Tag Archives: Joan Grant

A Writer’s Notebook – Gothic musings, Joan Grant

I have a new story in my mind. This one is dark and Gothic. I am soaking up the atmosphere of nineteenth century Australia and letting my imagination carry me to new places. My Irish heritage no doubt has much  to do with this. I found an old trunk as a child on the verandah of my grandmother’s house is Caringbah, in NSW Australia, a place close to the largest ocean in the world. The trunk was filled with books: Girls Own Annuals from the early twentieth century and books about Ireland, all magical. I don’t know who they once belonged to, probably an older cousin. I can still recall the joy of searching through those books on a hot, still afternoon, with the scent of eucalypt drifting on the breeze.  The books have long since gone to other homes but I still have one:  The Little Good People, Folk Tales of Ireland by Kathleen Foyle, pictured by Peter Fraser,  which was published in 1949. As a small child this book enthralled me: changelings, the little goose girl, a magic lake, the sowing of heartsease, lepruchans and fairies.

Another book I found some years ago that I love is Speaking from the Heart a selection of unpublished writings by Joan Grant and edited by Nicola Bennett, Jane Lahr and Sophia Rosoff is a book that is a success on every level; spiritual, practical and clarity of writing. I first discovered the writings of Joan Grant nearly thirty years ago when I read her autobiography Far Memory and her Far Memory novels based on her ability to recall earlier lives. The strength of Joan’s spirit shines through Speaking from the Heart’ and includes descriptions of her Edwardian childhood, the discovery of her unique gifts in recalling past lives, psychometry and her personal ethics for living. The book gives the reader a clear, richly evocative description of past life regression work, the supra physical and death and contains the wisdom of many lifetimes. Joan Grant was a woman of great compassion, humour, and unique psychic ability, a woman I did not meet in this lifetime and certainly hope to meet in my next lifetime.  If you should read Speaking from the Heart I’m sure you will want to discover more about this remarkable woman and the gifts she has left us in her other books. Jane Lahr is the daughter of Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, in the Wizard of Oz.

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Speaking from the Heart by Joan Grant

 
I speak by email with Jane Lahr, a spiritual person, who was a great friend of Joan Grant. Jane is the daughter of Bert Lahr who played the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz , 2014 is the seventieth anniversary of this wonderful film. I have a connection to this film in that my daughter first ‘trod the boards’ with a local reparatory group, when she played the role of Dorothy, and  also with Oz being a name we use for our own country of Australia the connection is double; what more lovely song in all the world is there than Somewhere over the Rainbow and also the lesser known song,  Evening Star. Jane Lahr is the editor of The Celtic Quest, An Anthology from Merlin to Van Morrison (Welcome Books)a window into a world of magic, mystery and adventure. It is a beautiful book, richly illustrated, which illustrates the beauty, diversity and craftsmanship of Celtic art – including paintings, drawings, metalwork and photographs. Each image is selected to enhance the literary selection it accompanies. It includes literature drawn from the works of William Butler Yeats, and many more writers and poets.  Structured according to the Celtic lunar calendar, The Celtic Quest is divided into three sections: Song, Sword and Star. Song: reveals the Celt’s deep reverence for nature, Sword: reflects the passage of time, and Star: focuses on the Druidic beliefs in reincarnation, shape-shifting, and shamanic practises. Jane Lahr is the editor of Searching for Mary Magdalene: A Journey through Art and Literature (Welcome Books) and coeditor of the best-selling anthology Love: A Celebration in Art and Literature (Stewart, Tabori and Chang). Continue reading

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Joan Grant

Here is more information about Joan Grant.

