Monday, July 26, 2010
Past Life Musings
I was cleaning this past week, and came across a poem I wrote in June of 2007, after I returned from one of my trips to Poland. As I reread the poem, a flood of memories and emotions flooded over me, and I was awash with psychic sensations that I had managed to "tuck away" for so long. So I figured it was time to write a post about this particular episode, and its significance for me.
I've written here, a little bit, about my past life experiences with Hana, the little girl who died in the gas chamber at Maidanek.
In 2007, I was preparing to go to Poland again, for a conference on the Holocaust. I had been having some Hana dreams, which was to be expected, since I was going to be immersed in the history of the Holocaust on my trip.
What I was not prepared for, however, was a series of OTHER dreams, very vivid and haunting, that would connect me to a different past life.
In these dreams, I was a young man, with fair hair and a light beard, dressed in tights and a tunic, with a sword at my side. I/He was searching desperately in the depths of a castle - A building I knew with all of my heart, but also had never physically seen before. These vivid images came to me repeatedly in the two weeks before my trip.
Staunchly, I put them out of my mind (well, at least I ignored them), and prepared for my trip to the camps. I spent 2 weeks in Poland, in a very emotional, turbulent tour of four of the former Nazi killing centers. I felt Hana over and over again. I was overcome by these Holocaust images and memories.
And yet, it did not stop there. We returned to Krakow, and I had a free day before I was to return home. So, I spent it as a "normal" tourist, and decided to visit Wawel Castle.
THIS I felt I could handle. This was normal history, revolving around power and glory and land. So I walked to the castle from my hotel, and set out to tour it.
Before I even entered the gates, however, I realized that I knew this place. I knew it in a way that was beyond the realm of the everyday. Though I had never physically been to this castle before, and did not know its history, as I walked in the gates, I KNEW it.
Sensations began to overtake me. I heard voices and saw images. I was transported in time and became part of the earlier events.
I found my way to a bench in the courtyard, out of the way, so that I could record these sensations and try to make some sense of them. I made notes in my journal, and sat, still, listening and absorbing, for almost an hour.
Then I got up and walked around the castle. And I came to a tower, and a wall, that hit me like a ton of bricks (sorry, no pun intended there). And I knew that this was the place from my dreams, and suddenly I knew what had transpired in this place.
When I returned home, I penned the following poem, born out of the images I saw at the castle.
Castle Siege, 1267
Amidst chaos and confusion,
My soul struck out,
Penetrating the dark bowels of the tower.
Iron keys dangled from my hand,
their metallic taste
Lingering in my mouth
From the moment I clamped them there
To free my hands.
Darkness swallowed the hall,
The doorways blacker holes
in the sea of pitch.
A faint torchlight glowed
in the distance,
And I made my way
to its timid embers.
Men, women, and children cried out,
Bodies rushed in panic on the levels above.
I smelled charred wood and stone,
felt the rush of heat
from the flames that licked
the roof of the cathedral,
sending its tendrils
even down here, below ground,
in all its fury.
The siege is on,
Today men will die in defending our honor,
and I must make my way to you,
to be reunited,
even if it be in death.