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An Excerpt from The Gift of Shamanism: Visionary Power, Ayahuasca Dreams, and Journeys to Other Realms

Is there life after life? Is our soul immortal and caught in the birth-death-rebirth cycle? What is the role of our physical bodies?

As a self-declared rationalist and atheist, I used to be awfully cynical about phenomena such as past lives. But in my grief over losing my mother, I found myself praying that my mother’s soul would come back in the form of my daughter. So, when I began to experience the reality of past lives, as in the following stories, it caught me totally by surprise and made me a believer.

Two Knights
“Can you ‘see’ a past lifetime vision I had recently had?” A new client challenged me as we were sitting to do a candle reading. At first I was taken aback by her forthright question, as I always wait for the images to come to me and do not like to be forced or challenged this way.

So I took a big breath. Scanning and gazing at her softly, suddenly a picture of two English soldiers riding fast, dark horses and wearing heavy armor materialized on the left side behind her head. It was the middle of a massive battle. A large forest surrounded the slanted, green, hilly battlefield. I recognized my client as the man on the left. His shoulder was terribly wounded. I watched him as he finally fell off his horse to die. The man on his right, his best friend, looked backward and continued galloping, realizing he could not protect or save him.

As I conveyed this vision to my client, she nodded in sadness and confirmed that it was exactly what she saw and experienced herself. “Why couldn’t he save me?” she asked with deep mourning. “That is the story of my life. I am always deeply disappointed when people don’t come to help me.”

My Life as a Witch
Very thin, with dark, flowing, curly hair, Laurie walked into my healing room. Her brown eyes were bright, playful and curious, hiding a lifetime of deep suffering. “I need to be prepared for my planned trip to Peru, where I am going for the first time to drink ayahuasca. I want to cure my chronic depression, anxiety and addiction to painkillers.” These were the reasons she gave for coming to this shamanic healing.

Little did we know then that this session would reveal a whole other lifetime. I brought to her attention the fact that most of the time when a person takes antidepressants or anxiety medication, shamanic healing may not be as effective, as it needs to combat those spirits, too, while the client’s spirit is suppressed. She seemed to understand and agreed anyway.

“I have some pain on the right side of my lower back. Could it be an intrusion of bad spirits?” she asked.

I handed her a jaguar bone to hold between her two palms to check for possession.

“No you are not possessed, but you had some trembling in your left hand, which signals problems or disturbances with a mother or a feminine energy,” I said. She nodded in agreement.

As we continued our conversation, a picture, a holographic image, formed above her right shoulder, slightly above her head. A short, heavyset, round and youngish European woman stood in her kitchen mixing with her right hand what seemed like soup in a big cauldron on a wood-burning stove. Her light-blond hair was tucked under a light blue cap, and a white apron was tied to her bluish dress, covering her full feminine figure. While continuing our regular conversation, I thought, “Who is this woman? How is she related to my client? She seems to not have any resemblance to my client, so why is she here? Is she her ancestor?”

I needed more information.

“What is your ancestry?” I asked my client, looking into her dark eyes.

“Oh, part French, part German, and part English. Why do you ask?”

It must be France then, I thought. “I do not know why yet, but there is a woman here.” I went on, describing to her the scene that was evolving in front of my eyes. “I think she is a healer, a witch making a special brew to heal someone.”

I took a breath, and another vision came. “There is a girl walking in from the door on the left side. She is maybe 16, looking like a younger version of her mother, but without the cap. The woman is calmly teaching her daughter to make the healing brew. They seem to be so innocent and peaceful, an almost idyllic image of a young farmer’s family, but not for long. I can see a few people coming down a road from the fields. I don’t know who they are.”

I concentrated on them. “Suddenly, the front door of the kitchen on the right side opens aggressively and three men walk in. They are wearing black hooded robes.”

“Who are they? Are they priests?” Laurie asked.

“Yes, they are, wearing black robes with hoods over their heads, I can’t see their faces. I think they came to take them. Yes, they’re arresting them. They are going to burn them as witches.”

I had to stop and take a big breath, as I felt goosebumps spread over my entire body. I continued: “I have the sense that this woman might actually be you a few hundred years ago. I think I’m seeing you in your past life.”

“Interesting,” Laurie said. We had a long period of silence. “You know, it makes a lot of sense. I’m a writer, and for the past few years I have been working on a book about women healers from all cultures who fought against society’s judgment. I feel very passionate about it. I’m also working for an organization for women’s rights. And I have one daughter.”

“Are you very protective of your daughter?”

“You bet! I hope not in a bad way, though,” she said.

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Itzhak Beery is an internationally recognized shamanic healer and teacher. He was initiated into the Circle of 24 Yachaks by his Quechua teacher in Ecuador and by Amazonian Kanamari Pagè. He has also trained intensively with other elders from South and North America. The founder of ShamanPortal.org and cofounder of the New York Shamanic Circle, he is on the faculty of New York Open Center. His work has been featured in the New York Times, films, TV, and webinars. An accomplished visual artist and owner of an award-winning advertising agency, he grew up on Kibbutz Beit Alfa in Israel and lives in New York. Reprinted with permission from Inner Traditions International, www.InnerTraditions.com. Visit www.itzhakbeery.com.

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