About ten years ago when I first read Dr. Arthur Guirdham's book, "We Are One Another," I was so enthusiastic about it that I immediately ordered from the British publisher his previous book, "The Cathars and Reincarnation." Both these case histories of group past life recall made a deep impression on me. I read and reread them.
Then, a few years later, came books about group reincarnation in this country, books like "A Tribe Returned" and "Mission to Millboro." They seemed to involve much the same sequence of events as Dr. Guirdham's experiences of the 1960s and 1970s. Clients and/or friends of the therapist, many of whom did not in this life know each other, spoke of living in the same location in the same time frame in an earlier era and their stories of those times and places matched in "evidential" ways.
I was reminded of Dr. Guirdham's work as I read these new American accounts. They prompted me to again pick up his books and reread his account of the voluminous evidence that the two women who figured centrally in his books brought to him, evidence he in turn researched, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt its historical accuracy. It seemed to me that the subject of group reincarnation should be looked at in depth.
But perhaps I was unconsciously responding to the incessant imploring of the discarnates who spoke to Miss Mills in "We Are One Another." The primary entity whose name was Braida, said that it was vital that the evidence of reincarnation in groups should be disseminated as quickly and as widely as possible. She also told Miss Mills "...the matter could be taken further and that evidence should also be produced that people joined in one incarnation in a common good cause can reincarnate in the same family." Again and again she and other discarnates who had lived on earth previously as Cathars urged that these instances be written about.
The Cathars were destroyed by the Catholic Church in 1244 when Montsegur, their mountaintop fortress in the south of France, was besieged and burned and all the inhabitants made to either recant Catharism or be burned at the stake. Catharism was a dualist belief system thought to have closely resembled primitive Christianity, but it preached and taught concepts that were not mainstream Catholic beliefs.
The primary characteristics of the Cathar faith were a belief in reincarnation and such a vast knowledge of both spiritual and herbal healing that people who were ill came to them from far and wide to be healed. These pacifistic, vegetarian healers were labeled "heretics" by the Catholic Church and became targets of the Inquisition; they were becoming powerful and the church feared them. The confirmation Dr. Guirdham found for the claims of the two women who brought their psychically perceived evidence to him was easily located in the journals of the Inquisitors.
Terry Nash, editor of the APRT Newsletter I wrote for, suggested running three articles starting with this one after I mentioned Dr. Guirdham's books to her recently and the prediction made in the early 1200s that the Cathars would reincarnate in 700 years. As I researched the Cathars on the Internet recently, I made a discovery that first surprised me and then made me smile. It seems the ancient prediction is being fulfilled. I was astonished to find that the Cathars I had believed were wiped out by the Catholic Church 700 years ago are alive and well and have their own web site!
This is a summary of the highlights from Dr. Guirdham's first two books about group reincarnation, plus material from his spiritual autobiography, "A Foot in Both Worlds."
"THE CATHARS AND REINCARNATION"
Cathars are reincarnating as was foretold by a troubadour poet (in the 13th century) at the time of the (Cathar) Persecution. The seven centuries silence he foresaw has elapsed and the voice of primitive Christianity is speaking again. Many of those who reincarnate remember their previous lives. All those so endowed have other psychic gifts. A person cannot have far memory without having also in varying degrees of development such gifts as clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy and healing. This is what I myself have regularly encountered in and out of my clinical practice."
Despite the fact that he later wrote two books about reincarnation, Dr. Arthur Guirdham, a British Health Services psychiatrist for forty years, tells us in "A Foot in Both Worlds," his spiritual autobiography, "I never gave reincarnation a thought before 1962." In 1962 the following incidents brought reincarnation to the forefront of his awareness and began his unexpected odyssey.
A colleague referred a Mrs. Smith to Dr. Guirdham. She suffered from nightmares that caused her to shriek so loudly that both she and her husband feared the neighbors would complain. After her first interview with Dr. Guirdham, these nightmares stopped.
