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Brandenberg Amethyst

Brandenberg Amethyst c. Judy Hall

The Akashic Records are an on-going record of the journey of the soul, the evolution of this and other worlds, and the future of All that Is. A plane of pure potentiality. In this view, anyone living now has probably lived on earth before – and will live again, possibly on earth but most definitely in other realms. And possibly in several timeframes and multiverses at once. Fortunately we don’t have to understand how the field can exist nor how it works in order to be able to utilise it for psychic and self-development work. While everyone ‘sees’ the Record in their own way, the underlying experience is always the same. It is a connection in to what we can call the wisdom of the cosmic mind or the cosmic memory field. Successful reading of the Akashic Record needs practice and becomes much easier as time goes by. It can be used to access the past and future in this and any other life.


The frequency grid programs that create our reality. (Crystal Links)

The Akashic Records are a universal filing system which record every occurring thought, word, and action: a collection of mystical knowledge stored in the etheric levels. The vibrational records of each individual soul and its journey are contained here, making it a profound spiritual resource for consciousness development and expanded spiritual awareness… [It is] a dimension of consciousness that contains a vibrational record… Location and time do not affect the Record. (Linda Howe)

Akasha is one of the cosmic principles and is a plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, immutable in its higher principles. It is the quintessence of all possible forms of energy, material, psychic, or spiritual; and contains within itself the germs of universal creation, which sprout forth under the impulse of the Divine Spirit. (Mme Blavatsky, Alchemy and the Secret Doctrine.)

The Book of Life can be likened to the universe’s supercomputer system. (Kevin L. Todeschi)

The Akashic Records are like the DNA of the universe. (Ernesto Ortiz).

So, the Akashic Record is a cosmic memory bank containing all that has been and all possibilities that are to come. But, is the Akashic Record a computer, that is the hardware behind our experience, or merely one of several available programs for running it? And does it merely cover the past with an effect on the present, or does it also contain the future? The concept of an Akashic Record has existed for at least five thousand years. In ancient Mesopotamia, it was called The Tablets of the Destinies and was under the control of the planetary god Ninurta, or Saturn who became in esoteric and Indian astrology the Lord of Karma and Time. In ancient Egypt it was the god Thoth, or Tehuti, who was in charge of tablets of a slightly different kind. These recorded your actions, thoughts, motives and so on during your lifetime and were presented at the judging of heart after death. It was these that influenced your fate, if the heart was lighter than the feather of Maat – cosmic justice or equilibrium – then you could safely pass on to the afterlife. If it was heavier, you’d be gobbled up by the eater of souls who waited under the scales and that was the end of you.

In my experience, the Akashic Record is a not a record of a fixed fate but rather an outline map of a soul’s journey with all the potentialities that opens up – and from mine and my clients’ experiences, it goes way out into the future with myriad possibilities opening up as well as accessing the past. We can view the Akashic Record as a hologram of all that is and might be – it is not in any one place as it permeates our whole universe but we can nevertheless access it as though it were indeed a Hall of Records. Our souls are connected to this hologram, each carrying a small piece of the hologram within that contains the whole. In many regressions to the interlife state souls will visit the library – or the hologram – to collect up experiences, soul gifts, wounds and karma that will be dealt with during the lifetime to come and to recognise how to prepare for lives in the future.

Souls play out the destinies we planned for ourselves in the space between lives – the  interlife – although this plan may be powerfully affected by the karma we have accrued and by soulplans from others lives that, although outdated, still overlay our soul’s intention (see The Book of Why: exploring your soul’s journey). So, through accessing the Akashic Record we can see both what we have been (our previous lives) and what we might be – our potential futures depending on what choices we make. Many seers connect to the Akashic Record when doing readings of various kinds, although they may call it Spirit, Source and so on.

This is Edgar Cayce’s description of how he accessed the record: [take in p.xvii]

Speaking for myself, I very quickly learned to bypass all the lower realms and go straight to the soul’s records via the higher self – the part that isn’t fully incarnated into the physical body and so can see much further than the ‘us’ down here. It isn’t so much that I go anywhere, just that I change my level of vibration and expand my consciousness so that I become aware of so much more. Then I can contact any other soul and ‘read’ the record for them. I’ve also taken literally hundreds of souls to read their own records over the past forty years and most often the records do present themselves as a library and a book or dvd. Actually, these days I don’t actually have to go to visit the Record in order to tune into the information – and anyway, as I believe we hold a hologram of the Record in our soul, it’s more a case of withdrawing from the outside world and there it is but I did when I started.

