After years of working with people's heads via hypnotherapy, I didn't much care whether such things as "past lives" actually existed or not. I only cared that the therapeutic modality worked and gave people relief. My own theory was that it gave them a drama to explain things, to work things out; a way to achieve a resolution by changing the script of the drama. Same with "spirit release therapy."
I incorporated that process in a couple of cases where nothing else worked in the late 80s. I was quite astonished at the results (and was very careful to not contaminate my subjects), and wondered just what the heck was going on? Again, I just explained it to myself that it was a self-created drama that allowed the person to sort themselves out. It didn't matter to me; I wasn't invested in believing any of it. I only cared that it relieved suffering. And it did, every time. It was even a rather simple formulaic process which is why I was so surprised that it worked. Could it be that easy?
My working hypothesis at the time, considering the boring regularity with which subjects from all walks of life came up with the same images, the same types of dramas, the same dynamics in the subconscious mind, was that there was some sort of "field of images," or archetypes to which all human beings were connected in some way. Well, let me make that more precise: people sorted into groups according to which images and dynamics were dominant in their particular case. Jung's work was helpful, but didn't go far enough to explain what I was witnessing. So, I decided that it would be interesting to access this pure field. That's actually what started the whole thing.
Well, how does one access such a theorized field of symbols and dynamics that seems to have some "rule" over people's lives? The obvious answer was some form of "channeling."
BUT, there was a catch: I didn't trust anything - and I mean ANYTHING - that would just come into somebody's head - not even my own. I also wasn't interested in talking to alleged "dead dudes" anymore because, by this time, I'd had quite enough of that and if anybody knows they don't have much of interest to say, it was me, (assuming that it is anything other than a drama in the head of the subject).
One of the more interesting theories I came across regarding so-called "channeling" was developed by Barbara Honegger, said to be the first person in the United States to obtain an advanced degree in experimental parapsychology. Honegger suggested that automatism was the result of "stimulation" of the right hemisphere of the brain so that it could overcome the suppression of the left hemisphere. Automatism, as you might know, relates directly to utilizing a device such as automatic writing or a Ouija board type instrument. It was never entirely clear what was doing the stimulating, however and I could obtain no further information on her research.
Whether or not the information was supposed to come from the subconscious of the individual or "spirits," was not clearly spelled out. But my thought was that, if it was true that some form of automatism could assist in synchronizing the right and left hemisphere of the brain, that even if it did not result in any real "contact," it was still a worthy exercise.
As I have said, there was an open possibility in my mind that such things as "spirits" were merely fragments of the personality of an individual, sort of like little broken off circuits in the brain running in repetitive loops, created by trauma or stress. Perhaps an individual, when faced with a difficulty, entered a narcissistic state of fantasy, created a "dream," which was imprinted in the memory of the brain.
If they then emerged from this state back into dealing with their reality, but not having dealt with the issue itself, it might become locked away in a sort of cerebral file drawer, sitting there, waiting to be triggered by the electricity or neurochemicals of the brain in some random unconscious scan. The same could be said for so- called past life memories; they were merely self-created memory files generated in a state of narcissistic withdrawal due to stress.
Such neurological files could then be downloaded and read by using the conscious bypass method of either automatism or simply allowing the conscious mind to "step aside" as in hypnosis. For that matter, simple psychotherapy could be considered channeling in these terms. Trance channeling is more problematic because it suggests a definite pathological condition. In such cases, the "alter" ego, as either an alternate personality or whatever, is strong and well entrenched enough to establish a far stronger hold on the body of the host than those which can only manifest via automatism or trance.
My theory was that whatever the theorized "source" of whatever might be accessible, the method of automatism could be more safely utilized to access the field of archetypal symbols and dynamics that seemed to be the pool from which all people drew in the creation of their personal dramas, leaving aside the question of whether or not those dramas represented anything factual or not. My idea was that if this field could be accessed directly, after playing out and thereby eliminating via feedback, any personal thought loops or memory files, that a great deal of information about the human condition at large might be available.
I continued to dig and read cases and find out everything I could about the subject. That's when I came across one of the first clues about the role of the "standard religions" in suppressing the human ability to access whatever it was - whether it was the subconscious, an archetypal field, or whatever.
It seems that all "primitive" or preliterate cultures had some form of codified communication between "spirits" and the living. Again, let me reiterate that I consider this nomenclature to be simply convention. This phenomenon seems to be universal in the ancient world, and only came under condemnation with the inception of monotheism around 1000 BC. When Yahweh spoke through his channels, they were called prophets and the activity was "divine inspiration". When anybody else did it, it was necromancy or demonic possession, or even just out and out deception. This was because, obviously, since Jehovah/Yahweh was the only god, those other "gods" did not exist, therefore, anyone who claimed to be channeling them was lying. Of course that begs the question as to why people were put to death for lying about communicating with gods that were claimed not to exist? And, if they did actually exist, and were actually communicating, as Yahweh was also, then what status does that suggest about Yahweh, since he was the one who claimed to be the only god and that this was true simply because Yahweh said so via channeling? Most curious.
In the sixth century BC the Thracian Dionysiac cults were known to be using shamans as trance channels to communicate with the spirits, or what were then known as theoi or gods that were said to be discarnate immortal beings with superhuman powers. Some scholars suggest that rationalist philosophy was born out of the Dionysiac, Orphic, and Eleusinian mystery cults devoted to the channeling of these gods; certainly much ancient Greek philosophy, especially that of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Plato, was saturated with these mysteries.
In Plato's Theagetes Socrates confesses, "By the favour of the Gods, I have since my childhood been attended by a semi-divine being whose voice from time to time dissuades me from some undertaking, but never directs me what I am to do."
The most interesting item of all is the fact that Pythagoras used something like a Ouija board as early as 540 BC: a "mystic table" on wheels moved around and pointed toward signs that were then interpreted by the philosopher himself, or his pupil Philolaus. Even down to the present day, the mysteries of the Pythagoreans are subjects of intense interest to scientists and mystics alike. And here there seems to be evidence that the advanced knowledge of Pythagoras may have been obtained via a Ouija board!
This brings us back to the question, of course, as to how "channeled" information could have been the basis of the Rationalist philosophy that there was nothing to channel? Could it be merely a progression of the idea of Yahweh/Jehovah that there was only one god, and he was it? Just another step in stripping away any spiritual support from the lives of human beings?
By the time the Romans had conquered Greece, the rationalist movement was turning against spirit-channeling. Cicero, the Roman rationalist whom the early Church Fathers highly revered, railed against spirit-channeling or necromancy on the grounds that it involved ghastly pagan rituals. What seems to have happened is that, eventually, rationalism bit the hand that fed it and began to devour its father, monotheism, by further extending the argument to the idea that there is no god, there are no spirits, nothing survives the death of the physical body, so there is really nobody for us to talk to on the "other side," so why bother? Science took the view that the whole thing was a con game, and that's pretty much the current mainstream scientific opinion of the phenomenon today.
Nevertheless, as I noted: I thought it would be interesting to try to access the "pure field of archetypes." I knew it would take time to run out all the loops - whether spirits or just subconscious dramas - and that patience and persistence was important. And so, I settled down to do it, and it took over two years.