Thumbnail pic of blonde girl by Bekah Russom.

M'Hoq Toq's voice is written this way.

Gilda and Nerida's words are written like this.


Gilda: I want to know about the past lives of my children: Edward, who is 8, Rory, who is 6 and their big sister Sheena, who is 11.

Your eldest son, Edward, was something like a bard, poet. As he grows up he will probably choose work he can do with his brain over physical activities. Not that he’s unable to do the physical work. He would just prefer doing something else. He had some unfinished work. There is a good chance he will come to you for help with that, but it is still far, far away. He used to live in the southern part of the Turtle Island that I came from.

Nerida:    Turtle Island is North America.

G:  I know.

He enjoys the more temperate climate so he spent time growing up in the south and then he moved to the north. There was a bigger population there then, with better education. He was hungry to learn about languages and how to bend them.

Edward… The place you call Ireland now -- he lived, he was educated by people from the Church there. And he stayed on with the church because he had the opportunity to read more books there. There weren’t many other books available on that island.

The second son Rory, was part of the knights that went on crusades from the island next to where his brother used to live before. They weren't brothers then. He stayed on for a while after the crusades. He spent quite some time in what you might call, Turkey.

G:  Turkey?

Yes. He thought they had the most beautiful women there. He was very handsome. But had a tendency to violence as well. He was very successful with the crusades.

He enjoyed that climate much more. He never went back to where he left from. He was only trained when he arrived there to use weapons, like swords, so he had to start again.

You would call it carpentry. He started helping people building houses.

He thought the Turkish women most beautiful. Photo by  Ross Cains .

He thought the Turkish women most beautiful. Photo by Ross Cains.

The houses had a base of blocks and they built the wood up on top. His carpentry was very sophisticated, because he went to different masters to learn the craft, learning different specialties that they had. It was close to the Mediterranean.

So after he’d been there building houses, people heard about him and he went and helped in shipyards repairing the big ships that they used for warfare and trade. He would have known how to build a very good ship but he never got to it. He’d rather work at repairing so there was more time for him to spend with what he thought the most beautiful women on the planet.


Your daughter Sheena. Sheena has had about 20 lifetimes. This lifetime is the first as a female. It is very challenging. She wanted to have the experience. She always thought that women had a much easier life than men, they would not work as hard.

Nerida:    [Laughing] Oh, boy.

G: She’s in for a ride isn’t she?

Back then he had no experience. In any given lifetime he never spent enough time in the same place to get a closer look at what women actually did. There was one life in the area where are you from.

Maybe three times he lived hunting for fur in the northern part of the planet, very far north. Hunting skins and fur and trading it with people further to the south. You might call it Canada now. Very northern part, but not too far north because there weren’t many animals there that you could get the skin and fur off.

They had a few very highly priced ones because it was a challenge to survive there. The weapons that they used back then weren’t so safe. They used arrows, traps, knives. So if someone went further north hunting for a precious big white fur, the world thought they should be rewarded for surviving the fight.

They hunted with arrows. Photo by  Paul Barlow .

They hunted with arrows. Photo by Paul Barlow.

He thought differently. He thought he could be as successful selling more skins and surviving it, rather than going for that one very special one.

He enjoyed the cold, a lot of the time. Hunting, looking for precious shiny things, never to keep it, always to sell it.

N:    So looking for gold as well?

Yes. Lots of silver there too.

N:    And he was Native American not European?

Native American twice.
Once what you would call from Europe. From the area between what you call now Spain and France.

N:    So this spirit, now Gilda's daughter, obviously knows well about being with the animals and harvesting animals. That was the lifestyle of that spirit.

It was the kind of lifestyle.

N:    She’s always going to love nature and being outdoors.

And animals and outdoors.

N:    Yes, makes sense doesn’t it?

Gilda:  Yep.

We think it might be quite a challenge to have chosen the female body because this is the first time.

G: Why does she keep coming back, is it just because she -- ?

She enjoys learning. Learning different trades. Speaking different languages or tongues.

G: Has she ever been Asian?

There was one lifetime in an island north of here. Quite a bit north of here. Very close to a bigger continent.

N:    Could be Japan.

You might call it Japan actually, yes.

N:   Was he still a hunter in Japan?

No. Artist. Not very many people could write the letters that they used there. They are quite sophisticated, these letters.

Yes. Using charcoal. Using what they call ink—made of charcoal mixed with animal glue.
You are in there too, my friend.

G: Japan?

Yes. Same time. The mother of the man that she was back then.

G: Aah… Did we get on?

It was very difficult for you because he always thought he was so much more important, being able to write. He thought you were a great embarrassment because you could not read or write. Very impatient. Very challenged.

Calligraphy brushes. Photo by  Alice Wang .

Calligraphy brushes. Photo by Alice Wang.

So this is the first time a female body. She might have to learn a lot from you. We call it a learning experience. We don’t call it revenge. But sometimes, bad experiences give you a fast chance of learning because it comes almost immediately. Do you understand, my friend?

Gilda: I do... She likes to turn everything onto everybody else.   

It’s these past lives in Japan where that son was never pleased with … He was embarrassed. Everybody else was so much better than you. You could not even read or write.

It never got into this so-called intelligent artist’s brain that without you he would have been there without food, without support, without a place to stay. That thought is still there, somewhere deep, buried inside what you call the brain, but it’s not the brain. It’s that spirit that came back thinking, probably it’ll all still be the same. And it’s not. Everything is different. Because now he has chosen this time to come back in a female body because there is never any work to do. We think they’ve chosen quite well.