At about that same time, a nightmare Dr. Guirdham had had for many years also stopped. Mrs. Smith didn't immediately tell Dr. Guirdham that her troubling dreams had ended because she wanted to continue seeing him and feared he wouldn't schedule more appointments if her symptoms were gone. Around that time he did something that was totally out of character for him--stopped by her house to change an appointment time himself instead of rescheduling the usual way through his office. That was when she recognized him.
When she opened the door to Dr. Guirdham that day, Mrs. Smith's far memory was triggered by the sight of him standing on her doorstep in the falling snow. A scene from the thirteenth century superimposed itself: She was opening the door of her father's house in that earlier incarnation, and Dr. Guirdham whom she then knew as "Roger," was standing with the snow falling softly around him. Instantly, she connected this scene to visions and dreams experienced in her teenage years in the 1930s when she had recalled a life lived with this same Roger in the Languedoc area of southern France during the Middle Ages.
She was eventually able to fill in the gaps of the strange series of disconnected scenes that her consciousness had thrown up before her so many years before and that had remained with her, if only in the background of her thought, ever since. The rapport that their previous lifetime together had created made it possible for her now to safely examine these memories with Dr. Guirdham's help.
She had been afraid that her visions and dreams were the result of epilepsy because she'd lost consciousness once as a child and a doctor had told her parents she might be epileptic. Dr. Guirdham was certain that she was not epileptic and when he told her so, she was profoundly relieved and grateful to him for his reassurance.
When Dr. Guirdham began to suspect he might also have lived a past life in the thirteenth century in the Languedoc she finally told him the truth. She said that the day he stopped at her house to speak with her about changing their appointment she recognized him as her lover and companion in the south of France during the 1200s. Mrs. Smith's recollections of life as a thirteenth century Cathar had begun suddenly during her teen years and resulted in notebooks and diaries filled with disconnected pieces of the experience of being a young girl from a poor family at a time when class was everything, who nevertheless was invited to become the companion of the upper-class man she loved and to live with him in his family's country home. But because he was a Cathar, he was hunted as a heretic and so she, too, became a fugitive from the military arm of the Catholic Church, the Crusaders.
Dr. Guirdham tells us, "One of the striking characteristics of this story is that I myself have no personal recollection of my incarnation which can nevertheless be accurately placed in the first half of the thirteenth century in the Languedoc. This was revealed through the dreams and visions of a patient. In order to regard her experiences as valid, one would expect her to have a knowledge of the mode of life in the Languedoc of the thirteenth century, and to have acquired this by direct experience, through visions, dreams and intuitions, without having studied the period or subject. The major proportion of her revelations occurred twenty-six years ago (1936), in an intensive uprush of memory in her early teens. It gave her a detailed knowledge of Catharism, though until she met me she was even unaware of the name of this heresy. She also acquired a vivid realization of life in the Languedoc in the thirteenth century. Neither medieval history nor literature were taught in her school. Twenty-five years ago the history and ritual of Catharism were not imparted to girls of thirteen in English grammar schools."
Eventually, Mrs. Smith came to trust Dr. Guirdham and she told him the tragic medieval tale that had emerged from her girlhood writings. He was awed at its implications.
He wrote to Monsieur Jean Duvernoy, the chief authority in France, possibly in the world, on the history of the Cathars, to question him about Mrs. Smith's information. This expert replied that he was astonished at Dr. Guirdham's vast knowledge of the life and times of 13th century Cathars. Dr. Guirdham could not bring himself to tell this man that his knowledge came from a schoolgirl's notes about her dreams and visions recorded 26 years previously.
When Dr. Nelli, another famed expert on Catharism, revealed that he had just learned from the register of the Inquisition of Jacques Fournier that Cathar priests had stopped wearing black robes and disguised themselves in later years in dark blue robes, Dr. Guirdham had more proof that Mrs. Smith's girlhood knowledge of the Cathars had been greater than that of the experts of the time. No matter how often Dr. Guirdham had tried to convince her they wore black, she had never wavered from her belief that they wore dark blue.
