I have since high school days always held a special fondness for Ireland. I nearly memorized in 11th-12th grades the whole of a volume on The Selected Poetry of W.B. Yeats. In college as an undergraduate English major I took an entire year of courses including a graduate credit course on James Joyce, studying Ulysses “properly,” guided page by page by companion concordances and a topographical map of Dublin. My grandmother, Ada Kelley, was a living reminder to me that my family’s roots on my Dad’s side go back to Ireland in the mid-to-late 1700’s.
Some 6 years ago I had a lucid dream from a “past life” perspective that astounded me. I am a teenaged girl with a friend or a younger sister beside me, standing inside a stone church with a dirt floor and a large wooden door. We have come in just to explore.
Somehow I know there is some sort of religious ritual going on in the far end of the church that I cannot see. I ask my Inner Guide (already I have one), “What religion is this?” My Inner Guide answers, “Satanism”. I turn immediately for the door, to leave! But, the huge oak door is locked. Beside the door there is an opening to a tower, with a spiral staircase within it. I decide we will try going up there, hoping for an opening to get out. We go up one flight, then another (with like storage areas on each level). Then I realize we are being followed, stage by stage, by the ritualists. We are being sent higher and higher, becoming prisoners of this group.
In the process of waking from this dream, I received awareness about further aspects of that life experience. I saw myself becoming a slave—even a sexual slave—to the leader of the religious group, a big man with long, light brown hair. I see myself thanking him for accepting some small gift I hand to him, years later. My friend I believe was sacrificed; she was not in the later scenarios.
I woke from this dream with a sense of its utter Reality. I could not shake it. Soon I met a friend, Jan, who was hoping to go to Scotland for a graduate program on Celtic history. We began frequenting an Irish pub/restaurant and we then started planning a trip to Ireland together. When I opened a book for tourists on Ireland, I nearly dropped the book when I saw that stone churches with spiral-staircase towers were nearly ubiquitous in medieval Irish history! I had not known of these at all before my dream.
(Me at Glendalough, Ireland, 2012)
So, we planned and organized a two-week drive from Dublin, up to New Grange, then South and to the West, all along the coast including an island stay at Achill, on to County Sligo to visit Yeats’ grave (I left a brown penny), and back across to Dublin passing through Caval during a major Celtic Music Fleaugh (Festival). As I approached the trip, I thought it would be in part to forgive what had transpired in that life of being held as a captive slave to a ‘religious’ leader.
During the middle of our two week stay, Jan and I stayed for 7 nights with a couple of other friends we had come over with—Diane and Bob—at a wonderful Irish cottage rental in Bunratty of County Shannon. The second night there, I had another lucid dream. This one made the earlier dream seem mild by comparison! It also was a “past life” (or parallel life, I prefer to think, since quantum physics has determined that Time is an illusion).
In this inner experience, I am in a lower area of some structure (like a boat or a castle, perhaps), with a lot of wood, and dark. I am there with my Inner Guide, who is showing me this place which feels very familiar. I realize people died in here. Then –okay—I realize I was responsible! I say this to my Guide: “I was responsible that people died here! I am a murderer; many times over!” He said nothing, allowing me to absorb the grim reality. Then I turned and saw a group of people descending into this place from an upper region. A priest led the way, followed by a small group of people who looked like potato farmer sorts—salt of the earth Irish peasant people. The priest set up a small table, then he put a candle on the table and lit it, to establish a ceremonial setting. A sister and her brother stepped forward as they saw me, and we approached one another.
I said to the young woman: “I am so sorry for your loss!”
“I am sorry for all that you have had to endure because of this,” was the young woman’s reply.
I knew that she and her brother, and all of the people in this group, had suffered in grief for the loss either of their own lives or of loved ones, whose deaths I was responsible for. I had not actually murdered them with my own hands, but somehow I had allowed them to die or be killed by some decision I made—whether it was a triage situation on a boat, allowing some to live while others died “below”, or perhaps as an officer I had closed off some common folk in the low section of a castle to protect my own class from a deadly castle attack.
As I woke from this lucid vision, I said three times out loud: “I can’t believe my life has been about this; I CANNOT BELIEVE MY LIFE HAS BEEN ABOUT THIS!”
Wow! I called my friend in New Mexico from Ireland right away (it was early morning her time).
“I’m a murderer!” I told her; “many times over!”
My friend helped me realize this was from another time, another life. I realized the experience was needed for an absolution of sorts; for a mutual forgiveness between myself as Soul and those begrieved peasants who had confronted me. I hope they found the peace needed to move on.
This second dream showed me that the earlier dream might actually have been part of my own karmic due (which came first or ‘later’ matters not.) I found myself wondering how many people visit Ireland because of their own karmic loads from difficult times. Ireland in general is a nation still closely attached to its often violent history as well as to its rich tapestries of culture.
So for this week about Travel in relation to Better Endings I share with you this story of how we sometimes need to travel inwardly—as well as outwardly—to confront our “past” and to resolve its lingering ghosts, in order to move forward into greater future potentials. Whether you accept reincarnation or prefer to interpret such inner experiences as these metaphorically and/or ‘only’ archetypally, your dreams and other visionary experiences carry messages to help you advance to Better Endings in your life.
I am posting this story early this weekend to remain on the site through Sunday, because it has deep significance for me.
Do you have a parallel-life or other ‘deep’ dream or visionary experience that has helped you arrive at Better Endings in your life? I welcome all of your insights and stories!