As my mentor Christine Hartley, who taught me a different method to that used by Cayce, always emphasised, it is important to distinguish between what you really see and what you’d like to see. As a writer herself she was all too aware of wanting to bring the threads together into a coherent whole, which is when the conscious mind starts to intervene and clarity is lost. It is important to record your impressions immediately afterwards or, as I do, by speaking or writing them at the time without embellishment although you can add extra insights..

Christine worked in such a deep state of inner withdrawal that she rarely remembered her perceptions afterwards – having to play the tape back or read the notes to recall her ‘seeings’. Her concentration was so intense and so inwardly focused that, in a session in London during the war, she once failed to hear an air raid siren to which, as a part time air raid warden, she would usually respond automatically. I’ve known people not hear a fire alarm test in a building they were in and I rarely hear anything around me. I found it easy to train myself to either write or speak, without going so deep that I lost awareness, so it becomes, in my terminology, ‘a straight through job’. I rarely retain the memory afterwards, which is beneficial as I could not possibly hold onto all the impressions I receive in the course of a year let alone a lifetime. Nowadays too I often don’t actually ‘see’ anything and I simply have to trust that the impressions are there and start speaking, whereupon it all spills out. At other times I clearly see a figure and have to describe how it is dressed before I can continue.

Why would you want to access the record? Well, as Ernesto Ortiz pointed:

We can look at why we have addictive patterns, why we choose the relationships we do, why we have created our habitual responses, and how to create action in our lives instead of reaction.

And, I would add, we can look at our soul purpose and the reason we choose to incarnate in the first place and contracts with people we meet.

We can take Edgar Cayce as an example of how knowing your past and why you are here assists adapting to your present day circumstances. A devout Christian, Cayce found it hard to come to come to terms with his trancework. When Cayce read the record for himself he believed himself to have been Pythagoras and several early spiritual teachers. He discovered he’d learn to enter a trance state when a Persian physician. Wounded in a battle, he had been left to die. Without food or water for three days, he was in agony. By a supreme effort, he detached his consciousness from his body. An ability that stood him in good stead in his current life as he could put himself into trance at will. Cayce first went into trance to find the cause of a throat condition that literally left him speechless. If Cayce did not do the work he was intended to do – his readings – then his throat closed up and he could not speak. Cayce stated that he had accrued karma as a strong willed and sensual Egyptian priest who broke his vow of celibacy in order to create ‘a perfect child’. He was reborn twice as John Bainbridge, once in the l7th and then against in the l8th century. Both men had a lustful disposition and were restless and unhappy. Cayce said that he had had to undergo those lives as he needed to know extremes before he could help others. At the end of the second John Bainbridge life, he gave his own life to save that of another. Cayce felt that his current lifetime was a ‘test for his soul’. His work gave him an opportunity to overcome the pride, materialism and sensuality of his past lives and to serve humankind selflessly. Through his readings he helped thousands of souls find healing. Cayce predicted his next life would be in 2100 in Nebraska but someone on the internet is already claiming to be the spirit of Cayce returned.

Crystals for the reading the record

Chrysotile, Dumortierite, Trigonic Quartz and Brandenberg Amethyst: hold and store the blueprint for the record making the access easy.

Preseli Bluestone: opens the causal vortex, soma and third eye chakras assisting access.

Reading the record

The easiest way to read for other people is to look at a photograph or into their eyes if they are present. Withdraw your attention from the outside world and let your eyes go slightly out of focus. Be aware of the face in front of you changing. Notice what costume appears, and then allow yourself to see the setting and to know the details of other lives.

When you first begin, you’ll find that you have what Christine called ‘practice runs’. That is, you’ll get glimpses but they may not relate to the time period or the person you are interested in. I explain this as rather like tuning one of those old-fashioned television sets in. You get a lot of static and a few glimpses of images that move on quickly before you can fix them in place, and then gradually you can tune into an image, hold it and have the scene move on slowly enough to describe it. Because moments of great emotional trauma and soul dramas seem to make the biggest impression on the record, these are what tend to be seen first and it is possible to tune into a specific historical event without actually having been there. If you find a scene distressing, remember that you are seeing it objectively at a distance, not reliving or embodying it. As with all past life work, the scene can be reframed into a different outcome if it needs healing, and the same goes if you are seeking to see the future rather than the past. You can then attune to the various potential futures that exist in each moment – every one the outcome of a different choice. This also works well if you want to see the potential outcomes of choices you or someone else has to make in the present life.

