This is the most surprising interview I've ever done.
The person I interviewed, Barbara Lane, wrote: ECHOES FROM THE BATTLEFIELD
and ECHOES FROM MEDIEVAL HALLS
. These two books were studies based on regressions of Civil War and Renaissance Fair reenactors. Both were published by ARE Press.
An hour before I called to interview her, I discovered that most of the notes I had made as I'd read her books, were not about the books at all, but about the Cathars! (The Cathars are the medieval dualist religious group with the early Christian practices and beliefs, including reincarnation and healing, that I wrote about at the top of this series.) It took fast work an hour before our phone conversation to list enough questions (the ones I thought I'd already put on Post-Its!) so I could interview her.
As I hastily scanned some of the pages of her books and tried to recall what I'd meant to ask, I simply couldn't believe I had done such a thing. The Cathars were anything but the main thrust of the medieval book. She had regressed just one person for "Echoes From Medieval Halls" who turned out to have a connection to the Cathars and she had perished in that lifetime because of it.
Here's the interview--it was very long so this is very condensed. You'll quickly learn why I say it was such a strange one. We exchanged "hellos" and then:
PC (Pat Chalfant): Hello Barbara...how are you?
BL (Barbara Lane): I'm doing okay...well, my plans got kind of goofed up but I think it was serendipitous. Did you just write that article on the Cathars?
PC: On the Cathars! Yes.
BL: Well, I was supposed to go out tonight with a friend. We were going to the Italian Embassy and I sat waiting for her on a street corner--I knew it was going to go awry--and she never picked me up. So I came home. I had just called APRT to get your first Cathar story so I started reading it while I waited for your call. The funny thing is that when you called before I guess I misunderstood your last name. When I called you tonight again, I realized that you're the one who wrote the Cathar article and I didn't believe it!
I want you to know I am just on the last page of "The Cathars and Reincarnation" and in May I am going to take a tour to Cathar country!
PC: Oh! And you were reading the Cathar book before you read my article?
BL: Absolutely! I've been reading it for the last couple of weeks. I have all these books of Guirdham's because I'm really leading a tour to the Cathar country in the spring.
PC: Oh, you're actually leading a tour.
BL: I couldn't believe it. I called to get your article because ARE (The Edgar Cayce organization) thought maybe we could include it in the package or something. And I thought this is unreal.
PC: And so when you called about the article, you didn't know it was me.
BL: Yes, I had put your name down wrong, because of the way I had heard it. Isn't that funny?
PC: Well, this whole thing is really strange.
BL: When I couldn't go out tonight, I got to thinking about what you had said in your article. It's exactly some of the very things I've been thinking. It's very interesting. I really got excited about this interview because I began to think you're onto something. I think it's bigger than the book. I think you're onto some concepts I've been thinking about also.
PC: You know, I'm trying to put together a general book on group reincarnation. I don't know whether you realize how many times both "The Cathars and Reincarnation" and "We Are One Another" mention that it is really important to get out the information about group reincarnation right now.
BL: I really, really felt good when I read your article and you highlighted that because I had felt like I had these assignments, for example, to begin with, I had to do the Civil War--that was my assignment!
PC: Dianne Seaman said to me at the recent APRT conference in San Francisco that she thought that there must be a lot of people working as past life therapists, more specifically members of APRT, who must have been Cathars. I thought that was an absolutely fascinating idea and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered how I might explore that idea. In your second book, you brought up Roger Woolger's regression to a medieval lifetime as a soldier who destroyed the Cathars, then at the end of his life joined forces with them after being healed and protected by them. I immediately got up out of bed, found his book, and reread that part of it because I couldn't believe I hadn't remembered his Cathar connection.
BL: Well, my chapter on the different people, like Roger Woolger who was a Cathar and several people like Henry Bolduc who was a Crusader...
PC: And also Hazel Denning who was one, which I'd forgotten until I looked through your book again tonight...
BL: And I had a similar conversation with Janet Cunningham and also Henry Bolduc said it, it's almost like we take assignments or something. Like Janet did the Indian group, I did the Civil War group, and Roger and I are doing the Cathar group and it sounds like you're also connected to the Cathar thing, too. This is so interesting and I felt that there was something bigger, I felt that, as Roger Woolger said, there's this group consciousness and we are trying to heal our own individual consciousness, of course. But I think it's a larger thing, it's almost like a group thing and I think by tapping into some of these traumatic things, we're trying to heal the whole gestalt.
But, you know, when we first scheduled this interview, I really thought we were going to have this thing about my books, and all of a sudden, it's like whoahhhh! I just got the picture!!!
PC: I was very annoyed with myself because I took notes as I was reading your books, and I had questions on Post-Its that I intended to ask you. I was sitting here transferring the information to a tablet and I realized that instead of questions about your books, I had mostly questions about the Cathars. I thought why have I written down so many questions about the Cathars? Of course, you did have that one person you regressed for the medieval book who had a Cathar connection.
