Book Review: Exploring Past Lives

Exploring Past Lives: Your Soul's Quest for Consciousness - Mary Lee LaBay


Have you ever thought you were too advanced for this physical world and wanted to graduate to a higher plane of existence? Have you ever considered that your consciousness can be "extinguished" by not being in a body for too long? Then this is the book for you. I've mentioned Exploring Past Lives before; this is the book I recommend to people who've already read Brian Weiss and want to dig a little deeper. This book has both enlightened me and challenged me, which is what I want from anyone approaching this topic.

LaBay describes with a light touch all the deeper aspects of past lives work, like working with the subconscious mind and seeing the Big Picture, pointing out how much more interesting history and geography can be once one opens to what she calls "the inner tourist". She is challenging in presenting some ideas that I am still processing.  LaBay proposes that a soul loses energy and degenerates when not experiencing a physical body for hundreds or even thousands of years, and that a soul can be "extinguished" if not energized in a physical incarnation. I have not heard or read about this concept before, and my jury is still out until I have personal confirmation. But the ramifications are mind boggling;  I defer to her years of experience, reserving final judgment. Opening my mind to that concept caused me to confront one of my longest held beliefs. I have even made a joke about this in the MeetUps, paraphrasing a great line from "Lily Dale - The Town That Talks to the Dead" by Christine Wicker (great book, highly recommended) - "There are going to be skid marks on the clouds if they want me to come back into a body." I was one of those people who were self-declared old souls, too advanced to come back into a body and ready to graduate to the next level. Labay lays it out-

The best strategy for gaining wisdom and enlightenment is to work hard while in a physical body. The best investment is to learn lessons that help us clarify our vision, strengthen our morals, heal emotional baggage, and acquire knowledge. This world is our proving ground. It is through the experiences in this physical world that we make the greatest progress.

Its hard to dispute the idea that Cooper sums up in the quote of the month: we come here for education and because we desire to grow. No shortcuts, especially if as LaBay suggests, getting lazy and spending to much time outside the body can get your butt extinguished. I'd hate to let all this hard work over many, many incarnations go to waste. There is a lot more to explore in this book, to be continued next month.

Brave participant interview w/Pamela Shook

02/18 Brave Participant Interview

Name: Pamela Shook, Cl.H.

Location: Waynesville.  But my office is in Asheville Acupuncture Wellness Center.

Occupation: "I have been an Alchemical Hypnotherapist since 1990, blending Gestalt, Jungian and shamanic techniques with more traditional hypnosis. As a Reiki Master, I also incorporate Reiki into the healing sessions for accelerated results.  I help the client tune into their body and let their cellular memory decide where the journey takes us."

How did you connect with the Past Lives Project? "When I moved to WNC last September, I looked on Meetup to find like-minded groups, and was delighted to see the Past Lives Project. Your group was my first stop in connecting with the spiritual community, and one of my favorite Meetups.  The conversations are always meaningful, supportive and inspiring. I believe this research is so important at a time in history when there is so much divisiveness.  If we can understand that we have probably had lives as most races, classes, belief systems and genders, it is harder to judge others, because we have probably been the type of person we are most prejudiced against."

What was your experience of a past lives exploration? "My first past life regression was while reading a book on Edgar Cayce at age 13. I had spontaneous flashbacks of being a slave in Alabama.  I have been regressed many times.  In the session you did with me, I was a baby who starved after my whole family died in a bombing in WWII.  I had a wonderful experience of being re-united after death with my family, who who told me they had all been watching over me, helping me stay asleep so that the death process was less painful and lonely.   It was a beautiful realization that however lonely and abandoned we may feel, we are truly loved and watched over at all times."  

Your website and contact info:,    

704-534-0687.  "I offer a free 30 minute phone discovery session to see if this work is a fit for you.  I only take clients I truly believe I can help."

I experienced a session of Alchemical Hypnosis with Pamela and it was powerful and insightful, I highly recommend her work. Pamela is giving a Meet Your Inner Mate workshop this month.


