sister.  Sarah was born when I was a physically mature 11-year-old (so I pretended she was “MY” baby), and she died of an accidental drowning when I was 13, shattering my life and that of my family, and turning my faith in the goodness of life upside down.  This has been the defining “issue” in my life.

So here’s what I saw:

At first, I saw myself from the outside, like watching a movie.  Then the perspective shifted and I was inside my body, experiencing the scene from the first person, including the surprising sensory experience of smelling the environment.

I saw myself, heavily pregnant, getting ready to cross a narrow street.  I was dressed in “plain” clothing:  homespun material in a dull grey-brown, with a white cap tightly covering my hair and a white apron, worn high over the great mound of my belly.  My clothing was not the popular style, but was a proud signature of my religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, I was pregnant without a husband.

I looked across the narrow street.  This was a proud city–no dirt pathways here.  It had cobblestone streets and impressive (to me, though to my modern mind they looked primitive), two-story, graystone buildings on each side.  The streets were no more than 10-12 feet wide, and while there were curbs on each side, there weren’t exactly sidewalks.  The curb was no more than a narrow step off the streetlevel:  barely enough room for walkers to get out of the path of oncoming carriages.   There was a shop sign I could see clearly, although it conveyed its message wordlessly.  A bright red painting of a tomato on a brown wooden sign announced exotic foodstuffs.

I was visiting this small city from a countryside home.  I’d ridden in on a rough wagon with someone–my mother?–driving it, and this shopping expedition was meant to be swift and practical.  Right now I was on my own, my attention directed to a shop across the street where I meant to finish my business.   Above me, I could see a signboard over a doorway, extending into the street so it could be seen from both sides.  No words on it:  It pictured a bright red tomato and a green chili pepper!   As I crossed the street a great noise and clamour precipitated the “story” that would unfold before my consciousness.  Faster than I could think, a carraige with four horses raced through the street at a mad and reckless speed.  In shock and fear I ran the last few steps to reach the curb and get out of the way, but my skirts were caught by the horses hooves and I was pulled under the carraige.

Now my center of awareness shifted.   I was inside my body, looking up.  I could smell the pungent and rotting combination of horse dung, night-soil, and rotting vegetation in the street around me.  I could see the chartreuse green satin breeches of a “fancy” man and sensed that he was trying to get the gathering crowd to step back to give me air.  Then I lost consciousness.

When my awareness returned, I was in what seemed like a hospital ward, under street level.  There was a row of very narrow cots under a series of high windows through which you could see the feet of passersby on the pavement level above.  The ward smelled much worse than the street. The street smell was alive, even though it smelled bad.  The ward smelled of death: seriously rotting flesh, a sharp, throat-biting smell that could have been fresh blood, perhaps combined with some pungent chemical–lye perhaps?  [The words “carbolic acid” came to my mind, though my subsequent research indicates this wasn’t known til the mid 1800’s and my imagery seemed much older.  I’d guess the late 17th century.]

Then I could see someone carrying away my baby.  She (I think it was a girl) was wrapped in a white cloth that trailed on the floor.  (My modern mind thought it must have been a sheet, but years later I learned that in early enlightenment England, babies wore long white gowns that trailed on the floor.  My vision wasn’t focused enough to be able to discern the difference.)   I saw two women, also in “plain” clothes, who seemed to be related to me–mother and sister?–holding each other and weeping.  I kept calling for someone to bring me my baby, but no one could hear me.

Then the ‘vision’ ended.  I lay there astounded by the smells and the vivid realness of what I’d just experienced.  It seemed to me that I seen myself lose Sarah again.   Oddly it took months for me to realize that this vision had literally changed something in my life.   From the time I was a small child, I had a compulsion to ENTIRELY cross a street before any vehicle passed in either direction.  If I approached the curb on the opposite side of the street and realized a car might cross the lane on the first side of the street, my heart would race and I would RUN to get both feet on the curb before anything crossed the street behind me.   I continued doing this my entire life until this vision.  It was several months later that I realized I no longer ran to the curb when crossing streets.

At the time of the vision, I had no idea it would change my life, or that it was only the first of my travels through lifetimes.

When writing this post, I decided to googled for images of 16th and 17th century English villages.  I found two images that are evocative of what I saw.  “My” scene was  kind of  a combination of these two images.  The narrow street was similar to the French village picture, but the color of the stones is wrong and the street seems to be unpaved.  The British picture shows a modern highway, but the buildings are more like what I was seeing.

British 16th century buildings

The stones are not as dirty-gray as those in my vision.


Provencal village, 17th century

This narrow sense of streets, with no curbs or sidewalks is similar to “my” village.