Christine advocated sitting relaxed in an upright easy chair with the spine fully supported, without shoes and wrapped in a cloak to shut out the outside world. I often semi-lie down as I find my belly is very much connected into this work and sitting upright compresses the energy point and I don’t need the contact with the earth through my feet that Christine used (I remain connected through my base chakra). You will need to experiment for yourself as to which works best for you. She, as I, also found it useful to have a companion with you when you first try this and it can be very productive to have a small group who meet regularly. Obviously it is helpful if companions are psychically aware, but it is more important that they possess common sense – and a few instructions such as ‘don’t try to yank me out suddenly if you think I’m contacting a traumatic scene’, ‘treat me gently and only intervene if I ask you’ (you can arrange a signal such as lifting your arm to indicate you need help), What is essential is that this companion is appraised of the way to bring you back safely should you wander too far – we will be working in small groups for this so you will all need to be aware of how to bring someone back:

‘Withdraw your attention from that scene and disconnect your energies and awareness*. Make your way back to the lift, asking your guide or higher self to accompany you. Step into the lift and press the button for ‘everyday reality’. The lift will bring you down through the vibrations until you reach the place you started from. Step out of the lift and be aware of leaving the past (or the future) behind. Cross the meadow until you reach your starting place.

Slowly return your awareness to the room, come into the present moment [If appropriate state the date and time]. Take a few deep breaths and then slowly open your eyes. Wiggle your fingers and toes and make sure your feet make a strong connection to the earth and that your grounding cord is in place.

*If there is any hesitancy about returning, your companion should ask if there is any unfinished business that needs attention and then find a creative way to deal with it if there is – guides and Higher Selves are usually all too willing to offer assistance with this.

As with all things psychic sensible precautions make the whole experience much smoother. Always work in a safe space with people you trust implicitly. Christine talked of the ‘borderlands’ through which she travelled that contained entities that may well do harm so she ‘stood by to repel boarders’. (This is what Cayce also experienced) She also spoke of the ‘lands of Illusion’ where you may happily lose yourself in what might be or have been. If you are well protected psychically and aim for the highest you will not encounter these (if you do meet unpleasant entities use a laser wand light zapper to dissolve them or call on your gatekeeper to protect you) and, in any case, this method is specifically designed to bypass those realms and go straight to a safe space in which to read the Record and then to return safely. Train yourself to speak what you see as you see it, or write it down immediately afterwards.

Settle yourself comfortably in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Turn off the phone. Close your eyes and place yourself in a pyramid of protection. Open your base chakra and let it hold you safely and gently so that you can bring the information down to earth.

Breathing rhythmically and easily, withdraw your attention from the outside world. If any thoughts pass through your mind that do not relate to this work, let them pass on by. Focus your attention on your third eye and open your inner screen (which may actually be some feet in front of you rather than inside your head).

In front of you you will see a lift with its doors standing open waiting for you. Inside the lift are several buttons. One is marked ‘Akashic Records’. Press the button and let the lift take you up through the dimensions to where the Record is housed.**

As the lift doors open, your Higher Self, the person you are reading for’s Higher Self and your guide step forward to meet you. They will conduct you through the multi-media experience that is the Akashic Record. They may take out a Book of Life for you to read, or hand you a dvd to play. They may show you the many rooms and dimensions of the Record. Simply let the experience unfold before you with the Higher Selves guiding the process. If you have any specific questions, put them before your guide and the Higher Selves and ask to be shown the answers as and when appropriate.

**N>B> When reading for someone else ask that their Higher Self will also be present.Go ‘up’ a vibration to connect to their Higher Self and your own Higher Self before proceeding.

When you have completed your Akashic reading session, disconnect your energies from the scene and the other person’s higher self, thank your guides and your Higher Self and ask them to accompany you back to the lift.*

Step into the lift and press the button for ‘everyday reality’. The lift will bring you down through the vibrations until you reach the place you started from. Step out of the lift and be aware of leaving the past (or the future) behind.

