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A journey from conception to birth

Written by Palden Jenkins,
supplemented by Sheila Martin
and pushed along by Tulki Joe Jenkins!

This is a personal story. In writing it, we take a thoughtful risk, in good faith, that it will be received open- mindedly. It is a recounting of inner communications we have had with our child-to-be, before birth. Early in his gestation, Sheila humorously called him Tulkitoes, and this name has stuck with him. This story involves issues and viewpoints which might either be fascinating, challenging or upsetting to the reader. Nevertheless, it is a true account of what we have experienced, written in the light of our own way of seeing things. May this recounting be of benefit to anyone interested!

During 1994, Sheila and I considered having a child - or letting it have us! After due thought and preparation - Sheila was in her late thirties, I in my mid-forties - we were ready by early 1995. Sheila had worked in theatre and TV, then as a lecturer in performing arts. I worked in the book trade, in holistic education and the alternative sector. I have three daughters, Maya, Gwynedd and Marieka, born 1977, 1979 and 1989 - unhappily, none lives with us. However, the birth of all three had made a little history in the annals of spiritually-oriented childbirth, and I had thus picked up some experience in 'barefoot midwifery'. Since I was initially reluctant to father a fourth child and Sheila had not seriously considered motherhood until 1993, we gave due time, consideration and preparation to the matter, and then consciously set the wheels in motion in early 1995.

Along came 'Fay'. She proved to be a delightful healing presence. As springtime developed, we gained a palpable sense of who she was - joyous, excited, inquisitive. Our colourful cottage garden flourished in the sunshine - fairies were dancing amongst the abundant June blossoms. Fay's presence was forgiving and copiously happy. She felt like an ET-type soul, and she loved every minute of gestation. Sheila bloomed and was highly energised and very content - I too. On one memorable occasion we went walking on a sea-headland called Brean Down - Sheila lay in a meadow of bluebells, bumblebees buzzing, and Fay lapped up the happiness. All was very well.

But then, after three months, Fay unexpectedly withdrew. 'Miscarriage' isn't the right word. This was deeply painful for Sheila - we couldn't believe what was happening. She was distraught, bereaved. For me it was the fourth round of a long saga of goodbyes to daughters - though this time it was a simple fact of life with no differences of opinion. We were being tested - this wasn't new - though we knew we could try again. Over the ensuing months, Sheila put on a brave face, playing a valiant role in the Hundredth Monkeying camping retreat we staged in August, but she was just waiting, waiting for another chance, rueing the loss of Fay.

Such a bright light! Fay was gone. We later came to realise she had perhaps never really intended to be born - she had sought to get a look into life on Earth, while opening us up, making us ready. She experienced a joyous, colourful aspect of earthly life through us - perhaps unsustainable longterm, given the rigours of the 1990s! It felt like a joyous reunion. Yet we came to accept her departure, and she still hovers around as a 'spirit child'. Sheila later felt that Tulkitoes and Fay had done each other a favour - she opened us up for him while he deferred to her need for a happy taste of earthly life. A little aside: at the time of Fay's passing, a little paper bag came along, on which was printed: Thank You. Please call again. Recyclable packaging. It's funny how life communicates its messages!

That year, Sheila and I were busy organising the first Hundredth Monkeying retreat in August 1995. We pulled in 120 people to do meditation and growth-work with the aim of sending 'inner aid' to world crisis zones and to help nurture positive world change. As it happened, the Bosnian war stopped on the very day we did some concentrated work on it - but that's another story! While sitting with 70-80 people through long 'circle-working' sessions, many people experienced spiritual beings looking down and working with us. The only appropriate word is holy. I mention this because, looking back, I sensed Tulki amongst them, espying his parents-to-be, the instigators of this event. We were pleased with M100 - a new chapter was beginning.

One night at the camp, I made a 'pact with the universe'. I affirmed that I and we were committed, ready to receive a new soul. Yet, asserting free-will, I laid down a proviso: given that Sheila and I each have a clear sense of life-purpose, any soul wanting us as parents was to have a purpose and needs which were harmonious with ours, reinforcing them. In turn, we would truly assist its own life-purpose. This perhaps sounds obvious, yet few people are clear about this - we can attract souls for varieties of unconscious reasons. Since our commitment to M100 involves significant outcomes and responsibilities, we could not allow our child and the project to conflict. Our relationship, being naturally egalitarian and mutually- supportive, made it important to create a coalition of three from the very beginning. I'm glad I made this magic statement of intent: I think Tulkitoes and his 'fixers' appreciated it. Of course, the longterm outcome of it remains to be seen!

A series of life-developments since I was young had opened my psychic channels. Often, while doing my teaching work over the years, lightweight 'free-flow' inspirations would occur. Many of my greater actions, such as the rather momentous founding in 1983 of the Glastonbury Gatherings and the 1986 founding of the OakDragon Project, had arisen from early-morning inspirations or callings. In 1991-92 I worked for the Council of Nine, a council of cosmic beings who over a 20-year period had communicated copious amounts of information through a distinguished group of people, who had asked me to compile a book for them - The Only Planet of Choice (Gateway, 1993). During this time I experienced considerable 'psychic supervision' as I compiled the book. Then, in 1994-95, I envisioned and set up the Hundredth Monkeying project - a serious exercise in 'bringing through' world-healing energy with and for the Nine and similar beings. This was a training for what was to happen with Tulkitoes. I was being prised open, learning to empty myself entirely to receive impressions from other realities. Sheila, meanwhile, was independently going through changes prompting her to listen within - a homeopath, treating a longterm eczema problem around Sheila's ears, told her she needed to open her psychic hearing. Suddenly, Sheila heard the message!

