Regression therapists use whatever means are readily available to them in order to tune in their clients with their presenting issue. They may focus on a physical pain, an emotion, a “catch-phrase,” a slip of the tongue, and use it as an affect bridge. In this paper I want to suggest using more of a technique (already in our arsenal), which I find fascinating. That is encouraging our clients to focus on their birthmark (or birth-defect). You will be surprised at how many people around us have birthmarks (not moles). Include a question in your intake form and, if there is one, you may use it as a trigger to produce regression, if you think conditions are ripe and the time is proper. Most of the time you will have wonderful results.
Any responsible practitioner in our field must be prepared literally for everything. When our clients enter altered states we should be open to a vast variety of unlimited experiences, reactions, and expressions. It seems that a huge stream of consciousness is running underneath us below the level of awareness, and when we shift our attention to this stream a multitude of possibilities spring up to surface.
Their range is tremendous, resembling pure Light, which when analysed through a prism some parts of the spectrum can be seen while others cannot. But the fact that ultra-red or ultra-violet cannot be seen does not imply that they do not exist.
What I’m suggesting here is that from our scope we must come to terms with (what others call) the paranormal or the metaphysical. Simply because one phenomenon is inexplicable or no devices have been manufactured to measure its existence does not mean it is metaphysical. But we, not only as therapists but as researchers as well, have to indulge all the relevant and credible literature offered around us (and there is a lot) in order to be prepared and alert for the multifaceted manifestations of the unlimited.
To do this one has to study all schools of thought that deal with this borderline material. At first glance these schools may give the impression of being in conflict but upon further probing one will realize that the time is not far off that all this will mould together.
So we have the Spiritists versus the Spiritualists, the Parapsychologists versus the Hypnotists, Stevenson’s school against Regressionists, and so on with each school having its own subdivisions. All of them look upon the others with distrust. My point here is in the spirit of Istanbul. We must start building bridges. In order for us to do it we have to study not only our school of thought but the others as well. By doing that we are building blocks to establish communication. Then it won’t be long before we shake hands… 
So overwhelmingly “possessed” by that spirit, three years ago I was reading Ian Stevenson’s Book “Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.”  I was impressed, if not shocked, by the findings. In short it seems that when a violent unexpected death occurs a part of consciousness of the deceased incarnates to another body (without the necessary catharsis) but at the same time it imposes on the newly acquired body (or fetus) marks or defects that correspond to the traumas of this premature death.
Not only that, but when the newcomers to life reach the speaking age of two or three, they reveal detailed information through statements they make, which concerns the former personality. Also, the young children exhibit a strange behaviour unlike that of their peers. Some of them have abilities and skills that have not been acquired by normal means. Others have seemingly inexplicable phobias that cannot be accounted for in the context of biographical experiences. Others may develop gender dysphoria.
Stevenson’s task, with the help of his colleagues, was to investigate the childrens’ statements and to everyone’s surprise most of the cases (we are talking about 2600 from all over the world) matched beyond coincidence or any doubt to the lives of the deceased personalities in question.
I do an injustice to the late Stevenson even to try to summarize fifty years of research and hard work in a paragraph. For an excellent introduction and overview of his work look for Dr. Jim Tucker’s book “Life before Life.” Dr. Tucker was an associate of Stevenson and is now his successor.
Why though should we limit ourselves to children’s statements?
“…So now as you breathe deeply and relax even more, focus your mind on your birthmark (or birth defect)…let your mind reveal how this birthmark developed…”
That was the suggestion given to my guinea pig (that is my wife) because if children could recall their former life and the cause of their birthmark why would it not happen for adults also if you regress them? As I was reading Stevenson’s fascinating stories it came to my mind that I should try it with adults also. I told her nothing about the book and the impressive findings. My wife has two distinct round birthmarks, one on her hip and one on her thigh so it was now time to understand why.