BL: You know, I wondered after I did all these regressions, why did I decide to go to the Cathar country? There was that girl you mention that I did at the end of my research and I wasn't even going to take her because I already had twelve people to regress and I wanted to keep it even, twelve to twelve in the two books just for statistical purposes. Then she came and said she would pay for a regression. And she was so incredible that I said, "Okay, you're in the study." And that was the first time I had ever heard of the Cathars.
PC: You know, Terry Nash asked me if I had felt that I had been one of the Cathars and I said, "Oh, no, I've never thought of that." But for ten years I've kept being grabbed again and again by some kind of energy that drove me back to his books, which is why I suggested that we do a series of group reincarnation articles--because I just felt seized by this.
BL: I think you're absolutely on the right track. Maybe certain regression therapists appeal to certain people who have had similar lessons in the same time period. Edith Fiore says that most of the people she has have lifetimes in the United States after the 1930's. Why do certain people seem to attract this? I think it's so interesting.
PC: All the time that I was writing this series I felt, like you, that this was an assignment.
BL: Yes, now I even kind of think that about the Cathar trip. When I think well, I've got to do this work and this work, then I think that this is like a spiritual assignment. And what a great assignment.
PC: What a great assignment, indeed! I can't imagine anything better.
BL: I was thinking tonight when I was looking over your article again that when you write a book, like Marge Rieder and myself, you want it to sell a zillion copies or something. But even if the zillion copies don't sell, I think the point is that everyone has made a contribution to the greater body of work and we've done our assignments in the areas that we were assigned. I think that the collective body of research is going to be cumulative.
And I probably blew your whole interview now because I got you off on the Cathar thing. But I think there's a bigger thing here. I'm tracking a hundred percent now because that's how I feel about it.
PC: After the conference was the first time that I had thought about the idea of somehow collecting people together who have felt that they might have been Cathars and doing regressions. You know, Terry Nash feels she was one.
BL: You know, it's like the book I wrote about the Civil War. I didn't feel that I had personally had a life in Civil War times, but now I'm sure I did. Because why would I have spent 2 1/2 years doing that, working with those guys and all that? Then doing all that research and writing?
PC: I wanted to ask why you decided to do your first book on the Civil War since it was so hard to do and then to authenticate.
BL: As far as the Civil War book goes, I think there was the possibility of some actual matches in it, though. I think that the Civil War book was easier to authenticate (if there's such a thing as proof) than the Medieval book because the Medieval period is so expansive. As far as proof goes, that was pretty difficult.
PC: And why did you decide to do this terribly hard thing at all?
BL: Because I'm an Aries and so I go for the concept. And I never dreamed what a huge job and how much work it would be to do the historical backup.
PC: I know that you said that you got on the phone and called people and asked if they would be interested in being regressed. But how did you find them?
BL: Well, of course, my boyfriend at that time said, "You won't be able to get anyone to do that. They'll think you're nuts." But I used to be a reporter. So, I said, "I'll go to Alaska, if need be, to get these people." One of the reenactments I had just gone to was the Battle of Manassas, so I called the woman who had been in charge of it and asked her for a list of names. I called up those people and started recruiting. I was actually pleasantly surprised that people were open to it.
Some of them I think wondered themselves why they were so drawn to the hobby. And some of them have had fleeting moments when they have been engaged in reenactments and have almost slipped through a time barrier for just a moment, or had deja vu, and have gotten a glimpse of the real thing. The regressions were 100% magic moments. I think that they were so curious that they were open to try something totally new to them.
PC: I wanted to know if you have ever thought about how doing these books may have changed your life?
BL: Oh, what an interesting question! I used to have a resume that was as long as your arm. I'd done so many things in my life. For example, I haven't thought about my history degree for a zillion years, and now I was glad I could say, "Oh, yeah, I have a history degree."
Then I was a flight attendant and that's how I got interested in reincarnation in the first place. I certainly didn't hear about it in Michigan growing up in a conservative Catholic background. I was a reporter and a news anchor. What better way to develop the skills for a regression therapist? You're constantly asking questions. I've always been interested in the power of the mind and motivation. This was just bringing all my interests into one place. So many things that I liked were coming together.
I'm interested in philosophy, in the bigger picture, and in raising the consciousness. This was just bringing a lot of who I was into one space. I like writing, and to a degree I like researching. So, maybe it's become a vehicle through which I'm starting to channel all the things that are really me. Does that answer your question?
PC: Absolutely! I thought of this question because it seems to me that anything that takes as much of anyone's time as this project did usually has a profound effect upon that person. How did you get into past life work?
BL: I was in California and I had a few past life regressions. I was in Manhattan Beach for quite a while and in San Luis Obispo. When I moved out here I just continued to be really interested in the mind and in why people do what they do. Then I got interested in past lives because of seeing how much they help people.
PC: I remember that the first writer whose books turned me onto past lives was Jess Stearn--do you remember the first book you read about them?
