How I Met the Bard from My Past Lives (He Wrote Shantytown)
Opening the Channel to Past Lives and Learning About Former Incarnations
This piece is dedicated to Nannette Domingos, an amazing Cranio Sacral Therapist (CST) who works in Asheville, NC. I was under Nannette’s care for nearly 2 years, for lower back problems. She helped heal these pesky problems I had with my nervous system. I believe her work also opened up a wider channel for me to find ‘him.’ Thank you Nannette. You will always be my hero.
Nannette Domingos: 828-252-9827 (office) & 828-775-775-9827 (cell)
It was the morning before my father’s 70th birthday party on April 16, 2009. My mother had ordered all of her children to write a tribute to him, that we would each read aloud at the party. I had just finished writing my tribute, upstairs in my childhood room, while my parents slept in their room below. I was crying, and my tears were coming from a deep place, farther and farther away from this life, from a place in the distant past.
For the past five years of so, I had a troubled relationship with my father. His problem with me was the same problem I had with me: I was not living up to my fullest potential. Dad wanted me to obtain a permanent job as a high school teacher or something similar. I longed to be a poet and a bard – a performing artist. We’d locked horns several times over the past on this topic, and there was no particular resolution. So, on that morning, I decided to ask a question of my unconscious mind. I said aloud, “Who was my father to me in my past life?” Being gifted with the talent of seeking and retrieving information in this way about former incarnations, I received an immediate answer. “He was not your father.”
“Who was he to me, then?” I continued with my inquiry. This is when I first heard him, and he said “Shantytown!” He kept repeating the word, joyfully, as if he were on his way there at that very moment. His voice became louder and louder. It was clearly a man who was speaking and he was screaming Shantytown! over and over because he wanted to make certain I heard him, and he wanted to keep this connection open between us.
Then, for the first time in my life, I actually saw him. He was wearing a sea frock that billowed in the wind, and some leggings that stopped just above his knees, and he had a drum strapped to his back. He was traveling very fast on foot, coming down a hill and headed for the coastal plain in Northern Ireland. I felt his thoughts, and I realized he was in a hurry, because he thought he might miss something. I have often been in this state of mind as a child and as an adult. He was leaning forward as he walked, in the same way I do, when I am excited and eager to engage with someone or something.
At this precise moment, I realized that I was ‘him.’
My father woke up and we had some coffee while my mother slept. He invited me to the ball field to watch my nephew play, and I accepted. My father was a seafarer his whole life. I asked him if he knew anything about the Shantytowns of Ireland, temporary set-ups on the coast, near the shipwrecks. These were not like the pirates of North Carolina. They were just local people who had become accustomed to searching for valuable resources in this way. They would wait for the ships to wreck upon the shoals and plunder them. My father told me he thought these towns did exist long ago, and that they were dangerous places. While I watched my nephew play shortstop I could see ‘him’ in my mind’s eye. He was still traveling, and while he walked he sang in his head. He was composing one of his greatest ballads – Shantytown. He told me this was his favorite place to perform because it was there he could experience music and verse in its purest form. He continued to scream, sing, and repeat the word Shantytown over and over in my head throughout the ballgame.
After the game, we went to the library to look and see if there was a book there, Tales of the Ivory Coast. My friend and musical composer Liam Sckhot had told me about this book and the Shantytowns described in its pages. The book was not there and we returned home.
I went back up to my room, and it was there that I began the 3-day process of setting Shantytown down on paper. The ballad was already written for me. He told me it had been written long ago, and I need only make the time and space for the ballad to come through me.
It turns out that in my past life, I was a bard and my father a seafarer. Our first meeting was in Shantytown. He immediately recognized me for who I was – a bard – and treated me with the honor and respect that was given to me throughout the land. Because I was so intent on performing, and summoning the energies to do so, I was not always keenly aware of what was going on around me. My father clearly saw the dangers and the violence everywhere. And, he knew how to read the omens of nature, both in the sea and on the land. I cared only about music and verse, and experiencing their powers undistilled and uncensored. During the short time I was in Shantytown, my father was my friend, my guardian, and he offered me protection from unseemly elements, so I could do my job.
My occupation then was the same as it is today. I hold the stories of the land and the people within me. I record these stories and tell them again and again.
On my last night home, before I returned to my home in Virginia, I got drunk on red wine and I stole the brand new dress shirt on the bureau of the guest room. It is a man’s shirt size XXL, clearly purchased by my mother for my father. I took the wrappers back to Virginia with me, so my mother would not find the evidence. But I knew when she found the shirt missing she would think of me. There’s a running joke in my family that whenever I return home for a visit I take anything I please from the house that I happen to need.
This is the first time in my life I consciously decided that I needed to do drag publicly. I needed to do this to fully express something that had only ever been partially expressed and mostly suppressed by me. With my newfound knowledge and Shantytown set down on paper, I had finally found the answer to why my father had raised me like a boy – with the same freedoms, recreational activities, and perceptions that boys have. It was only when I was a teenager and started to bleed, that he began to try to reverse what he had begun – but it was too late by then, my personality was already fully formed. All of my father’s impressions of me were coloured by this life I led in Ireland so long ago, where our souls first encountered one another.