Slowly return your awareness to the room.  Take a few deep breaths and then slowly open your eyes. Move your fingers and toes and make sure your feet make a strong connection to the earth and that your grounding cord is in place.

*If there is any hesitancy about returning, ask the Higher Selves if there is unfinished business that needs attention and then find a creative way to deal with it if there is – guides and Higher Selves are usually all too willing to offer assistance with this.

Stand up (slowly!) or stamp your feet firmly on the floor to ground yourself in everyday reality.

You might like to try these as there are documented past life ‘memory’ accounts to check against, you may see others of course but worth a try.

First photo exercise (all the same person)

Christine Hartleys 4You’ll find detailed descriptions of Christine Hartley’s former lives in her book A Case for Reincarnation.








Second photo exercise

Rider Haggards Rider HaggardsRider HaggardsYou’ll find suggestions as to Rider Haggard’s past lives in his on-line memoir The Days of My Life. But here are my notes for a talk I gave to the Rider Haggard Society some years ago with excerpts from his memoir:







Rider Haggard and reincarnation

‘No, there is no proof, and yet reason comes to the support of these imaginings. Unless we have lived before, or the grotesque incongruities of life are to be explained in some way unknown to us, our present existence, to my mind, resembles nothing so much as a handful of what is known as “printer’s pie” cast together at hazard and struck off for the reader to interpret as he will or can.

Or perhaps in this case a better example would be to compare the world to a great ball-room wherein a Puck-like Death acts as Master of Ceremonies.

Here the highly born, the gifted and the successful are welcomed with shouts of praise, while the plain, the poorly dressed, the halt, are trodden underfoot; here partners, chosen at hazard, often enough seem to be dancing to a different time and step, till they are snatched asunder to meet no more;  here, one by one the revellers of all degrees are touched upon the shoulder by the Puck-like Death who calls the tune, and drop down, down into an impenetrable darkness, while others who knew them not, are called to take their places.

But if we admit that every one of these has lived before, and danced in other rooms, and will live again and dance in other rooms, then meaning informs the meaningless.

Then those casual meetings and swift farewells, those loves and hatings, are not of chance; then those partners are not chosen at hazard after all.

Then the dancers who in turn must swoon away beneath that awful, mocking touch, do not drop into darkness but into some new well of the water of Life.’

Haggard was a freemason and was a close friend of the Egyptologist Wallis Budge, who, if Haggard and others are to be believed, was well acquainted with fortune tellers and astrologers in Victorian Egypt. His good friend Andrew Lang, to whom She was dedicated, was president of the Society for Psychical Research in 1911 and had an extensive knowledge of reincarnation and all matters psychic. Lang was one of the friends with whom Haggard said he was in ‘supreme sympathy’ and it was Lang who suggested to Haggard that:

‘I might have been a monk of Ely and you might have flayed me and composed a saga at first hand. It would have been a good saga but I could not stand being flayed.’

Haggard mentions reincarnation several times in his autobiography and tells us that ‘someone’ – sadly he doesn’t give a name – told him about three of his incarnations after the launch of She in 1887 when he was 31. She, of course, is the two thousand year old woman who said:

‘I wait now for one I loved to be born again’… ‘Following the law that is stronger than any human plan, he shall find me here, where once he knew me’.

In his autobiography, after telling us that he’d been fascinated with ancient Egypt from boyhood, Haggard says:

‘A friend of mine who is a mystic of the first water amused me very much not long ago by forwarding to me a list of my previous incarnations, or rather of three of them, which had been revealed to him in some mysterious way. Two of these were Egyptian, one as a noble in the time of Pepi II who lived somewhere about 4000 BC and the second as one of the minor Pharaohs. In the third according to him I was a Norseman of the seventh century, who was one of the first to sail to the Nile, he returned but to die in sight of his old home. After that, saith the prophet, I slumbered for twelve hundred years until my present life.’