WHERE: Crystal Visions, 5426 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville  

WHEN:  February 8, 1 - 2:30 pm

COST: $15 or 2 for $20 (bring a friend or partner) cash or check

REGISTRATION/ INFO:  704-534-0687

February 2018 Quote of the Month


"The chief purpose of reincarnation is education. To this end, we are born again and again on earth, not because of any external pressure, but because we, as souls, desire to grow. The driving power at the back of reincarnation, which brings us to earth again, is the thirst for experience, the desire for knowledge, the yearning to mingle in the throb and rush of physical existence. "
Irving S. Cooper, Reincarnation: A Hope of the World

January video (instead of a book) review

Flipside: A Journey Into the Afterlife by Richard Martini

(Available on Amazon for $1.99)

I decided to offer a video rather than a book review for the holidays after seeing an interview with Richard Martini on Gaia TV.* Martini did an interesting interview on George Knapp’s show that alerted me to this video. Its an interesting overview based on the work of the late Michael Newton’s between lives trainings. I like that it includes the director’s own experience with the hypnotic process. And it was the first time I’d heard Newton talk about his own journey, which is worth the low price of admission. My only concerns are technical -some of the audio volume is erratic, and they include some incredible quotes in between segments, but feature them so briefly I didn’t have time to read and digest them. So keep the remote handy to pause and read the quotes, which I assume are taken from Martini’s book of the same title. I recommend this video for an interesting introduction to this topic,  check it out and let me know what you think.

* I have mixed feelings about Gaia TV since they so heavily feature David Wilcox, who’s not worthy of our attention. Anyone who spends time in their presentation trying to convince me that they are the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce based on sketchy facial similarities gets kicked to the curb, puh-leaze.



Modernity vs. unfinished business

     Those of us in the USA were recently careened into craziness by an election in one of our less progressive Southern states. Reeling from the onslaught of news coverage, I was able to apply a Past Lives perspective that allowed for a refreshing reframe. Without going into the politics involved, the candidate was accused of pursuing teenage girls at a shopping mall when he was in his 30's, and he initially was unable to deny the charges. Once I pulled back from the partisan politics of the situation I saw something that this past lives work has alerted me to  - I saw a man acting from a belief system that was not connected to modernity, that reflected a previous time period and culture. And this man was so entrenched in this belief system from an earlier historical time that he was unable to comprehend the criticisms coming at him from outside his cultural (and philosophical) bubble. It got complicated when the advisors from the national party took over and forced him to attack the credibility of his accusers. But he seemed to be holding to a philosophy towards women that denied all of the progress our society has made since the 1950’s, and reflected an attitude more in sync with the 1850’s or even earlier. 

    I recently ran a past life where I was a business owner in the 1700’s, a man in a position of great wealth and power who held the most appalling attitudes towards anyone who didn’t have wealth or power. I was on the other side of the looking glass, seeing through the eyes of someone who grew up so entitled that he thought the people in his employ should be grateful for the pennies he tossed their way. I actually felt what it was like to hold a belief system of entitlement; my employees should be grateful for the pennies I paid them because it was due to my brilliance at commerce that they were able to eat and feed their children. The reality was that my past life self inherited the business and the wealth; he was one of the lucky ones to be born after his enterprising parents. Avoiding the obvious parallels to what is going on in the politics of the USA at present, it was a consciousness expanding exercise in seeing through the eyes of someone who held beliefs that are the complete opposite of my own in my present life. But it was also a glimpse into a philosophy and belief system based in the class structure of a previous age.

    On my recent trip to visit family in New York City for the holidays, I was struck by some of the newer houses being built in Brooklyn. These houses seemed more like miniature reproductions of castles than any modern architecture, some reflecting the country that the owners emigrated from. Once again, my own personal research into my past lives alerted me to behaviors powered by energies from a different era, a different culture, and a different country. Now I am not advocating restrictions on people who wants to build their own castles, or denying the right of someone who wants to be rich to  treat their employees badly, that is free will. And I recognize that most of the people who would have the most paradigm shifting experiences from past life explorations might be the least likely to take that journey inward. This candidate would be most unlikely to examine his behavior or ask why he thought pursuing teenage girls was acceptable. But for those who are willing to dive deeply into both our actions and the motivations for our actions, the possibilities for personal transformation are endless. 

