Akashic Records, Past Life Reading, Past Life Regression: Definitions, Differences and Similarities

So much confusion hovers around how Akashic Records, Past Life Reading and Past Life Regression relate to one another. Some people erroneously believe all three are the exact same thing; however, important differences exist among them. This article defines each topic and gives tips on how to choose the most helpful modality for you.

Akashic Records

According to Wikipedia, “[t]he akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘sky’, ‘space’ or ‘aether’) is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogies commonly found in discourse on the subject include a ‘universal supercomputer’ and the ‘Mind of God.’ People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated automatically and that they can be accessed through astral projection[1] or when someone is placed under deep hypnosis. The concept was popularized in the theosophical movements of the 19th century and is derived from Hindu philosophy of Samkhya. It is promulgated in the Samkhya philosophy that the Akashic records are automatically recorded in the elements of akasha one of the five types of elements visualized as existing in the elemental theory of Ancient India, called Mahabhuta. The term akashic records is frequently used in New Age discourse.”

One could argue that the akashic records are simply the subconscious mind — both individual and collective — constantly recording and updating every being you’ve ever been and every lifetime you’ve ever had. Your subconscious mind never sleeps. It constantly records and transmits feelings, experiences, desires and memories, many of which never reach conscious awareness. I once heard that if someone hypnotized you and commanded you to recite back every license plate you’ve ever seen from Texas that you would be able to do so. In alphabetical order! Now, consider that your subconscious mind contains this level of information (and more) about every being you’ve ever been and every experience you’ve ever had — in any form and any lifetime.

Moreover, in the subconscious, all time is now. The subconscious doesn’t differentiate between something that happened 2000 years ago or just last night. What a blessing that so much remains below consciousness! Can you imagine how overwhelmed you’d feel if every time you wanted to introduce yourself, you needed to wade through all the names you’ve ever had? Sheesh! You think it’s hard to remember new names at parties? What if you also received conscious access to all of their names from every time you knew them before?! Those names might seem to fit even better than their current one, especially if you held strong associations with them in other lives.

Akashic records are involved in both past life readings and past life regressions. Whether they present as a “library” or a computer depends more on someone’s own process of information gathering and sorting. Linear people usually experience or consider individual “records,” kind of like reading one chapter of one book at a time, whereas non-linear folks may find themselves able to access information via multiple “frames” opened through something like the Cosmic Google. In this sense, a search word could be “entered” and the results would include all records relevant to that term.

Such a method of processing is rare, even under hypnosis, but some trained Akashic Records Readers can bring back the results of such a search, as long as they remain in trance. Some Past Life Readers are spontaneously able to contextualize a series of lifetimes in order to resolve a certain issue or relationship. These non-linear psychics with excellent gathering and sorting skills would be considered “expert researchers,” able to use speed and accuracy to determine the most useful information regarding any given situation. Not all psychics manage to master this process, but they can still retrieve valuable files from the akashic records. The average person does not access his or her own past lives in such a non-linear fashion, but rather one at a time via past life regression under hypnosis.

Past Life Regression

A past life regression occurs under a hypnotic trance induced by a trained psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist or hypnotherapist. Not all psychologists, counselors and psychiatrists are certified hypnotherapists, and not all hypnotherapists offer past life regression therapy. Some treatment providers only regress clients as far back as childhood, and even the ones who do past life regressions often take multiple sessions to get to that level.

The main disadvantages of past life regression therapy include:

1) The potential slowness of therapy, if it takes multiple sessions to get to any past life information.
2) Some people do not feel comfortable going into a hypnotic trance, especially if they do not know or fully trust the person inducing the trance.
3) The sessions usually need to occur in person at an office, although some hypnotherapists do offer phone sessions.
4) The sessions will be limited by the client’s own processing methods and/or the hypnotherapist’s ability to come up with questions. If the person does not know how to retrieve multiple lifetimes simultaneously and the issues spill across several lifetimes, then past life regression therapy can take many sessions even once it does begin. The information will be valuable and seem real, but it may not sort itself into detectable patterns.

The main advantage of past life regression therapy over past life readings is that the client gets to re-experience the relevant past life trauma while in a highly relaxed, supervised setting. If the past life feels too intense or scary, the hypnotherapist can ask questions or provide needed reassurance as though coaching the person through their earlier trauma. Some people prefer the immediacy and “real time” experience of past life regression therapy. It can leave a lasting, tangible impression that provides context for current struggles. Most hypnotherapists will also ease the client out of the session with instructions on how to release that lifetime and its attendant feelings into the no longer relevant past.

In selecting a past life regression therapist, it may help to conduct a mini interview in order to ensure that you feel comfortable with the hypnotherapist’s style, voice, energy, intentions and level of compassion. Hypnosis gives someone direct access to your subconscious mind in a state vulnerable to programming. Since your subconscious mind runs so much of your life, tremendous power and responsibility comes with the ability to reprogram someone’s negative patterns into something more positive. You will receive more benefit from this type of therapy and allow yourself a deeper hypnosis experience if you fully trust the person inducing your trance.

Past Life Readings

Unlike past life regression therapy, which has some fairly specialized procedures, training and ethical guidelines, past life readings are delivered through a psychic, who may or may not have any training or certification. Psychic and intuitive gifts and skills are available to everyone, but some people naturally manage to tune into other realms and dimensions. Others attended workshops or spent years researching how to improve their latent psychic awareness. Many past life readers cannot explain their precise methods of knowing. Sometimes lifetimes present like old fashioned films; other readers may “hear” the story or empathically feel the events; others may use all their senses to see, feel, hear, taste, touch, smell, and spontaneously “know” the thoughts, motivations, and context of multiple lifetimes related to a particular issue or relationship.