It sounds to me as though his mystic friend read the Akashic Record – something I do when preparing a karmic reading for clients.[i]

Haggard goes on to say at that time: ‘I cannot say that I have been converted to my friend’s perfectly sincere beliefs, since the reincarnation business seems to me to be quite insusceptible of proof. If it could be proved, how much more interesting it would make our lives. … Still it is a fact that some men have a strong affinity for certain lands and periods of history, which of course, may be explained by the circumstances that their direct ancestors dwelt in those lands and at those periods. Thus I love the Norse people of the saga and pre-saga times. But I have good reason to believe that my forefathers were Danes. I am however unable to trace any Egyptian ancestor…

[but] with the old Norse and the old Egyptians I am at home. I can enter into their thoughts and feelings. I can even understand their theologies…

Whatever the reason, I seem to myself to understand the Norse fold of anywhere about 800 AD and the Egyptians from Menes down to the Ptolemaic period, much better than I understand the people of the age in which I live. They are more familiar to me…. I positively loathe the Georgian period… on the other hand I have the greatest sympathy with savages. Zulus, for instance, with whom I always get on extremely well. Perhaps my mystical friend has left a savage incarnation out of his list.’

A fascination with certain places is seen as one of the indications of having possibly lived there previously, as is a revulsion against a place. If Haggard were one of my client’s I’d suggest he’d had a difficult Georgian life, the memory of which his soul had tried to wipe from the record as a loathesome period.

I’d also agree with Rudyard Kipling who, according to Cohen, suggests that The Wanderer’s Necklace, a Norse saga of reincarnation, showed that Haggard had the ability to think or dream himself back into a previous incarnation, even though it may not necessarily have been an incarnation of his own.

Ancestral memory, which Haggard mentions with regard to his Norse connections, is one of the explanations put forward for alleged past life memories and, of course, it is difficult to rule it out. But it is equally difficult to say that it is the only explanation.

To quote Haggard in 1912 yet again:

‘As I am touching on mystical subjects, probably for the last time, I will instance here a series of imaginings which developed themselves in my mind at intervals over a period of several months early in the present year. I noted them down at the time and, except for an addendum to No. 4, give them without alteration, as I think it best not to interfere with the original words, on which, perhaps unconsciously, I might attempt to improve. Indeed it would be easy to make a story out of each of these mind-pictures. At the head of them I have stated the alternative explanations which occur to me. Personally I favour — indeed I might almost say that I accept — the last.’[ –   subconscious invention]. ‘

What he describes are images that are typical in the hypnopompic state –  the state between sleeping and waking – which some people believe can access the collective unconscious or the Akashic Record.

Haggard again – and this is another long quote – says: ‘During the past few months there have come to me, generally between sleeping and waking, or so it seemed, certain pictures. These pictures, it would appear, might be attributed to either of the three following causes:

(1) Memories of some central incident that occurred in a previous incarnation.

(2) Racial memories of events that had happened to forefathers.

(3) Subconscious imagination and invention.

Probably the last of these alternatives is the one which most people would accept, since it must be remembered that there is nothing in any one of these tableaux vivants which I could not have imagined — say as an incident of a romance.

Now, before I forget them, I will describe the pictures as well as I can.

1. A kind of bay in a thicket formed of such woods as are common in England today, especially hazel, as they would appear towards the end of June, in full leaf but still very green. A stream somewhere near. At back, in a tall bank, something like the Bath Hills, the mouth of a cavern. About thirty feet from this a rough hut made of poles meeting on a central ridge (I have forgotten how it was thatched). In front of the hut a fire burning, and an idea of something being cooked by a skin-clad woman, I standing by, a youngish man, tall; children playing round, and notably a boy of about ten standing on the hither side of the fire, his nakedness half covered by the pelt of some animal, his skin, as he lifts his arms, very white. A general sense of something about to happen.

2. A round hut, surrounded by a fence, standing on a grassy knoll, no trees about. A black woman moving within the fence and, I think, some children; myself there also, as a black man. An alarm below, which causes me to take a spear and run out. A fight with attackers; attackers driven off, but I receive a spear-thrust right through the middle below the breast, and stagger up the slope mortally wounded back into the enclosure round the hut, where I fall into the arms of the woman and die.

3. A great palace built in the Egyptian style. Myself, a man of about thirty, in quaint and beautiful robes wound rather tightly round the body, walking at night up and down some half-enclosed and splendid chamber through which the air flows freely. A beautiful young woman with violet eyes creeps into the place like one who is afraid of being seen, creeps up to me, who starts at seeing her and appear to indicate that she should go. Thereon the woman draws herself up and, instead of going, throws herself straight into the man’s arms.

