Past Lives On The Ice: Reincarnation And Figure Skating

Susanna Rahkamo and Petri Kokko's 1995 program to the music "Vision (O Euchari In Leta Via)" performed by Emily Van Evera, Sister Germaine Fritz, Catherine King and Richard Souther and composed by Hildegard von Bingen was aptly titled "The Psalm" and was intended to evoke the feeling of transporting you through the ages to a different life in a twelfth century cathedral. The music gives you the distinct feeling of your soul returning to a different time and place and the skating and choreography engenders the ultimate Déjà vu. Is that sense of returning to a different time through skating uncommon? Hardly.

Rahkamo and Kokko's "The Psalm"

Perhaps, just perhaps it was much bigger than that - if you have an open mind to some of the real stories shared below by real people on online message boards about past lives:

Lisa: "(My daughter) just wanted to know where her ice skates were. She was three years old when she first asked me. She grew agitated when I told her that she's never had ice skates and was very upset that it didn't snow at Christmas saying, 'how can it be Christmas if it's not snowing' and 'now I can't skate on the lake.'"  

Mimsey: "I did experience a flash from a past life when I was sixteen or seventeen. It was of ice skating from some earlier life perhaps in the 1800's in the Netherlands? Dunno exactly. But it happened to me before I was ever exposed to the concept of reincarnation or past lives. It was just a knowingness or concept or picture of having ice skated before that popped into my head, but had the particularity of containing a knowingness I had ice skated in a earlier life. Mind you, I have never skated this life nor wanted to even though being raised in snow country. It wasn't my imagination giving me the memory or impression of skating backwards with my leg raised, arms spread (that I am aware of) but, at that time, it made me aware that I had lived before. I just sort of accepted it as real that I had lived before this life and went on with being a teenager. Like realizing your mom packed an apple in with your lunch. Not astounding. Just is."

These stories shared by everyday people looking for answers on an internet message boards about reincarnation are just two of millions of past life memories shared by people around the world, and fascinatingly, more than you'd think trace back to the ice. Denise Linn's book "21 Days To Master Understanding Your Past Lives", she speaks about how many abilities and talents that come to you naturally and seemingly out of nowhere can be attributed to our aptitudes in past lives by offering a story from her very own family: "One Saturday morning my daughter, Meadow, announced that she wanted to go ice-skating. My husband, David, is usually very slow to move in the morning, so I was astounded when he immediately agreed - especially as he had never skated in his life". Linn went on to explain how though she and her daughter had skated before but not in some time were more than a little rusty, her husband who had never skated "sailed past us effortlessly with the most smooth, graceful movements. He glided around us in circles. He skated backward. He completed wondrous spins and turns. Astonishing!" Linn stated that in a past life recollection or regression her husband David had recalled a life in the Netherlands where he worked as a city official and often skated on frozen canals and ponds in the city where he lived in that life. In her book "Climbing The Spiritual Ladder", Joan Price also talks about prodigal success and relates the astonishing success of Sonja Henie at such a young age to composers like Hadyn and Mendelsohhn, who played and composed at mind blowing levels of aptitude before they even reached ten years of age... and attributes this early and easy success in life to past life talent. Price pointed out that great minds and talents - and prodigies themselves - like Goethe, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, Longfellow, Yeats and Edgar Allan Poe all believed in the plausibility of past lives.

The topic of reincarnation and figure skating has even been the subject of a 2000 made for TV movie. "Ice Angel" featured Olympic medallists Tara Lipinski, Rosalynn Sumners, Nancy Kerrigan and Peter Carruthers as well as Nicholle Tom, who played one of the daughters on the popular nineties sitcom The Nanny ("oh! Mr. Sheffield!"). The comedic film tells the story of a hockey player and figure skater who both die on the same day. The figure skater's soul passes on but the hockey player's soul is 'reborn' in the body of the skater. Although this 'immediate reincarnation' contradicts just about everything that we know about how reincarnation actually works through studies and past live regressions, the movie was comedic in nature and the reincarnation element of the plot was obviously for comedic effect and not really meant to be 'accurate'.

From the comedic to the questionable at best comes the theory of author Robert Urbanek that skating's 'bad girl' Tonya Harding was a reincarnation of Lee Harvey Oswald. His eBook "Tonya Harding Shot JFK: Dreams, Symbols & Synchronicity" purports: "Consider the evidence of reincarnation. Both Tonya Harding and Lee Harvey Oswald have the letters 'Har' in their names. Both of their victims were Irish Catholics from Massachusetts whose last names began with the letters 'Ke': John F. Kennedy and Nancy Kerrigan, and both were attacked in cities beginning with the letter 'D': Dallas and Detroit. Time magazine also saw a connection in the assaults on Kerrigan and Kennedy. Margaret Carlson wrote in the February 21, 1994 issue, 'The videocam verite of the clubbing [of Kerrigan] provides the same gritty realism that the Zapruder footage brought to Oliver Stone's JFK.' Harding and Oswald came from poor dysfunctional families and learned to use a rifle. Both were about the same age when they became infamous: Lee at 24, Tonya at 23. And they have similar facial features. Kennedy doesn't look like Kerrigan, but Kerrigan looks a bit like Jackie Kennedy. Perhaps God's joke is that JFK, the womanizer, should return in a body resembling his own wife." Although I am the first to admit that Urbanek's theories and hypotheses come off as a stretch at best; completely kooky at worst, you have to admit it's certainly QUITE the theory he has there.

That said, whatever your beliefs are on the topic of reincarnation, you have to have an open mind in life. Sects of almost every major world religion including Christianity, Islam and Judaism do refer to or believe in reincarnation and other religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Voodoo, Celtic religions, Native American religions and Gnosticism all place faith in the process. Whether you really take the time to become well read and researched on the topic by familiarizing yourself with the writings of authors like Edgar Cayce, Ruth Montgomery and Jess Stearn or simply review the stories of famous reincarnation cases like Ruth Simmons/Bridey Murphy, Imad Elawar and Parmod Sharma, there's certainly enough information and proof out there that you can't dismiss the possibility of reincarnation with a finger wave of derision. Whether or not Sonja Henie (for instance) was the reincarnation of some prodigal figure skater from many moons ago, we may never know, but who's to say the stars of today may not only be building on the talents that they learned and honed in previous lives? It's certainly something to consider with an open mind.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating":