During a regression to find out the reason for the unusual emotional attachment that she'd had since the age of sixteen to Sir Edward Elgar - both his music and the man himself - Ann Merivale was knocked for six at finding herself in the life of Helen Weaver, his first fiancée. One year on, following a meeting held at Plas Gwyn, in the very room that had been Elgar's study from 1904-11, a series of letters between Edward Elgar and Helen Weaver started writing themselves in her head. Gradually, and on the advice of colleagues, she decided that this 'imaginary correspondence' should form the middle section of a book devoted to her personal experiences. The first part is autobiographical, showing how she came to her present beliefs and the third part (also somewhat autobiographical) draws conclusions re healing. It has the dual aim of introducing spiritual subjects to musical people who are unfamiliar with them, and introducing Elgar to spiritually minded people who know little or nothing about him.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Readers of books on Elgar will surely find here one unlike any they have read. Attractively presented and sold in aid of Elgar's Birthplace Museum, the author, a Deep Memory Process therapist, presents a highly personal approach to the story of Elgar's broken engagement to Helen Weaver. She believes that she was Helen in a former life and, in addition to her own story of coming to love Elgar's music, offers imagined letters to Elgar from Helen after she had emigrated to New Zealand. Thought-provoking views are expressed fluently and with sincerity.
~ Michael Trott, Amazon
Rev. Leonora van Gils - See all my reviews
This review is from: Life Without Elgar: A Tale of a Journeying Soul (Paperback)
The letters were so beautiful and haunting I could not put it down.
~ Rev. Leonora van Gils, Amazon
The central part of this book considers the relationship between Sir Edward Elgar and his friend Helen Weaver, to whom he was engaged in the 1870s. The investigation takes the form of a series of imaginary letters between Edward and Helen. Although the letters are fictional, the facts implied by them have been well researched and will increase the readers’ knowledge and understanding of England’s greatest composer.
Merivale believes that Helen was the unnamed friend in the 13th of the Enigma Variations, and also the soul enshrined in the Violin Concerto. Other names have been mentioned in this context as Elgar was concerned to spare his wife’s feelings, but this view is supported by the evidence of Elgar’s friend Ivor Atkins who believed that Helen was the real dedicatee.
The book also tells us of Merivale’s own response to the composer and her sympathetic feelings towards Helen Weaver.
(Michael is a former Chairman of the South West Branch of the Elgar Society) ~ Michael Butterfield, Amazon
Ann Merivale’s intimate account of her love for Edgar Elgar’s work in her current life, and the passionate involvement with both man and music in a previous life, is deeply personal, insightful and touching. In spite of the factual research contained in this book and a few academic musings, Ann’s journey of musical self-discovery is clearly guided by the heart. She trusts and follows her feelings, which is the only way to access what is usually hidden from the conscious mind: true self-knowledge, wisdom and healing. Ann’s book elucidates what holistic therapists encounter with clients every day: healing is a process inseparable from the soul’s journey through various embodiments. Rather than being an outlandish theory, reincarnation actually constitutes the practical framework of healing. It lends universal meaning, purpose and value to human life as we know it while in a body.
~ Ayuseva, Amazon
This review is from: Life Without Elgar: A Tale of a Journeying Soul (Paperback)
The author approaches Elgar's life and work from a unique angle- that of a lover of his music who feels she knew him in a past life as Helen Weaver, the fiancée who left him under unclear circumstances to emigrate to New Zealand. What I love about this unusual book is her passion for her subject, about whom I previously knew very little, and her beautiful and highly- readable style of writing. Both made the book impossible to put down. Her erudition, humour and courage both in self-exposure and in her presentation of an unorthodox point of view completed its charm.
~ Sri Devi Ma, Amazon
Ann works as a past life regression counsellor (also called Deep Memory Process) and has written her account of 'being' the girlfriend of Elgar.
She discovered in a session that she resonated strongly with Helen Weaver, the young lady and so has written a charming account of how she would feel, if she had actually been Helen.
If you're a fan of classical music, and like Elgar, this adds an extra dimension to your experience.
Ann's writing is calm and approachable.
~ Mary English, Amazon
This is a study of what for Edward Elgar may have been a lifelong obsession with a youthful passion; Variation 13 of the Enigma Variations, composed nearly two decades after the affair, may have been inspired by the object of that love, who after the engagement was broken off emigrated to New Zealand.
The book is based on the device of imagining that throughout their lives Edward Elgar and the girl with whom he fell in love, Helen Weaver, exchanged letters from across the globe. The author Ann Merivale believes in reincarnation and feels that in a previous life she was Helen Weaver.
Readers must judge for themselves whether Ms Merivale has caught the spirit of Elgar's thought processes and epistolatory style. This is a novel approach to biography and a daring one. ~ Humphrey Burton, Writer and Broadcaster
Dr Roger Woolger, to whose ground-breaking work in past-life therapy this book refers, and for whom music played a vital part in the nourishment of the soul, would have very much relished the insights, not only into the life of Elgar and his relationships, but also the connections between different lives and eras which this interesting and unusual book provides. ~ Jane May, Programme Director, Woolger Institute
One of the aspects of past life theory, for which there is much supportive evidence, is that time as we know it does not exist, and it is possible to remember and relive the past as if were happening now through the medium of Deep Memory Process, as Dr Woolger called it.