Quote of the Month

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

-James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961) 

I'm quite sure Thurber wasn't thinking about his past lives when he said this, but it is the perfect summation of the reasons why to explore one's self previous to this present incarnation.

Why are we running to, or from, this person?

this place?

this thing?

this job?

this relationship?

this  (fill in the blank)????

But, if we didn't learn all this in our last life, we now have the ability to discover and release it now. Email me at to set up a session and start the process of learning what we are running from, and to, and why. 

My opinion on opinions

My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly too. 

Rodney Dangerfield

    After reading the umpteenth book on past life regressions and reincarnation, all of them interesting and all of them different, I had a revelation. Every one, whether it was written by a world famous doctor, or a psychic, or an experiencer, they were all just opinions. Now that seems obvious, and I have my own ideas on the past life experience based on my own work, but I was getting whiplash from being pulled and pushed by all of the opinions delivered as facts. 

The old model is to classify all data into a structured format which is then applied to all situations. My approach is to see how this structuring is very limiting, especially when applied to the the non-physical realm, the very definition of non-structured. I acknowledge that we are already imposing a physical framework on this non-physical experience, because that is the only way we can comprehend this totally unique situation. I would rather that my research reflected the incredible diversity of experiences that participants honestly and poetically express  than try to enforce a framework that fits the model set down by previous books and workshops. The experiences my participants are reporting are much more individual and as a result, the only opinion reflected is their own. 

And if you want a second opinion, you’re beautiful just as you are. 


December Book Review - "Life Between Life"

Life Between Life: Scientific Explorations into the Void Separating One Incarnation from the Next, by Dr. Joel L. Whitton and Joe Fisher, 1986

I was lucky to find a copy of Life Between Life in my local library, another book based on research that was being done in the 1970’s that I was unaware of until recently. This book, which was published in 1986, would make it one of the first of its kind to address the topic of life between lives, years before Michael Newton wrote his more well known Journey of Souls in 1994*. I assume they called it by that very clumsy title to reference Raymond Moody's "Life After Life", originally published in 1975.

Dr. Whitton was a Canadian psychiatrist who was already doing past life regressions when he “stumbled upon the bardo”, the Tibetan term for the intermediate stage between death and rebirth. Whitton came to refer to this stage as the “interlife”, what I call the NPE (Non Physical Experience).  It is an interesting read, with the exception of the final chapter, which is gruesome and not to be read while eating lunch.
Here are a few quotes -
"On Earth, we are the personification of choices that have been made in the (between lives state).
The subjects themselves, when carried to the between–life state, speak of karma as that which they have created for themselves as a means of progressively refining their natures. Time and time again they have asserted that they must undergo certain experiences in order to purge imperfection and to further personal growth. How these experiences are handled determines how much progress is made and, if learning is not accomplished, the situation must be replayed. Practice makes perfect in the cosmic classroom.

Incarnate existence maybe cut short specifically to fulfill a requirement of interlife planning. From the perspective of meta-consciousness, physical death – no matter when it occurs – always promotes learning and growth.
Those who are keen to proceed vigorously with their spiritual development tend to be most consciously active between incarnations. Those who show little interest in the evolutionary process are inclined to “sleep“ for the equivalent of huge tracts of earthbound time.
For those of us in Asheville, the Buncombe county library has a copy, I highly recommend it. 



*This is in the field of reincarnation research. Raymond Moody published his groundbreaking Life After Life in 1975, but that was based on Near Death Experience (NDE) research. 

PS - I was floored to realize that Dr. Whitton was involved as an observer in the Philip Experiment while he was working with the Toronto Society for Psychical Research. If you’ve never heard of the Philip experiment, check out this video, or search YouTube for the Philip Experiment. Its mind-blowing stuff, even more amazing considering it was done in the 1970's. A young Dr. Whitton is interviewed as one of the observers of the experiment.


