by Walter Lacey
On October 19th, 2011 I discovered what the term “lucid dream” really means. For me, it was violent, realistic and there was no way of stopping or altering it. When I woke up, the first thing I thought was, “What just happened?” There was nothing in this dream familiar to me, not the people, not the place, not the event.
The dream was vivid, but that wasn’t what left a lasting impression on me; it was the emotions I experienced for the next twenty hours that left me wondering what had happened not just to me, but to the people I saw in my dream. During those hours I came to suspect that I had a past life recall in the form of a dream. It eventually led to a year-long exploration during which I had two past life regressions to help me answer all my questions.
The Dream, 3:15 AM
I find myself in a small town, crouched down next to a building and looking out at a street. Somehow I know this place is going to be strafed. There are people who seem to be looking for shelter from the coming attack. Mainly women, they’re walking down the street with their children and belongings. The clothes they wear look heavy and don’t appear to be modern (no Tee-shirts, jeans or sneakers). Some are crossing the street to get to the place where I am.
Bullets start hitting the ground in front of me. They hit very close to where I am, sending small clouds of debris into the air. A man in his car appears to get hit by a bullet. He throws his hands up to his face. The building I’m using as a shield is also getting hit. I can hear the bullets making a popping sound as they hit the building and realize that my hiding place isn’t bulletproof.
Something enters my left side as I hear a crack from above. I feel an odd sensation in my abdomen, but no pain. I’m too afraid to look down because I don’t want to see my own blood. The bullets seem to be coming from everywhere and I wake up.
End of Day, 10:30 PM
When I woke up early this morning, I felt an enormous sense of loss that persisted throughout the day. As the day progressed, I found that I couldn’t recall the details of the dream without my eyes welling up with tears. I couldn’t describe the dream aloud without choking up. I found this very strange, since nothing in the dream connected with anything in my life. I have never had such a strong and prolonged reaction to a dream before. I’m still feeling this sense of loss now.
In 1977 I was attending school in Wisconsin. At the end of the spring semester my roommate gave me a ride to the airport in Milwaukee so that I could catch a plane back home to Boston. While we waited at the airport, the Hare Krishna people approached my roommate, Tony. They gave him a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and got a ten-dollar donation out of him. He glanced through the book. It had a lot of colored pictures of Krishna and other deities in it.
Tony handed the book over to me saying that he was a devout Catholic and since I liked to read a lot of “weird stuff” I could have it. When I finally did get around to reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The thoughts contained in the Bhagavad Gita seemed to put all my difficulties into perspective.
The philosophical ideas set forth were so much more sophisticated than anything I had ever read before. Those ideas answered a lot of the hard questions I had at that time about life. It seemed as if I was already open and attuned to them. Except, that is, for the concept of “rebirth.”
For most of my life I had never believed in reincarnation. It wasn’t an appealing idea to me. I thought reincarnation was like an elementary school student who comes to the end of the term and his teacher informs him that he hasn’t earned high enough marks to progress to the next grade, so he’ll have to go back and redo it. Only next time around, all the knowledge and experience he gained from the previous attempt will be erased from his mind. He’ll have to start over again with a clean slate.
Somehow I had missed the memory component in reincarnation and I didn’t discover it until I started reading books by Carol Bowman, Jim B. Tucker and others. The case studies I read convinced me that reincarnation was not only possible, but probable for most everyone and that some memories from a previous life can be recalled if needed. I came to this belief almost three years before having my lucid dream.
In the months following that dream, I read as much as I could about spiritual regression through hypnosis, leading me to books by Michael Newton and Brian Weiss. I eventually decided that the best course of action was to find a hypnotherapist trained in past life regression (PLR) who could try to help me recall a past life.
First PLR, June 27, 2012
I decided to see Jessica Buckley, a hypnotherapist in Waltham, Massachusetts who is trained in conducting PLR sessions. She also has been certified in spiritual regression by the Newton Institute founded by Michael Newton, whose life-between-lives work can be read in his books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls.
At the time I saw Jessica I was only trying to find out if I could actually be hypnotized, and if I could, would I be able to recall anything from a past life that might point to my dream. I was approaching this very cautiously and I told Jessica on the day of my PLR that I really didn’t want to re-experience my dream since it had been so vivid and violent. I had no desire to see it again in such clarity. Jessica assured me that I didn’t have to explore anything I didn’t feel comfortable with. So with the dream safely off limits, we began.
After Jessica put me into trance, what unfolded during the course of this session was a depiction of a very rural, almost bucolic life. I intuitively knew that the location of this place was somewhere in Spain. It didn’t have the look of the Spain I had experienced when I lived there between the ages of four and eight during the early 1960’s. At that time my family lived in Madrid. The climate there is very arid and, for long periods of time, very hot. The land surrounding Madrid cannot be described as lush. And during the time we lived there, our family never travelled up to the northern region of Spain. In trance, I found myself in the body of an eight-year-old boy named Josef. The name Josef seemed unusual to me, but later I found that the Basques of northern Spain sometimes use either Josef or Joseba instead of Jose.
As Josef, I found myself walking down a road surrounded by open fields. I couldn’t tell if the fields had crops growing in them or just grass. There were lots of hills in the distance covered with trees and plants. The climate felt comfortable, not too hot or too cold. The time period seemed to be in the early 1900’s (around 1928, based on when I discovered Josef had died).