Dr. Guirdham asks, "Is this story evidence of reincarnation? Is some other explanation, for instance, that of thought transference, applicable? The answer is no. The patient's major experiences were a quarter of a century ago at a time when I had no detailed knowledge of Catharism. In the last five years I had nothing to transfer to her. I did not know the characters she described. I heard of them first through her. Then I discovered about them later in works of reference...I had to do more reading than I wished in order to verify it...I had to begin from the clue, 'If anything should happen to me you must go to Fabrissa." (This was the first statement Mrs. Smith asked him to follow up on for her because it had begun to haunt her.)
He further explains, "To begin with I had to find out whether Fabrissa was the name of a person or a place and, if the former, whether she or he was related to an obscure character called Pierre de Mazerolles...(At last I) established beyond doubt that Fabrissa was the name of a woman and that she was the aunt of the said Pierre de Mazerolles."
This was his initial encounter with reincarnation. He really only met with Mrs. Smith a few times between 1962 and 1970. The latter date was the year his book about her experiences, "The Cathars and Reincarnation," came out. Her need for psychiatric sessions ended with the end of her nightmares and no treatment was ever necessary. The actual fleshing out of the book came from diary entries he made during that time and a hefty correspondence he and Mrs. Smith kept up over the years.
When his book was finally published, he must have thought that the subject had been laid to rest for him. But it had not been. For then came Miss Mills, and she, as it gradually began to appear, was yet another reincarnated thirteenth-century Cathar......
"WE ARE ONE ANOTHER"
Dr. Guirdham prefaced Miss Mills' story with: "This was not a question of my searching for interesting cases of far memory. I made accidental contact with a person with an amazing spectrum of psychic gifts. She led to a chain of others. In no case did I seek out the other members of this group. In their different ways they made contact with me."
"Nothing in this story depends on my subjective reactions to places and people. I am not the kind of person who, on the field of Waterloo, feels inevitably that he must have been Napoleon. I am naturally of a sceptical and cautious nature and am known in my family as Doubting Thomas. I am astonished that the phenomena I have encountered have been revealed to me of all people. I have occupied myself in discovering the significance of names and messages produced in dreams, visions, in states of clairaudience and dictated by discarnate entities. Because of the unusual origin of my data I have to stress all the more carefully that I was for forty years a run-of-the-mill psychiatrist. In the N.H.S. I was the senior Consultant in my clinical area. I hold a scientific degree as well as being a doctor of medicine. It is all the more necessary to make these points since I claim that this, my own story, is the most remarkable of its kind I have encountered."
Dr. Guirdham's wife asked Miss Mills in to chat with her husband because she thought Miss Mills would be good for him since she exuded good will and an infectiously positive outlook. She came to their front door and asked to use the phone when her car stalled. Dr. Guirdham thought her the epitome of extroversion. He was recovering from a massive heart attack and having a heavy time of it. She turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.
Miss Mills was invited back again (she lived nearby) and began to join them for tea on a weekly basis. On one occasion when they were left alone together, she asked him if two names that kept repeating over and over in her head meant anything to him: "Raymond" and "Albigensian." He replied that Raymond was the name of the counts of Toulouse, and that Albigensian was the name of the heresy that flourished in their territory. Miss Mills had never heard of the Albigensions. She confessed she hadn't read his book about the Cathars. Later she raised the question of reincarnation and said that she had believed in it ever since she was a teenager, but had never read about it or heard it discussed.
She told him about two recurring dreams which had begun when she nearly died of diphtheria at age five. In one dream she was fleeing some terror which had begun in a castle and was driving her through woodland to a valley and a stream. In the other, she saw faggots at her feet and knew that she was about to be burned at the stake.
Miss Mills, in subsequent months (through a kind of automatic writing), scrawled the names of numerous Cathar personages, locations and historically important dates. She brought these scribblings directly to him each time the "writing" began and solicited his help in identifying them.