In my father’s mind, women could not be bards. I knew this, because when my mother and he first met, she was a blossoming poet. She had notebooks and she wrote verse. But my father discouraged this behavior so much, that she finally abandoned her dream, got married and mothered four children instead. It used to sadden me that my mother gave in to his will so easily. But now I understood why my father could never marry a bard. In olden times, a bard was always male. He traveled freely and often, and took lovers whenever and wherever he pleased. This life was incompatible with that of a traditional wife and mother. Being raised in a conventional Irish family my father wanted and needed complete devotion from his wife. A bard would not offer this, and the marriage would end in disaster.
Then there was me. The bard told me my father and I made a pact in this past life to return together as kin. We were bored with Ireland and had heard tales of a much larger island beyond the western seas. It was here that we would reincarnate. So we could see each other as often as possible, we would be born to the same family. I specifically wanted to return to a female body, because I had never done this. I had reincarnated over a 1,000 year period into the same small seaside village near Galway Bay as a man and a bard, because that was my destiny and my job. I was the keeper of the lore.
Yet in my American life, far in the future, I somehow knew it was possible for a woman to carry on the lore, be a bard, and still be respected as a woman. I wanted the experience of having a vagina, a clitoris, nice tits, and a woman’s legs, ass, smile, sensuality, and beauty. For this reason, I will never change my sexual assignment. I’ve lived too many lives to reach the place I am now. Though he lives deeply inside of me, the bard has a lot to say about this. He loves being a female and he loves America: every inch of it. Yet it is only by the sea coast that he feels truly at home. Because many of his tales emerge from the coastal life, it is easier for me to pull the lyrical ballads through when I am by the sea. The closer I get to the sea, the more I see him in the mirror. At any moment, I can check and see what he is doing in my mind’s eye. Usually, he is walking somewhere, on his way to perform or to a secret place where he might go to compose. Sometimes he is out drinking with friends until a late hour, pursuing a goddess, or making love to a beautiful woman, or even a man – if he so chooses. He tells me that homosexuality was not a big deal in his culture, though it was not done openly as it is today. The older I become, the less sexual orientation even means to me. But the more I look deeply into my past, the more I see him. He is always happy and if he is sad or feeling tortured by a woman he loved, he is writing verse to assuage his suffering. He has a way of turning the worst situations in life into the best ballads.
He gets such a big kick out of inhabiting a female body. When he’s around the faery women, or he meets a goddess he worshipped in the past, the feminine in him comes through strongly. He has always drawn upon the feminine consciousness and reality to create his ballads.
The best thing that has happened to me through this experience is that I have finally been able to truly forgive my father for his wretched behavior towards me, regarding my occupation — and other matters as well. I finally have learned to love this man who is my father simply for who he is, not what I wish he would be. At the same time I will NEVER allow him to treat me as he did my mother. I am not my mother. I have made different choices in my life than she has, and I am glad for this. Now I truly understand why I have made the choice not to have children. Someday I may have a partner, but never again will I have a partner who will suppress the bard or ‘him.’ I have had partners who disliked one or the other part of me: it always ends badly.
I move freely through my life now, with more openess and joy than I can ever remember, even as a child. My gender identity is entirely fluid, and I have learned to love the male and female sides of myself, and to experience both in all of their fullness.
I have ‘him’ to thank for this. He will not tell me his name. He says it is not important. If he did, he assures me I would begin to see him as separate from me, and he is a great big part of me, not an entity or spirit. I have had dealings with both of these types of energies and I know the difference. He is part of my DNA, and the information he transmits is coming through my brain stem and my body. An entity communicates differently.
Somehow, long ago, probably from one of his witchy familiars or one of the goddesses he mated with – he learned to project himself through time. I am now fully conscious of how to do this too. I’ve been doing it throughout my life – crawling through this crack in time and emerging with these valuable stories — but I have not been comfortable with my talent until now. He says time is a circle. He is standing on the other side of time, at the other end of the circle from where I stand, right now. And he is smiling and laughing because he’s so happy that I have connected to him. This time, I will not let him go. And I will never again deny him admittance to this era that we now live in together. It is vital that he is here with me now — he has some important information to transmit and I will record all of it.
During his incarnations, and each time I see him, he never carries a writing implement. No pen, pencil, piece of chalk, etching tool or paper or papyrus is on him whenever I look at him. I used to wonder why the bards never recorded their poems, but now I understand. The information needed to be transmitted through time and it needed to be preserved. Committing poems and ballads to memory ensured they would never be destroyed by natural or unnatural forces or enemies. When the bard died, the memories would die with his body but the stories could be reborn when the new body was given life and it would be developed in the brain stem and nervous system. As that person reached intellectual, physical and emotional maturity the information could be retrieved, given the right circumstances. DNA was the only way the bards knew how to preserve their work.
The bard knows exactly where to look for and find the faery women, the witches he has known before, and the goddesses he has loved and continues to love. He is tireless in his pursuit of these influential figures and he’s obsessed with women of a magical nature in particular. He is always traveling on some spiritual journey in search of someone somewhere. I am thankful the bard is here now, and he’s here to stay.