Joan Grant (April 12, 1907 – February 3, 1989) was an author of historical novels and reincarnationist. Her first and most famous novel was Winged Pharaoh (1937). Grant shot to unexpected fame upon publication. The New York Times hailed it as “A book of fine idealism, deep compassion and a spiritual quality pure and bright as flame'” a sentiment echoed in countless reviews the world over. What her readers did not officially know for almost another twenty years, was that Joan claimed to have recalled the events in Winged Pharaoh while in a hypnotic or trance-like state, dictating piecemeal the lifetime that she believed herself to have lived. The book is still considered a cult classic by believers in the New Age religion. It was followed by other historical fantasies, or as Grant called them, “Far Memory books,” or “previous life autobiographies”. This book was initially accepted as a novel; Grant’s first husband, a barrister and Egyptologist spent many years prior to WW11 working on excavations in Egypt and as Joan accompanied him on some of these expeditions she was quite aware of many facets of Egyptian history. “Winged Pharaoh” was claimed by some to in fact be a re-incarnationist autobiography. Historians claimed that the calendar used in the book had never existed and also that there was no evidence whatsoever for the existence of an avenue of trees referred to in the book. After WW11 a text was found which when translated proved to be the calendar referred to by Grant in the 1937 book.
Joan Grant’s father was of dual US-British nationality – a real tennis player who won his place in the semi- finals of the World Championship for each country and, thus needing to play against himself. He also carried out at his own expense valuable pioneering work on the Anopheles Mosquito for which purpose he had installed a full research unit on Hayling Island.
Joan Grant spent her early years on Hayling Island in Hampshire and as a young woman won the Hampshire Ladies Golf finals – having never before played golf!
Grant strove to disabuse herself and her readers of preconceptions, to eschew what she called ‘group-think’. She was not interested in blind faith and blind belief, but in what could be perceived as true by the five senses. She claimed to have an unusual gift of “far memory” — the ability to remember previous lives, and something she referred to as “sensory awareness”. She said that she experienced many realities that are not available to most people.
A collection of previously unknown writings by Grant was published as Speaking from the Heart: Ethics, Reincarnation & What it Means to Be Human in 2007 by Overlook Press in the USA and Duckworth Press in the UK. It was edited by her granddaughter Nicola Bennett, with anthologist Jane Lahr and Joan’s closest friend Sophia Rosoff. The book contains poetry, essays and a series of lectures she gave at Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach. She had a reputation for talking and writing with clear certainty about her belief in other realities, past lives, and death. She said that for her, the veil between the “worlds” simply did not exist.
With her third husband, Denys Kelsey, she wrote Many Lifetimes, in which she explained how she supposedly remembered her own and others’ past lives. Prior to her marriage with Dr Kelsey Joan Grant was married to Charles Beatty, also a writer, first manager of the Montague Motor Museum in Beaulieu and one of the first announcers on Radio Luxembourg. Charles Beatty transcribed some of Joan Grant’s earlier books from a wire voice recorder.
She also wrote several children’s books which contain stories she claimed she was told in past lives.
Some of her books were published under the names Joan M. Grant and Joan Marshall Grant.
Her books have been translated and published in many languages.
Bibliography
• Winged Pharaoh (1937)
• Life As Carola (October 26, 1939)
• Eyes Of Horus (1942)
• The Scarlet Fish (1942)
• Lord Of The Horizon (June 3, 1943)
• Redskin Morning (1944)
• Scarlet Feather (1945)
• Return To Elysium (1947)
• Vague Vacation (1947)
• The Laird And The Lady (1949)
• So Moses Was Born (1952)
• Time Out Of Mind (1956)
• Far Memory (1956)
• A Lot To Remember (1962)
• Many Lifetimes (1968)
• Speaking from the Heart (2007)

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Speaking from the Heart

Speaking from the Heart
A Commentary on
Joan Grant: Speaking from the Heart–Ethics, Reincarnation and What It Means to Be Human

By the book’s editor, Nicola Bennett
In 1964 the English author Joan Grant, famed for her best-selling “far memory” novels such as Winged Pharaoh and Scarlet Feather, visited the Association for Research and Enlightenment at Virginia Beach with her husband Dr Denys Kelsey.
There they gave a series of lectures and Joan’s first lecture was titled, with typical simplicity, “Why I believe in Reincarnation.”Some readers may remember it. She began:
Early this month I stood on the deck of a liner, watching the soaring towers of New York rising from the sea. Half a century ago I stood on the deck of another liner, coming into the same harbour and experiencing the same pleasurable emotions.
If I were asked to prove than in October 1964 I came to New York on the Queen Elizabeth, I could easily do so. My passport would confirm the date of my arrival, and if there is no Cunard label on any of our suitcases, there is probably a notation on the ship’s passenger list. But it would be more difficult to prove that in October 1914 I came to New York in the Lusitania.
How do I know that both these episodes really happened? How do I know that a child of seven is an earlier version of the woman of fifty seven who is talking to you now? The answer is, of course, obvious; I know because both experiences are part of my memory.
The best reason I can give you for my belief in reincarnation is that I was born with it. And I was twelve years old before it dawned on me that everyone else had not been born with it too. Until then I thought that to mention anything which had happened to me before I was born annoyed people only because it was something no-one talked about in polite society.

