Born in Time (Part Two)
Time marches on, time stands still
Time on my hands, time to kill
Blood on my hands, and my hands in the till
Down at the 7-11 - Warren Zevon
Time Out of Mind
I've always been dismayed by the thought of reincarnation, so its unlikelihood has always been a comfort. Which is why it saddens me to consider that oblivion may have been as much wishful thinking as paradise.
But if the occult is on the table in these times then we need to talk about this, too, since reincarnation is the "great fundamental doctrine" of the Mystery Schools, as Dion Fortune writes in Sane Occultism. And more to the point, the emerging holographic model in which our minds are seen to both extend beyond our material bodies and to have emerged from a common consciousness provides the theoretical construct in which reincarnation becomes scientifically credible, if not inevitable.
Before we go much further, let's recall again the congruities of boundary experience, which are all manifested in part by higher frequencies of electro-magnetic vibration. Remote viewing may be regarded as a subset of astral projection, or out-of-body experience, while an OBE could be called a Near-Death Experience before its time. And the phenomenology of NDEs is remarkably similar to that of UFO encounters, as detailed in Dr Kenneth Ring's The Omega Project. And cords of each lead us to Fortune's fundamental doctrine.
Psychoactive research, too. In Rick Strassman's DMT: The Spirit Molecule he recalls the chill along his spine when he noted for the first time that it took 49 days from conception to the first signs of the human pineal gland, the same span recorded in the Tibetan Book of the Dead from death to reincarnation. (Forty-nine days is also the time of gender differentiation.) Strassman contends that endogenous DMT, produced in the pineal near death, may act as a "scout" for the non-corporeal realm.
As we die, if near-death experiences are any indication, there is a profound shift in consciousness away from identification with the body. Pineal DMT makes available those particular non-embodied contents of consciousness. All the factors previously described combine for one final burst of DMT production: catecholamine release; decreased breakdown and increased production of DMT; reduced anti-DMT; and decomposing pineal tissue. Therefore, it may be that the pineal is the most active organ in the body at the time of death....
The consequence of this flood of DMT upon our dying brain-based mind is a pulling back of the veils normally hiding what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo, or intermediary states between this life and the next. DMT opens our senses to these betwixt states with their myriad visions, thoughts, sounds and feelings. As the body becomes totally inert, consciousness has completely left the body and now exists as a field among many fields of manifest things.
Bruce Moen - who received his training in altered-state projection at the Monroe Institute - describes in his book Voyages into the Unknown OBEs spent as a "first responder" guiding the shocked dead of Oklahoma City towards the souls' "reception centre." He notes he saw a Monroe associate, named Rebecca, doing the same, "her arms spread out in love...providing a portal," and that they acknowledged each other with smiles. Later, in this world, by telephone, they compared notes. ("Oh Bruce, the babies" were her first words.)
Reincarnation was the core tenent of Robert Monroe's philosophy, which he said he learned over decades of astral travel. Remember his "I/There"? Monroe taught that the self we know is merely the fragment of the "Total Self" which is currently living a physical life. The total self is a cluster of many beings who each live many lifetimes. (Since Monroe's death in 1995 Skip Atwater, former Operations and Training Officer of the US military's remote viewing program, has served as the institute's Director of Research.)
Where Life and Death are Memorized
Dr Joel Whitton is a Toronto psychologist who, in 1972, participated in the "Philip" experiment which allegedly created a fictional ghost by the power of a group's applied will (not unlike making a tulpa). In the decades since he has researched reincarnation, and his 13-year work with 30 individuals published in the book Life Between Life.
Of Whitton's subjects, Michael Talbot writes in The Holographic Universe that many "gave uncannily accurate historical details about the times in which they had lived":
Some even spoke languages unknown to them. While reliving an apparent past life as a Viking, one man, a 37-year old behavioral scientist, shouted words that linquistic authorities later identified as Old Norse. After being regressed to an ancient Persian lifetime, the same man began to write in a spidery, Arabic-style script that an expert in Near Eastern languages identified as an authentic representation of Sassanid Pahlavi, a long-extinct Mesopotamian tongue that flourished between A.D. 226 and 651.
Perhaps we should ask now, if we are confident that the subjects are not inventing a past life, can we assume that they are always recalling one? There are endless signals in the superhologram. Could it be that, when tuning in the higher vibrations, their brains-as-receivers instead pick up the cross-talk of disembodied consciousness? Rather than a transmigration of souls, this would mean a certain entanglement. Possibly. Entanglement could account for certain manifestations of mental and spiritual illness, including "possession." But the distinction may be chiefly rhetorical if we all partake of the same consciousness, and it fails to account for the alleged physical footprint of past lives upon the present.
Dr Ian Stevenson, head of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, published an article in 1993 entitled "Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds on Deceased Persons." He found that 35% of children who claim to recall past lives bear a birthmark or defect they attribute to a wound suffered in an earlier incarnation.
The cases of 210 such children have been investigated. The birthmarks were usually areas of hairless, puckered skin; some were areas of little or no pigmentation (hypopigmented macules); others were areas of increased pigmentation (hyperpigmented nevi). The birth defects were nearly always of rare types. In cases in which a deceased person was identified the details of whose life unmistakably matched the child's statements, a close correspondence was nearly always found between the birthmarks and/or birth defects on the child and the wounds on the deceased person. In 43 of 49 cases in which a medical document (usually a postmortem report) was obtained, it confirmed the correspondence between wounds: and birthmarks (or birth defects). There is little evidence that parents and other informants imposed a false identity on the child in order to explain the child's birthmark or birth defect. Some paranormal process seems required to account for at least some of the details of these cases, including the birthmarks and birth defects.