Sheila was craving pregnancy again. To a man, this womb-driven craving is a deeply irrational feminine force, yet it demands respect! People had recommended a six-month rest, but Sheila was instinctually motoring hard! When I returned from York, Sheila and I made love. Having tracked and harmonised with her menstrual cycles for some years, she had been 'holding' her ovulation until I came back. While we were making love, part of me said: "If now is the time to come through, you may do so". Sheila later reported that she knew she was conceiving - though, interestingly, it was 24 hours after we had made love. Conception was around 1am on 20th September 1995. However, it didn't feel like Fay. A broody silence unfolded. That autumn, Sheila was below par and exhausted, and both of us were quite busy, involved in our own work and life-processes. There wasn't the same feeling of presence and joy as before. There was a puzzling quietness. We wondered if something was wrong, but nothing felt wrong.

At that time, Sheila was gulping down books about China, for some reason. Then she read a book about reincarnating Tibetan lamas - Born in the West, by Vicki Armstrong. This choice of books was most unlike her - she was a no-bullshit, post-modern, occidental kind of woman. Even to a well-initiated 'new man', women contain many enigmatic mysteries, so I accepted it as a fascinating oddity. Then, Sheila reported an extremely lucid and (to her) distasteful dream in which she was on a Himalayan mountain, watching a 'sky-burial'. This is where a dead body is cut up and fed to vultures - the Tibetans believe in completely eliminating the body, to free the soul for its after-death journey.

From the viewpoint of 'new age' wishful-thinking, rife in Glastonbury, it's quite fashionable to desire a Tibetan soul (or, failing that, an Egyptian or Atlantean!). For this reason, I was unusually sceptical. However, Sheila is a Geordie opera-and-knitting, tea-drinking type, not a particularly 'cosmic' person, and it was she who was receiving these Tibetan impressions, not me. This dream and the books constituted two clues - yet we were drawing a blank on who this soul was.

The months passed. We were feeling a need for indications of some sort. We wondered whether this might be something like an autistic baby, so silent was it. A classic parental neurosis! We knew some souls can take this form to share a love and healing innocence amidst a raucous, insensitive world. So we accepted this possibility. Yet it didn't seem correct. Sheila searched within to investigate, receiving a very clear message: "Go away! Can't you see, I'm busy building my bones!". This brought some relief, though the mystery continued. Whoever this was, s/he was determinedly weaving an elaborate energy-field in secret, secluded in the womb's deep cave. Meanwhile, further clues fell into place, suggesting a Tibetan connection - these were entirely factual, quite unromantic. The Tibetan name Yeshe came up. Although Sheila knew it wasn't a tulku, the nickname 'Tulkitoes' spontaneously came up - it has stuck ever since! A tulku is a high lama who undertakes conscious, chosen rebirth, returning to serve humanity.

Around Christmas, I encouraged Sheila to go inside to do some finding out. I took her on a guided- imagery journey, in which she travelled up the umbilical cord to meet the child. She emerged into the scene of the sky burial. Over to the left, there were two figures, one an indistinct person (who was Tulki), and the other was a smiling, genial, lovely lama. Months later, on reflection, Sheila wondered whether this was a being we came to know as Khang. The overriding impression she gained from this was that she and the child were safe and that all would be well.

While I was talking her through the journey, I followed her, imaginally. I saw an unexpected image - a rather dashing and proud musketeer, sword at the ready, dressed in ruby red, with a nifty hat. When Sheila later reported she had met a lama, I felt I had perhaps misperceived the whole thing - though dark red, the lama colour, was significant. As she recounted her tale, I got a distinct impression this soul was coming to join us in our work. Perhaps we had unconsciously set up M100 as a context for this soul to grow up in - an intense and deregulated 21st century monastery. Was this doting paternal romanticism? It felt like business.

Later, I got in contact myself. While Sheila relaxed on the sofa, I opened myself up within - often I pace around the room swaying my arms, emptying my psyche and opening the top of my head - and then I laid my hands on her stomach and went in. I diminished myself to the size of the foetus and went to meet it: I 'saw' it clearly and sensed its energy and nature - something I cannot describe in words, but very simple, calm, benign, 'primitive', with limbs only in the early stages of formation. This was very moving.

Then I found myself breaking through to a new level, going through to his soul. Suddenly I was sensing a lama - male - and his meditative presence. It was very powerful, even a bit daunting, in a tranquil sort of way. I felt spiritually diminutive - he had that simple intelligent compassion the lamas often have. I asked questions. Was he a lama? Yes - well, a monk. Tibetans are meek people - putting on airs is not their game. He told me he had chosen us for particular reasons - he wanted an eclectic path of development with spiritual opportunities. We were all just right for each other. He had died in 1932, near Lhasa. He didn't need to come back - he chose to, because his people were suffering. He had been a lama from the age of 37 - though I couldn't work out how that related sequentially to 1932. He was measured in his answers.

