The Dilemma of Not Killing
One Thursday afternoon, squeezed perfectly in between two clients, my phone rang. I looked at the number. It indicated a place obviously out of town, probably from the United States. I answered. A crisp clear voice came across, sounding very young, “I was just watching some of your YouTube videos… And I wonder if you do past life regressions over the phone?”
I told Elenore that I could do phone sessions, but that I’d prefer having the ability to see her when I work. “It can be Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime.” I told her, “Seeing your face can tell me where you are at in your trance and can help me keep pace with you.”
It made sense to Elenore. Having an iPhone, Elenore agreed to have a FaceTime session, “Do you have time this afternoon?” I didn’t. Instead, we set up an appointment for the next day.
Elenore was 21 years old. “What would you like to explore in the past life regression?” I asked. Elenore was obviously using her bed as the “comfortable place” I had suggested she use to help relax her mind.
Elenore said there was nothing really burning. It was mostly curiosity.
“Have you ever had a feeling that you’ve been here before? Any déjà-vu?” I asked, hoping for something to use to begin the session, while leaving the exploration wide open.
Elenore thought for a while. “Ever since I was a little kid, I keep seeing this field with a house in it.” That was all she was able to come up with.
“Do you have any questions for me, or about the process? Anything at all?” Elenore shook her head and we were ready to begin the session. The intake had taken us just four minutes. Sometimes it really can be that hassle-free.
The story of a man named Axel began to surface. He lived on a prairie in a house made of sod and beams. He lived there with his elder brother and a younger male cousin. On a typical day, they would go out, together or separately, to gather wood for fires and the stove, berries, and water.
Axel’s brother liked hunting, but Axel was vehemently against it. He didn’t like to eat meat, and he didn’t want to kill. His brother couldn’t understand him. They argued a lot about that idea, each trying to convince the other, but all that caused was more fighting. Otherwise, Axel’s life seemed very simple, even somewhat idyllic. I wondered what a 21-year-old young lady who lived in one of the largest cities in the United States could learn from that simple life.
Little did I know even the simplest of past life stories could hold a very complex twist.
One day Axel found himself standing barefoot out on the prairie, dressed in a long brown tunic. He felt worried. Further inquiry led to the realization that he held a bow and arrow in his hands. A hungry wild dog stood 100 feet away near the woods. Axel and the dog made eye contact. Axel could see the dog salivating and almost felt sad for the dog as he realized he might use the bow and arrow to kill the dog. But the dog, perhaps assessing its own situation confronting a man with a bow and arrow in his hands, turned and ran towards the woods.
Axel continued about his day, collected some twigs, and went home. His brother and cousin were still out somewhere. Very soon though, Axel went back out.
“Why are you going back outside?” I asked.
“I’m looking up to the sky.”
“What’s in the sky?”
“Birds, vultures actually.”
“And that means…”
“…Something was killed.”
We soon discovered that it was not an animal that was killed, but his older brother. And he was killed by that same wild dog.
For the rest of his life, Axel was angry at himself for not killing the dog when he had the chance, despite his awareness that he was never into the killing, and could not possibly know that the dog would end up killing his brother later that same day.
Axel turned to alcohol. His cousin came to loathe him and moved away. The rest of Axel’s life was spent in complete isolation aside from a cat and a bird.
At that point, it felt to me like Axel’s was a lifetime of self-forgiveness. I thought of how it could take place in that session: for Axel to forgive himself and for Elenore to let go. But I didn’t know Elenore enough to connect the life of Axel with the life of hers, so I wanted the story to carry itself out.
The connection was made by Elenore herself. She identified Axel’s cousin as her brother in this life; and Axel’s brother as her boyfriend. I was glad they came back for a second chance together.
Axel went on to tell me that when that fateful day began and he was going out for twigs, it was his brother who asked him to take the arrow and bow. Axel didn’t care about it, but his brother insisted, “So that you have protection.”
Wishing not to argue, Axel took his brother’s bow and arrow. Thus, when Axel’s brother went out for berries, he didn’t have the bow and arrow with him.
“If you hadn’t taken the bow and arrow,” I reasoned, “it would have been you who’d be killed by the dog, because you encountered it first.”
“No,” Axel said, “the animals there knew I wouldn’t kill them; therefore, they would not attack me.”
It surprised me to hear that, but from the confidence in the tone of voice and the face on the screen, I knew what Axel said was true. It’s so easy for us humans to assume that just because a wild animal can kill, it means they will kill whenever we meet them. Yet it turned out not to be the case for the animals on that prairie who were familiar with Axel.
How ironic that the brothers fought about killing or not killing for so long, and the one who hunted was hunted down; and the one who didn’t hunt ended up having the weapon. I struggled to wrap my head around it.
Meanwhile, Axel’s simple life continued. One day, as he was out, he fell, and a rock cut deeply into his calf. The wound became infected. A short time later, Axel fell asleep during the day and never woke up.
On the soul level, Axel/Elenore knew how to communicate with animals, and plants like herbs. But dealing with human beings was a little challenging for her. When I brought Elenore out of the trance, I told her my impression. The young woman nodded her head in agreement.
“It seemed that Axel had many regrets”, I began to conclude, “such as not killing the dog, and fighting with his brother so much, knowing how he lost his brother so soon.”
“The biggest one,” Elenore interjected, “was carrying the bow and arrow out when Axel knew he didn’t want it.” I thought that was a small compromise, even though it led to a big difference. But Elenore continued, “Sometimes my boyfriend talks me into doing something when I don’t feel like doing it, like riding a bike on a day I don’t want to…”
Things as simple as taking a bow and arrow or riding a bike, seem like a small compromise but can sometimes lead to a big regret. Perhaps the lesson from the life of Axel was as simple as standing up for oneself no matter how small it appears.