Interview with Marie Gates
Are We Our Past Lives?: Soul Patterns in Personalities and Relationships
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (7/11)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is pleased to interview Marie Gates, who is here to talk about her new book, “Are We Our Past Lives? Soul Patterns in Personalities and Relationships.”
Born in Port Huron, Michigan, Marie Gates earned an M.A. in psychology from Wayne State University. For several years, she taught in colleges and universities. Ms. Gates has spent the past thirty years exploring reincarnation. Hypnotic regressions and spiritual healing sessions revealed a number of her past lives. Research confirmed the existence of Rev. Jacob Gruber, the 19th century circuit-riding minister described in “Are We Our Past Lives?” By sharing her experiences, Ms. Gates hopes to enlighten her readers about reincarnation and how it affects their lives. Ms. Gates lives with her husband in southern Michigan.
Tyler: Welcome, Marie. I’m really excited to talk to you today since I’ve long been interested in reincarnation. To begin, will you tell us a little about how you discovered your past lives?
Marie: My exploration started when I taught psychology at the University of Alabama. I had a student acquainted with a hypnotist who did regressions into past lives. At that time I was an Agnostic who did not believe in the paranormal, but I had experienced a dream I could not explain. I was a woman from Earth with an extraterrestrial lover, in a peaceful world where I wanted to stay. When my husband awakened me, I became angry. I consulted the hypnotist to shed light on the dream. Mr. Taylor and I uncovered five past lives.
In one, a woman I call Amanda Randall lived with an abusive husband and their son and daughter. She escaped with an alien lover. Mohari was human, but he came from another world. It took more than one session, but I recalled the name of the woman and her husband. They had lived in the eastern United States in the 1940s.
When my husband and I returned to Michigan, he suggested I investigate my past life, and I flew to the New England city. After checking into my hotel, I visited the library nearby. There, in the city directories, I located the name of my past-life husband and the family’s address. I was surprised the next day when I found a liquor store at the address. The proprietor told me there were apartments above and behind the store. I asked the young man if he knew the landlord from the 1940s. He said he was buying the building from him, and he gave me his name and phone number. Back at my hotel I called the former landlord, and he supplied the married name of the Randall woman who had grown up in his building.
It took several phone calls before I located the younger Amanda. I told her I was studying genealogy, but she never questioned why I had chosen her family. (We are not conventional relatives.) Like the woman in the dream, her mother had borne three children, two boys and a girl. In both families, one son had died at birth. However, the younger Amanda’s father had not been abusive, and there had been no lover. I thought I had the wrong family until I asked Amanda how her mother had died.
My past personality had been a meticulous housekeeper, and she literally worked herself to death. Because her son was to return home from the army after serving in World War II, she worked hard to make the family’s apartment spotless. Hours after he arrived her ulcer ruptured.
What her daughter said next shocked me. Jacob Randall had insisted on sending his hemorrhaging wife to a CATHOLIC hospital because he had been raised in that religion. This took me back to my first memory—as an older woman dying in a hospital attended by nuns in their habits. My daughter was at my side. I asked Amanda if she had been with her mother when she passed. “I held her hand,” she replied. I still recall her by my bedside in her long, dark coat and scarf. It was February in New England, and Amanda had stopped at the hospital to visit her mother before going to work. I was born the following May.
When I learned to talk I shared the memory with my mother. She said it was a dream, but I recalled the scene when I was awake. Until Amanda revealed the circumstances of her mother’s death, I had no explanation for my first memory.
The other past lives in “Are We Our Past Lives? Soul Patterns in Personalities and Relationships” were obtained from spiritual healers. I was able to find evidence for one of them, Jacob Gruber, a circuit-riding Methodist minister.
Tyler: Please tell us more about the spiritual healers.
Marie: Founder D’Ann and her associates practiced Harmonic Vibrational Therapy®, HVT. D’Ann began conducting sessions in August 1987, when the entity Felix came to her as she worked with a quartz crystal. He told her she would be able to help people by accessing the Akashic Records. He and other guides would aid her in revealing past lives and in healing the karma clients brought in from them.
The Akashic Records are part of an energy field surrounding our planet. They are like a computer system which contains every past, present, and possible future occurrence on Earth including our images, desires, thoughts, and actions.
Tyler: Marie, would you explain a little bit more about the purpose of these Akashic Records—are they like an embodiment of history—is it what we Christians mean when we say that God knows our every word and thought?
