Interview with Ann Merivale
An Interview with Ann Merivale
1. Judging by your article, “What Is a Soul Mate?” you obviously have a great admiration for Richard Webster, one of our most long-standing and prolific authors. Webster has also written a book on the subject of soul mates (Soul Mates: Understanding Relationships Across Time). How would you compare your book with his?
Yes, I think Richard Webster is a very good writer, and he’s a mine of interesting historical information. I have to confess that I didn’t actually read Soul Mates until I’d nearly finished writing Souls United, but when I did, I had no fears about there being too much overlap. Although Webster’s also a regression therapist, our two books have a very different aim. His is aimed principally at advising people on how to find a soul mate, whereas mine specializes in twin soul relationships—not looking for them but describing them. Twinsoulship is the closest kind of relationship that can exist between two human beings and the one that is least well understood, I think, these days.
2. Are there any other significant people who have also influenced your views on spiritual matters?
Oh yes, there were a lot of people who were very influential for me long before I read anything of Webster’s. I was brought up strongly Catholic and always believed firmly in God but, because of my difficult childhood, I found it impossible to feel God’s love. The first person to give me any proper counseling and help me believe that I was no less lovable than anyone else was a wonderful priest called Michael Hollings. He’s been dead for several years now, but when I knew him he was the Catholic Chaplain to Oxford University, where I was working at the time, and he regularly invited me for meals at the Chaplaincy, which in his day was always an open house to everyone from hobos to professors. Michael and I kept up a sporadic correspondence until not so long before his death, and he expressed great interest when I told him about my conversion to belief in reincarnation and the book I was writing at the time. I have his picture on the wall of my study and chat to him when I remember. I found out many years after the last time we met—on my Woolger Introductory weekend in fact—that Michael and I had been friends and colleagues as Dominicans in the Middle Ages, which explained why he’d always treated me as an equal when I’d felt so very far from being that.
Then there were other spiritual Catholics I admired, but I suppose the next most important people in my life were Mark, my homeopath/osteopath, and Phil, who used to treat me with acupuncture in Hull and who is a Buddhist. It was Mark who first suggested that I write a book, and both of them encouraged me to study the subject of reincarnation. It took me a while to come round to believing in that because of my Catholicism, but then in 1991 I heard a lecture by John Walsh about the great American seer Edgar Cayce; John, who passed away this past June, was also very inspirational to me in the work that he did with the British Edgar Cayce Association. Likewise, I admire Edgar Cayce, who succeeded in reconciling the concept of reincarnation with his Christianity. I’ve written about Cayce in Souls United because his family story is so relevant to my topic.
3. You are now a Woolger-trained Deep Memory Process therapist as well as a past-life regression therapist. What is the difference?
The main difference is the use of hypnotherapy. I obtained my first diploma from the London College of Past Life Regression Therapy, and Dr. Keith Hearne, who ran that, is (like many other regression therapists) a hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy is a wonderful thing of course, but Woolger doesn’t use it for past life work because he feels that it dissociates the client from the memories that surface. He likes people to be completely “in” the past life they are recalling because reliving it vividly facilitates the letting go, and he teaches different techniques to use according to the presenting problem. However, he tends to work very much from the body because that is where we store the scars of physical trauma. Focusing on and mentally exaggerating some pain or discomfort in one’s body can, for instance, trigger one into a traumatic death, and re-experiencing that and realizing that it doesn’t belong to the present can bring profound and permanent healing.
Another point about Deep Memory Process is that “past life” doesn’t always have to mean “previous life.” By that I mean that sometimes a client can be helped by going back to a problem that dates from his or her present life. Most, if not all, difficulties do have their roots in previous lives, but it can happen that a person needs to clear some childhood stuff that they’d suppressed before they can be ready to go back any further.