Later she began to be visited by a discarnate entity, at first in dreams and then as an apparition in her bedroom, who told her she had lived during the 1200s at Montsegur in the Languedoc and had been trained as a healer by this very entity. Much was revealed to Miss Mills about healing methods from that time and place. And suddenly, people began to seek Miss Mills out for healing, both people she knew and many she had never met before.
The discarnate whose name was Braida told her that she had taught Miss Mills healing in the 13th century, but that because Miss Mills had died at an early age, she had not had enough time to become a fully practicing healer. This was her chance to finally use the training she had received 700 years before. Dr. Guirdham collected her written messages, took notes and made diary entries of all Miss Mills told him. He checked the validity of the information by going to such sourcebooks as the huge volumes of names and incidents collected by members of the Inquisition and by seeking help from several experts in the field of Cathar history. Dr. Guirdham wondered for a while if she could be picking up information he'd acquired researching Mrs. Smith's facts and figures. Miss Mills, too, wondered if that might be the case. But in the end he was certain she could not have been telepathically picking up that knowledge, since much of what she received was unknown to him, as well.
Often he believed she was wrong about a given point, but each time discovered that he was wrong and she was right. He had learned much during his earlier turn with Mrs. Smith, but the people involved in the closing years of the Cathar tragedy that Mrs. Smith had been told about were a different group of people from the thirteenth century Cathars that Miss Mills had known. All had participated in some way in the tragedy, and all had been historically linked to one another, but they had been part of different family groupings in their Cathar lifetime.
After Dr. Guirdham had been researching Miss Mills' information for quite some time, a woman named Betty, an old school chum, telephoned her to say that her husband had died and that she was shaken to the core by it. She was quite ill from the shock. Miss Mills, even though they had hardly seen each other in recent years, became the person Betty called on for support during this period. Finally, when a friend took Betty on holiday to France, Miss Mills asked Dr. Guirdham to jot down some locations in the Pyrenees for Betty to visit. He listed his favorite places in southern France (several of which were important Cathar sites). Thus began the final episode of Dr. Guirdham's second book, "We Are One Another."
Betty told everyone when she returned to England that her life had been transformed when she visited Cathar country and those who knew her said she was positively radiant during her last days. For these turned out, indeed, to be her last days. She died of a stroke shortly thereafter. But friends and family were comforted to know that the trip had somehow brought her peace of mind during her final days.
Jane (Betty's mother) spoke to Miss Mills after Betty's death about names that Betty had jotted down in her journal while she was on vacation in the Pyrenees. She asked Miss Mills if she recognized any of them. Because Miss Mills didn't want anyone except Dr. Guirdham to know about her psychic abilities for fear it would change the attitudes of people in the community toward her, she denied recognizing them, even though some of them were names of people and places that she now associated with the Cathars.
Finally, Jane told her to "come off it" one day, that she knew Miss Mills was being evasive, that an entity named Braida was appearing to Jane and had told her that Miss Mills knew about their past incarnation together as Cathars. Soon Jane appeared on Miss Mills doorstep with notebooks filled with childish stick figure drawings and captions that referred to the destruction of two Inquisitors at Avignonet before the final destruction of Montsegur. She admitted that some of the names and places she had claimed Betty mentioned recently after her return from Europe had been written down in these notebooks by Betty when she was a small child.
Jane was at first reluctant to allow Miss Mills to have Dr. Guirdham examine Betty's books, but later she gave her permission for him to do so. Braida told Miss Mills that this would happen. Again, as Dr. Guirdham looked through the drawings and saw the destruction of the Inquisitors depicted and labeled in a child's uncertain printing, he marveled as he had when Mrs. Smith's teenage writings were shown him, that such a thing was possible.