Marie: Akasha, a Hindu term, means ether. The Akashic Record is imprinted on the akasha. This record is known to Christians as “The Book of Life,” and it explains how God knows all about us. Its purpose is to keep track of everything, especially the actions of individuals, their societies, and civilizations. Much wisdom can be gained from it, particularly how common mistakes in our history might be avoided in the future. When a person is able to access his personal soul record, he will learn his life purpose and how he has grown during his lifetime. This involves opportunities and challenges, including those in relationships. More basic information may be found in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Akashic Record,” by Synthia and Colin Andrews.
Tyler: Marie, I understand that in your previous book, “Shadows on My Mind: A Psychologist Explores Reincarnation and PSI,” you explain how you first became interested in exploring past lives—will you tell us a little about how this journey began for you?
Marie: I began to undergo a change in consciousness just before my thirtieth birthday. It started when I began to crave music from the 1930s and 1940s. (I especially enjoyed the Big Bands.) Then I dreamed I was abducted by aliens. This led me to books about the paranormal. In “Cosmic Consciousness,” Richard Bucke wrote of those who went through sudden, unexpected experiences which changed their views of life and death. My next vivid dream, where Amanda and Mohari dwelled in a place of perfect harmony, dramatically altered my life. I needed to learn about them and their world, and I became a spiritual seeker.
Tyler: Marie, I mentioned when I introduced you that you’ve been interested in exploring reincarnation for thirty years. When you began, were people receptive to ideas about reincarnation and do you feel they have become more receptive since then?
Marie: Some people have always believed in reincarnation; the Hindus and some Native American tribes are among them. At present more than twenty-five percent of Americans believe in past lives. Thirty years ago, the percentage was less, but even then people were tolerant when I spoke of reincarnation. Some merely listened, but others shared their paranormal experiences or those of people they knew. These included vivid dreams of times and places they could not explain. Others shared near-death experiences. Rarely have I encountered anyone who argued with me regarding my belief in past lives, but some have admitted they do not believe in the concept.
I think people are more willing to accept reincarnation because the books of Brian Weiss, Sylvia Browne, and others have opened their minds. The well-publicized 2009 book, “Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot,” has made non-believers think seriously about past lives. Authors Bruce and Andrea Leininger’s two-year-old son James began having persistent nightmares where he was trapped in a burning plane. The child was also obsessed with airplanes and had an unexplained knowledge of World War II planes. Bruce is a Christian who believed reincarnation was incompatible with his beliefs. Much research and contact with veterans who had served with James Huston, his son’s past personality, led Bruce to believe James had been fighter pilot James M. Huston Jr.
Tyler: Marie, before you told me about James, I was just going to ask you whether you feel there is any other explanation for your dreams and memories—an overactive childhood imagination, or perhaps as a child seeing films about aliens which wreaked havoc on your subconscious. Is there anything that counts as scientific proof, or that you believe proves reincarnation?
Marie: I do not believe my imagination or trauma of any kind can explain my dreams and memories, but from childhood I was interested in science fiction. In elementary school my favorite book was “The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet,” by Eleanor Cameron. Later, I enjoyed the books of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. I treasure the original movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still;” the alien reminds me of Mohari, the alien lover of my dreams. I avoid frightening movies featuring violent ET’s, such as “Alien.”
Regarding scientific proof of reincarnation, the studies of Ian Stevenson, M.D. come closest to it. Dr. Stevenson, who had been an endowed professor at the University of Virginia, traveled the world for forty years, investigating over 2,500 cases suggesting reincarnation. He studied only the claims of children who had spontaneously recalled their past lives. Dr. Stevenson did not consider accounts of former lives uncovered by means of dreams, hypnosis, psychics, or other methods worthy of study because he doubted their accuracy. “Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives,” by journalist Tom Shroder, reveals the professor’s methods.
In his research Dr. Stevenson conducted interviews of the child claiming to be reincarnated, his family, the family of his former personality, and others who knew about the case, such as neighbors. Newspapers, photographs, hospital records, death certificates, and other documents were studied. In some cases children’s birth marks were especially revealing. Dr. Stevenson’s book “Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect,” contains remarkable photographs linking children to their past lives. Included is the leg of a girl from Burma. She was born with her right leg missing from about ten centimeters below the knee. Dr. Stevenson discovered the lower right leg of her former personality had been severed when a train sliced it in two as it ran over the girl.
Tyler: Marie, I can give credit to reincarnation stories of past lives on earth, but when you talk about aliens, that’s something else. Can you tell us more about your alien lover? Is it possible to have been an alien in a past life ourselves? Where do aliens fit into the bigger picture of how the universe works?