In writing the many letters contained in the book the author appears to have used psychic powers combined with past life technique to connect with, and actually become, the writers of the letters, as if their hands wielded the pen.
The letters make wonderful sense if one knows about Sir Edward William Elgar's life and become truly astounding if one remembers the process by which the letters may have been written. It is as though the original people can now say what they perhaps were unable to say at the time, and to rewrite that which has been lost in order that we might have a better understanding of the past which surrounded Elgar's life.
Having known the author since we trained together with Dr Roger Woolger nearly twenty years ago I can vouch for her absolute honesty, integrity, and sincerity, and her extensive personal knowledge of past life experiences both her own and those of her many colleagues and clients.
A fascinating and enlightening easy read.
~ Brian Weld, Woolger training
Ann Merivale’s intimate account of her love for Edward Elgar’s work in her current life, and the passionate involvement with both man and music in a previous life, is deeply personal, insightful and touching. In spite of the factual research contained in this book and a few academic musings, Ann’s journey of musical self-discovery is clearly guided by the heart. She trusts and follows her feelings, which is the only way to access what is usually hidden from the conscious mind: true self-knowledge, wisdom and healing. Ann’s book elucidates what holistic therapists encounter with clients every day: healing is a process inseparable from the soul’s journey through various embodiments. Rather than being an outlandish theory, reincarnation actually constitutes the practical framework of healing. It lends universal meaning, purpose and value to human life as we know it while in a body.
~ Sascha Kriese, M.A.Litt, Ayurvedic health-care practitioner, pulse reader, Shadow Work® coach, and formerly theatre director.
I have been incredibly moved by this beautiful book and only stopped reading to make a cup of tea before rushing back to it. Having attended many courses given by Roger Woolger, the famed Jungian psychotherapist who was also the author’s teacher, I fully appreciate the healing gained from his work, which she expounds so well. When it came to the letters in Part II, it really didn’t seem to me like Ann Merivale writing, but all the time like Helen and Edward. The book all rings so true, and several times I was moved to tears, particularly over references to the violin concerto, which I love even more than the cello concerto.
A lifelong musician, and an organist as well a retired teacher of piano and violin, Audrey Williams is an expert on Bach as well as Elgar. ~ Audrey Williams, currently Director of Music at a church in Exmouth.
I have no expertise in the field of regression and am personally open minded on the subject of reincarnation, but the author of this book appears undoubtedly to bear witness to the efficacy of Deep Memory Process therapy. Elgar was a fascinating man, both musically and psychologically, and the many hints he dropped about hidden messages in, for instance, the Enigma Variations do make it possible to believe that memories of his first love continued re-surfacing in both his thoughts and his music. The notion that Elgar and Helen Weaver continued their 'relationship' after her departure from England – indeed after both their deaths – is appealing, and would doubtless prove intriguing to sceptics as well as to believers. Ann Merivale is also at pains to stress that her book is chiefly about healing, and that the reader is free to question her belief in her previous incarnation as Helen. What does emerge loud and clear from the book is her own deep love of the music and, with that as a starting point, she has written a useful introduction to Elgar for beginners at the same as constructing a fascinating, speculative, 'alternative' view of the life of one of England's finest composers.
Dr. Kershaw taught Music at Sherborne School in Dorset for many years, having previously held a lecturing post in the Music Department of Aberdeen University. Himself a cellist, he has a profound knowledge of the life and works of Sir Edward Elgar. Now in semi-retirement, he has published numerous compositions, mainly for the enjoyment of young instrumental students, and many of these feature on examination board syllabuses all over the world. ~ Dr. Richard Kershaw, for many years a teacher of Music at Sherborne School.
Although the field of Deep Memory Regression is something about which I remain sceptical, I accept the author's sincere desire to heal people through its application, and I empathise very much with her desire to support the Elgar Birthplace Museum. Her early life is very interesting and fluently expressed, and her affinity with the person and music of Elgar is undeniable. The photographs of some of Elgar and Helen's supposed favourite haunts are an added attraction.
~ Lucy Bowen, Soprano and Head of Vocal Studies at Hereford Sixth Form College
As an imaginative reconstruction, the letters between Edward Elgar and Helen Weaver which form part of this book are an admirable achievement, managing to give an impression of a relationship much in the manner of the epistolary novel - a form I believe is still as valid as ever.
The author's love for Elgar – the man and his music – comes through movingly, and the way she splices details of her own life and her exploration of Elgar together makes this into an interesting narrative.
~ Simon Rees, writer and lecturer who spent 23 years as Welsh National Opera’s dramaturg.
For Elgarians of a romantic nature this book is full of “food for thought”, with many lovely set pieces to feed the reader's imagination.
~ Wendy Hill, Volunteer worker at the Elgar Birthplace Museum and speaker on Elgar.
The subject of the Thirteenth Enigma Variation has for long been a matter of debate. Whether or not this book gives us the answer can also be debated, but it is at least an interesting and enjoyable read.
~ Chris Bennett, Supervisor, Elgar Birthplace Museum
I found this book most stimulating and interesting. Whilst some of the areas covered in the book may make difficult - even uncomfortable - reading for many, Ann has not been afraid to delve deeply into the spiritual side of art and life. I'm sure that putting her thoughts into words was a huge challenge and she has succeeded in writing a book never less than thought provoking.
~ Simon Watterton, concert pianist, teacher and chamber music coach.