Michael Talbot's Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook

I am familiar with writer/researcher Michael Talbot because of his incredible book “The Holographic Universe” but did not know until today that he was an avid past lives researcher. In 1987 he published “Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook” and I can’t think of anything else in this format of a how-to book for past lives work. Talbot has obviously done a lot of his own past lives explorations, and is one of those lucky enough to remember their previous incarnations well into his childhood. This book covers keeping a past lives journal and explores a wide variety of techniques including dreaming, meditation and self-hypnosis, guided meditations (including the Christos technique, more on that below), Active Imagination, and exploring with a past life therapist or psychic. He even has his own technique called the Resonance Method and this quote from Yogananda sums up Talbot’s Resonance Method:

“Through analysis of your present strong tendencies you can pretty accurately surmise what kind of life you led before.”

Paramahansa Yogananda, Man’s Eternal Quest

Talbot describes this as:

“a special draw that you feel toward some things and not others when there is no logical reason in this life for you to feel the way you do.”

“One of the easiest ways for you to begin to decipher your past lives is simply to analyze your current psychological makeup. Many past-life researchers believe that past-life origins can be found not only for current emotional and physical problems, moods, habits, talents, and ways of relating with people, but even for food preferences, clothing tastes, nuances of personality, facial expressions, and body language. By determining which of these various pieces of yourself are holdovers from other lives, you can begin to formulate certain pictures of who and what you've been before. This is what the Resonance Method will help you do… As you use the Resonance Method, remember one cardinal rule: No single piece of information means anything. Pieces of information only start to mean something when they fit together into larger pictures.”

Interestingly, he references the Christos Technique as one of the best methods for 2 person explorations, and even mentions “a Massachusetts couple named Diane and William Swygard” as the originators. But in a pre-internet age, with William Swygard’s death in 1981 and the books out of print, Talbot had no way of knowing that the Christos Technique was Swygard’s technique, using the same instructions that the Swygard’s mailed from their Miami, Florida home in the previous years. At the very least Talbot says in print what I have been saying in my presentations: “Whatever its origins, the Christos Technique has become an established part of the past-life-recall repertoire, and variations of it can now be found in numerous sources”. More on Christos in a future post.

Going deeper into the book, Talbot offers this excellent advice on the method of working with a psychic:

“Just as a talent to play the piano in itself tells you nothing about the integrity or wisdom of the person playing the piano, a talent for paranormal functioning does not necessarily imply an equal gift in the areas of compassion, ethics, or spiritual wisdom…(N)o matter how talented a sensitive is, the information he channels will always be at least slightly colored and distorted by the mere fact that it is passed through him.”

Then Talbot writes one of the rare criticisms of Edgar Cayce for his “tendency to tell a statistically preponderant number of the people who came to him for past-life readings that they had had a lifetime in which they had known and talked with Christ.” Boom!

Which leads to this advice on discernment:

“(I)f you see an image of Marilyn Monroe, do not automatically assume that you have some sort of past-life association with Marilyn Monroe. Instead, ask yourself what Marilyn Monroe represents to you on an archetypal or symbolic level, and see if that image helps you unravel the message your unconscious is giving you.”

Talbot was obviously influenced by the work of various channels who deliver wisdom from beyond the mortal perspective and speaks highly of Jane Roberts’ Seth. He seems to have been in communication with what he calls a “trance entity” named James who was channeled by Jane Roberts’ longtime editor Tam Mossman. I was unfamiliar with “James” but an internet search revealed that Mossman published his own book, Answers from a Grander Self, in 1990 which I will add to the ever growing list of books I need to read. “James” has some interesting ideas on time and suggests that instead of past lives they be referred to as adjacent lives. That’s a rabbit hole I’ll be exploring in the future.

Talbot, who passed away in 1992, has written an excellent guide to past lives explorations. This out-of-print book is an awesome addition to my ever expanding library and is highly recommended.

Your Past Lives - A Reincarnation Handbook, 1987