Many years ago two friends & I had past life readings done. I absolutely believe in reincarnation; in fact I can remember arguing the point with my 6th grade teacher, Sister Cyrill, and one of the parish priests, Father Sullivan. Sigh...it was one of many times they called my mother into school. That said, the reading was intended to be a lark. Apparently I was stabbed in the stomach during the French Revolution in one life, and in another I was Amelia, one of Noel Coward's scullery maids. No Cleopatra or Guinivere for me! A few weeks later, I encountered a womon who had also had a past life reading with the same 'reader'; she became very excited because "we must have a deep bond or have been sisters" because she also had been stabbed in the stomach during the French Revolution. The skeptic in me was pretty sure our only bond was paying money to the same charlatan....who in fairness was probably not a charlatan so much as a confused soul who was a pretty darn good psychic, picking up mental snippets like someone's chronic stomach pain, or that they were writing a short story whose main character was named Amelia.
Yeah...okay..."so what's your point?" I can hear you thinking. The point is that, while I believe in reincarnation, I rarely think about the details of past lives, just the lessons I may or may not have learned along the way. But yesterday I had an experience that almost makes me wonder if I haven't stumbled onto the tiniest shard of a tangible memory from some other time and place. I took a long-awaited class on spinning, and while I was there primarily to get further instruction on how to use a drop spindle, I also got to use a spinning wheel. Once I got the hang of getting the wheel to turn clockwise (no need to laugh, thank you), I 'remembered' the rhythm, the feel of the wheel spinning, the mesmerizing revolutions of the wheel that turned fluffy, fuzzy roving into yarn, the speed, the movements of foot and hands. I'm not saying I remembered the details of how to do it, and of course as soon as I caught myself in this remembering, I lost the rhythm; the next thing I knew, the yarn had tangled off the bobbin. Was this a fragment of some long ago time? A cellular memory of a primitive task done by countless womyn over hundreds of years? Did I psych myself into it because I wanted to love it?
I truly don't know how to explain what I felt, but for that minute or so, the other womyn at their wheels faded to just the murmuring brook of their voices, the room around me retreated, I remembered, and it was....coming home.