The Spiritual Arts Foundation

Ann Merivale - Woman Through the Ages

November 18, 2022

Ann Merivale - Woman Through The Ages

Nowadays I see having been rejected at birth by my father on account of being the ‘wrong’ gender as the greatest gift I’ve received in my life. If that sounds strange, I’ll explain: had I had the idyllic childhood that my two young grandchildren in Devon are at present enjoying, I would certainly have become neither a writer nor a therapist and – apart from my wonderful family – these are the two things that have brought me the most satisfaction. Being brought up strongly Catholic had instilled in me a belief in God that I treasure, yet it took many years and a great deal of excellent therapy firstly to be able to believe that I was lovable and secondly to rid myself of my father’s brainwashing that I was ‘stupid’.

When, at the age of forty-seven, I first became interested in holistic medicine, my religion initially got in the way of following my friends who believed in reincarnation. Then, in 1991, a lecture I heard about the strongly Christian 'sleeping prophet’, Edgar Cayce, caused an instant conversion! Furthermore, through subsequent study, I discovered that acknowledgement of reincarnation had been pretty much universal in the early Church – until the Council of Constantinople in AD 553, when the power-hungry clergy were happy to follow Theodora’s desire not to return to Earth as anything other than an Empress!

Joining the Edgar Cayce Association then led to my obtaining a ‘Past-life reading’ from Aron Abrahamsen, his one-time associate, who not only described five previous lives that rang true for me, but also said that I’d “come this time partly as a writer, to disseminate information on the spiritual life”. This resulted in my embarking upon a book entitled KARMIC RELEASE, which was aimed initially at showing from my personal experience how the past can affect the present. Later, however, after obtaining a Diploma from the Jungian psychotherapist, the late Dr. Roger Woolger, I completed the book by demonstrating in it how his unique brand of past-life regression (not using hypnotherapy and which he named Deep Memory Process therapy) worked in practice. I also at this point included self-help exercises at the end of each section. This book was published in 2006 by Sai Towers in Bangalore, but that company suffered a demise after my personal ‘guru’, the avatar Sathya Sai Baba, had left His body in 2011. Second hand copies, however, can often be found on the internet and I even still have four spares myself, which I would happily pass on at a low rate.

My second book, SOULS UNITED – The Power of Divine Connection, arose thanks to my youngest sister, Philippa Merivale (previously a colour therapist, Philippa was the founder of ‘Metatronic Life and Healing’), introducing me to the now very renowned clairvoyant, Edwin Courtenay. After he had explained to both of the concept of twinsoulship and I had also studied Edgar Cayce’s definition of the three different types of soulmate, Edwin suggested that I write a book on that subject. Then people who were either with their twin soul or suffering on his/her account started to land in my lap in my therapy practice! And I added to these clients’ case histories by researching obvious twin-soul relationships in history. This book, published in 2009 by Llewellyn Worldwide, USA, went out of print several years later, but again can readily be found on the internet and in this case I have fourteen copies remaining from those that Llewellyn sold me at a reduced rate.

Ann Merivale - Discovering the Life Plan

The third book, DISCOVERING THE LIFE PLAN – Eleven Steps to your Destiny had a very different type of conception. As a ‘recovering Catholic’, one thing I had against the Church was that it taught nothing at all about the Afterlife and so I fancied the idea of writing a book giving information on that important subject. Although I was already learning a good deal both through reading and the practice of my therapy, I felt I needed more input on the esoteric side and so I approached the clairvoyant Lilla Bek. She then invited me to spend a day at her house to discuss the project. English not being her mother tongue, Lilla had already made use of ghost writers for her previous books, but the idea she came up with was much more comprehensive than mine, i.e. a book that would cover the whole of life in stages, starting from pre-conception and ending with the Afterlife. Back at home I typed up the notes we’d made between us, which Lilla then submitted to her publisher, Thorsons. They, however, had another project in mind for her, which left her with no time for continuing to work with me. So I hung onto the plan in the hope of finding another clairvoyant to give me the sort of information that Lilla had had in mind. I showed the plan to one or two people, who responded by saying “That’s a book that needs to be written!”, but eventually, as time went on with no other clairvoyant putting in an appearance, I decided that I had no choice other than to embark upon the book myself. It made sense to me to use for the various stages of life (which Lilla Bek had named the ‘Eleven Steps’) material gleaned from experiences of friends and clients (the latter of course always with their permission and more often than not with the names being changed). The end product was inevitably different from the original plan, but thus, in 2010, began my long and happy journey with John Hunt Publishing!

