The inspiration for this blog comes from our neighbor Joseph McMoneagle’s book, The Ultimate Time Machine. His reflections on the relativity of the past, as a “reality” largely based upon interpretation, coincides neatly with the Shamans of Ancient Mexico’s experience of the Wheel of Time.
Recapitulation is an ancient shamanic practice that enables one to change the past. As McMoneagle points out, the past is largely defined by our interpretation system, which is mostly determined by our socialization by significant others since the moment of our birth. Thus, memory is largely colored by a feeling tone and cognitive understanding based on socialization.
When we recapitulate we relive the actual experience of the past with the consciousness of fresh eyes, or a point of awareness from the future, now, that affords a different view. From that new perspective, the past indeed changes. Yes, certain events happened that are the focus of the recapitulation, however, the interpretation of those facts is wide open to change.
Beyond actual interpretation is the feeling experience of the object of recapitulation. A traumatic event of violent proportion may at first be experienced as more physically and emotionally intense than actually previously remembered. This in and of itself changes the past because one is allowed, perhaps for the first time, a fuller experience of what actually happened.
The intensity of sensation and emotion emanating from a past event frequently shifts in recapitulation, to the point that remembering the event actually results in a neutral reaction. This is not the result of suppression or dissociation. The formerly traumatic event truly becomes a content of personal history that no longer casts a trigger shadow over present life. In fact, some horrific experiences in life can actually become transformed into objects of humor.
These are genuine examples of changing the past. The change is in having a much broader experience in all that happened in a way not possible when we first experienced it. We were limited by the level of our abilities at that stage of our development, as well as by the defenses our body and higher self brought into play, such as fragmentation and amnesia, as we simply were not ready to take in and make sense of the event as we experienced it. Now we are freed to know it and be with the past in a whole new way.
Recapitulation, then, is a valid technology to change the past, resulting in a fuller energetic presence in life now. In shamanic terms: we retrieve fragmented energy, parts of ourselves previously frozen in a “past” not fully known. This energetic retrieval is possible, as the past can now release it from the bondage of incompletion. The past is changed and the present is enlivened through this change in the past.
So, yes, change in the past can definitely change the present. Practice recapitulation, see what happens!