Mary LaBay's unique relationship advice

The always quotable Mary LaBay had some interesting relationship advice in her recent newsletter.  In addition to the usual ideas about expressing gratitude, appreciation and giving each other permission to be human, she added something I wholeheartedly endorse -

"Visit past lives where you have been together before. With such perspectives, you will understand more about your loved one's character and past, and how you have interacted or been related in the past. Exploring your relationships through past life regression adds depth and wisdom to the present experience."

Bravo, Mary! There is no better way to add depth and wisdom to your present experience than by seeing how you have interacted with your loved ones in the past. 

Awesome "unfinished business" quote

I found a copy of Richard Bandler's Using our Brain for a Change at Mr. K's, my go to store for shelf help (AKA research) here in Asheville. William Swygard was big on the idea of unfinished business remaining with us from life to life, Bandler put it in a context that made me laugh out loud. 

 "Have you heard about 'unfinished business'? Its finished; you just didn't like the way it came out."


A Different Story

A series of quotes found me this month, all aligned to the challenges in opening ourselves to an expanded view of physical reality and our continuity as consciousness. Jason Silva ended his Awakening video blog on what he refers to as The Death Problem with this succinct idea - “Man is a bridge and not an end” even as he celebrated our existence as “spiritual warriors”. In another chapter of his Awakening blog (vlog?) he said.

We need to commune with the eternal, with the cosmos, in order to impregnate our life with meaning and signification. Now, religion used to provide this narrative, provide this existential blanket, blanketing us from the void by telling us we will live forever… But increasing sophistication, increasing scientific awareness and knowledge, and increasing intelligence has actually made us more anxious because these old narratives are no longer serving us.

Perhaps what we need is a different story…

A different story indeed, because maybe the old story is what Christopher Bache refers to as “one-timers perspective” in LifeCycles. 

We tend to see reincarnation through lenses cut and polished by space/time experience. But if this helps us grasp certain aspects of rebirth, such as the way unresolved emotions persist across large blocks of time, it also tends to hide other features from us, features that do not correspond so readily with ordinary physical experience. Perhaps we come to recognize first those aspects of reincarnation which are most like our experience in space/time, only more slowly do we recognize patterns that are unlike what occurs in physical reality. Spiritual reality may be much more unlike the physical reality than we have appreciated, and therefore reincarnation may involve dynamics that we have not even begun to comprehend.

It will take a different story to grasp this spiritual reality so unlike our physical reality that we do not recognize its patterns, nor do we yet have the language skills to express its subtleties. But Allison Coe, who practices Quantum Healing Hypnosis, references Dolores Cannon’s idea that “once you get through a couple of past lives, you can actually access a higher energy“, using the Past Lives Exploration as a “deepening gateway to get to the higher self.” The blogger MC Eschaton (awesome nom de plume) writes -

 ...the works of Seth /Jane Roberts had talked a bit about how exploring the OBE state can expand our ego's capabilities a bit, allowing us to bring back more accurate interpretations of what goes on at these other levels of consciousness. 

Whether expanding our ego's capabilities or accessing a higher energy, the goal of the work is to bring back more accurate interpretations of what goes on at these higher levels of consciousness. And the payoff?

The more we understand about our past lives, the more sense our current lives make. (Sylvia Browne)

Past Life Explorer interview


Name – Ashley Long

Location- Asheville, North Carolina

Occupation- Cardologer & Intuitive Coach

How did you connect with the Past Lives Project? –"I met Bobby at a Journeying Circle and when I discovered that he worked with a modality that enabled one to connect with their past lives (without hypnosis), I was interested in learning more!"

What was your experience with running past lives?

"I was surprised at how comfortable, easy and enjoyable the experience was! Bobby brought his warm-heart, laughter and compassion, making me feel safe and comfortable. I could relax and allow the intention I set to access a past life to unfold. He talked me through any emotions that came up and allowed me to be fully in control. Afterwards, we talked so I could understand, heal and incorporate what I discovered into my spiritual growth. I had always wanted to access an in-between life and I did and the experience changed so many things for me!"

