“Everybody is an old soul.”
There’s a pause once the words come out of Georgina Cannon’s mouth during a February phone conversation.
The award-winning author, practicing hypnotherapist and founder of the Ontario Hypnosis Centre, discusses how hypnotherapy helps others heal, especially the use of past life regression.
For medical practitioners, past life regression is often considered confabulation. To Christians, it’s not even present, as one lives, dies, is judged and goes to heaven or hell.
But to others, chiefly Buddhists, it’s a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.
And there’s no hesitation when Cannon talks about her belief in the unknown. The former journalist and PR executive grew up in England where belief in elementals and folktales are commonplace.
“We knew there were fairies at the end of the garden and we understood spirits and energies,” she says, her British still present. “It’s part of our life. We take it for granted
“When I came to Canada, I was a bit surprised that nobody believed in that.”
After years as a journalist, and subsequently, a public relations consultant which saw her fledgling company be purchased by Burston Marsteller, she started to explore Gestalt therapy, psychodrama therapy and reiki.
“I got tired of the corporate world. So, in 1996 I had enough, took a year off, and started to find out how I could help humanity instead of big business.”
She studied past life regression under Canadian leading psychologist Dr. Henry Leo Bolduc and the interlife via American psychologist Dr. Michael Newton.
Past life regression is another means to helping clients with trauma or helping to find out why they act out on certain behavioural patterns.
Perhaps the most famous case of past life regression is that of Pueblo, Colo. Housewife Virginia Tighe. While under hypnosis from Morey Bernstein, she recounted her life in 19th-century Ireland as Bridget “Bridey” Murphy.
Originally hiding under the pseudonym of Ruth Simmons, to avoid backlash as Tighe was a respectable Christian, she revealed specific information about life in the city of Cork.
Regardless of past stories, those who go to Cannon will have a curiosity in past life regression. There may be some skepticism, but eventually, as Cannon gets them to relax, “the soul will take them where they need to go”.
The client could be a survivor of Auschwitz. They may be a wealthy 18th-century woman who is housebound, or, time permitting, their third life session may be that of a slave.
“When they come out of hypnosis, my first question is, ‘Can you see the similarities’?” Cannon says. “People are usually quite shaken by their journeys and they say, well I was a woman in one and a man in another.
“What did those lives mean? Then they get it. They come to that recognition themselves. That’s very important.”
Helping those in need
One of Cannon’s most memorable moments of touching on interlife and helping those in need involves a young woman in Toronto who did not know who she was.
The 17-year-old was found bruised, scratched and crying in a Toronto park by another woman, who took her in. The teen had no memory of who she was or where she was from. The only evidence was that she had a hysterectomy.
Eventually, she got a job at the Arthur Murray Dance School and got married.
“She came to see me because she was going to have minor heart surgery. She wanted to know if she could find out who she was,” Cannon recalls, describing the process of entering into the realm of interlife. “We took her back into the womb, and we went just beyond the womb. She brought herself out of hypnosis. She said she knew who she was. She had three sisters and she got her father’s name.”
A week later, Cannon received an email about how the woman had found her birth family and was originally from North Carolina.
“She had been very badly treated. She wouldn’t go into detail,” Cannon recalls. “The father was an addict and the mother had disappeared. They were filed out to foster families, where she was abused.”
The suspicion is that the young woman had been a victim of human trafficking. Cannon would see her again, as she visited the hypnotherapist with her sister. The resemblance was uncanny.
Cannon comes across people who have past live six to eight times a month. She’s been doing it for over 20 years.
What’s also common is the fact the same souls travel together.
“Our aim is for the soul to evolve and become closer to the light,” Cannons says. “We bring in karma or patterns from past lives because we need to learn the lesson. When we learn the lesson, we can move on to the next (one).”
Experiencers and Interlife
Toronto hypnotherapist Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, who studied under Cannon 20 years ago, says Canada is a leading nation when it comes to the advancement of past-life and interlife regression.
Even though OHIP, Ontario’s healthcare service, does not cover sessions, people come to help resolve emotional or physical issues.
Originally from New York City, she emigrated north with her Canadian husband. It was him who first introduced her to the world of past life regression.
“My husband bought me a past-life regression session with a hypnotist who shall not be named. As soon as she began, I had the feeling that I had done this before,” she recalls. “It wasn’t very long after that I made arrangements to study at the Toronto Hypnosis Centre.”
After studying under Cannon, and an internship, she started practising at the clinic. Eventually, she started handling the treatment of experiencers, people who suspect they’ve experienced missing time and alien abductions. She works with MUFON Canada and The Experiencer Support Association.
She’s done work in the past-life regression field, but it was her use of interlife regression that helped her clients to heal.
One of her first clients, who was also an experiencer, was Wes Roberts. She was able to place him into a hypnotic trance and take him back to his teenage years to one of his first points of high strangeness. In later cases, however, she was able to uncover that his alien abductions were okayed by him during his soul’s interlife.