DELAYED DEPARTURE – A Beginner’s Guide to Soul Rescue, published in 2013, had a very different type of conception. Having attended an Introductory workshop on Shamanism given by the shamanic practitioner Simon Buxton, I leapt at the opportunity a few months later to attend a weekend with him on the topic of Death, Dying and the Beyond. On the first afternoon, after talking about the importance of freeing the souls who were unaware of having died and were consequently polluting our planet’s atmosphere, Simon drummed us into a journey to the underworld. To my astonishment, before that journey was complete, I heard a clear voice in my head saying firmly “You’re to continue doing this work at home on your own every Friday afternoon.”! Well, I had during various previous workshops I’d attended over the years made resolutions that I’d failed to keep for more than, say, two or three weeks, but this one was clearly different. So, before boarding my train home, I bought a notebook at the station in which to record my experiences.

Ann Merivale - Delayed Departure: A Beginner's Guide to Soul Rescue

At the time, following my husband, David Pearson’s, retirement from his Chair of Mathematics at Hull University, we were living in Ludlow and, on account of, for instance, the Wars of the Roses, that town is simply riddled with ‘ghosts’. It was consequently a particularly important place in which to be doing shamanic work of this nature. Although I wasn’t at home every Friday afternoon, I did meticulously record so many of my interesting and varied journeys that one day it suddenly occurred to me to gather some of them into a little book. Then my artist friend, Karen Roberts, kindly agreed to enhance it with several delightful illustrations. DELAYED DEPARTURE – A Beginner’s Guide to Soul Rescue was published in 2013. (Here I’ll just mention that bringing out that little book didn’t see the end of my interest in ‘Death, Dying and the Beyond’, but I won’t breathe another word on that before my final one, which I’m working on now, has been accepted for publication!)

David and I produced our first two children in fairly quick succession. While he was totally content with our ‘pigeon pair’, for me, having been the oldest of six, this was more difficult and he has ever been a very obliging husband. He had particularly strong views about not adding further to the world’s population and I anyway didn’t fancy being an ‘elderly tertia’. So, in November 1979, we were given the immense privilege of receiving into our home a two-week old son via Barnado’s. I, who had an enormous amount to learn, naïvely imagined that – apart from being saved the pains of childbirth and having some difficulty with breast feeding – it wouldn’t be that different from our previous exciting new arrivals. This was also long before I’d started to learn about reincarnation, but some years later I found out about various karmic links that all four of us had with our amazing Christopher (previously a basketball scholar in the US, then a highly successful player in Europe who also ran his own recruitment agency, now doing well as a Maths teacher, but – if only this country’s political climate could change in time! – with the potential of making an excellent Green PM. Here it is only fair to add that our two older children are equally amazing, Paul being a mathematician working in software development and Alice a digital editor.)

We, however, are among the lucky ones who adopt. As with the ‘twin soul’ book, after I’d conceived the idea of writing one on adoption and karma, people with relevant experiences (many of them clients) started landing in my lap. The book, whose gestation period was a good seven years, expanded to include the related topics of fostering and step families and THICKER THAN BLOOD? A Fresh Look at Adoption, Fostering and Step Families was eventually published in 2015. Like life, its stories range from heart-rending to very happy and, also like life, none of them is without its challenges.

Ann Merivale - Thicker Than Blood

Any experienced therapist will tell you both that, for profound healing to take place, a safe environment is essential and that it’s important for the therapist to continue working on her/himself. I was blessed all the way! When, at the age of twenty-nine, I managed to escape from the oppression of my family by going to Geneva, where I worked for five years as a Romance linguist, a friend recommended a psychotherapist and she became for a while a mother figure for me, giving me much that I’d missed out on as a child. She also nursed me through a devastating heartbreak, thus preparing me, when he came on the scene, for a much more suitable partner. David was doing research at the University of Geneva, on two years’ leave of absence from that of Hull, and so it was in the North East that we reared our family.

It was partly Christopher’s ‘bad behaviour’ that initially sent me to Mark Young, who runs the Ripon Natural Healing Centre, and he remains to this day my chief mentor. He it was who first encouraged me to study reincarnation in greater depth, who first told me that I should write a book and who supported my decision to train in Deep Memory Process therapy, ultimately inviting me to practise the therapy in his clinic. He knows me inside out, never hesitates to challenge me, is a great confidant and has treated me successfully with numerous homoeopathic remedies.

The Woolger therapy works, as its name suggests, on the deepest possible levels and this necessitates courage and insight on the part of both therapist and client. Looking back over the training workshops that I attended (always a whole week), my mind never ceases to boggle at the transformations that I witnessed. But launching out into working on one’s own with people who very often have truly profound difficulties requires a great deal of confidence. Here again I was greatly blessed because, when Roger decided that I was ready to be awarded his diploma, he invited me to present a case history at a Graduates’ weekend in Devon. This coincided with the one to which Kris Misselbrook had come over from South West France in order to receive his diploma. At the time he and his partner Steve (one of the world’s best chefs!) were running Le Moulin, a guest house there, and he came up with the wonderful idea of a group of us new graduates going to stay at their place in order to practise working on one another. The ‘Mouliners’, as we named ourselves, carried on meeting annually for a number of years until, inevitably, some went off on other paths, but during those precious weeks of profound work, well mixed with fun, laughter, French wine and delicious food, some major things occurred for all of us.

