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Last weekend I attended a past life regression workshop at the A.R.E. headquarters in New York City. The New York A.R.E. is located on the second floor of a pleasant older building in the heart of the city. It has multiple offices, a bookshop, library section, at least one meeting room and possibly more that I did not explore. The location has a great energy and the people are welcoming and friendly.

The past life regression workshop was held in a spacious open room with wide windows, several seating areas and shelves of library books. We sat in circle and the facilitator Rev. Kevin O'Kane (who is certified clinical hypnotherapist with additional certifications in Ericksonian and past-life regression hypnosis) talked about hypnosis and the subconscious. He explained the procedure and told us that we would tap into what we most needed to experience during the regression. Following the talk, Rev. O'Kane began a standard Elman induction leading into a lovely visualization exercise and eventual past-life regression.

The method O'Kane used was very effective and I was able to access a trance state similar to that which I achieve during deep meditation. Throughout the guided hypnosis session O'Kane asked us to note certain details of our surroundings which I found extremely validating and helpful.

My experience surprised me insofar as it was not what I expected to see. Having some past-life knowledge already and a great love for all things ancient, I fully expected (and hoped) to access an early incarnation in Atlantis, Egypt or Rome. And it did seem to start out that way.

My first past-life impression was apparently quite old. I had the impression of a sun drenched market, light colored stone work and the smell of the ocean. I felt myself to wearing a drapey almost gauzy blue or violet gown, and some kind of footwear that was not a modern shoe. I felt I was a woman of good height with red hair arranged on top of my. I had the sense of strength and a measure of pride or self-assurance.

Then that vision morphed into another marketplace though this was probably more of a small outdoor fair. There was a flash of long straight almost black hair. It seemed to be evening or at the very least overcast. I found this change and the way in which it occurred compelling.

The transition of one image into another reminded me strongly of an experience I had several years ago. The first day of Passover was on a Friday that year and we were guests of new friends. Our hostess said the Sabbath prayer in the glow of the candles and it seemed to me an unusually beautiful moment with an energy powerful enough to tingle. As I watched, I saw our hostesses' image change, one face blending into another, working backwards, I felt, through time to a Passover long ago. I had the feeling quite strongly that we had known each other then and I remembered afterwards how on the first time we had met, I had spontaneously hugged her which is not my usual response on being introduced to strangers.

As for my regression - once I was redirected to another time and place, subsequent detailed impressions followed. I saw a small cottage, a fire, soup and bread and family. Although there was no physical similarity, I immediately recognized that my sibling of that time are those I know now as my children. A parent, I believe a mother, languished in another room and I had the impression that she passed away. A bit later, I saw the same table. We were happy, laughing almost giddy. I was not as serious as I should have been and the older brother shouldered too much of the responsibility.

The year was 1670 or 80 something. I was in Europe though not sure where. There was a village but it was small. A church, large and rough, and devoid of seats with which I felt no connection with. There were scenes of snow and the landscape seemed to be perpetually overcast or darkening. I remembered running through the woods, laughing, riding a horse full speed over an open field. Chasing after someone I recognized as a friend in this life, badgering them and teasing. I was high-spirited and in love with life. And I was not prepared for how much I loved this forgotten family or how happy I was in that life.

As lovely as it was however, my current conscious self felt a degree of disappointment. I had expected to recall something which would address my own spirituality and the evolution of my soul. But this life was simple and happy and mostly concerned with the progression of other people. Even when we were directed to experience something spiritual in nature, my memory did not directly concern myself but was a vision given to me regarding one of the children, an angelic visitation in the winter woods, telling me that I must teach him, that he was destined to do something important in the church.

And that was key to that life. I was there to help. I saw myself at the table with the children teaching them from the bible. When I envisioned myself upon my death bed, still a young women or perhaps a girl, I expressed regret for ignoring the youngest child and for not being a better help to the older brother (and these themes play out in a fashion in the present day). Mostly however I still felt the great joy in being alive which seemed to be the overriding theme of my short life. I was happy that the others would be alright and I made my predictions for them, telling them what they should do going forward.

Did I feel this was a true past life regression?

I did not experience regression in a physical way, as I have done in the past. I did however get a life I did not expect and felt emotion that was not consistent with my present day much more serious self. For me this is telling - as was the instance of one scene bleeding into another. On the long drive home, I asked myself why this had happened. Why didn't I access one of my other more spiritual incarnations? Then I remembered what Rev. O'Kane had said about connecting with what you need to experience.

In my regression, I connected with love and happiness and the joy of helping others. My experience reminded me of how lucky we are to share this world with those we loved and how truly blessed we are if we have something of worth to share with others. And I am grateful for that memory.

*Rev. O'Kane holds a monthly past life regression conducted in a group session at the A.R.E. in New York City. Cost is $25 for non-members and $20 for members of the New York branch. The group runs long (about three hours) and is excellent value for cost. For more information on Rev. O'Kane's workshop and some of the other great events at the A.R.E. please contact the NYC office at

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