My latest read – June 2016

Last month I read two very interesting books that I later discovered were somehow related to each other. They were “The lost teachings of the Cathars – their beliefs and practices”, by Andrew Philip Smith and “Hello Again – a memoir of souls reconnecting over many lifetimes”, by Kathy Gibbons.

At first I read the book on the Cathars – yet again, I was trying to learn more. This book had seemed very informative as I had looked it up on Amazon, and it really was. Deeply researched, it featured new information about their rituals, beliefs and religious practices, actually very difficult to come about – as most of what we know about the Cathars was passed on to us by their torturers and executioners, through their interrogation records. The book also gives us valuable information about what may have been the origins of this so-called heresy, explaining to us the principles and doctrines of the Dualist movements.

The Cathars believed in reincarnation, so it is no wonder there is one chapter dedicated to this subject. At some point, the author mentions two women that had appeared at a TV programme on “medieval reincarnation” and who believed to have been Cathars in another life. One of these women was called Kathy Gibbons, and the author comments that she had recently given “a full account of her experiences in a self published book, Hello Again”.

As I read this, it rang a bell – in fact I had just bought this very same book together with the one about the Cathars! I couldn’t believe what a coincidence this was! When I read this I was at my beach apartment during the weekend and I could not wait to get to Lisbon and find Kathy Gibbons’ book. As I had already finished “The lost teachings…” I immediately began reading “Hello Again”.

At first I found it somewhat troubling, as it is a very intense description of past-life regressions underwent by Kathy, and even if she is willing to go through them she finds them very unsettling. This is a subject I’m quite interested in –I cannot say I’m a firm believer in “past lives” – let’s just say I’m interested and I think somehow they make sense. And I like to learn, so after a certain time I was more relaxed and really enjoying Kathy Gibbons accounts of her previous lives. Of course she mentions the Cathars and thus the circle relating this book to the other one comes to a close. Curiously, one of the back cover quotes says something very interesting: “Kathy’s story, and specially the way she shares it with us…mirrors a journey that all of us in this planet are on, whether fully aware of it or not”.

This quote – and the book – reminded me of a beautiful song I hadn’t heard for a long time, included in the brilliant soundtrack of the movie “Phantom of the Paradise” by Paul Williams (a rock opera loosely based on my favourite story of “The phantom of the opera”). The song’s title is “Old souls” and goes like this:

“We’re old souls/ in a new life baby/they gave us a new life/to live and learn/ some time to touch old friends/ and still return”. The song is about a love that lasts through many lifetimes, and in the end tells us something that, were it only true, would make our passing so much easier and painless:

“Old souls/ last forever/ so we need never fear goodbye/one kiss/ when I must go/ no tears/ in time/ we kiss hello”.

Two interesting books – however different, they are connected, and somehow, the day I was searching for new books on Amazon, they called my attention – and allowed for some moments of reading pleasure, and certainly some more moments of deep thought about their stories. They are very different, but both worth reading.