Ann Merivale - Life without Elgar

For me personally the most important of them all was when I at last solved the mystery of why, at the age of sixteen, I’d fallen so deeply in love with the composer Sir Edward Elgar that I’d believed I’d never get over the fact that he’d died six years before I was born. At the time I already had the idea for my eighth book, WOMAN THROUGH THE AGES, firmly in my head and at first I imagined that the story of that regression would simply be one section of that book. However, following a talk I went to in Elgar’s study in Plas Gwyn, where he’d lived during the family’s years in Hereford, a series of imaginary letters between the composer and his former fiancée, Helen Weaver, who had emigrated to New Zealand, started writing themselves in my head. So gradually a little book took on a life of its own and LIFE WITHOUT ELGAR – A Tale of a Journeying Soul was published in 2014. This publication gave rise to a fascinating follow up, which I recounted in the eighth book.

Before, however, that very hefty book finally saw the light of day, I realised a long-held dream of visiting the Galápagos. While there, to my great surprise, the giant tortoise that we’d narrowly missed seeing started telling me his story. I named him Carlos (after Darwin of course) and he was followed by a frigate-bird and then an albatross. Upon our return I typed the three tales up and then, not knowing what to do with them, I circulated them among a few friends and colleagues, one of whom suggested I make them into a little book, together with some of my photographs. At that point firstly a sea lion and secondly a Galápagos zigzag spider kindly obliged by putting their oars in. I saw this book mainly as a bit of fun, but between the five of them, the narrators gave quite a bit of interesting information about these ‘enchanted islands’, at the same as making cogent comments on matters both spiritual and ecological. (The frigate-bird even drew upon his scribe’s linguistic training!) John Hunt Publishing found the book “too short” and were also unable to reproduce my colour photos, so I self-published it in 2015.

Throughout these years of both writing and practising DMP therapy, with clients in Hull then Ripon and Ludlow, more of my own previous lives began to surface – often through flashbacks to other countries that I was visiting – and this caused me to hold in the back of my mind the notion of one day writing a follow up to my autobiographical first book. When, however, I finally embarked upon this new project, the idea came to me of focusing on womanhood and I soon realised that my own past-life experiences seemed between them to cover most aspects of that subject. Here, too, my rejection at birth no doubt played a role in my interest in women of the past who had either been initially ignored or subsequently forgotten purely on account of their gender. Sometimes I learnt on my travels about women I’d never heard of, but obviously should have. Upon returning each time, further research led to my discovery of other significant women in the country concerned. (The only problem was that, over the years of writing the book, I kept hearing of more and more remarkable women, but one has to be firm and draw the line somewhere!)

Ann Merivale

When it came to writing my own very long story, the fascinating thing for me was to find that a great change had taken place. This was because, on Woolger workshops, the students would learn from him how to get others into a relevant past life, guide them through it and then help them to release the samskaras, i.e. remaining traumas, from which they were still suffering. (This not only helps to gain healing for the present life, but also to note the learning from the past one.) Whereas now, after reflecting upon the glimpses that I’d had of the past, each time that I sat down to write each story, the details came of their own accord.

The worst that happened was on a visit to beautiful Myanmar, where I got bombarded with memories of being a dreadful queen who’d thrown Buddhists into prison. Not something one would at all want to remember, but fortunately I was with a close friend who was able to nurse me through it! In Ravenna, on the other hand, I saw not just one, but two past lives! One was of a martyr who’d set herself the task of ‘rescuing’ prostitutes by converting them to Christianity; the second was of a young girl who’d been forced into prostitution after losing all her family and their abode in a fire. Of course unpleasant in a different way, the latter gave me some insight into how brothels are run!

Rest assured, however, that not all of this book is that gruesome! When it comes to more recent times, I’ve recounted the marvellous stories of, for instance, the pioneering black tennis player, Althea Gibson, plus one of my personal heroines, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, mother of the seven siblings who are all brilliant musicians. At one point a chapter on ‘Loss’ felt appropriate and then the year 2020 seemed to merit one of its own. In conclusion (while not ignoring the horrors of, say, the Taliban) reflection upon the massive changes for the better that I’d observed in my then eighty-one years brought me much hope for the future. The completion of WOMAN THROUGH THE AGES suffered a variety of holdups – a massive downsize from a four-bed house in lovely Ludlow to an apartment in a new retirement village in marvellous Malvern being not the least of them! – but at least the lockdowns gave me some of the time I’d been craving and this book was finally published in the summer of 2022.

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