He had been highly respected. He seemed not to be a rinpoche, a high lama, but he was somehow significant, not an ordinary monk. I tried asking him about this, yet he seemed to prefer not to speak about it. "Is this because you don't want me to get into proud-father syndrome?" "Yes!". He seemed pleased. I accepted that. He gave some insightful comments which I relayed to Sheila, to help her deal with her own life - he asked her to give more time and attention, to open her inner hearing. He would help.

I asked whether we had been together before. I got two holographic images. I saw an inn where we three met - regularly, but not often. It was in Tunhuang, on the Silk Road on the far north-west frontier of China, the gateway to High Asia on the edge of the Gobi. Sheila was the innkeeper. She was in touch with many things, since many travellers passed through. She was influential, a 'fixer'. It was the 1500s-1600s (Ming dynasty). Tulki was a Tibetan government representative, and I was (I think) a Ming mandarin. We carried out discrete operations concerning relations between China, Mongolia and Tibet. We were arranging things in Tibet's favour, yet it was to appear to be in China's favour. (After checking some books, this was possibly the time of a Mongol revival under Altan Khan, which worried the Chinese greatly. The Chinese were manoeuvring in Tibet too, to gain suzerainty).

At Tunhuang we had built up great warmth and trust between us - a mutual pact which, if our cover was blown, could cost us highly. We constituted a firm and harmonic energy-triangle, as if it activated something greater than the sum of our threesome. The other image I briefly got was of Tulki and me trek king through the wide-open wilderness. We were trekking, trekking, and then we parted company to go about our individual missions. Sheila's inn was sheer luxury compared to that! There was a feeling we might never see each other again.

I asked whether we had had any other historic connections, but nothing came. I mention this to show that one also draws blanks or the answer 'no' during such investigations, even against one's preference. When I checked to see whether we had ET connections, Tulki changed form into a sparky, light-filled ET form, just for a flash, as if to say "How could you think otherwise?!"

Every Sunday evening, I regularly meditated, linking up with the Nine and the 'Monkeys'. Sheila stayed downstairs. One day, I felt Tulki sitting, embryo-size, cross-legged in my hands, wrapped in lama's robes. At first, it was a surprise - I hadn't called him. The quality of his meditation was very strong and stable - it made my restless mind feel so distracted, jumpy and boomy! He occasionally hopped back and forth between Sheila and myself. This went on for some weeks. At a Monkey-meeting elsewhere, someone had reported that Tulki had come through loud and clear in their meditation - he was getting around! Later, when meditating while visiting Leeds, I called him, and he was there instantaneously! He sat with me. "Where are we?" "A place called Leeds, some way from home." "Oh. Who's that?" "That's Sian, a good friend - she was at the camp." "Oh. Well, she's alright!" Again, he zipped back and forth from Sheila to me - all this meditation business was very exciting to him. He wanted his mum to join in too.

At another time, Sheila got the impression Tulki was somehow ignoring her. He was almost yelling "Daddee! Daddee!" at times, when I approached. This was a little disturbing. I had a talk with Tulki one night, while Sheila was asleep. Something was giving him reservations over fully embracing her. I told him she loved him and he would need her: things were now different from his last life - women would be important. They would possibly influence and inspire him more than men, given the state of things today. I reminded him his monkish days were over - he had joined us to seek a more eclectic life. I recommended him to love, trust and support his mother - he wouldn't find one better! He got the message - he fully considered the matters I raised with him. Things warmed up over the ensuing days, and the coolness evaporated. Presumably he hadn't known what exactly to make of feminine energy!

A couple of months later, something else emerged: Tulki seemed to have had about six lives on Earth, and in all of these lives he had, for various cultural reasons, been removed from his mothers shortly after birth - he thus did not know what a proper maternal relationship is. By this time, he and his mum were canoodling and loving each other warmly during private 'nesting' sessions. At one stage, when communicating with him, I found myself crying on his behalf. He said: "Mummeee, don't ever hand me over, don't ever send me away!" "We won't, Tulki, you're staying here with us, and you and I are here for each other".

There were other times when I went inside the womb to be with him, imaginally. However, up to about 4 1/2 months' pregnancy, he wasn't fully there, in occupation of his body. He was, as it were, connected by a link between the foetus and his soul 'up there'. When talking, it was his soul I was communicating with. However, sometimes Sheila would be in simultaneous contact with the foetus - at times, when relaxed, she would fall into a baby state, flapping her arms and lightly twitching in a baby-like way. There follows an account of this by Sheila.

I was watching Star Trek with Palden and I suddenly got extremely wimpy and wobbly and got Palden to come over to the sofa to cuddle me. Come the end of the programme, I was drifting off - but it wasn't like falling asleep. I've experienced this a few times in this pregnancy and it's a bit like being taken over. I had two layers of consciousness running at the same time - mine and the baby's. Except I was the baby. I was aware that I was with my daddy, feeling very, very vulnerable. I knew he would be patient and wouldn't leave me till I felt better, whereas if it was my mum I might have to try crying tactics to get her to notice my neediness. But daddy didn't have the comfort-breasts mummy had.