4. Was it your practice of DMP that led you to write this book?
As a matter of fact, it was actually the other way around! I started writing on this sort of subject about four or five years before it occurred to me to train as a therapist. When I heard the lecture about Cayce that I mentioned, I joined the Edgar Cayce Association, and the following year (1992) I met people at a conference who’d had past-life readings from Aron Abrahamsen—another wonderful Christian that I’ve written about in Chapter Two of Souls United. That inspired me to send off to the States for a reading for myself, and I was very taken aback when Abrahamsen told me that I’d come this time around “partly as a writer—to disseminate information on the spiritual life.” I got the idea for my first book shortly after listening to the reading he’d sent me, but I wanted to know more than the five previous lives he gave me, and at that time I didn’t believe myself capable of finding out about them for myself. My sister Philippa introduced me to Edwin Courtenay, who is now about the most famous clairvoyant in the whole of England, and he firstly told me about some of my other previous lives and secondly taught me more about the concept of twinsoulship that I’d first heard about in books about Cayce. In fact, Edwin suggested way back then that I write a book on this subject, and when I became acquainted with another well-known clairvoyant, Lilla Bek, she predicted that the book on twin souls would sell well.
So, in short, it was my writing that led me into becoming a therapist rather than the other way around. And nowadays of course I find that the two things constantly feed one another.
5. After you had decided that you wanted to write a book about twinsoulship, how did you set about looking for your case histories?
Now that is an extremely interesting question! One thing I’ve learned over recent years is that everything that is “created” on Earth has first been conceived on the “other side.” I’m sure it can be appreciated that we down here are not really the “doers;” we are nothing other than God’s instruments. So, what I’m trying to say is that any book that I write isn’t really my book at all. Once I really got going with the book, I quickly realized that the whole thing was being taken care of on the other side. In view of that, I personally don’t think it’s at all surprising that I didn’t have to go searching for the case histories at all. Everyone that I’ve written about quite literally landed in my lap.
6. How do you think that finding out about some of our past lives helps us in dealing with present day relationships?
I really can’t over-emphasize its value. In my personal experience any problem that one has in a relationship has its root in a previous life, and so finding about that will more often than not shed light on the present situation and help one to deal with it constructively and learn and grow from it. This is one of the points that is well illustrated by some of the stories in the book.
7. How exactly would you define a “soul mate”? Are there different kinds of soul mates?
There are indeed different kinds of soul mate. I like Richard Webster’s definition of the general term, but I based Souls United on the three different types as defined by Edgar Cayce. These make a lot of sense to me and have been backed up by the years—I think it must now be sixteen—of research I’ve done on the subject. All three of these are explained quite thoroughly in the book, but as I said earlier, I have focused primarily on twin-soul relationships, which are the closest, though at present the rarest. Clairvoyants say that, with the dawning of the “Golden Age,” more and more twin souls will be coming together in order to bring more light into the world, so that’s probably one of the reasons for the ever-increasing interest in this topic that we are seeing at the moment.
8. Is it important or necessary for us to have a relationship with our soul mate(s) in any particular lifetime?
I would say most certainly not! We come to Earth each time to do different things, as well as to pay off different debts and learn different lessons. Of course it is excruciatingly painful when someone we love deeply either hurts us or abandons us, but once we come to appreciate that that happening was actually the choice we made for ourselves before we were born, and look for what we need to learn from it rather than being bitter and constantly bemoaning our fate, then we can really begin to grow spiritually in leaps and bounds.
9. What advice would you give to those who are searching for a soul mate?
Well, I think all the writers on this topic tend to say the same sort of thing: rather than searching desperately, focus on developing yourself spiritually and emotionally, and on becoming self-sufficient and discovering your life’s purpose.
My adopted son, Christopher, in an interview during college, said another thing that I’ll never forget. When asked by the interviewer what advice he would give to younger people, he replied, “Find something to be passionate about.” That’s the surest way of finding what Eckhart Tolle calls one’s “outer purpose.” Doing something because you feel you ought to, or because it’s what you are told to do, leads neither to personal happiness nor to being able to make someone else happy.
So, I would say: Think about how you can be of service to others and to the world in general, pray and meditate, take care of your health, and have fun. Read Webster’s book on soul mates or my Souls United. And—perhaps most importantly of all—remember that Mr./Ms. Right is most likely to turn up when you’ve stopped needing them. Good luck!
Trade Paperback | $15.95 US, $18.50 CAN | 9780738715285 | August 2009
"Souls United is both a delight and an education. This book is valuable to anyone who wonders about the nature of human relationships."—Eve Bruce, M.D., author of Shaman, M.D.
"Well researched... Read more