BL: I think it was Dick Sutphen. I remember when I was in California, somebody had a Dick Sutphen tape and we would get together for meetings--for fun, actually--and we'd lie on the floor and listen to this tape and everyone would come up with these great lives. I was a reporter at the time so I was working about 20 hours a day. I'd lie down and I'd fall asleep and every time after it was over, I'd go "oh, darn!" Everybody would remember these great past lives and I'd just have fallen asleep!
PC: How did you become a regression therapist?
BL: I got interested in hypnosis, the powers of the mind. I was already a Reiki healer. I started doing some counseling. I took some hypnosis classes. Then I started doing regressions, took more classes and, even though I'm someone who's very active and find it hard to sit still for hours at a time, I found the whole past life regression process so interesting that I didn't even mind doing a two-hour regression. Each one of them is so different and so varied. You learn about history, and so many other fascinating things in the process.
PC: I thought that including Helen Wambach's studies in your two books added a lot to the books.
BL: I included her study in the first one because she took 213 people back to the 1850 time period and only three of them were in the Civil War. I thought that was really interesting because they were kind of a control group as opposed to my group who were all reenactors. They all remembered past lives. In the second book I compared some of her statistics having to do with the Middle Ages with mine. Anyway, I thought that those uses of her statistics were really a nice touch.
PC: Have you had any objections from anyone about aiming your regressions for a particular time period?
BL: In the first study (book) I didn't really mention the Civil War because I didn't really want to program them. I said
something like, "Go back to something that correlates to your current interest in reenacting." But I didn't say "middle ages" or "Civil War." None of the subjects complained.
A couple of them were concerned because they knew some of the information. But later, when they regressed to other time periods, they found that reassuring because then they had gone to something they knew nothing about.
I knew that some skeptics would say, "Well, of course, these people knew this information, that was their interest, so what do you expect! My thought is that it's like the chicken or the egg theory. If everybody is so intimidated to explore the connection, then nobody will ever do it. It's just one more part of a body of knowledge--one more piece of the patchwork quilt.
PC: So, were there some regressions that you left out of the final manuscript?
BL: Well, in the medieval book I put all of them in. If they did skip around to something really considered out of the medieval time period then I didn't put that one in; or as a couple of people did, if they skipped around and did a lot of different lives. In the middle ages, it was primarily Europe and a couple of other countries--so if it wasn't one of those countries, I didn't include it. There were a couple of lives I didn't put in, but I did kind of synopsize them. One person went back to a Mayan life that I didn't include since that was not considered medieval.
PC: Would you do this project all over again if you were at the same point in your life again as when you first started it?
BL: That's a good question. Ignorance is bliss. I loved the concept. It's taken me to some interesting places, not only in the mind but in meeting people and going to Civil War battle fields, getting Civil War dresses. I actually know about hoops and things like that. There was a tremendous amount of research. The research was a lot of work. A lot of work. I don't know what else I would have done in the meantime. It was definitely a labor of love. There were times when the research got a little too tedious for my personality. Yes, I think I would do it over. But I think it was a good thing that I didn't know how much work it was going to be.
PC: I think a lot of things in life are like that. I was interested in your material about sex changes among Civil War reenactors between their Civil War life and this one. There were very few who changed sex...
BL: Yes, there was only one, and it was a woman who changed.
PC: Do you think it has to do with the fact that they were people who were in a war and were mostly men?
BL: Yes, I think so. And, as much of the past life literature says, you come back thinking the same thoughts more or less. But so many more of the medieval reenactors changed sex. But then so many more of the Medieval reenactors were more laid back and flexible, I would say. I think a lot of it with Civil War reenactors had to do with the fact that they were men and of a military consciousness. It was probably really hard for them to even imagine doing a past life regression, much less changing sex.
PC: Have you had many more reenactors coming to ask for regressions since the books have been published? You had to "prime the pump" by seeking them out and asking them to participate in the first one. Do many reenactors now come to you and ask to be regressed?
BL: Yes, more Civil War people have been coming. Even from other states. I've had some interesting women reenactors; mainly they dress in women's dresses. Some of them are soldiers. I was impressed recently in several regressions about how strong the women were during the war. You think of the men going to war and fighting. But many of the women had troops coming to their houses. There was no male there. They had to deal with the troops whether they were on their side or not. They'd bring the wounded in and consistently the women would say, "Oh, I don't know what to do with these men, I hope I can do the right thing." They were all just so shot up. In general, the women really didn't care which side the wounded were on. They just felt, "My God, I hope I can help them." I admired their strength.
In two regressions done subsequent to this interview, I found myself in the south of France, in what seemed to be the right century, involved in the Cathar drama. I explored these incidents first in a workshop with ARE's Lynne Sparrow then in a private session with Terry Nash, former editor of the APRT newsletter. If any readers have had regression experiences as 13th century Cathars or those connected with them in some way and want to share, please get in touch. Send me an email
or feel free to call me direct at 503-919-2373