Dr. Sabine Lucas was born in Germany and raised there during the Second World War. She studied German and English language and literature at Heidelberg University. For eleven years, she instructed undergraduates at Reading University in England in German language and literature while acting part of the time as a German language consultant in the educational programs of BBC London.
In the throws of a midlife crisis, she entered a Jungian analysis in London which lasted five years. During this time, she got deeply involved with the many inspiring Jungian events organized for the public by Jungian analysts and theologians in London. This led to a career change and, initially, to a psychotherapy training with the Guild of Psychotherapists in London. After two years of eclectic studies with this experimental group she transferred for a more specialized training to the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. Here she supported herself financially with dream workshops and the German translation of Jane Roberts’ Seth Speaks, an instant bestseller in the German speaking world, and of Jung’s English publications for the German Collected Works edition. While in training, she became inundated with what she knew to be dreams of former lives without being able to share this perception with her training analyst and the Jung Institute.
Feeling overburdened by the heaviness of this material she turned for help to an internationally renowned past life reader in Zurich, Jenny Ganz, who subsequently became her mentor and personal friend. It was largely due to her work with Jenny Ganz that she was later able to clearly distinguish past life dreams from other dreams and to trace her soul bloodlines, her psychic “genes,” through the ages.
After graduating from the Jung Institute in 1987 and immigrating to the United States, she extended her work with past life dreams to her private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Lucas completed her pioneering work by saving three forgotten interviews with Jung’s disciple, the late Erlo van Waveren, for posterity by turning them into a teaching documentary on past life dreams, titled A Row of Tombs: Jung and Reincarnation. In these interviews van Waveren disclosed for the first time that, contrary to what most Jungian analysts still believe and practice today, Jung himself and his inner circle had secretly worked with past life material and had shared their own past life dreams with each other.
It has been my honor to talk with Sabine about her important work in the field of psychology, dreams, and specifically past lives.
When did you first begin your interest in past life dreams? Was there a pivotal experience that sparked this for you?
“Yes, I had my first past life dream experience in 1976. It came at the end of a 5-year analysis in London where I had learned to interpret my own dreams. Since I had an almost perfect dream recall of four dreams per night, which I used to write down and analyze, I knew my inner world very well at the end of that time. I knew all my symbols, my inner figures and my archetypal representations like the back of my hand.
But one night out of the blue, I had a totally different kind of dream. In this dream I was a man. I was in a medieval town somewhere in Europe, and an angry crowd was stoning me. In the next scene, I was being driven on an oxcart over cobblestones through town with a red robe priest by my side. The priest was taking me to a court of the inquisition. So this must have been my last journey.
Archetypes are basically impersonal. But this man, who I was in my dream, had a very distinct personality. I felt all his feelings and thought his thoughts, so he was clearly not an archetype. The only conclusion I could draw from this experience was that there must be reincarnation and that this must have been a scene from another life. Previous to this dream I had never given reincarnation any thought. But from that moment on there was no question in my mind that there was reincarnation.”
And from there did you begin your past life studies?
“No, I didn’t do anything about that because I didn’t have any reference point for it. I knew Jungian psychology very well at that point, but I’d never heard of past life dreams before. So, I didn’t know what to do with this dream until I got to Zurich.
It so happened that in the second semester at the Jung institute, one of my teachers, Dr. Elisabeth Ruef, who was a senior training analyst and the co-editor of Jung’s collected works, offered a public lecture series on past life dreams.
My unconscious responded to her presentations by giving me one past life dream after another. I sent every single one to Dr. Ruef through the mail and she would then use them in her next lecture as demonstration material. Naturally, I felt after this that my experience with this past life dream had been validated by a Jungian authority.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth Ruef was subsequently chastised and ridiculed by her colleagues and never mentioned past lives in public again. But my own process continued, and since it proved to be too risky to share it with my analyst and the Jung Institute I had to go underground with it while I was in training.”
Do you think that they would be more receptive now?
“No, because they ignored my book, Past Life Dreamwork, when it came out in 2008. They also rejected the work of Roger Woolger who was a Zurich trained Jungian analyst like myself. He had a Ph.D. from Oxford University and was a very brilliant man. After getting his diploma from the Jung Institute, he specialized in past life regressions, here in this country. Although he published a groundbreaking book, became famous and founded his own school, he was ostracized by the Jung Institute and the Jungian community internationally. Since I was not prominent as he was nothing happened to me. I was simply ignored.”
Interesting don’t you think?
“You know, it’s a lot better than being stoned and taken to the Inquisition.”
It’s only more recently that Carl Jung has been overtly described as “psychic,” whereas the term intuitive has been used for many years. How do you perceive him and his work? Does your perspective differ from how he is perceived by mainstream Jungian psychology today?
“That Jung was psychic has been known all along. Everybody knows that Jung was psychic because it’s written all over his autobiography Memories, Dreams, Reflections. He was surrounded by psychic phenomena all his life. He even wrote his Ph.D. thesis on that topic. There he described his observations during trance sessions with a woman he didn’t identify, but who was actually his cousin. His mother was extremely psychic, too. It ran in the family.