There started an impressive regression by participating at a ceremony of initiation of young Indians now about to become fighters and hunters. They were dancing in a circle around a fire singing entranced. The shaman was at the centre of the circle and had in the fire a burning wooden rod with which he used to brand each young man at three different spots. No matter how deeply entranced, the young man named Hanok (?) was in deep pain and he managed to avoid the third burning brand on his arm affecting him as much. The initiated man distrusted and did not like or respect the shaman at all. After the ceremony he had the right to mate with his beloved girl Umak (?) and it was a rather strange and bizarre feeling for my wife to feel the satisfaction that a male gets through sex. She could not only feel the difference by comparing the sexual feelings of this life as a female to those felt while regressed as a male but she also felt all the passion for her (his) female wife; a feeling that certainly is absent in her current life. The story is long and beautiful with a sad ending like a nice fairy tale. But, did she make all this up, or did she really tune in one of her past incarnations?
We will never know. There can never be a way to prove this. There are no written records of those North American Indians and it is too far in the past. No one can provide us with verifiable information. But I will tell you this, the particular regression lasted for more than an hour and a half and it took us another session of about the same time to come to the end of the story. If you were in my shoes, you would certainly feel it in your guts that this was a deep and real regression with extreme detail, feelings, and emotions.
For her, all kinds of tiny and ostensibly insignificant questions about her behaviour were answered. Why had she hated white, blonde, Anglo-Saxons all her life? Why did she dislike the English language? Why did she always sympathize with Indians and non-white tribes? For one thing the end of the story is that the “stinking and dirty” white people moved into the West, chased their tribe, and killed all of the Indians after they found them, with the help of the Shaman. He became the traitor who gave away their position and fought on the whites’ side. But she insisted that she (he) was a very good fighter and that his strong point was the throwing of the axe either for hunting or for killing at war. He was in fact the best in the village. So here pops up another question.
Is there a possibility to retrieve a skill, which was not acquired in this lifetime? And if so, can we test on this hypothesis? This is exactly what I did. The next day after the second session I took her in the forest, gave her a small axe, and asked her to throw the axe at a cypress tree. Not only was her success rate overwhelmingly higher than mine with a mean average of eight hits for every ten attempts (mine was a disappointing three to ten) but her style was totally different than mine. I was throwing the axe as if I were trying to pin the dart. She, on the contrary, was using the momentum of her whole body to guide the axe, a process unlike any other that I have seen even in the movies. Impressive!
“So what!” a skeptic would exclaim. “Why did you even bother to share this story with us?” Because it seems there is always a meaningful story behind these birthmarks.
I asked a client of mine who is a painter, on his fourth regression session, to focus on his birthmark which was located on the right side of his back and had the shape of an olive tree leaf. He immediately found himself in a battle. Named Agon (?) he had taken over a village, burned it down, and ordered his troops to decapitate all the males of the village. The troops were reluctant to execute his order while he had gone for a walk in the forest. At that time a young boy Thoro (?) hits him with a spear at the particular spot of his birthmark. Agon was shocked, in deep pain, and astonished in disbelief.
Thoro was an orphan because earlier in his life on another plunder attack Agon had killed both of his parents. Agon did not die there and then. He was found by the villagers and his troops and was thrown into a ditch while still alive. He was buried heavily bleeding with curses, spits, hatred, and contempt and finally suffocated. What does his birthmark want to tell him?
In another story a young man was told to focus on his birthmark on the right side of his chest. He found himself standing tied on a place where two blacksmiths were working on metal. One of them placed an iron rod upon his flesh creating excruciating pain until he fainted. But why did this happen to him? He was a worker at a port, probably Southampton, centuries ago. For some reason he was out of work and got extremely hungry and stole a piece of meat at the grocery. He was soon arrested and with no trial he was simply branded. At those times thieves were branded so everyone would know… What does his birthmark want to remind him?
Don’t all of these stories remind us of the sad stories discovered in the regression literature? Why should someone come here, pay me and make up such a sad story? Would she do it to satisfy my non-existent suggestions? Dr. Woolger has a motto “Focus on what you dislike.” He uses this (and not only this) focusing as an affect bridge to help his client to reach a disabling complex and then proceed with the cathartic therapy.
What I suggest here is to focus on the birthmark or birth defect and use it as a bridge to a core issue when needed or when other bridges don’t work. What do these marks remind us of? What are they representing? Why are they here in the first place? It seems that birthmarks are stamped on our bodies in this life to remind us of “unfinished business” in another lifetime.