I tried to wave to my daddy. My hand lifted up and I could feel my fingers from the inside, trying to stretch out. I wiggled them a bit and after a while I realised that, if I could wiggle them all at the same time, then that would be a proper wave. Then I rested and later on I could feel that mummy wanted to come back and so I waved to daddy to say goodbye, and I reckoned he would understand.

This went on over about 20 minutes. When I came round, I was very spaced-out. Palden, of course, had understood that something was going on and had understood the wave - he said he could see that my hand was in water and that I was having to push against it when I moved. I was aware that the baby was educating me in what it is like to be a baby - that it is necessary that I truly appreciate the vulnerability and the need to communicate and be close.

More information came out over time. It turned out that Tulki had worked for the Tibetan government, perhaps in the 1920s, though he was circumspect about it. He had been an advisor and emissary. I saw him in council rooms, discussing weighty matters. Then I saw him on horseback, in dark red wraps, travelling along a mountain road-path. He had an indefinable feeling of gravitas and worldliness which I couldn't fully equate with his lamaistic image. At one stage I saw him in the richer silk robes of Tibetan high officials - I couldn't figure all this out.

One day, we invited Marion to visit. She was a healer and friend who had taken ordination as a Buddhist nun. After 'opening up' the channel to Tulki for her, she tuned in, and experienced a great sadness in connection with Tulki. I got the feeling that, through her, he was fully coming to terms with the tragedy of today's Tibet - occupied by the Chinese in the 1950s. He was perhaps attuning to the patient barrenness Tibetans must feel. I also 'got' that Marion and he shared a mutual friend - Jersel Dhampa indistinctly came through - and that they might meet again through her. Tulki, in his sagacious lama-aspect, encouraged Marion in her chosen life-path, saying that she was 'right on-track'.

Marion mentioned that the Dalai Lama would visit Britain in July 1996 - at this, Tulki got very excited. "He's my friend! You must take me to him! Take me!". "Hang on, Tulki, you'll only be a few weeks old!" "I must see him - he's my friend!" He had said the lamas would not be looking for him - he was insufficiently important and they wouldn't be expecting him. We later wrote to the lamas, and I promised Tulki we would reconnect him with them.

Sheila sometimes encountered physical difficulties. She would lay down and I would do some healing, intuitively invoking the Tibetan deities Chenrezig, Padmasambhava and Tara. This seemed to help a lot. Light would cascade down through me into Tulkitoes. The mantras would boom and echo quite vividly. He liked that, always responding. On occasions, he gave pertinent teachings and advice to Sheila, helping her get through an inner breakthrough. At one stage he said: "Where's my grandpa?" Sheila's parents were in the process of moving from Northumberland to Glastonbury - it wouldn't surprise me if Don were an old Tibetan himself. At another time, Tulki indicated that he wanted to meet our friends Ivan Macbeth (he gave the image of Ivan as a sort of bishop - perhaps Nestorian?) and Sig Lonegren (Sig and he were galloping wildly on horses, laughing and having great fun). Tulki also dropped a hint that some 5-6 children were being born in Glastonbury for related purposes to his - will they know each other?

In January, Sheila and I were busy facing some hard realities, concerned about money and the future. Tulki was feeling down too - he came through with great sadness and dread. He was realising life was going to be more difficult than he had thought. He was realising that the world is definitely not spiritually- oriented: we were on a minority uphill path, against the wind. In Tibetan society, spirituality lay at the core of their culture, however sclerotic it might have been in latter times. He was feeling deeply downhearted, fearing a loss of consciousness at birth, a loss of memory of his identity and purpose. This was heart-wrenching. We could feel the grating of his sensitivities with the harsh blatancy of today's world. He wanted to end the birth-process and 'go home'. His spirit was sinking. His experience was densifying.

I talked assuringly, agreeing that it is indeed difficult, though somehow manageable: "After all, Tulki, your mum and dad have remembered, even though there have been long times we've forgotten". I reminded him of our other nascent family, the 'Monkeys' - that heartened him. "Remember you have chosen life for a reason, Tulki. The world will change during your lifetime, and we are doing things to help it..." "But daddee, I could lose my way!". "Well, Tulki, I've lost my way too, but I keep on coming back - and that's what life is about! It is difficult, Tulki - our world is approaching a great reckoning. You have come for that, and if we succeed, it's going to be a wonderful place." I was crying - we all were crying, deep down. Though privileged to live in Glastonbury, a holy place, life in the 1990s nevertheless has a tragic aspect.

