That Was Unexpected

Someone on a forum I post on was describing a life in 18th century Russia and in reading up on their era, I got a faint tickle of familiarity but nothing really special.  Long story short, at the specific time they believe they were in Russia, I’m fairly sure I was in America participating in some fashion in the revolution so I couldn’t have known them.

However, I remembered seeing a special with Howard Goodall that talked about the Russian nationalist composers like Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.  I’ve always had a weird affinity for those composers, and Goodall points out that they drew heavily from the litany of Russian Orthodox chants.

One piece that always filled me with emotion was “The Great Gate at Kiev” from Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition.”  There’s a quiet section at about the 1 minute mark in the recording I linked to that always gave me an odd feeling but I never could place what it was.

Today, I looked up Russian Orthodox chants.  The first I looked up had really awful compression (like 64kbps) but the second one… when I heard it I actually had such a rush of familiarity that tears came to my eyes.  It sounds much like the quiet section in the Mussorgsky piece.

I had suspected that my fiance had a past life in Russia some centuries ago, but now I’m starting to think it was me, and that I was heavily involved in the Russian Orthodox church in that life.  But the emotion is a strange one…  I don’t know quite what to make of it.  It’s neither tears of joy nor tears of sorrow but something quite different altogether that I can’t really describe.  My hands are literally shaking as I type this.  I may not know that specific chant but I know the style.

This is particularly unexpected in that as far as I can tell, Russian Orthodox Christians don’t believe in reincarnation as the general beliefs are similar in many ways to Catholic and Protestant churches.  In fact, a lot of the websites I skimmed over to verify that this was the case used the same arguments I’ve heard mainline Protestants use to dismiss reincarnation as a wholly unchristian doctrine.  I don’t understand why I would have such a strong feeling about this particular life, then, even if I was involved in the clergy since my beliefs currently are diametrically opposed to this position.

I’m feeling a bit strange.  I may have to go lie down.

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