Tag Archives: memory

Chuck’s Place: Changing the Past

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.

Changing the past allows completion of the labyrinth…

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!



Chuck’s Place: Face, Feel, Absorb

Face the self and find the light... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Face the self and find the light…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

After the death of Alyce, his wife of fifty-some years, Elmer Green set about a recapitulation journey, revisiting many of the actual places they had journeyed to in their life together. He called this journey “encountering his Nostalgias,” a process of reliving previous experiences that he now fully faced, fully felt, and fully absorbed in energetic essence. As he neutralized each nostalgia in the process, putting it to rest, restoring the various landscapes of prior experience to their objective, present reality, he reclaimed the fullness of his energy in the process.

In fact, when invited to give a lecture in Philadelphia at Temple University, he refused the offer of a plane ticket and instead insisted on driving the distance from his home in Kansas in order to experience the nostalgias connected with a trip he and Alyce had taken along the same route in 1971.

“I don’t want to short-change those memories by…flying overhead,” he wrote in The Ozawkie Book of the Dead. As he explained further: “…I searched for and interrogated, and absorbed, nostalgias. Thus freeing Alyce from personality bonds and weight from me, and freeing me to live in the present rather than in the past.”

The shamanic practice of recapitulation does not require that one revisit the actual landscapes of one’s life experiences, as they are all deeply impressed in the subconscious landscape and body self anyway and can be accessed through shifting one’s focus to the details of those prior life experiences within, accompanied by the side-to-side sweeping breath of recapitulation. Nonetheless, as Elmer discovered, there is great value in returning to actual settings. The triggers of nostalgias brought on by travel provide an immediate opportunity to shift into a recapitulation, to relive and retrieve the golden energy entwined and ensnared in places and experiences of the past.

The emphasis on a willingness to FACE—to allow the self to open to the fullness of emotionally charged experience—is the first challenge. The adult self must take charge, exercise its volition and willingness to be fully present to what it might encounter as it takes the journey with its younger self.

Feeling: energy seeking release... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Feeling: energy seeking release…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The journey into memory requires the fullness of FEELING—this is what distinguishes recapitulation from mere memory recall. Reliving means fully feeling the emotional energy stored in and attached to a nostalgia or memory, pleasant or traumatic.

Interestingly, nostalgic and traumatic memory can be equally potent in emotional charge, and equally split off and protected from conscious realization as well. It’s the intensity of the energies contained in the nostalgias and memories that we are protected from, until the adult self achieves the grounding and willingness to face and feel those emotional intensities. They are transmuted in recapitulation, disentangled from the persons and places of the past as they are relived.

In shamanic terms, this disentangled energy is freed to come home to the self, as Elmer points out, while also freeing others from being entangled with it as well. And in Kundalini terms, it is freed to rise to the higher chakras. It is cleansed, smoothed over, through the taming of the energies in the recapitulation process.

As the adult self withstands the impact of reliving past experiences, a light is shown upon the objective truth of those experiences. This includes a fuller view of who the players truly were in the experience, as the archetypal energies and dramas fall away, and only the truth remains.

The confusions, beliefs, and incomplete processing of a prior experience is finally allowed to be fully digested as the defensive casings fall away. What emerges is a factual knowing of the full experience, now devoid of emotional/energetic charge.

ABSORPTION is the next phase of the journey. Perhaps a child self, a child’s innocence, is finally freed to join the personality and enjoy its rightful place in the life of the personality.

Perhaps a nostalgic experience with a loved one, long held at bay because of withheld emotions of sadness connected with loss, will finally be allowed to be absorbed as ethereal love, which sends one deeper into a Cosmic journey. Fully absorbing the intimacy of a prior love frees one to go deeper into love, in this life and beyond.

Absorb: soak up, soak in, be absolved of... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Absorb: soak up, soak in, be absolved of…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

In either case, the energy once trapped in an experience is returned to the self in a living, unified way, as an outer experience becomes a neutral fact laid to rest, no longer an attachment that binds one’s energy to this world or to another being.

To Face, Feel, and Absorb all our nostalgias and traumas is to find the wholeness that will allow us to take our next journey in infinity, beyond our prolonged reincarnation journeys on this magnificent planet Earth. We are then ready to launch into new experiences and adventures in infinity, fully imbued with and capable of giving the deepest love.