The society she refers to was Edwardian England. Joan Grant was born on 12th April 1907 making this year her centennial. Her mother Blanche was a celebrated beauty with a mysterious past and psychic powers which she so family rumour had it exploited professionally as Mlle Voyer, with rooms in London’s West End in the 1890s.
Blanche foretold the sinking of the Titanic, but she appears to have been little more than perplexed and irritated by her daughter’s propensity for seeing people whom others did not and later – as Joan grew older, dismissed her vivid dreams of soldiers fighting at the Front as nightmares.
Her husband – the scientist J F Marshall, known as Jack to his friends who made his name as the author of The British Mosquitoes, still the standard work – was as dedicated to the rational as his wife to the irrational. A staunch atheist, he would examine Joan’s far-fetched claims with scientific rigour, only according to Joan – to find them corroborated.
But of course the 19th century, in both the US and the UK, had witnessed a love affair between science and the paranormal with famous scientists such as her father’s friend Sir Oliver Lodge, who investigated telepathy and ghosts with the same enthusiasm as he discovered electromagnetism.
As a young woman Joan remembered trying to “bluff” herself into pretending that the psychic 9/10ths of her didn’t exist. It was only in 1933 that her first husband Leslie Grant persuaded her to try psychometry.
In her autobiography, Far Memory, she describes the moment when she pressed the hilt of the sword against her forehead: “I made my mind a blank and expected it to stay like that.
To my surprise, visual images appeared as though I were seeing them through a third eye set between and slightly above my eyebrows.”
It was in this way that she discovered the lifetime she recorded in Winged Pharaoh, her first and most successful book, published to instant acclaim in October 1937.
It was with her second husband Charles Beatty that she began to use her “far sight” to see into other people’s past lives. During what they called “Gold Key” sessions at their farmhouse deep in Wales they began to practise what she described later as “high speed psychotherapy” on the friends and acquaintances who flooded through their doors in need of rest and recuperation from the traumas of wartime.
However it was only when Joan met Denys Kelsey, a trained psychiatrist who had been using hypnosis as a way of facilitating his clients’ recall of difficult or obscure memories and been astonished to discover some of them were describing the moment of conception and before, that Joan was able to realise her dream of creating a therapeutic environment where she could use her psychic abilities and old wisdom to use in helping other people with what would now be called “past life regression therapy”.
From 1962 until the early 1970s Joan and Denys welcomed clients to their house in a beautiful valley in France as well as working in New York and London.
The A.R.E. lectures, which were also given at the University of Virginia at the invitation of Professor Ian Stevenson, set out to explain their particular theories of reincarnation and the ethics they derived from it as the basis for their form of therapy.
Joan began her second lecture thus:
When I read in the September issue of the A.R.E. Bulletin that some of my books were “psychically received”, I thought I had better begin this talk by explaining that the faculty of far-memory is in no way concerned with information or ideas received from any outside entity.
The faculty is in no sense magical, mystical, or super-natural. It is the result of energy expended in acquiring a technique, by which a current personality can re-live the experience of an earlier personality in the same series. In fact, like every other ability, far memory is the result of practice.
The idea that some-people are born gifted, as though their abilities depended on the whims of good, or bad, fairies, who were invited, or not invited, to their christenings, is suitable for a bed-time story; but totally inappropriate to the robust reality of reincarnation.
For reincarnation is a robust reality; and we betray it unless we forthrightly accept entire responsibility for our past, our present, and our future. So we must accept that there are no gifts; there are only acquired abilities…
And she concluded:
Looking back to my childhood, or down a vista of millennia, I see no change in the principles of benign living. What are these basic principles?
That every individual is entirely responsible for his behaviour, and for his reaction to circumstance.
That physical age is irrelevant. The wise are born wise and the sour old person will become a sour baby, unless he changes his attitudes before death, or during the excarnate period.
Those labels of rank, or class, or nationality, or race, or creed, or sex, are so transitory that in the long run they are trivial.
And that character, which has nothing to do with intellect or skill, can evolve only by increasing our capacity to love, and to become lovable.
These basic principles are implicit in a belief in reincarnation; and it is the privilege of all of us to help each other to put them into practice.
I think that of all the lives I can remember, the most concise and effective instructions for living I have learned was when I was a pre-historic North American Indian: they believed that only one question needs to be answered before you could enter their Heaven the “happy hunting grounds”.The question was: “How many people are happier because you were born?”
Note:
Joan Grant Speaking from the Heart, Ethics, Reincarnation and What It Means to Be Human edited by Nicola Bennett. Jane Lahr and Sophia is a collection of Joan Grant’s unpublished teachings and writings including her A.R.E. lectures, and comes out this October from the Overlook Press in company with new paperback editions of “Winged Pharaoh” and “Scarlet Feather”.
Reference: The Intuitive-Connections Network
henryreed@intuitive-connections.net

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