We had another crisis on Sunday 18th February, around new moon. Sheila wasn't well - she was becoming distraught. She lay down. I emptied myself - Tulki's protectors would have to handle this. I sensed he needed help with something he couldn't manage on his own. As soon as I opened up, energy- light cascaded through me like a torrent, through the top of my head to my hands, flooding Tulki's dome- home with what can only be called sparkling stardust. I had bridged a gap in an energy-chain. I was overwhelmed, shaking. Sheila soon felt better. Wow! Within hours, Tulki made his first noticeable movement: we had gone through a critical shift. He had entered his body. From now on, he was a baby- soul - no longer in the 'intermediate state'. From now, he tangibly 'plopped around' inside Sheila. His voice changed - it was unmistakably a baby's mind and voice speaking from then on.

Later, Sheila felt out-of-sorts, and I tuned in. "I want tell something my mum, but she not open!" "Well, tell it to me, then, Tulki." "No, it not for you, daddee." I encouraged Sheila to tune in to Tulki - she was in her busy working mode and resisted for a week. But Tulki disturbed her dreams so much at night that she finally gave in and went inside. She came up with some news. This is her report.

I saw high, rough mountains and a battle. There were Chinese warriors in old-fashioned outfits, on horseback. They were on the run. One of the warriors was badly wounded in his rear end and came off his horse. A Tibetan lama emerged from behind some rocks and pulled him to safety.

Then I saw a mean little hut. On the left was a bed with the Chinese soldier in it. At first I thought Tulki was telling me he was the lama, but he kept saying "Chineeese!", with a long stress on the 'eee'. The Chinese man was stockily built and the lama was tall and aesthetic-looking. The lama nursed the Chinaman and sent a woman in with healing herbs for his wounds. The Chinaman couldn't get over the fact that the lama took care of him and didn't turn him in, and he was very gentle and kind. The Chinaman inherently knew that here was something he was seeking and he 'understood'.

From there, I think, Tulki became a lama - but he didn't actually give me any more detailed information.

When Sheila recounted this, I 'saw' much of the unfolding scenario too. Tulki stayed with the lama for perhaps a year - he was disabled, lying down, looking over at the lama, who was sitting at his studies. I simultaneously 'got' several strong images and bits of information. It was around 1910 or so - the time of the first Chinese revolution. Tracking back in time, I saw him dressed in smart silken Manchu imperial clothing. He was proud and aristocratic. He was in the Forbidden City, involved in court matters. There was an older man there, perhaps an uncle, a chief minister or court adviser, regarded as very wise - Tulki was apparently following in his footsteps. The old man's word was highly respected. I picked up the name Khang - though on examining the history books, I wondered if this was the moderate court adviser Prince Ch'ing of Boxer Rebellion times.

Back to the lama's hovel. There was a sense of no going back - the Manchu dynasty had fallen. Later book researches revealed that there had been a diversionary Manchu campaign two years before the revolution, from Szechuan in western China, aiming to gain military control of Tibet. Tulki was presumably involved in this. Yet while at the lama's, Tulki had undergone a large inner change, falling in love with Tibetan life and understanding the hollowness of Manchu court life, now gone forever. He had been Chinese! High-born, something like a senior army officer. Yet his life was utterly changed, lying in a hut.

Then I saw them journeying. Tulki was going to Lhasa. He was welcomed - he had found new meaning in his life. I saw him at the Potala, in grave discussions about the Chinese. Plans were being hatched. Then I saw him off on expeditions, dressed as a lama - was this disguise or genuine? He was carrying out missions, trekking, meeting people and fixing things. Then I caught a glimpse of him, some time later, honoured by the Tibetans for his actions. He had a chatty relationship with the Dalai Lama. He was at peace with himself - he could now retire to a monastic life. Some years of study and meditation followed. I saw him going out leading a party to meet a visiting high lama. He was initiated into the teachings on the stages of death and rebirth - which he clearly was applying now.

Everything had now fallen into place. Tulki had lived two lives in one! Half a life as a Manchu, and half as a Tibetan. He had presented the Tibetan half first, wary of letting us know about the Manchu half. Perhaps he feared we might be disappointed in him - in fact, it explained many things. He had to tell his mum - my historical knowledge might interfere in transception. However, all this new input completed the picture. Sheila had once reported that he would work to help Tibet find its freedom. Now we understood why she had said that.

Another day, when I visualised him as a Manchu warrior, he came at me cackling, brandishing his sword - I fought back with a sword that suddenly appeared in my hand. We were both surprisingly good at it - there was an undertone of friendly jousting. He obliged me to measure up to him, equal him and look him in the eyes. Suddenly we both broke down, creased up with mirth! This opened a human feel to our relationship - perhaps an omen of the future!

At Easter 1996, we arranged a gathering of 'Monkeys' in Derbyshire. This was Tulki's first real trip away. I remember feeling him scanning the busy motorway as we drove up. He was excited and apprehensive - I had told him what would be happening. Later, as twenty-seven of us sat there, 'working the circle', he was quite keyed-up, very attentive. The summer before, he had watched this process at work 'from above', from the spirit-world, and now he was witnessing it on the human level! It was very different! He was sampling the deep pathos and awareness in circle-working, scanning each individual as they held the talking-stick and spoke their truth.

He was quite fazed by the work involved: we weren't just meditating, but sharing deep human life- issues. This was different from Tibetan rituals. The circle later focused on Ulster. Tulki was a little frustrated: why weren't we working for Tibet? "I love Tibet, you love Tibet, yet it is just one problem of many, Tulki. We're in a mess today, all over the world. It's not quite right for it right now. I promise we'll do something for Tibet one day." He seemed to accept that.