Your work- "I am a Cardologer – I work with the ancient system that the deck of playing cards was originally created for. We each have a birth card and this system acts as our soul’s blueprint, giving us a spread of cards at our birth (our Life Spread) and speaks to who we are authentically, as well as giving us a yearly forecast so we understand the energies at play in our lives.

There are a variety of Readings from this system. You can delve deeper into your purpose, relationships, business or living more authentically. We can meet in person or do them over the phone. There are Courses, resources and tips on my website for learning more and a free ebook to get you started!"

Your website and contact info-


I've experienced Ashley's work, very powerful and a great way to map out your year, which I intend to do every birthday. as a gift to myself.

100 sessions and counting

Its almost the 1 year anniversary of the Asheville Past Lives Project MeetUp with over 100 successful sessions!

The main takeaway from a hundred sessions is, having heard so many amazing stories and experiences, when someone tells me something amazing that happens in a past life or between lives, I know not to say “oh, so that’s how it is” or “that’s how it goes”. Now I know it's more likely “oh, that’s how it went for you.” We each create our own reality, we each inhabit our own reality, and we take that awareness of our own reality into the past and between lives experience. Instead of it being a formatted, regimented check list of between lives experience, I am more impressed by the commonalities like soul groups and life reviews because most are so unique. Possibly this reflects my “tribe”. The people who are attracted to me and my work are different than the people who are attracted to a psychiatrist like Brian Weiss, or a hypnotherapist like Michael Newton. Granted, they have thousands of cases to my hundred, but 100 cases is a good start, and a healthy sample.

I am continually impressed with how bravely the people I work with approach their inner work. Everyone I work with helps to bring another piece of the puzzle into focus, although sometimes its a center piece that's a solid color, and I just have to put it on the side and wait for its connecting pieces to show up. 

I am looking forward to the next chapter in these stories, as we move off the 'known' map into unknown territory. I used to play a video game, and when the character I was controlling was on the screen, which was a map, only the areas of the map that had been explored were lit up. When you advanced your avatar to the edge of the screen, into the darkness, the next section of the map lit up and only then could you see where you are going. I have this theory that we created computers, both hardware and software, in our own mental image, and their construction reflects a map of our inner world. So this metaphor of advancing from darkness into light is reflected beautifully in this amazing technique for past lives exploration that gives us the tools to map our way back to the source of our creation.

Reading list

It seems every MeetUp, someone recommends an interesting book on past lives research or related subjects. So it occurred to me to start a reading list if anyone is interested in following the discussion. The most recent book was, once again, from someone I would not have given serious consideration to, but Jane Roberts "The Education of Oversoul 7" was a great read. Thanks to Pamela Shook for recommending it. Unlike her other Seth books like "The Nature of Personal Reality", this is fiction, it reads like a good novel, and has some interesting concepts about time and creating our own reality. Plus it deals with the big picture issues of past lives, how our talents and abilities echo through our lives to the present (even as it redefines what this concept we call "present time" actually is.)

Here is an excerpt that caught my attention, beautifully written -

"Honor your body, which is your representative in this universe. Its magnificence is no accident. It is the framework through which your works must come; through which the spirit and the spirit within the spirit speaks. The flesh and the spirit are two phases of your actuality in space and time. Who ignores one, falls apart in shambles. So it is written.

The marriage of soul and flesh is an ancient contract, to be honored.

Let no soul in flesh ignore its Earthly counterpart, or be unkind to its mate in time.

The mind cannot dance above the flesh, or on the flesh. It cannot deny the flesh or it turns into a demon demanding domination. Then the voice of the flesh cries out with yearning through all of its parts; the ancient contract undone. And both soul and flesh go begging, each alone and without partner.

Who feeds the body with love, neither starving it nor stuffing it, feeds the soul. Who denies the body denies the soul. Who betrays it, betrays the soul. The body is the body of the soul, the corporal image of knowledge. As men and women are married to each other, so is each soul wedded to its body.