At last the lid was off and Miss Mills could talk freely to someone other than Dr. Guirdham about her experiences. She learned Jane was also visited regularly by other entities and one of them told her that what was happening to Jane, Miss Mills and Dr. Guirdham, "...was happening all over the world but that, if it were not recorded, evidence of it would be lost." Dr. Guirdham's opinion was, "This was sheer horse sense. Wherever people are joined together by psychic communication there is a tendency on the part of each group to think of themselves as islands of experience in an ocean of materialistic indifference." Dr. Guirdham's own experience in the ten previous years with Mrs. Smith had borne this out.
Remarkably, the major focus in all these past life encounters was proof of reincarnation itself, but the beauty of it was that reincarnation was one of the Cathars' central tenets. Ever since I first read these books, I've been awed by the incredible "rightness," of having people in the 1900s rediscover a complex web of thirteenth century relationships and history designed to prove reincarnation (one of the main beliefs of Catharism, their 13th century faith) to the satisfaction of their 20th century English (distinctly un-Cathar) minds.
But not only did the entities bring proof of reincarnation, they brought proof of healing. The fact that the Cathars knew so much about its principles was demonstrated by Miss Mills when Braida, her former 13th century Cathar teacher, brought Miss Mills to a conscious awareness of 13th-century Cathar healing methods so she could practice them again in the 20th century.
It was then that sick people began to seek her out just as they had in the 1200s, and they were cured! Dr. Guirdham summed it up this way in "We Are One Another":
"It was clear that this operation was not only beautifully organized but adapted to the needs and qualities of its human agents. It is comforting that the heavenly hierarchies are more efficient than the earthly bureaucracies. Without my interest in Catharism I would have made nothing of Mrs. Smith.
"Without my taste for history I would not have looked for the names she produced. Had I not been awakened by her I would not have 'met' Miss Mills, that is to say, I would not have been aware of my psychic contact with her. In everything that came from Braida there was clearly a sense of purpose.
"Miss Mills and I were being used in this life for something for which we had been trained in a previous incarnation. She had to heal and had died at the stake. In this life she was called upon to apply what she had been previously taught. This was difficult for her in a world of decomposing rationalism. She was given the solace of her former instructor.
"I myself was in the same situation. In my previous incarnation I had been fascinated both by healing and the nature of time. It was ordained that in this my present life I achieved the fusion of my medical and philosophical tendencies in the practise of psychiatry. My personal evolution has been immensely accelerated in the last two years. There is no doubt whatever that this is attributable to the guidance of Braida..."
It developed that Miss Mills' friend Jane had been a Cathar healer, too, and was able to heal Miss Mills just as Miss Mills several times healed Jane of physical ills. Dr. Guirdham had healed Mrs. Smith of her nightmares that had originated in the 13th century, not with his 20th century psychological methods, but simply by being in her presence. And in turn, her presence, healed him of his nightmares that had originated in the same century.
Dr. Guirdham also early on healed Miss Mills of a lifelong pain in her hip, just by taking a look at it when she complained of pain and noticing a large radiating birthmark in the area. He assumed it was a scar from a bad burn when she was younger. She told him there had been no burn. As the story of her Cathar life unfolded, he realized that physical marks of disease and injury stay with the body in subsequent incarnations. She had been burned--at the stake in 1244! Her pain disappeared after he examined the area. Braida told Miss Mills that those who have shared past lives can more readily heal one another than those who have not. Not only were these people readily able to heal one another, but both Miss Mills and Jane could sense each other's illnesses even from afar.
Finally, I feel I must point out that an objection raised by many who doubt reincarnation's validity is that individuals can easily be influenced by discarnates who overshadow or try to possess them and who make the individual believe he is sensing his own past life when he is really sensing the entity's previous earth life. Clearly this explanation can be dismissed because Miss Mills' entities openly came to visit her. No insidious overshadowing was involved. There was no need. Their purpose was to be known.
I have listed only a small number of the many "evidential" happenings that Dr. Guirdham experienced as these events unfolded. This would grow unmanageably long if I listed them all. Dr. Guirdham said about all of this material, "It is the most remarkable of its kind I have encountered."
I must agree!