Some weeks after the session, I found out that there is a part of northern Spain called Green Spain. It’s called that due to its abundant rainfall and mild temperatures which produce lush growth of grassy pastures and forests. Josef seemed to have lived there in a small country house where I saw his mother and two younger siblings. One was an infant. I wasn’t sure if it was a boy or girl. The other was his sister who was about four years old. This sister would occasionally accompany Josef when he went to a larger town to run errands for his mother. I sensed Josef also had an older brother and father, both of whom were not present in the house.
Jessica then asked me if I could recall any significant events that might have occurred later in Josef’s adult life, such as a wedding or the birth of a child. It was then that I realized that Josef did not live beyond the age of 17. I now understood that the person experiencing the events in my dream was Josef and that he was most likely killed during the Spanish Civil War, which had occurred around 1937. This would explain the lack of connection I had to any of the events in my dream. After the session, I was satisfied with the information I had discovered. It seemed to make the dream a little more understandable.
About a month later, the dream started nagging at me again. Although I never had a reoccurrence of it, I started wondering why I had dreamt it to begin with, so randomly and seemingly for no apparent reason. There was also another aspect of the dream that puzzled me. I described it to my wife as best as I could. I say “as best as I could” because on the day after I had the dream, I would become so overwhelmed with emotion that just talking about it would cause me to choke up and I would have to stop. I told her that even though I didn’t see this in the dream, I had the distinct impression that there was someone standing next to me during the aerial attack.
Finally, two months after my first PLR, I came to realize that I had made a big mistake by not even slightly trying to explore the dream.
Second PLR, September 6, 2012
When I decided that I was going to attempt a second past life regression in order to try and understand why the dream occurred, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try another person’s approach to PLR. To keep things more objective, I didn’t tell the second hypnotherapist that I had a previous PLR. I called Sharon Albrecht, whose office is in Essex, Massachusetts, because she specializes in past-life regression therapy and had studied with Brian Weiss, a prominent past life regression therapist who wrote the book Many Lives, Many Masters, among other books on the same topic.
Sharon and I first talked by phone. I told her that I wanted to explore a dream that I thought could have been a past-life recall, but that I didn’t want to re-experience it in all of its violent clarity. She suggested that she could put me into trance and then, instead of going directly to the dream, she would ask me to go back to the feeling I had after the dream. We would then talk about that feeling and see where it would lead. This sounded like a good approach and I agreed to meet with her the following week.
I had no big expectations about how this would turn out. I wasn’t even sure if going back to the feeling I had on the day of my dream would even work. It was almost eleven months since I had the dream and the most memorable feeling was the tremendous sense of loss I had throughout the day. Where that feeling was supposed to lead, I had no idea.
I arrived at Sharon’s office relaxed, knowing that I wasn’t going to explore the dream directly. Sharon and I talked about some of the possibilities for the dream, such as psychological, past lives and worlds that might exist parallel to ours. We then started the hypnosis session. Sharon began to put me into trance and after going through some visualization, she asked me to go back to the feeling I had after my dream.
Quite suddenly, a wave of sadness came over me. It was the same feeling that came over me the day after my dream. It was the feeling that caused my eyes to well up with tears whenever I recalled the details of the dream. As soon as this would happen, I would stop myself from thinking about the dream any further. But in trance, when this wave of sadness came over me, I didn’t let it stop me from recalling the details of the dream. I was not expecting this emotion or how strong it would be during my session.
When Sharon asked me what was causing my feeling of sadness, I said that it was because so many people had died on that day and even though I didn’t know them I felt sorry they had lost their lives so needlessly and unfairly. I kept saying that we were all completely innocent and undeserving of what was happening and we were confused as to why we were even being attacked. There was also a feeling of panic and anger at myself for being there at the time of the attack.
I sensed a younger female companion with me. I told Sharon I didn’t want to know who it was because I felt responsible for this person’s death. I knew who it was; I just didn’t want to say it out loud.
After a little more questioning from Sharon, I revealed that it was my sister. I continued to question myself why the killing was happening; it seemed so unbelievable that something like this could be happening to the two of us.
After coming out of trance, Sharon proposed an explanation: Everyone killed on that day was a “victim of circumstance” (my own words while in trance). If I subscribe to what Michael Newton writes about in his books, Josef and his sister agreed on dying this way even before they were born (their souls’ contract with each other) in order to learn something for their spiritual development. Their higher selves already knew what the outcome of that life in Spain would be, as did the souls of everyone else who died on that day.
Sharon suggested that maybe the lesson from my past life was compassion, which would account for my intense feeling of sadness for people I did not know and the sadness at Josef’s inability to do anything to prevent their deaths. Perhaps, she said, I was given the dream as a way of completing this lesson.
Some weeks after the session, I started to wonder why this dream occurred when it did. I had never tried connecting it to anything in my present life; I was too preoccupied trying to figure out the dream itself. But after Sharon had suggested that the dream may have been a lesson that was meant to be completed in this lifetime, I started thinking about what was going on in my life around the time of the dream.
My middle sister Ruth (I have three older sisters) had been diagnosed with cancer a year before the dream. It was determined that she needed a stem cell transplant. My other sisters and I were asked to submit DNA samples to see if any of us were a match for Ruth. This was in September 2011. On November 10th, I was told that I was the only match.
Some people may think I’m trying too hard to “connect the dots.” But I feel that this time around I wasn’t as helpless as Josef and I could actually do something in my small way to help my sister.