As with past life regression therapy, the person giving the reading is as important as the information itself. Not all past life readers offer the same levels of integrity, ability, or depth of information. At worst, some are charlatans; at best, they present exactly the right information for spontaneous healing and liberation. Most psychics fall somewhere in between these extremes. In determining whom to contact for a reading, try to get a sense of the psychic through testimonials, personal recommendations, and any books, articles or videos presented by the psychic. Even the purest information from the other realms will be filtering through this person, so you’ll want to make sure you like their vibration and resonate with their interpretation skills. Good psychics do not let their own attitudes and prejudices influence the information that comes through, but the ego does create blind spots. Accuracy and value of information is often inversely proportionate to the level of ego you sense. (This is true for everyone, not just psychics!)

Red flags would include any obvious agenda, threats, or fear tactics. If someone tells you that you have horrible karma that will destroy your life unless you pay them $1000 right now to clear your negative energy, please do take some time to recenter yourself and pray for clarity. Sometimes past life issues can rear their ugly heads in very intense ways, but good past life readings usually bring clarity and a sense of relief. If someone tries to manipulate you or insists that “they know all,” then you might want to see what your own inner guidance tells you. Just because someone tunes in doesn’t mean they know everything, but just because you don’t like or resonate with what they shared doesn’t necessarily mean they’re “wrong.” You might need more time for processing; the psychic might be filtering accurate information through his or her own limited world view; or the lifetime may need the context of other lifetimes revealed before it makes any sense in this one.

The primary disadvantage of past life readings is that so much depends upon the quality of the psychic delivering the information. Advantages of a good past life reading include: the “non-invasive” approach of reading rather than hypnosis; contextualization of multiple lifetimes; external affirmations of dreams or nudges you’ve wondered about; and the fact that many past life readers have other psychic awareness, too, like chakra clearing and energy movement. A good past life reader can see or otherwise sense if your energy body has released or begun to release the current issues related to your past life problems.

Why Mess Around with Any of These?

Ideally, past lives don’t matter at all. We come here in order to experience this lifetime, with all its unique manifestations of our soul. Sometimes issues or relationships continue to trouble us, though, regardless of more mainstream attempts at release and change. If you’ve exhausted your known methods of moving through trauma, phobias, ongoing relationship issues with people, authority or money, then it might be time to explore those akashic records, in whatever ways and with whomever feels most in alignment with your personality, comfort level, and goals. If you don’t sense any pressing need for treatment, but you just feel irrepressibly curious about past lives, that’s probably your subconscious trying to relay valuable information to you. I wish you all the best in all time!

11 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting read. Are you a fan of Brian Weiss?


  2. Posted by laurabruno on January 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I don’t know him personally, but I respect his work. šŸ™‚


  3. […] makes perfect sense. Our subconscious carries the bulk of our weight through ancient griefs, past life issues, and a confused sense of Self. Why not let the subconscious do its […]


  4. […] with clients when appropriate, but I’ve not yet written too much about it. I will say that the way I access past life information has much to do with this web of interconnected realities and options. Bill explicitly discusses […]


  5. In the regressions I have personally had and in those I have done for others, many occurences in past lives can be connected to obstacles in the current lifetime. It is so helpful to bring these memories to the conscious mind and often reduces or eliminates fears and phobias.


  6. […] those of you not aware of Dolores or her work, “Dolores Cannon is a past-life regressionist and hypnotherapist who specializes in the recovery and cataloging of ‘Lost Knowledge.’ […]


  7. […] might help with the release. You can find out more about the differences and similarities of those here. In the meantime, I encourage you to try the Blue Room. It’s a free method of inviting peace […]


  8. Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:

    I felt led to re-post this 2012 article as an answer to some FAQ’s regarding this month’s $77 “Past Life Quickie” special. Just to clarify, I do not offer past life regressions or hypnotherapy. I do pick up on a lot of what some people call “Akashic Records,” but I have not been specifically trained as an “Akashic Records Reader.” The past life readings I offer tend to locate patterns across many lifetimes — lives, reactions, reactions to reactions, etc., unwinding inappropriate tendrils interfering with this lifetime. They’re not for party tricks, but are more healing oriented on whatever level the current challenges reside. If you’re interested in booking a session, please email me via the contact page on this site. Blessings!


  9. Posted by D Kris on May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Laura,
    I hv been remembering and thinking of a guy who passed away a month ago, but before his death I did not even know him. I learnt through a tv channel that he had lost his life when on duty in the army. Why do I think of him so much?


  10. Hi Kris, it could be past life related with him, or else that he is not settled yet and you are picking up on his signal trying to get out some message. I have had that happen before. It is how I became friends with one my dear friends in the UK, in fact. Her bf started haunting me! Once I relayed the message, he settled down and then she and I became good friends. It was like he was setting up a support system for both of us as we then went through some rocky times for which the other was the perfect person to know what to do and what to say. Anyway, life is mysterious! Tough to say without checking in…


  11. […] readings are what some people would call Past Life Readings, except we choose an area of focus ā€” specific repeat challenges or relationships ā€” and I share […]


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