Talbot notes that Stevenson has escorted many children to the locales of their past lives, and observed them effortlessly navigate what should have been strange neighbourhoods as they "correctly identified their former house, belongings, and past-life relatives and friends."
Interestingly, and contrary to the presumptions of religion, Stevenson and most NDE researchers find no evidence of "retributive karma" or judgement of "sin" or uncharitable conduct.
Talbot writes that Stevenson has found that:
...although a person's material conditions can vary greatly from one life to the next, their moral conduct, interests, aptitudes, and attitudes remain the same. Individuals who were criminals in their previous existence tend to be drawn to criminal behavior again; people who were generous and kind continue to be generous and kind, and so on. From this Stevenson concludes that it is not the outward trappings of life that matter, but the inner ones, the joys, sorrows, and "inner growths" of the personality, that appear to be most important.
But wait: "inner growth" would appear to include criminality - be all the bastard you can be - as there is neither judgement nor reward beyond that which we make for ourselves. And accordingly, ancient, evil souls would be inclined to re-manifest once again as dark actors and vectors of calamity, though perhaps more skilled for having incorporated the lessons of many lifetimes.
By this perspective, reincarnation sheds its religious ardor and becomes all about experiment. But whose?
Cold Irons Bound
Late one evening in October, 1973, at 2,500 feet and good visibility, the crew of an Army Reserve helicopter flying from Columbus to Cleveland saw a red light to the west, heading south. Initially, it was taken to be a F-100 out of Mansfield, though Richard Dolan writes in UFOs and the National Security State that the airbase later confirmed there were no aircraft in the area. Abruptly, the light changed direction and headed directly towards them. Captain Lawrence J Coyne, with 19-years flying experience, tried to radio an airport but found his communication equipment had failed. He then sent his craft into a dive to 1,700 feet as the light drew close, stopping dead directly in front revealing a cigar-shaped, metallic body with a small dome ontop. One crewman thought he saw windows. The red light was shining on the front of the object, a white light on the side and a green on the bottom. The object then positioned itself above the helicopter and remained stationary for 10 seconds, flooding the cockpit with green light before continuing west. As it departed the helicopter radio returned to working order. Oddly, the altimeter showed them to now be at 3,500 and climbing, yet the stick for descent still pointed down and Coyne had not attempted to ascend.
Witnesses on the ground included a family of five driving below on a rural road, who saw both object and helicopter and the green light. Another witness, Jeanne Elias, was in bed watching TV and put a pillow over her head at the sound of the diving helicopter. The noise woke up her 14-year old son and the green light bathed his bedroom.
Resolute debunker Philip Klass said the crew must have misidentified a meteor, and that the witnesses on ground had to be lying.
The crew received peculiar attention in the aftermath. Captain Coyne received a call from the Department of the Army, Surgeon General's Office, inquiring whether he had since had any "unusual dreams." He reported a particularly lucid dream of an out-of-body [OBE] experience.
Richard L Thompson, in his concordance of UFO accounts and ancient Vedic texts entitled Alien Identities, quotes Sgt John Healey, one of the helicopter crewmen:
As time would go by, the Pentagon would call us up and ask us, Well, has this incident happened to you since the occurrence? And in two of the instances that I recall, what they questioned me, was, number one, have I ever dreamed of body separation, and I have - I dreamed that I was dead in bed and that my spirit or whatever was floating, looking down at me lying dead in bed... and the other thing was if I had ever dreamed of anything in spherical shape. Which definitely had not occured to me.
The Pentagon frequently called Captain Coyne with similar questions, and would inquir after all the crew members. "One wonders," writes Thompson, "who in the Pentagon might be interested in the UFO/OBE connection."
Perhaps this is a good place to reintroduce the egg imagery common to UFOs and the soul, and occult workings meant to open portals and birth a new aeon. Whitley Strieber writes in Transformation that his visitors told him, "We recycle souls."
Death Is Not the End
The idea of Alex Proyas' Dark City came in in a recurring chidhood nightmare, of darkclad, vampiric "strangers" playing God to a somnambulant people. One day you may be a subway driver; the next, an investment broker, and you were to never remember you'd been anything else. The subjects were treated with indifference, and though sometimes they would be given a good life it was incidental to the benefit of the hidden strangers, who fed upon their emotions. A good film, that would make a crummy blueprint for eternity.
Because here's the rub: If Charles Fort is correct, and we're "property," the lease may not expire with our mortal body. If reincarnation is a fact, then its purpose is not likely a benefit to us, insofar as "us" has any sensible meaning. If non-human intelligence is fabricating spiritual phenomena in this world, what is to prevent it from doing the same in the next? If criminal souls do return to this existence and, by their nature and by the system that rewards it, so often rise to cruel power, then who would benefit more than hungry spirits that feed upon the traumas they inflict? And might some occult traditions exist in order to pass on the knowledge of the perseverance of the soul in order to maintain earthly power from grave to grave?
Time, they say, will tell.