G: That she’s chosen quite well?

Yes. Lots of new experiences. A whole new world opening up. There is this love still for animals. But there is some impatience as well. It’s a bit like when she tries to teach something to an animal and if that animal does not understand immediately or learn immediately, then she might get bored with that animal, or angry.

G: Yep. Doing that already.

It’s another learning experience. Some of them at some stage might bite or scratch. Everybody will say oh, this animal has never done anything like this before. But every living being can be pushed to a place where it starts to defend itself.

Patience is a very big thing to learn. Additionally too, the fact is that women don’t have the easy way.

She likes to challenge and she likes to read about what she thinks are facts, even if it’s just stories sometimes. She always thinks she wants to be one step ahead. Always better than everybody else, especially you, my friend.

There will be this issue with the younger one of your boys. It’s going to be the same. He will be very interested in more intellectual things. There’s a bit of a competition coming up. The one in the middle gets to live his more or less own life because it will be the youngest and the oldest challenging each other. The middle one will quite enjoy this.

The thing that the two older children have in common is they love to do the physical challenges as well. It will ease off at some stage with the girl because there will be more important books to read, more important things to watch, to eat, or to always be that one that leads one step ahead. And then there won’t be much time for physical challenges.

The girl will have more important books to read to stay one step ahead.  PublicDomainPictures .

The girl will have more important books to read to stay one step ahead. PublicDomainPictures.

The middle boy who’s been the carpenter before, repairing ships, building houses, this is the kind of thing that he likes. He likes the outdoors, nature. And he’s not afraid to try new things. He does not like the cold very much because he’s been there. He always thought the most beautiful women were in the warmer places, talking about climate. There is that little thorn still somewhere in there poking that part about the beautiful women that will be there, all for him. And that beautiful women do like to choose strong men.

Is there anything else I can help you with my friend?

Gilda: Was I ever in a life before with Edward or Rory?

Yes. Not direct family. The one lover that made him stay and never go back to the cold place where he left from -- in Turkey.

The little one used to be one of your teachers at some stage. He always loved books and learning more complicated things.

G: He still loves them.

Nerida:    The young one, the little one, is he a scholar?

Yes. So he was a real teacher for you. He had a very hard time with it.

G: Were the children naughty?

Yes -- and more interested in all the other things.

G:  I must have been a boy.


N:    You would only have been educated if you were a boy.

He was very strict. You did not like him. He always told you, he only wanted the best from you, that you should go off into the world and do something different. You were not interested.

You were more interested in growing vegetables, making sure there is always enough food to go round. You were quite good at that. You could make things grow and people said I’ve never seen this one growing in this area. So you weren’t interested at all in other parts of the world or reading.

'You were more interested in growing vegetables'. Pic by  Mark Valencia .

'You were more interested in growing vegetables'. Pic by Mark Valencia.

You thought you could create your own world, make the world come to you in different seeds, in plants. You were growing herbs. You had animals, goats. Some sheep. We would say it is an area now, it’s either what you call now northern Greece or north of Greece. We can’t distinguish the borders quite right.

N:    Might be Macedonia.

G: Yeah. Yugoslavia.

So you could provide for your family. You enjoyed what you were doing. And he would not understand why anyone who was intelligent was not interested in books.

And he, as what you would call an intellectual, would somehow not understand that it takes a different brain to be able to grow things, make it flourish, mix good things out of herbs, that people could have as a tea, for example, when they get sick, or when the animals get sick. It was something that he would never understand. And you did not have the time to explain that.

G: Can I ask about one other person who might have been in my history -- My friend William?

William. [Pause] Yes. Two brothers. Your brother.

G:  I was his brother?


G: What did we do?

You were touring around with a troupe. Your parents, as they sometimes did at these times, sold you to a circus.

G:  That’s a bit rough. [Laughing] Both of us?


N:    At least you were together.

The two boys were sold to the circus. Photo by  Omunozcrc .

The two boys were sold to the circus. Photo by Omunozcrc.

The two boys were sold off. You had an older brother then who was very precious in doing the work the parents needed to be done. There were two girls.
The two boys in the middle did nothing but eating too much so they were sold. It happened quite often back then.

You were in what you call the, the big island, where our friends live. Very physical, very strong. The type of boys who feel -- and the lifestyle did that too, turned you into one who thinks: If you can’t answer a question be the one who hits first, because then you don’t need to answer the question.

N:    It must be quite recent then. During the last two or three hundred years.


N:    1800s, okay.

Late 1800s. Very physical times. There was quite a bit of pickpocketing around as well.

You were better at it than your brother.

N:    Laughs.

It was very interesting.

G: Did we have long lives?

Yes. For that time it was quite long.
Eighties. You both made it into the eighties. It was quite rare. But you were, each in a different way, more intelligent than any others. Being a pickpocket and not getting caught was quite a skill. And being able to hit hard enough so you don’t have to answer questions was another good skill. You were both quite strongly built but not tall enough. You got away with a lot of things because people did not expect the both of you to be so strong because you did not look it. It’s like, big men come in saying so little one, what do you try to do to me? And most of them could not finish the sentence.

G: Laughs.

It was like a surprise for them. And when they would have had the chance to realise it, it was too late already. Because it was a combination of very fast hits into, because you were quite short, into very unpopular parts of the body.

G:    [Laughing] That’s funny. I have another question…