Interlife is an intermediary point between death and life. In Buddhist beliefs, it is referred to as Bardo. Modern Christian doctrines tend the avoid the belief of reincarnation or Plato’s theory of metempsychosis.
“It’s simply a higher vibratory level. When we’re here, it’s a very dense physical form, dense realities… What we believe is that when we leave the physical body, we ascend to a higher vibrational reality,” Mitchell-Clarke says.
The most accurate representation of this world is through Richard Matheson’s heavily researched fiction novel, What Dreams May Come.
“I think it has very deep connections with how it actually is, in a sense that we can manifest our reality and that we do incarnate in groups,” she adds. “What we seem to do, we really live is that higher vibration.”
When we pass on there is reportedly a meeting with a council, which is something Mitchell-Clarke has heard from multiple experiencers.
“When I brought people into the interlife, they would describe beings that were humanoid, but not necessarily Terran,” she says. “There would be a number of council members, and I would have the person describe them to me.”
Which posits another question, are all our past lives earthbound?
Still, throughout the entire process, Mitchell-Clarke is sure not to lead their client.
“All of this has to be done without leading language,” she says. “It has to be done in such a benign way, that there’s no risk of suggesting anything to them.”
West Coast Life
After being laid off from her previous employer, Kemila Zsange enrolled in a program on how to conduct hypnotherapy.
There was a brief discussion about past life regression, but the teacher was not overly keen on elaborating on the practice.
That’s when the 51-year-old Vancouver Native decided to pursue the opportunity to explore the past lives of others and help those struggling with issues in this life to resolve them.
“I got super excited. And the best way to do it is to practice it,” Zsange says, during a February phone call. “I started doing it with my neighbour, then my partner and then my friends.”
She became self-taught by using the basics of hypnotherapy. Eventually, Zsange would write a book on the subject in 2015.
And there’s no requirement to convert anyone.
“I feel I have to work within someone’s belief systems rather than sell them something,” she says, adding later on, “I really don’t have much of an agenda. Everybody is on their own journey.”
Zsange has faced criticism for her career choice.
Skeptics have denounced the practice of past life regression as imaginative fancies,
She still keeps in touch with the employer that laid her off, and during a lunch conversation, he expressed his concern.
“I remember when I started this and I met up with my former boss, I told him, ‘Well, I’m doing this’. He’s a hardcore Christian and he said, ‘Do you know what you’re doing?’ And I said, ‘I do, thank you so much for laying me off’.”
But the people who want to explore their past incarnations will come to her office in downtown Vancouver.
“I’m busy enough to see people who want this work,” Zsange adds. “My job is to work with people who want it, not to convince people who don’t believe it.”
One client that visited Zsange was a casino worker. During the session, her subconscious took her to 19th century Mississippi.
She was a married woman who was a published author.
“She was very confused. But I was not. I was able to help her,” Zsange recalled. “She still didn’t use the term past life. I softly said, ‘Maybe this is what other people call a past life. If you feel you’re imagining, let’s keep imagining. This is what your subconscious wants to tell you’.
“We went through a past time regression without her even knowing it.”
Another incident involved a woman who regressed back to being a male teacher at a high school in Vancouver. The teacher’s wife had died in a traffic accident.
They had been able to track down the school they taught at, which was still standing.
“Then a few days later, she sent me an email with two pictures,” Zsange says. “She couldn’t believe it. The school she saw in her regression, she saw it.”
Finally, a doctor had paid Zsange a visit that was regressed back to 1920s New York City. He was on Wall Street when the bombing happened.
“He was working there as another male (but) he didn’t believe any of it,” Zsange admits, “If you don’t believe, that’s fine. But he was curious enough to see me.”
The curiosity even reached the CBC’s eyes 15 years ago. Former CBC producer Sarah Kapoor worked on an investigative documentary, “Past Life Investigation”.
Cannon was the acting hypnotherapist during the recorded sessions.
Again, skeptics balk at the practice, using convenient examples of how people recall they were a high-profile figure from a given point in history.
However, most of the cases Cannon, Mitchell-Clarke and Zsange work with are everyday people, going about their business.
“I’m very pragmatic. It’s the journalist in me,” Mitchell-Clarke says. “People always ask me, ‘How did you know I wasn’t imagining it or if I was making it all up?’ I say to them, ‘If you had made it up, your stories would be much more glamourous than a farmer. And secondly, the emotion wouldn’t be so strong.”
For further reading:
- The Journey Within: Past-Life Regression and Channeling by Henry Leo Bolduc (2010)
- Return Again: How to Find Meaning in Your Past Lives and Your Interlives by Georgina Cannon (2012)
- Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton (1994)
- Intersections: A True Story of Extraterrestrial Contact by Wes Roberts and Lesley Mitchell-Clarke (2019)
- Past Life Regression: A Manual for Hypnotherapists to Conduct Effective Past Life Regression Sessions by Kemila Zsange (2015)