Around the age of six, my mother tells me, I began to write (and draw) because I thought I’d had been a soldier in the Civil War. Some of the surviving artwork from my childhood shows (among the “normal” dinosaur and spaceship stuff) Civil War battles. Several of those battle scenes are labeled “1862” and deal with soldiers and bayonets.
Now, let me tell you about a dream I had as a kid, one of which I still remember: that of being bayoneted in the side during a Civil War battle.
It was your basic, being bayoneted-in-your-side kinda dream, you know, battle, violence, that kind of thing, is all I remember. I think it was my right side, but am no longer sure. But, I’d awoken from said dream in intense agony, clutching my side—so much so that I actually fell out of bed. There, on the floor, the intense pain persisted for many minutes after waking from that the dream and I remember writhing and grunting as I clutched my side, my back against the bed. It wasn’t until years later that I’d told anyone about it. In adulthood I finally told one of his brothers, Chris. To both our astonishment, Chris told me he’d had the exact same dream as a kid.
In 1990, I left the Air Force and Colorado and moved briefly to Alexandria, Virginia.
While there, I’d visited the Civil War battlefield Bull Run (aka Manassas). I had already visited several Civil War battlefields before (and since), but, at this one I’d begun to experience what I’ve come to describe as my “Twilight Zone experience”: though I couldn’t name fields or the units that had fought there, I had had the most unnerving experience of literally feeling torn between two worlds: that of being both in the present, but also in the past—in the Civil War—there, at that battlefield. Throughout the entire tour of that battlefield, I felt as if I’d been there before.
It felt as if the battle had just happened yesterday. My body felt electrified, “shifting,” almost “vibratory” as my then-girlfriend and I
toured the battlefield. My girlfriend thought I was crazy…but went along with me and my sudden weirdness. I simply could not shake it. It was the coolest feeling. Such feelings are not uncommon. While some can remember intimate detail, others just get these little weird feelings. I was much older (29) when I experienced this, so there is a lot of mental filtering that can go on (e.g., perhaps one’s soul or “greater entity” doesn’t want you focusing too much on the minutiae of previous lives—again, for whatever reasons, maybe we’d get too caught up in the “grass is greener” syndrome, or wax too nostalgic—but allowing you to remember you had other lives is fine). Were I younger when this happened, I might have been able to recall more, but the older you get, the more “barriers” there are to reincarnational memories, apparently, no matter how “enlightened” one may be (again, see previous “e.g.”). But this feeling was so stark, startling, and real to me it was no different than being repeatedly hit in the gut with a sledgehammer.
And, curiously, these feelings of mine all revolved around the second of the two battles, the one fought in August of 1862.
Now, all my childhood drawings show the typical “blue and gray” uniforms, never the colorful display of the Union Zouave, but the Zouave uniform does seem to hit a “mark” in me, though I’ve never really liked that uniform. Maybe I fought alongside them? So, was I part of the 5th New York (this link is an incredible, tragic account of the decimation of the 5th New York), or some other unit, I’m not sure, but I know that in one Yankee uniform or another I fought and most likely died somewhere on that battlefield. And speaking of uniforms, ever since childhood, anything Civil War, uniforms, weaponry, just the mention of the war or its years, all strike a chord in me. It feels like I’m still wearing those uniforms, every time I see one. It feels like I’m still holding a Springfield rifle, every time I see one. I mean, why would the Civil War hold such sway over me—or anyone, for that matter? WWII holds similar sway, but but not nearly as intensely as the Civil War does, except for B-17s. Where would such an “interest” arise? Most women I know don’t seem to have much interest in wars, so why does my writer friend Teresa Funke have such an intense interest in WWII? As a kid, I lived and breathed the Civil War, my room totally done up in all things Civil War: walls painted gray, royal blue carpet, blue-tan-and-gray-striped curtains, stars-and-stripes light fixture. Flags up on my walls, maps. I could rattle off battles and campaigns like nobody’s business, the major players on both sides. Why? To me, “just an interest” doesn’t cut it—why the interest? Why not in Rome or flowers? Cars? There was something inside of me that drove my desire to study the Civil War so damned intensely, to visit the battlefields, read the history. I don’t believe in coincidences. There’s always a reason for why things are.
And it’s not that every leaning or interest of ours is from a reincarnational life, but some are, and we need to internally examine our own thoughts and feelings to make these determinations. I do not let any other lives—previous or otherwise—rule my life. I do not pine for them nor romanticize them. I am firmly in my current existence. But I am amazed and curious about the other lives I feel I’ve lived. I know I meet others from other lives in my current one, but it doesn’t mean we have to be best buds or even stay in contact. Sometimes it’s just enough to pass by and simply say “Hi,” and move on. But some lives were quite intense and had nasty outcomes, like my Civil War, Titanic, or WWII B-17 tail gunner experiences. I think we do attract experiences and “things” from other lives into the current life, because it’s a matter of energy having a Venn Diagram-like effect, and it’s a good thing that not everything transfers from one life to the others. But, I do try to share the positive energy between my lives, learn from them, and move on.
I’ve been back to Manassas two more times in this life, and in none of the other visits had I behaved as I had on that first trip. I have been to other battlefields, Gettysburg (twice), Ball’s Bluff, etc., and never felt like I had during the first trip to Manassas. But, that’s okay…and is as it should be. I’m now aware of what happened and growing from it. I even wrote a supernatural short story that was inspired by visiting one of the Manassas grave sites.
In the end, I love my current life and, as I understand things, realize all our lives are going on concurrently, though we perceive them linearly (those of us who perceive them at all), living in corporeal existence. I’m not interested in retreating back into any of these lives (Are you kidding? I certainly don’t want to relive dying on a Civil War battlefield, being shot out of a flak-ridden sky as a WWII tail gunner, nor again going to my watery grave with the Titanic!), but I am interested in what seems important enough to percolate back into my consciousness from these other existences (I was once muscle tested by a chiropractor to find out how many lives I was supposed to have lived; I didn’t know what he was doing as he rattled off “random” numbers. He came up with 14). Though it is the present that is always the point of power, the focus in which we should be in life, do pay attention to the odd little predilections you have, the so-called incongruous thoughts you might have. Where might they come from? Do you seem to lean toward the Prohibition Era? Ancient Egypt? Allow the thoughts, images, or feelings to come through…acknowledge them, then send some positive energy back to them. Positive energy permeates all Time, and, therefore, can change the past or the future…and make life a little better for everyone.
All photos are my own, taken April 22, 1990, and scanned into digital format.
- My Ronin/Samurai Life (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Silver Man (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Ghost Inside My Child (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Just Thought I’d Say “Hi”…. (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Liberty Belle Down In Flames (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The B-17 Liberty Belle (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- The Tail Gunner and His Ticket Taker (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Tail Gunner (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)