Marie: Most scientists agree the existence of intelligent life on other planets is extremely likely, given there are probably millions of planets in the universe. However, many people are not ready to consider how aliens, or ETs, have influenced us on Earth. Some cite evidence of visits from antiquity. It may be argued the building of the pyramids in Egypt was guided by those not of this world. I would recommend people interested in the topic watch the series “Ancient Aliens” on TV’s History channel.
D’Ann connected the dream of my alien lover, Mohari, to a past life in another world. She did not give any details, except that we lived in a physical world. During hypnosis I recalled our smaller space craft crashed into the mother ship, killing us and our children. This memory has affected me. While driving a car I have always feared “crashing into something.” I did not obtain my driver’s license until age twenty-six.
Under hypnosis, I was able to remember little about Mohari, only that he seemed kind and concerned about me. He did everything he could to avoid the crash of our ship, but the craft was malfunctioning, and he was helpless. Perhaps I was able to recall this life because it ended violently.
From the dream, I only remember our closeness, and the perfect happiness I felt in our world. Renowned hypnotherapist Michael Newton, in his book “Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives,” notes the reluctance of clients who have had experiences on other planets to discuss this privileged information.
Dr. Newton also writes about the unity and harmony of a world one of his clients visits between lifetimes. Maybe Mohari and I met in such a place between our physical lives. Michael Newton also suggests another explanation for Mohari. There are entities without bodies who visit Earth as tourists. They sometimes help those on Earth to pursue a different path. My dream of Mohari changed my life, leading me to become a spiritual seeker and to write about my experiences.
Tyler: Marie, I’m curious about your dislike of violent aliens in films. Are all aliens benevolent to humans then? Are they somehow spiritually or intelligently more highly evolved than us, or do you know very little about them? What misconceptions would you say we have about them? Are they major players in reincarnation?
Marie: I dislike violence in any form, and I stopped viewing intense films, whether they are physically violent or emotionally turbulent, long ago. Because of my sensitivity, I have trouble dealing with the feelings they evoke. I enjoy thoughtful movies about other worlds, such as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, even though wars are fought in the series.
I believe intelligent aliens are a lot like humans; some are benevolent, and some have evil intentions. Many of us have the misconception they are all friendly and helpful. Those who have had contact with us would need to possess superior technology to reach us, but that would not necessarily make them more spiritually advanced. I believe aliens like us, with physical bodies, are subject to the same laws of reincarnation as we are. Those without bodies may help us on our karmic paths, as Michael Newton has indicated in “Destiny of Souls.”
Tyler: Will you tell us about Rev. Gruber, whom you claim you are the reincarnation of? Is it unusual to be reincarnated as a different sex from a past life? What convinces you that you were Rev. Gruber in a past life?
Marie: It is not at all unusual for a person to have incarnations of the opposite sex. In fact, this is the norm. The soul needs to experience life in different bodies to balance itself. We have had lives as males and females, been wealthy and poor, incarnated as members of different races, lived in various countries, and embraced many religions.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1778, Jacob Gruber was an abolitionist preacher who rode circuits in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He was also stationed in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Rev. Gruber served the Methodist church for fifty years, between 1800 and his death in 1850. His obituaries laud him as a well-known, charismatic minister. He was also described as honest and devoted, but eccentric. Jacob Gruber was tough on vice; he was known for removing cigars from men’s mouths.
Rev. Gruber’s efforts to control others led to trouble for him. “The Life of Jacob Gruber,” by W.P. Strickland, portrays his trial for inciting Maryland slaves to rebel. He was exonerated, but the frugal minister complained of high legal bills for his defense.
I believe Jacob Gruber is my past personality for several reasons. Personality characteristics such as thrift, passion, and independence link us. Rev. Gruber did not like his job as pastor of the Baltimore church. He was at everyone’s “beck and call,” and he requested a transfer, which he received. My experience at that church, now Lovely Lane Church and Museum, convinced me I had been Jacob Gruber.
Like me, Rev. Gruber was a writer. I wanted to learn more about him and to read his articles in the “Christian Advocate and Journal,” so I visited the Baltimore church and museum. As I read his work, I became dizzy and nauseous. Then I had a vertigo attack and had to leave. I believe the residual energy from my predecessor’s unhappiness there made me ill. Since we are part of the same soul, I would have been more affected by the negativity than others.
There is also a physical resemblance between Rev. Gruber and me, common between past and present personalities. In addition, I had a chilling experience when I studied Rev. Gruber’s picture in his biography: I recognized myself. I believe this was because he wore neither beard nor mustache and would have looked at himself as he shaved, probably every day. This gazing at myself made an indelible impression on our soul, one to be remembered throughout time.