4. An idea of boundless snows and great cold. Then the interior of a timber-built hall, say forty feet or more in length, a table by a doorway and on it three or four large dark-coloured trout, such as might come from a big lake. Wooden vessels about, brightly painted. A fire burning in the centre of the hall, with no chimney. On the farther side of the fire a bench, and on the bench a young woman of not more than two— or three-and-twenty, apparently the same woman as she of the Egyptian picture, or very like her, with the identical large violet eyes, although rather taller. She is clothed in a tight-fitting grey dress, quite plain and without ornament, made of some rough frieze and showing the outline of the figure beneath. The hair is fair, but I cannot remember exactly how it was arranged. The woman is evidently in great grief. She sits, her elbow resting on her knee, her chin in her hand, and stares hopelessly into the fire. Presently something attracts her attention, for she looks towards the door by the table, which opens and admits through it a tall man, who, I know, is myself, wearing armour, for I catch the sheen of it in the firelight. The woman springs from the bench, runs round the fire, apparently screaming, and throws herself on to the breast of the man.

The general impression left is that she had believed him to be dead when he, probably her husband, appeared alive and well.’

Haggard later adds an addendum:

‘Some months later I was favoured with an impression of another scene set in the same surroundings. In this picture postscript, if I may call it so, the identical man and woman, now persons of early middle age, were standing together in bitter sorrow over the doubled-up and fully-dressed body of a beautiful lad of about eighteen years of age. Although I saw no wet upon his clothes I think that he had been drowned.)

5. The mouth of a tunnel or mine-adit running into a bare hillside strewn with rocks and debris. Standing outside the tunnel a short, little woman of about twenty-five, with black hair, brown eyes, and brownish but not black skin, lightly clad in some nondescript kind of garment. Resting on her, his arms about her shoulders, an elderly man, very thin and short, with a sad, finely-cut face and sparse grizzled beard, wearing a dingy loin-cloth. The man’s right foot covered with blood, and so badly crushed that one of the bones projects from the instep.’

Today, in the 21st century, using past- life- regression therapy we’d look very carefully at, and reframe, such an incident, since past life carryovers of injuries such as this, appear to cause a weakness in the present life. Haggard for example suffered from gout.

Haggard goes on,

‘The woman weeping. By his side on the ground a kind of basket filled with lumps of ore, designed to be carried on the back and fitted with two flat loops of hide, with a breast-strap connecting them, something on the principle of children’s toy reins. Growing near by a plant of the aloe tribe, the bottom leaves dead, and some of those above scratched in their fleshy substance, as though for amusement.

Walking up the slope towards the pair a coarse, strong, vigorous, black-bearded man with projecting eyes. He is clothed in white robes and wears a queer-shaped hat or cap, I think with a point to it. From an ornamented belt about his middle hangs a short sword in a scabbard, with a yellowish handle ending in a knob shaped like to the head of a lion. He carries over his head a painted umbrella or sunshade that will not shut up, and is made either of thin strips of wood or of some kind of canvas stretched on a wooden frame.

Haggard notes that:

General idea connected with the dream is that this man is an overseer of slaves who is about to kill the injured person as useless and take the woman for himself. She might be the daughter of the injured man, or possibly a wife a good deal younger than he. In any case she is intimately connected with him. Further idea. That the injured man was once an individual of consequence who has been reduced to slavery by some invading and more powerful race.

The characteristics of the site of the picture remind me of Cyprus.’

Haggard goes on to describe the well-known Spiritualist Sir Oliver Lodge’s reaction to these pictures, saying in the autobiography:

‘I described these tableaux to Sir Oliver Lodge when I met him in the Athenaeum not long ago, and asked him his opinion concerning them. He was interested, but replied that if they had appeared to him he would have thought more of them than he did as they had appeared to me, because he said that he lacked imagination. The curious little details such as that of the dark-coloured trout on the table in No. 4, and that of the scratchings on the aloe leaves in No. 5, seemed to strike him very much, as did the fact that all the scenes were such as might very well, and indeed doubtless have occurred again and again in the course of our long human history, from the time of the cave-dwellers onwards. Probably if we could trace our ancestors back to the beginning, we should find that on one occasion or another they have happened to some of them. I may add that by far the prettiest and most idyllic of these pictures was that of the primitive family in the midst of its green setting of hazel boughs by the mouth of the cave. Only over it, as I have said, like a thunder-cloud brooded the sense of something terrible that was about to happen. I wonder what it was.’