But the Jungian school has not been following in Jung’s footsteps in this regard. In fact, they have completely disallowed any interest or research into the paranormal. If you dared to mess with parapsychology as a candidate at the Jung institute, you would get kicked out of the program. It happened to a number of people while I was in training there. I myself came close to it, too.
You probably know that I translated Seth Speaks into German, which became an instant best-seller in the German-speaking world. Because of this the Parapsychology Society of Switzerland became very interested in me. They regularly referred clients to me, who had psychic gifts, but had doubts about it and couldn’t come to terms with it, so I ended up helping these people.
At one point, I clearly remember a confrontation with my analyst, with whom I normally had a good relationship. He said to me ‘You stay away from parapsychology. There’s already been a complaint about you.’ So, I said, ‘You know, as well as I do that this is an illegitimate restriction of Jung’s spectrum of interests but you have the power. Therefore you can tell me what to do.’
Regarding past life dreams there seem to be a few openings now, you know. After the trailer of my film A Row of Tombs: Jung and Reincarnation appeared on You Tube, and I subsequently posted an interview about my work on YouTube, a few Jungian analysts have reached out to me on LinkedIn. Without taking a position, of course, but the mere fact that they wanted to be connected with me shows that there are a few small openings now. Nothing official, of course, just some individual sympathizers.”
Do you think that these openings with others will continue?
“It may stay an isolated phenomenon. The Jungian school is very concerned with their professional persona. They want to be legitimate and don’t want other schools of psychology to say ‘O well, the Jungian’s have finally gone off the deep end. Now they are interested in parapsychology and reincarnation.’ I don’t think that this over-concern with professional appearances is going to change—not even after the publication of The Red Book.
You see, Jung had such a wide mental horizon. He was such a giant, mentally and spiritually speaking, that his successors could only cut a slice out of his huge body of work here and there and develop that as their specialty.”
In the film it is mentioned that the collective consciousness is now more accepting and allows the mystical side of Jung to come to the fore. What are the changes in the collective consciousness that have taken place?
“It goes without saying that profound changes have taken place in the collective consciousness since Jung’s time. Eastern philosophies, yoga and meditation have become mainstream by now. Even van Waveren was talking about these changes in the interviews in 1983. He said that the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the time, that had previously not allowed Jung’s mystical side to come out, had changed and was now (in the eighties) more accepting of these other realities. I think that van Waveren was a little over-optimistic regarding the public acceptance of the irrational side of life. It actually took the collective much longer, two decades at least, to catch up on Jung’s mystical side. But after the turn of the century we have finally come to that point.
Jung’s conservative family, who had always been most careful not to let the mystical side of Jung be known, finally gave their permission for the publication The Red Book in 2009. This was only possible b/c the zeitgeist had really changed by then and they no longer needed to fear that The Red Book would damage Jung’s professional image. They were absolutely right. It has not damaged his image at all. On the contrary. It has only made him all the more interesting. to professionals and non-professionals alike. The Jungian community immediately jumped on the band wagon by giving public presentations about the Red Book, offering conflicting interpretations of it, of course, because the book is indeed mystical and therefore by its very nature shrouded in mystery. It also can be mined for its rich symbolical and mythological content.”
Regarding The Red Book, I remember when it was published, that there was a lot of excitement about it. I’m wondering what you think about it?
“I own a large folio copy of the book, which is magnificent but difficult to read because of the format. It is in German with an English translation. The German part is in Gothic script. Some of these paintings are shown in the film. In one of them, Jung painted many faces grouped around a flower-shaped mandala structure. I understood this to be a representation of his oversoul with its many incarnations emanating from it. It took a tremendous amount of courage to confront the unconscious as he did and to give all the images and verbal communications coming from there an artistically viable form.
The Red Book is a major psychological and artistic achievement.”
How is your perspective on past lives different from Van Waveren’s?
“Van Waveren’s and my observations about past life dreams do not differ in any way. I condone everything he says about that subject in the interviews as well as in his book, Pilgrimage to the Rebirth. However, I have taken his observations a step further by developing a phenomenology of past live dreams. I added new criteria to past life dreams and developed a typology for them. I pointed out the present life context in which these dreams tend to appear and what kind of signs to look for in order to identify them.
Van Waveren did none of that. For him the encounter with his past lives was mostly a personal experience. There is no indication in his book that he worked with past lives in his analytical practice, although according to the interviews he might have mentioned them to clients in some cases.
But where we really differ from each other is in regard to his theory that we all have five simultaneously lives at the same time. Actually, simultaneous is not the right word. Because on a soul level all our lives are simultaneous. On that higher level past, present and future are one, so we can’t really talk about simultaneous lives in this context.
Parallel may be a better term, although parallel doesn’t quite cut it either, because they only partially overlap in my experience. My feeling is that when a life is about to come to an end, either through old age, sickness, or outer interference, such as accident, murder or execution, it is known on the level of the oversoul. And then the oversoul creates a new incarnation, which means that these lives run parallel at this time. I have only little evidence for it, but I have come across a few of such cases. One being my own parallel life, as Hannah Wolpert, which I discuss in the second part of my film. Hannah was executed by the Gestapo when I was three years old.”