Tyler: Marie, I’m interested in your comment that we can be male/female, rich/poor, and especially from various cultures. I’ve played with regression therapy myself but only seen past lives in the Western cultures for myself (although I’m not convinced my imagination wasn’t just being overactive). But my question regards soul groups. I understand people come back in groups, so someone who is your mother in this life might be your daughter in the next, for example. Have you found that to be the case, and is it likely your whole soul group could be Australian aborigines in one lifetime, then medieval Frenchmen in the next?
Marie: First, imagination is considered a spiritual trait, so please do not consider yours overactive. Those who recall past lives generally have good imaginations. Second, souls tend to incarnate in the same cultural groups, so your experience is not unusual. I was only able to find incarnations in Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.
Souls certainly do come back in groups. All of the close relatives I have known: grandparents, parents, siblings, husband, son, and some in-laws have appeared in the past lives I have discovered. My husband, son, and I died in the Crimean War. We passed prematurely, so we incarnated again to finish what we were unable to accomplish in Russia. Our son was present in all the past lives the spiritual therapists found for him and me. I was his sister in Palestine, his brother in Scandinavia, and his mother in France. We were brothers in Byzantine Greece. Colin was my step-father in France during the revolution and my father in Illinois in the 1800s.
Members of my soul group might have been Native Americans in Canada generations ago, and in the next we might reside in the Alps of Europe. It is probable unidentified members of our soul group have incarnated in this life. They tend to be associated in each life by blood ties and live in the same area, according to Michael Newton. He has also found secondary groups around a primary soul group can total up to 1,000 souls or more. They may have little association with a primary group except to be available for special purposes. A member of a cluster group may have a characteristic that a primary group individual needs and can be used to teach a karmic lesson.
Tyler: Marie, what do you say to people who think reincarnation is false, or at least, that you could just be imagining the past lives you claim you remember?
Marie: Worldwide, millions of people believe in it, including Hindus, Buddhists, Druse, some Christians, and those in tribal societies, such as Native Americans. Dr. Ian Stevenson spent forty years on his research exploring reincarnation. He found strong evidence for past lives in over 2,500 cases around the world.
Tyler: What do you think makes “Are We Our Past Lives?” stand out from other books on reincarnation, including books by well known authors on the topic like Brian Weiss?
Marie: “Are We Our Past Lives?” is different from other books on reincarnation in two major ways. First, it illustrates how former lives can affect personalities and relationships in a current life in greater depth than competing titles. In the eleventh century southwestern U.S., I was a star ball player of the Hohokam tribe. I believe the depression I suffered in my current life began when my Native American parents shamed me for spending my time playing ball rather than taking a job to support the family. They eventually forced me from their home, and we never spoke again. The ball player also alienated himself from the rest of his society, a serious infraction for a Hohokam. In the present life I was sad and shy, avoiding people during my youth.
Second, my book emphasizes the cumulative origin of mental conditions such as depression and chronic anger. My son’s anger came from several past lives. In the French Revolution he lost everything; the duke and his family died at the guillotine. His failure as a farmer in 19th century Illinois also led to anger. In a 20th century life, he died angry when a horse kicked him in the head. Most other books on reincarnation restrict themselves to the development of phobias from a single life, such as an unreasonable fear of water due to drowning in a past life. This limits their scope. The incarnations in “Are We Our Past Lives?” cover more characteristics, and they span 1,700 years.
Tyler: Marie, may I ask about your religious upbringing. Were you raised in any specific religion, and how do you think that affected your interest in reincarnation?
Marie: I was raised Roman Catholic, but from childhood, I felt the religion was not right for me. I left the church in college, in part because I was searching for a spiritual connection Catholicism could not provide. A belief in reincarnation satisfies my desire to find meaning in life. Now I understand who I am and why, and I want to share my wisdom with others. This is part of my life purpose.
Tyler: How would you respond to religious people who do not believe in reincarnation? Is there any room in Christianity or other Western religions to compromise with such beliefs which are usually viewed as Eastern?
Marie: First, I respect their views. However, there is room in Christianity for reincarnation. In fact, some think Jesus Christ believed in it, and so did many early Christians. See Matthew 16:14. Here Jesus asks who men say he is. His followers answer that some think he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus did not tell them this could not be so.
Unfortunately, reincarnation is not a Christian concept. In A.D. 553 Emperor Justinian I convened the Fifth Ecumenical Council. It condemned the writings of Christian philosopher Origen, who believed in reincarnation. Since Pope Vigilius and most Western bishops refused to attend the meeting, this edict was not validated. The Church may reconsider the teachings of Origen, including his belief in the preexistence of the soul.
Tyler: Marie, do you have a favorite past life?