Those who do not love the body or trust it do not love or trust the soul. The multitudinous voices of the gods speak through the body parts. Even the golden molecules are not mute. Who muzzles the body or leashes it muzzles and leashes the soul. The private body is the dwelling place of the private guise of God. Do it honor. Let no man set himself up above the body, calling it soiled, for to him the splendor of the self is hidden. Let no one drive the body like a horse in captivity, to be ridden, or he will be trampled.

The body is the soul in Earth garments. It is the face of the soul turned toward the seasons, the image of the soul reflected in Earth waters. The body is the soul turned outward. Soul and body are merged in the land of the seasons. Such is the ancient contract by which the Earth was formed,

The knowledge of the soul is written in the body. Body and soul are the inner and outer of the self. The spirit from which the soul springs forms both soul and body. In Earth time, the soul and body learn together. The genes are the alphabets by which the soul speaks, the body-which is the soul's utterance in flesh.

So let the soul freely speak itself in flesh.

The body is also eternal. The soul takes it out of space-time. The body is the soul's expression, and its expression is not finite. The spirit has many souls, and each has a body. The body is in and out of time, even as the soul is. Let the soul rush freely throughout the body, and breathe life into all of its parts. The first birth was a gift, freely given. Now you must acquiesce and give your blessing to the life within you. Trust the spontaneity and health of the body, which is the spontaneity and health of the soul. For each morning you spring anew, alive and fresh, out of chaos. . . ."

Previous titles we mentioned are-

Sylvia Browne - Past Lives, Future Healing

Mary Lee LeBay - Exploring Past Lives: Your Soul's Quest for Consciousness

More to come, email with any suggestions. I'm in the process of reading Fatal Attraction by Patricia Fara, for its background on magnetics and Anton Mesmer, the founder of hypnosis. And I'm waiting on a copy of  LifeCycles: Reincarnation and the Web of Life by Christopher Bache. Reviews to follow.


Lifetimes, plural, not lifetime, singular

My personal energy work is based on Gary Craig’s Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT*, and I am exploring his newest innovation, Optimal EFT. So it made me smile to see Gary use the word “lifetimes” (plural) in his latest newsletter -

So what does cause our multitudes of diseases?  Our NewThink answer points to the mind, not the body. More specifically, it insists that diseases show up in the body as manifestations of the unresolved fear, anger, guilt and other negative emotions that we all collect over our lifetimes.

Now he may be referring to the lifetimes of many people doing EFT, but it resonates with me as an acknowledgment that we carry unresolved issues from our past lifetimes. 


*Gary Craig generously includes instructions for doing both EFT and Optimal EFT at his website


Sylvia Browne Quote, recommended by someone in the MeetUp

One of my favorite things about the MeetUp group is the recommendations I hear from the participants. Often its about someone that I never would have seriously considered, based on my own intellectual prejudices and the media portrayal of an author. This was the case with Sylvia Browne, author of dozens of books on assorted new age subjects. (Hundreds?  My initial Amazon search for the title revealed 437 results!) What I didn't know was that she had written a book called "Past Lives, Future Healing" in which she claims to have done "thousands of regressions" over a period of 25 years, and this book was published in 2001. Just reading the sample impressed me, Here's a quote I thought I'd share -

You have been alive since the beginning of time, in a gorgeous unbroken continuum, moving back and forth between earth and The Other Side many times. You have lived on earth in many different bodies, during many different eras in many different parts of the world under many different circumstances for your own carefully chosen purpose, depending on the goals and needs of your spirit’s progress. Please don’t let the term “past lives” mislead you into thinking you’ve arrived this time around as a separate person from who you’ve been before, alive, then dead, then alive again. No, what you’re living right now is simply the current phase of one life, the same eternal life your spirit has been living and will go on living forever.”

 Sylvia describes our present incarnation as "the current phase of one life", beautifully worded. And once again, my once closed mind is opened just a bit to allow in wisdom from an unexpected source.