There are different beliefs that there are 144 in your soul group, or there are 12 that are part of the parallel soul. Do you have any sense of that?
“I’m not a person of theories. Unless something comes up from the unconscious in dreams, I consider it to be mere speculation. And, I don’t like to speculate. I’m basically an empiricist, a very down to earth person. I didn’t read anything about reincarnation until the book was finished. Because I wanted to know what the unconscious knows about reincarnation. That was my question.”
There’s so much that other people can learn from that. There’s such a tendency to go into the box and categorize in order to make sense of it. That’s so amazing, I love that approach!
“No, I don’t do that. Jung did not do that either. He created categories he derived directly from the unconscious. His work was completely inspired by his encounter with his own unconscious.”
When you were translating Seth Speaks, what was your impression? Did you feel that the channelled information was coming from Jane Roberts’ unconscious, or that it was channeled from her higher self.
“It’s definitely higher level material—it seems to be coming from the oversoul somehow. Possibly not even from her oversoul. Seth struck me as a real personality. When I was translating the book I felt I was dealing with a personality that was separate from Jane Roberts. The Seth material was outstanding trance material. It’s unfortunate that in this country hardly anybody knows about it anymore.”
The way our media is used here, I believe, has something to do with that. It’s very much a cultural thing. I’m not surprised that is was an instant bestseller in the German speaking world. Because the intellectual community is quite different in Europe.
“You’re right, especially the Swiss. Seth Speaks was published in Switzerland. Both Swiss and Germans were all riled up about Seth. He was the talk of the day. Of course, I’m not referring to the rationalists who are in denial of everything. I’m talking about people who are interested in other dimensions, and those people were very interested indeed. Psychologically speaking the Seth material is amazing, it’s a gold mine. So sophisticated.
You know, Seth came up with the idea that the anima and animus—the contrasexual archetypes that Jung discovered—are really composite figures of all the male and female past lives that we have had. This was an idea I absolutely fell for, hook, line and sinker, because I recognized the truth in that.”
Yes, it completely makes sense on the collective level. What an amazing experience, what an amazing opportunity!
“It was amazing, and the interesting thing was that I was translating Jung into German for collected works edition at the same time! The synchronicity between these two projects was remarkable, and probably significant.”
In the film, you speak about your own experience with a simultaneous incarnation as Hannah Wolpert. How did you discover this life?
“This discovery came just as much out of the blue as my first past live dream. It happened about 3 years ago. At that point, I was not getting any past life dreams anymore. That process had run its course, when, quite unexpectedly, I dreamt about Hannah Wolpert. The Wolpert dream was one of those dreams which I call ‘downloads’ in my typology. These never happen at the beginning of past life dreamwork but often at the end of it. How I explain this is that the channel to the non-physical eighth chakra located above the head, where all our past life memories are stored, becomes strengthened over time. Then instead of dreaming about scenes from other lives—either as an observer or as an active participant—one gets direct information from the 8th chakra. This either takes the form of a telegram style message or of one initial image from which the whole story unfolds.
Hannah Wolpert’s life story came in this form At first I saw a cemetery, and in front of the cemetery a white van was parked. Then came the download. I got her name, I got the place, I got the time. her marriage status, her job at Tuebingen university, where she held an assistant position in the law department until the Nazis had her fired. After receiving all these facts I knew that she was executed by a shot in the neck by the Gestapo for subversive activities and that her body was dumped at the Jewish cemetery, which I had seen in the beginning of the dream.
When I woke up I had a stabbing pain in my neck as if I was Hannah herself. After waking from this dream I instantly realized that this could not have been a past life of mine, because at the time of Hannah’s death I was three years old. Later I wondered how her execution would have affected me as a three year old child – an age when children begin to assert themselves. It must have had a tremendous impact on my psychological development.
This opens up a whole new question: If we do have parallel lives and something happens to our counter-part, how does this affect us psychologically on completely unconscious levels?”
That is fascinating!
“It’s amazing to think about it. Judging from my own childhood development, it was around that time that I gave up my resistance to parental authority. From then on I did not try to stand up for myself anymore. With that murder buried deep in my unconscious I capitulated out of fear.”
When you looked into her history, what was that experience like?
“It was absolutely devastating. For a lawyer, committed to justice, it violated everything Hannah believed in. Two years later, I had another dream about her. Only this time, I was Hannah myself. I was standing in a synagogue at a lectern delivering a lecture about my mother’s world view. The microphone malfunctioned, and the Rabbi complained about the poor German translation of the Torah—the only one in existence. When I followed up on this on the Internet I discovered that a new German translation of the Torah came out in 1937, the year after this lecture, which must have taken place shortly before Hannah’s death. The new Torah translation would have been in preparation for many years. This explains the Rabbi’s complaint and validates the authenticity of my dream.”
We’ll continue on with the rest of the interview in the next post…
You can view the trailer for A Row of Tombs, by clicking here.
You may contact Dr. Lucas about arranging film screenings for A Row of Tombs in your area, by visiting her website.