My two experiences with Bruce Goldberg led me in two quite different directions. In one case, I was self-hypnotized by a tape Goldberg provided. In the second instance, I was hypnotized in his presence.
My first "recollection" was this:
"I see her kneeling before a clear pool in a vast cavern. The pool is small, oval, an artificial cistern of some sort. She is using it as a mirror, braiding her long black hair. Her skirt is long, woven from flax, perhaps. It is rough, homespun, the color of wheat. Her long open jacket is elaborately woven of many colors, including metallic threads. Her name is Mala. I see her with many children -- some her own, romping under silvery olive trees. Her husband is away fighting in a war. He is tall, bearded and rides a horse. I feel her pain at the separation.
"Is she . . . was she . . . me?"
My second experience:
"The jungle is dank and smells from wet earth and decaying vegetation. The 13-year-old novice hunter is named Huhnh. It seems that he has always been alone. He was raised in pell-mell fashion by whatever village mother happened to dole out a little extra food, a little extra love. He learned early to hunt and he often hunted for himself deep in the giant ferns, the twisting vines. It seems that I am Huhnh. Or perhaps I am making him up. I cannot be sure. . . .
"Under Goldberg's persistent questioning I follow Huhnh . . . It is only a few hours after he has discovered himself abandoned by the entire village and he is curled in despair under a giant fern. He is dying. He is, I say, in response to Goldberg's questioning, dying from bug bites. I hate bugs. Especially spiders. It is undeniably a powerful experience. I come back to myself with tears on my face."
Afterward, I suggest, "It might be something, all right, but a past life?" I have the feeling that I may have made it all up.
Goldberg responds: "Call it a therapeutic experience, if you like, but for want of a better name, let's call it a past life.
"What the heck?"