The next day, a funny thing happened. Sheila said her piece, then she passed the stick to me. I spoke a little on the Ireland theme, then found myself suddenly switching to something very different - I talked about Tulki and the crisis he had had when he discovered that life was going to be tricky. I described his sadness, and how it had made us aware of the pain involved in assuming the necessary weight and hardness to cope with the world. Afterwards, Sheila whispered: "Thanks. That's what Tulki wanted me to say, but I didn't get it out. He can now understand more of the mess of the world, and that what we're doing is hard work. This had been upsetting him earlier." By the third day of the gathering Tulki was whacked-out, tired: he had to rest. There was little movement from him that day! Sheila sat heroically through the proceedings, hands resting on her bulging stomach, making very pertinent contributions.

I find it uncanny how much Tulki seems to take after me. Sheila first pointed this out. As things developed, it seemed Tulki was to follow in my footsteps - or I was to precede his! Like me, part of him seems something of a hermit - one night I 'met' him happily standing alone amidst a vast wilderness - and part a public figure. Part is religious and part a warrior - like me. Yet, I suspect he might learn more from Sheila than from me - she is competent in practicalities, and I sense she will valuably teach him how to function in modern times. She's well-grounded, while I frequently hover around in the subtle realms, not infrequently 'off-planet'. Perhaps we're a good combination for him - many karmic strands and threads seem to bring us together, fulfilling something yet to become visible.

Irrespective of his warrior past, he feels like a gentle soul. He clearly wants to get on with it - will he have the patience to go through childhood and youth? At one stage I had to dissuade both Sheila and Tulki from wishing the pregnancy would end, encouraging them to savour all the stages properly. On one occasion, I saw a flash of him as a 17-year old - he seemed to handle it well. Better than I looked at 17! He seemed already to possess a clear identity.

In mid-April, Sheila had a bout of feeling ill-at-ease. She felt that Tulki was not around. After a couple of days he told her, "I'm meditating with the lamas in India". This may explain why she had then wanted to go out for a curry for the first and only time during the pregnancy!

After Easter, Sheila spent time dozing and reading in bed, now released from work. I thundered away on book manuscripts on the computer. On Saturday 13th April, I went in to visit Tulki again. Nothing was wrong - Sheila's odd feelings were often his way of getting attention. We chatted a little. Then a transformation happened. Suddenly it was 'Khang' - a very strong overlighting presence. He talked to Sheila, through me, about the need to stabilise her emotional changes by anchoring to her 'tap-root'. He gave a teaching about the impermanence of all things, and the need to 'take refuge' in the unborn, undying eternal. This would help her be less pulled-around by life's changes. It was quite a discourse. Then he went away, and I moved into Tulki's baby-mode - an entirely different feeling. It was here that Tulki told us he had never loved his mother before. "I do... love you, mummeee, you love me. We all... love us, lots!" Tears were streaming down my face. My voice was babyish. "I suck thumb - and I found nose!" Something was changing: we were warming up again, after a few long days of dryness. We cuddled and crooned.

On Sunday 21st April 1996, Sheila wanted a 'session'. The sessions were changing: I was now dealing with two related entities - Tulki and Khang. Khang was now taking on the form of a more multidimensional being - not just a sagacious Manchu. It was clear that Tulki's Sino-Tibetan past was but one outer layer of an onion. We were getting a sense our lives all interweaved in a larger shared plot. As I 'went in', I went to Tulki first. He was concerned that his story was not being told. I said it was 'in process', and that we must be careful to get it right. He accepted that. I promised him his story would become known - it was clearly important to him. In general, Tulki was happy. He said that during the previous few days he had been in a kind of inner mystery school where he had been getting further teachings and preparations - though it was probably an aeon for him. Now he had gone through the gravitationally 'grounding' process of entering his body, he was needing extra input. His perspective will have changed.

Khang came through. "Send support within to your midwife. She's in need. Things are getting deep for her. She does holy work, yet others do not recognise it." Then there was a long, deep gap. Then I found myself changing to chanting the Tibetan mantra of Green Tara - Om Tare Tare Tuttare Tore So-ha - in a deep resonant voice, three times. It vibrated Sheila's stomach. She was being bathed in a rich emerald light. However, she was restless and uncomfortable, and this was presenting difficulties. At one stage the inner beings held back, wishing not to overwhelm or override her.

A new voice came in - Khang had connected it into the circuit. "You are being connected up to a new frequency. This involves a certain acceptance. If you can allow yourself to be treated, we can help you to enter a new chapter in your life. It is necessary to insert correct receptors. If you can allow..." There was a pause. "Thank you." Addressing Sheila: "Do remember your home, where you come from. You bear a gift from your home in this child. This is to augment your purpose. Much has already been put in place. Now this next stage is coming into place. This is of significance for you and your service - bearing this child. This is part of a group circle of old friends. Do understand, we overlook you. You have good support. Do receive this. You are in a conflict, sadly, and you may master it if you so choose. We know you, we are with you, we are of your home..."