Marie: Yes, I can relate to Jacob Gruber. I admire his devotion, passion, and courage. However, he was hard on people, particularly clergymen of other religions. I am not proud of his ridiculing them. In my life I have replaced this tendency with kindness.
Tyler: Do you think you are in some way special or fortunate that you can remember your past lives, or is it something everyone can potentially do?
Marie: Anyone who is open to it may recall past lives through hypnosis. They come to many of us during meditation and dreams. Some have visions. Clues to past lives manifest in an attraction to a person, place, object, or time period.
I feel fortunate to have recalled the names of my past personality, Amanda Randall, and her husband, as well as the time and place in which they lived. I believe this is partially because I was born only three months after Amanda passed. In addition, Amanda’s death was premature. She was only fifty-three when she departed, and her daughter was about to marry. People are more likely to recall their past lives when their deaths were violent or premature.
Tyler: Will you explain a little about the role of karma in our past and present lives?
Marie: We mainly incarnate to work on past-life karma, commonly known as cause and effect. Sylvia Browne believes everything about us is related to a past life: appearance, health, race, religion, values, habits, talents, handicaps, and many other qualities. (I call some of these soul patterns.) We choose these characteristics to balance the karma we have incurred in previous lives, and this makes us who we are. Family members and associates are also selected to work on karma. If we have injured a sister in a past life we may reincarnate to help her.
A good example of karma in operation is featured in Chapter 8 of “Are We Our Past Lives?” Tim Cooper was a young gold miner in the California Gold Rush. Although he dug all the gold, his partners decided not to share the profits with him, instead hiding it in a cave beside a stream. When Tim discovered the stash, he went into a rage, and his partners tied him up and took the gold. Tim fought to get out of the degraded cave, but the more he struggled the more mud poured in, and he suffocated.
The spiritual healer who uncovered this life identified one of Tim’s partners as Averill, a relative of mine. As I was working on Chapter 8, a meaningful coincidence (synchronicity) occurred. Averill called me from a hospital where he had been placed because he had difficulty keeping down food and breathing. He had just come out of surgery and was relieved he could breathe freely. “Don’t die by suffocation,” he warned me. “Gasping for air is horrible.”
This relative has helped by teaching me to be aware of situations in which I might be harmed.
Tyler: How would you summarize what you think is most important about remembering our past lives, and why should people make the effort to do so?
Marie: Recalling past lives helps in understanding one’s self and others. From them we learn who we are and why. I did not recognize my arrogance as a girl until I learned about Jacob Gruber’s feeling of superiority. I had not known its origin, but by middle age, I had balanced it. I give my mother credit because, like Rev. Gruber, she felt she was better than others, and she attempted to control them. She mirrored the person I had been, and I imitated her. Later on, I recognized our error and changed, working out the karma I had brought in from my past life.
Tyler: If we are born not remembering our past lives, wouldn’t there be a reason for why we don’t remember them? Why do we have to participate in these regressive therapies to remember them? Wouldn’t it be better not to remember them if that’s the way it was meant to be?
Marie: If we remembered our past lives as children, we would likely be confused. Our ability to focus on the present would be impaired. Suppose a boy recalled a man had killed him in a past life. Would a desire for revenge take over his life? If so, it would be better not to recall a past life. However, knowledge of past incarnations can benefit mentally healthy adults in adjusting to their lives. A woman caring for her elderly mother might be at peace with the situation if she discovered her mother had done the same for her in a past life. Undergoing hypnotic regressions or consulting spiritual healers about past lives is a choice some will make and others will reject.
Tyler: I’ve always struggled with that question, Marie, but your answer makes perfect sense to me. So what is next for you? Do you plan to write more books about reincarnation or on other topics?
Marie: I have been working on “Journey into Azure Night” for several years, revising it many times. This is a work of fiction inspired by my dream of Mohari and the peaceful world we inhabited. It is my next book. I do not know if I will write others.
Tyler: I can’t wait to hear more about it, Marie. I hope you’ll come back when it is finished. Thank you for the interview today. Before we go, will you tell us about your website and what additional information our readers can find there about “Are We Our Past Lives? Soul Patterns in Personalities and Relationships”?
Marie: I have an extensive website at www.AreWeOurPastLives.com. The Preface and Introduction to “Are We Our Past Lives? Soul Patterns in Personalities and Relationships” is included, and Chapter 1 may be downloaded from the site. Newspaper articles, reviews, and photos of my book signings are posted on the In the News page. My book is available on Amazon.com and, by request, from most bookstores and other channels. It will soon be on Kindle.
Thanks again, Marie, for the educational and fascinating interview. I wish you much luck with “Are We Our Past Lives?” and all your future books.