She says, "You may be feeling heavy." And I am feeling so heavy, nearly paralyzed. And yet, conscious. The words come out before I think them. My conscious self has stepped aside.

She guides me into a boat that moves backward through time, like a movie about time travel--fall, summer, spring, winter, fall, summer, spring, winter. We dock and she tells me to get out of the boat, and asks me if it is night or day.


I am twelve, a street urchin, an orphan named John hiding at the docks, stealing food. Men find me and beat me; throw me into the water. It is a short, dismal life. I never knew love. I never relied on anyone.

“What did you learn in this life?”


We travel further back.

Is it day or night?


 What are you doing?

Stirring a huge pot in the middle of an old kitchen. A cauldron. I want to be alone with the food. I’ve sent the children to get vegetables from the garden, I’m adding herbs and whispering prayers over the pot.

What are you doing?


Like folk medicine?


It has been passed down from my grandmother and mother. And it was to protect my children from illness.

Do you do this for everyone?

No, just for my family. I don't want them to know I do it.


They are afraid and do not understand. They think it goes against their religion. And the women pass it on.

And so, I keep it secret. But the people are getting sick, and I use the herbs to protect my family. I sense that this is magical.

The hypnotist asks me to fast forward to an important time in that life. "Is it day or night?"


And it was the night of my daughter's first period, and I am teaching her about the herbs. She is crying and afraid of the blood. I show her how to walk in the moonlight and pick the herb and then we whisper all night, trying not to wake the men up. This life is so beautiful and pleasant. I never want to leave. She asks me to look at my daughter, and she asks me who it is, and I say that she looks like my daughter, Beatrice, but not.

Oh, I whisper, it is Lucia.

She moves me to the end of my life. I see myself old in my bed. My daughter holding my head, using a cloth on my face. I am wasted away. It has come quickly, this death. She asks me if I am afraid of death, and I say no. I have had a good life. My children have children, and their children have children. None of the things that happen to families happened to our family. None of my children grew sick and died. The herbs protected us. I can leave now, happily. I ask my daughter to give me belladonna. The men do not know. The women all die the same way. I am so happy to die this way, peacefully, with my daughter there.  

We return to now.

Why did Lucia die in this life?

It is our agreement. She just needed unconditional love, and I could provide that for her, even though her death would hurt. And that was part of my suffering in this life. We suffer to remove the obstacles that prevent us from spiritual growth. I need to learn through the suffering of her death.

Learn what?

Learn how to ask for help. Let go of John and his suffering, remember the trust I learned in the life where Lucia was my only daughter. In this life, this one I am living right now, I need to learn to trust again--myself and other people. I need to ask for help.

She helped me die peacefully, and I helped her. I am a moss-covered thing, traveling through the centuries, capturing the reasons for my grief, my aches, my hookable places. There is a peace in knowing I had one life where I mothered her, where I held her, soothed her fears, released her peacefully as she released me.


Do you feel like you had other lives with your children? Have you mothered or fathered them before? Do you feel like you chose this life? How does that feel to you? Is it comforting? Or does it make you angry?