Our neighbour's dog barked, and there was a pause. Then there was another switch. I felt different, and started gently mumbling wordless noises. Sheila was restless, and we moved her to a more comfortable position. She was quietly tearful. I went back 'in'. It took time to stabilise the link. It was Khang - he had some more pieces to the saga we had received to date, but the instability of the link made it necessary to focus only on essential information. He retreated. Another switch came - to Tulki. He expressed his love, and then commented on the visit from a friend, Sue, and her toddler son Zak, a fine little man.

Zak was at the stage where he was trying everything out - which makes visiting friends something of an encounter-session! However, he was doing fine, creating no damage, and Sheila was impressed with Sue's non-neurotic approach. Tulki wanted to talk about this. In his by now characteristic one-word-at-a-time language, he said the following. "Mummeee... you promise you listen me, I promise listen you. We listen. Good. You watch Zakzak - he teach you. He teach you of bigger me! I listen you and you listen me too, and we good two people listen - it work. I try tell you, and if [you] hear me I help you. If you not hear me, then I tell more you. If you not listen I... must... hurt, no, like hurt, you. And, me, if I not listen-hear you, you can like- hurt me. At Zakzak time!". He was seeking to assure Sheila that it would be alright when he was Zak's age. "You promise me, me promise you, we listen...". Tulki had detected Sheila's anticipation over the 'terrible twos', toddlerhood - he was offering a deal. What next?

"Zakzak, he know me, me know Zakzak. We not met." I think he was saying that they had not met in a previous life. "Zakzak in same... ummm... coming-in reason, yes, same... plan. We meet two twice before, with you, me in your tummy. We met twice Zakzak. We nodnod, Zakzak, me. We meet more people like Zakzak, please, you meet me more people, mummee. They show me next stage." Tulki was clearly quite aware of people - and he wanted to meet more youngsters.

He then referred to an earlier conversation between Sheila and myself. We had wondered whether we were attentive enough to Tulki - recently we had been preoccupied with other matters. Tulki commented: "You sometimes not listen, yes. And too, you [also] listen. This make me very happy [when] you listen. You listen, good. You know many mamas not listen very... you listen, I happy. You different. I feel... you try. You worry you not listen. You [do] listen, we talk. Listen [to] my friends, they teach you, mama."

On Wednesday 1st May, Khang came through. We weren't expecting much - things had been peaceful. He informed us he had died in 1922. Tulki had been the fourth in line to the throne of the emperor, after Pu Yi, the last of the line. His genealogy can be found in Manchuria. This might be valuable to trace in later life, not now. There would be many changes for us in the coming five years. Tulki's education would be important. He is carrying a historic 'thread'. He and Khang were going to continue attempting to insert this thread in the soul of China. It was a small but vital energy-thread to China, Tibet and the world. Most of the world's population would never be aware of it. It concerns a spiritual gift from Tibet to China, re storing China's long-lost essential soul. The thread was like a fuse in a circuit. First, there would be a risk that China might try to threaten the world - difficult times ahead would constitute a precondition for the inserting of the fuse-thread. This was not of concern to us now. Apparently, the thread could have been activated in 1759 - the opportunity was missed, partially sabotaged. Had the circuit been made at this time, world history would have been different, possibly not at risk as it is now. When Tulki is 23, there would be a new leader (the word was 'emperor') in China. They would know each other. This could 'lift the curse'.

This was interesting, though at this stage somewhat academic. However, Khang informed us that Tulki was very well installed in his body, and that difficulties were over. Sheila reported that she felt good, stable, very protected and 'in the final stage'.

A week later, on 8th May, I went inside to visit Tulki. This is what I reported: It's like a little world inside. He has given me images of what it's like. In one, there was a really bright glow, which was the light of sunshine coming through your stomach wall. There was another where he showed that the stomach contains a whole world, a world or sphere or realm of its own, not just a physical container - it's a kind of bubble enclosing a different world, very insulated from ours. It was rather like a 'tardis', much bigger inside than outside. The dimensionality of this snug world was quite profound. He's very happy. He feels we understand. Sometimes we're switched off, but that doesn't matter. We've taught him to become more patient - he's realised that things do work through. That's funny, because patience is the very quality he had developed well, yet when he came into being a baby he experienced impatience. He went through a time of forgetting his past, so wrapped up was he in the new experiences of being a baby - then he remembered his patience-quality again. Another image: he can push his feet against the edges of his world! It somehow reminded me of the image of Atlas.

Khang. He's very grateful we listen. Hmmm. Tulki was 32 when he went to Tibet. This was known of by many people back in China, that he had gone over. Some regarded him as a traitor. But then, so many people were regarded as traitors just then. 1541... that was the time when we all first met. That's an extra insight into the threads we were talking about before. There is generally no more that we need to know about his other lives for now. Khang then spoke directly rather than passing impressions: "We will always be behind you. Ask and we shall be with you. You may keep this channel open, though preferably on a need-to-know basis. Do it when this soul is asleep."

