Many years ago, I knew a woman who swore she had lived a previous life. She believed she was in Georgia during Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. She told me she had never given the Civil War much thought until she watched Gone With the Wind for the first time. As the war drew closer and closer to Scarlet in the film, the woman said she became increasingly agitated. As Scarlet walked through the remains of the battlefield, the woman became so ill she had to leave the theater. She swore she wasn’t squeamish, but could never watch that show without experiencing physical and emotional pain. She blamed her visceral reaction on having been killed during the Civil War.
I also knew a man who believes he had died on the Titanic in his previous life. He claimed to have memories of being trapped beneath the deck as the ship went down. He relayed this story to me in the early 80s, well before the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. I thought of him as I watched Jack and Rose fight their way to the upper deck, and I wondered...what if?
Past lives. Reincarnation. Could it be a learning process for the soul? Do we choose to be born again, or do we earn a new life by learning a specific lesson in this one? Perhaps all this talk of reincarnation and past lives is nothing but superstitious nonsense. Each person decides their own truth.
Many eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, hold reincarnation as a central tenant.
While in the West, popular culture has brought the idea of reincarnation into contemporary books, movies and songs. For me, the fascination with past lives began with the Paul Williams song, Old Souls from the 1974 film, Phantom of the Paradise, sung by Jessica Harper. The song is haunting, romantic, and filled my young imagination with the idea of loving someone so much you could find them in your next life, or long for them in your present one. The notion stuck with me, and the central theme of Passage was born.