“Are you nervous?” asks the medium. “Yes,” I reply, exasperatedly, as my heart beats faster. After all, she is about to access my soul – supposedly. Sitting opposite her, in her apartment in Mexico, she reassures me with her steady seriousness and gentle aura. “We are creating a sacred space for the evolution and healing of your soul.” I first heard of Akashic records, a compendium that occultists claim archives the history of souls, when a friend told me she did readings which could access a realm of past life memories that purportedly exists within the ether. I was somewhat skeptical, it felt a bit too far even for someone open to the seemingly infinite possibilities of the universe.
But as the medium, Lourdes Garlot, “opens the Akashic” through a series of mantras in Spanish; a heat envelopes my hands. Could she really be delving into an ocean of consciousness that underpins our existence? My heart goes even faster, though my breathing soon eases as she looks deep into my eyes.
Have we lived past lives?
Garlot tells me about my past life as a black man in Africa (she did not know which country he hailed from), who was stabbed to death by a man jealous of his popularity.
“Because of this you are afraid that if you shine too much, that you are in danger,” she says. This somewhat resonates. Often I become awkward in social situations, and I feel anxious when walking with a perfect posture due to my height. This, I believe, is rooted in a conscious fear of being seen to physically look down on people. The fact this is usually unavoidable appears to be compensated by walking like a slouch.
I was also a ginger haired Viking warrior, according to Garlot. “You were really territorial and furious over everything.” I guess that sounds like how I would imagine a Viking. “This characteristic is inside you,” she tells me. Ah, aggression! So maybe she is channeling the record of my soul, after all.
‘An all-pervading field in the ether’
Akasha, a Sanskrit word, literally means “that which holds all”. It is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a supposed all-pervading field in the ether in which a record of past events is imprinted”, chiefly for Hindus.
The Akashic records have been described by Indian guru Sadhguru as “what we call the Internet”. The old testament in the Bible states there is a book of life where good and bad deeds are recorded. Spiritualists maintain this is held in Akasha, an astral light beyond human senses.
In the modern western world, the concept of the Akashic records first gained currency within Victorian spiritualist circles about 140 years ago. But today it is in the ascendance again, following the publication of a best-selling 2010 book How to Read the Akashic Records: Accessing the Archive of the Soul and Its Journey. Its popularity is ballooning and readings are offered on the internet or in hippy villages across the world.
How does it feel to access Akasha?
Another psychic explains how it feels when she is channeling information from the Akasha. “It is like my consciousness and personality fades away, and I start to float,” says Rocio Suso, from Argentina. “A big cloud opens up; feelings, images, symbols, and energies may appear. I no longer exist, my logical mind doesn’t exist. I just travel and channel what I’m able to see.”
Some, however, believe it is a flimsy New Age invention and highlight that there is no scientific basis. Either way, the media is taking notice, with articles on Vogue’s website and print newspaper reports in the UK Daily Mail, where four women are quoted as saying learning more about their past lives helped them radically transform their lives for the better.
“I was very ill back then — half my vocal cords were paralysed because I had a non-malignant tumor on my thyroid gland. I couldn’t eat properly and I could only speak quietly,” Beverley Densham told the paper. But after following the advice transmuted by the guide to work with children to provide them with encouragement, she claims her tumor shrunk and her voice returned after her vocal cords healed. “My doctors hadn’t seen that before.”
No panacea, nor a recreational activity
A week after the reading, I still have an ingrown toenail. However, the reading – which I paid the equivalent of £40 for, and should not do again for at least six months – felt genuine; though I do still wonder whether there really is an Internet of everything or if it is just a pie in the sky.
But I have observed a remarkably greater sense of ease within myself lately, which could be a placebo effect. Garlot also told me that my late dog, who passed away last year, lived only to briefly serve as my companion (somehow she knew we did not enjoy long together); and that a relative on my maternal side who I did not know well and who died when I was young is helping to spiritually guide me (it could only be my mother’s sister, Linda, who passed away when I was 10). She told me to buy an amethyst necklace, but did not offer to sell me one.
Psychics have an uncanny ability to describe past events
Another of Garlot’s clients also resonated with the experience. “In a past life, she said I grew up here in Mexico but was killed at the age of 25. I always felt I was born in the wrong country, in the Netherlands,” says personal trainer Rian Glijnis. “But I actually feel so at home here I decided to settle in Mexico. I was also very surprised to turn 26, I felt like I was never going to make it.”
She adds that she has long felt as if she had been shot in her left shoulder, having even told friends about the dull sensation. Johanna, the alleged name of her body in a previous life, was killed by a gunshot to the same place, according to Garlot. “Me feeling like I was going to die young and knowing what it felt like to be shot are things Lourdes could not have known about,” Glinjis adds.
Garlot was also able to identify specific moments of violence in Glinjis’ childhood which had caused her serious trauma. “It was a lot of information, so many memories came through and it took time to process but now I feel like I’m accepting myself more,” she says.