Like pain, body strains, migraines, phobias, allergies, etc, birthmarks are here to show us that there is a psychic residue, a leftover from the past. They encode messages waiting to be revealed. Could they be a lesson we should never forget? Could these bodily imprints be the physical counterparts of a psychic valence? And if we were to work them out and bring to the surface all the emotional weight and charge and finally relieve our clients would these marks disappear on the next incarnation?
We have to look for the first feeling that comes up in association with the origin of the birthmark. What was the feeling in the Indian story? It was hatred, mistrust, dislike of the Shaman. Where did this feeling lead to? It led to the feeling of betrayal, treachery, and dismay. To the feeling of a harmonious and balanced world falling apart, becoming forever history, sealed by the arrogant, disrespectful, expansionism of Western “civilization”…
What were the feelings of our cruel and mean leader? Astonishment, disbelief, dismay. He could not believe what was happening to him. It had never occurred to his mind how mean, harsh, and brutal he was to his people. All his current life my client was distrustful of everyone…
What was the lesson of our miserable hungry thief? Is he to be reminded by his birthmark never to steal again? Woolger would ask what is the story behind the story? I say what is the story behind the birthmarks?
I thank Hans TenDam for his comments and remarks: “The word re-mark triggered the question if re-birth marks would exist.”
Editor’s Note: The Journal is very interested in more cases of present lifetime physical issues and their relation to past-life origins. If you have cases dealing with this subject we want to hear about them. To submit your ideas, cases, etc. send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bowman, Carol. Children’s Past Lives: How past life memories affect your child. New York: Bantam Books, 1997.
——— Return from Heaven. New York: Thorsons, 2001.
Haraldsson, Erlendur and M. Abbu-Izzedin. Development of certainty about the correct deceased person in a case of the reincarnation type in Lebanon: The case of Nazih Al-Danaf. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 16:363-80, 2002.
Haraldsson, Erlendur. A Psychological Comparison between Ordinary Children and Those Who Claim Previous-Life Memories. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol.11, No. 3, pp.323-335, 1997.
Kelly, Edward et al. Irreducible Mind: Towards a Psychology of the 21st century. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007.
Lorimer, David. Thinking Beyond the Brain. Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2001.
Lucas, Winafred. Regression Therapy: A Handbook for Professionals. Crest Park: Deep Forest Press, 1993.
Murphy, Michael. The Future of the Body. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher Inc., 1992.
Myers, F. W. H. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. London: Longmans, Green, 1903.
Pasricha, Satwant. Cases of the reincarnation type in Northern India with Birthmarks and Birth Defects. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 12:259-293, 1998.
Rogo, Scott. The Search for Yesterday. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1985.
Shroder, Tom. Old Souls: The scientific evidence for Past Lives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
Stevenson, Ian. Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974.
——— Children Who Remember Previous Lives. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987.
——— Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport, CN: Prager, 1997.
——— Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects (2 Vols.) New York: Prager, 1997.
——— The contribution of apparitions to the evidence for Survival. Journal of the American Society For Psychical Research. 76:341-358. 1982.
Ten Dam, Hans. Exploring Reincarnation. London: Rider Books, 2003.
——— Deep Healing. Amsterdam: Tasso Publishing, 1996.
Tucker, Jim. Life before Life: a scientific investigation of children’s memories of previous lives. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005.
——— A scale to measure the strength of children’s claims of previous lives. Journal of Scientific Exploration. 14:571-581, 2000.
Woolger, Roger. Other Lives Other Selves. New York: Doubleday, 1987.
——— Healing Your Past Lives. Boulder: Sounds True, 2004.
——— Past Life Therapy: Trauma Release and the Body.
 “Building Bridges” was the title of the second summer school conference in Istanbul of the European Association of Regression Therapists (EARTh).
 I think a very good job on this respect has been done by Carol Bowman.
 At an interview given later Stevenson was asked what he regretted more in his life. He replied that he should have never given in to the pressures that were put upon him for the publication of this particular book, which was a summarization – popularization of his magnum opus Reincarnation and Biology.
 I suppose that Stevenson would not go so far as to employ hypnosis or regression in order to avoid attracting further attacks and criticism from his opponents.