Birdy Heywood
Artist with a Magical Touch

Birdy Heywood
Artist

A past life and now

I have thought a lot before deciding whether to share something from my very early childhood.


Some may conclude that the following is the result of an overactive imagination, or maybe the ramblings of an old lady. Maybe you think the men in white coats need to be notified. However, I feel so strongly that I need to share this.


I was born 26th March 1949 in my grandmother’s house in a small village in Wiltshire called Bulford very close to Stonehenge.


Unlike many others I have memories from when I was just six months old. One day I said to my mum that I remembered her carrying me around to the old deaf lady next door called Mrs Austin. “You can’t remember that,” said my mum you were only a tiny baby. However, I did remember it. We only lived there for a short time so it could not have been at a later date. I think it made mum feel a little uneasy.


I believe firmly in past lives. Why? Because at the age of two I stood in the garden of the old farm hand’s cottage we then lived in. I remember very clearly that I had once been chased by a mob of angry people. I was so afraid because I knew somehow they wished to kill me. I sensed their anger and hate towards me. The vision only lasted a very short time. Then I was a little girl again standing in the garden. Later I heard a voice say to me that I had come here to learn about being a human in this world. Did I think it strange at the time? No I did not because it felt normal.


My mother in later years told me that I was a strange little child who began talking at the age of one. She also said I reminded her of a little old lady because I kept asking adult questions. I had very wrinkled hands like someone elderly. I am now elderly and have grown into my wrinkled hands. She also told me I wouldn’t allow her to cuddle me. Not sure why that was.


If you are a person who believes in past lives you will know that most of us when born into a new existence, forget our past life or lives. Somehow this didn’t happen with me. It did fade though and I became accustomed to being a young child most of the time.


Every now and then some strange things happened that I thought were normal. For instance, each night I would walk to the top of the stairs and float down to the bottom. Yes, I may have been dreaming. In the morning I stood at the top of the stairs ready to float down but my body felt heavy. I walked to the bottom and tried to float down the last stair to the floor. Plop, I was just ordinary again. That was a bitter disappointment. I looked forward to going to sleep each night so I could do it again. It was great fun to feel free and just float.


One day I told someone that I had once been a black person. Of course I was laughed at. I showed them the brown birthmark on my left arm. “See,” I said. “That is there to remind me.” Again much laughter. Mum said to me years later that I told terrible lies. I asked her what lies but she just said, “You know child.” I didn’t know.


I am now 71 but all throughout my life I have had fleeting memories of a hangman’s noose and people being beheaded. Also anger at people who gathered in angry groups like lynch mobs. Don’t get me wrong I am a happy caring person who has lived an exciting life. I have 4 lovely children and nine beautiful grandchildren. Being an artist I suppose I am a little wacky though.


At the age of 11 I sat in my first geography class with a wonderful teacher called Mr. Mumford. He was talking about Africa and black people and white people having to live separately. That black people were treated as inferior. He asked the class if anyone knew what this was called. Before I knew it, my hand shot up. “Apartheid Sir.” How I knew this I have no idea at all. I received my first 2 house points. I was usually far too shy to put my hand up and was content to just sit and listen.


It feels strange sharing this all openly for anyone to read. However, I know I must.


The cowardly murder of George Floyd has evoked such deep sorrow within me and also anger at how black, indigenous tribes and those of different skin colours are treated. You will understand why this affects me so much when you read about a past life I visited about 15 years ago.


I often travel on shamanic journeys and also feel guided towards writing down thoughts that come to me and won’t leave me until I have written them down. On a couple of occasions, I have experienced beautiful visions of love and hope. Maybe I will share them at a later date.


Ok, the past life thing: Some people who are curious about past lives seek out someone who will hypnotise them. I wasn’t sure about that one so decided to put myself into a relaxed state and journey back myself. I like to do this in the bath because sometimes the places I visit on my ‘journeys’ are so wonderful that it is not easy to travel back to this earthly body. When the water becomes cold, it calls me back.


I lay back in the bath tub and closed my eyes and relaxed. After a while I left my body and was hovering above a tree. Beneath the tree lay a young black woman. I instantly knew she was me. I entered her mind. I saw her terror and I felt her pain. About four white males brutally raped her then did awful things to her body. They left her, probably thinking she was dead. I felt milk in my breasts and suddenly became aware that I had a husband and a baby son. I slowly stumbled back to my home only to find my husband and baby boy had been murdered. Then came a gap and I found myself breast feeding a young blond baby boy. I had been employed like a cow to feed these rich folks’ child.


Reliving this all is painful, but I need to write it down. What happened next was actually wonderful. I stared down at this young, innocent child and he gazed at me. Instead of the anger and pain towards white folks, I felt love. Thoughts passed between us and I hoped that the love I was passing on to him would one day mean that he would grow up to be a good person and treat black slaves fairly and bring about change. The love I felt for me coming from this tiny child somehow healed me. Then I felt myself being called back to my body.


Where and when this happened I do not know but I often wonder how he was when he grew up. I do so hope he carried those wonderful moments of pure love and connection into his adult life.


I am a sculptor so shortly after this experience I created a black woman holding a baby boy. My baby boy. I still have it.