Sheila asked what had happened earlier that day when she had suddenly experienced great discomfort and distress while lying in bed. It had passed, though. "He got his foot on the source of the [umbilical] cord. This created complications. It is not usual. Thank you, we resolved it. It helped that you moved. These things happen! We appreciate your steadfastness and your intent in what you are doing for your Tulkitoes. We too are not clear on the question of a name and we hope you will find one which is good. We do not know your societal considerations as you do, which is what seems to be the consideration here. However we are happy with your friend-name Tulkitoes - it suits. You shall travel - please bear this in mind. You may all three travel a long way, in many ways. It's about communication: you have a lot to communicate. This is the beginning of something. We are happy that it is a bring-together of many valuable threads. We thank you."

I then spent some time in Tulki's world, just being with him. I felt Sheila's arm moving backwards and forwards - she later told me he was waving to me through her. Then I felt a need to close down the channel. Tulki didn't want me to go. I explained that I couldn't stay in here with him, much as I would like to - it was very peaceful. I had a little chat with him. He had become aware of the adult responsibilities and concerns we have been going through, and I reminded him that he was going to become a child first, and that those adult concerns weren't for him - they would matter when he's an adult. I encouraged him to be a child, to create himself from the beginning and go through the necessary childhood stages. We would work together to support him, wherever he needs to go, whatever he needs to do. I sent that message through to Khang as well. I felt a very strong affirmation of a kind of network of energy, of which Khang is a coordinator and we are 'grounders'.

When I 'came out', Sheila and I chatted. It felt as if our pregnancy inner work was drawing to its conclusion. Tulki was very much a human baby now - not a spirit-soul. Sheila was spending a lot of quiet- time with him, cuddling and holding him within her, sharing his existence on his terms. At night, during my pre-sleep chats with him, I had been imaginally giving him body-massages, 'body-feels'. He liked that - it brought him into his body to feel 'sensations'.

In a communication on 12th May, Tulki started off saying he could now stick his finger up his nose, play with his eyes and internally feel his toes and touch the top of his head - though I sensed this wasn't entirely a result of intentional movement. I saw again how light and golden it could be within Sheila's stomach. He said he was able to hear the birds in Butleigh woods, which we had visited earlier that day, as well as other sounds which sometimes were very strange. He had developed a technique of reading Sheila's reactions, to assess whether a sound was threatening or not. With some noises he felt the urge to fight back when they were questionable. He could project his will outwards, however, to deal with some people and things - he wanted us to note that he wasn't entirely helpless and vulnerable. There was even a hint of boyish glee at this, inasmuch as most people lacked control of their unconscious, and were not adept at functioning on this level - this was his advantage in situations where he felt any confrontation with outside reality. He could also pick up images from Sheila's mind - he had seen images of Wells cathedral, which Sheila had visited that day. He gave me the image of the sea, seen from the shore - I'm not sure why.

Then there was a pause and a shift. I consciously went deeper, and suddenly received the Arabic name Abu Bakr (or something like that). Later I also got something like Ater Beg (that's a more Turkic name). I got an image of Samarkand (or somewhere like that) and researches and observations of the heavens. I was seeing a student, assistant or apprentice. Life was hard, disciplined, but very cultured. It was Tulki - in another life. I saw him sitting doing lots of computations, studying at great length - from this I instinctively knew he could understand the long, concentrated work-sessions I do. There was a dispute going on between younger and older scholars, over the computations of planetary movements for Mars and Venus. The new computations were not clearly accepted - he supported the new school. I asked what the meaning of this was. The issue was that when he grew up in the Manchu court in China, knowledge was false and empty, a matter of form, and this was what had attracted him to the Tibetans later in that life when circumstances took him that way - the Tibetans worked with valuable knowledge. This was what was relevant here in Samarkand too - the knowledge was good, useful knowledge, though it was not shared with the people as in Tibet. Ashkaran (or something like it) came through as the place or observatory where this was happening. I sensed there was more to go into here, but it was inappropriate to do so.

Pause. I was now in Africa, looking from above. A big wide, impressive landscape with mountains stretching down to a plain. There were lots of men with spears and shields, pouring down a road down the escarpment, at a steady trot, keyed up, on a mission. They were tall and noble, Masai-like. I asked what the purpose of this vision was. It was to demonstrate that he had learned about the futility of war, and yet somehow he hadn't remembered this when he was young in China, until later in his life. That had been a source of regret for him in his last life - but the lamas had pointed out that without his military involvement, he would not have come to Tibet, probably staying within the imperial court instead. This was one reason why he wanted to be with us - he felt he could now reaffirm that in this life he could learn a lesson first time. The business of war is important to him - it deeply matters to him. He has something to achieve here - the ending of war is what he wants to contribute to. The training of the warrior must take another, more proper direction. This feuding in Africa (perhaps Kenya?) was just madness, unnecessary. People were getting carried away, losing perspective. He felt he had wasted his time in that life - the whole level and atmosphere of it wasn't right, pursuing false ideas, squabbling over pride and status, though he himself was just going along with the atmosphere of his people. He had realised that majorities of people weren't inherently right because they were majorities. Pause.

We were now in some sort of spacecraft. It was a time of exile. They were going away from a place they had to leave, relieved yet sad, toward an unknown destination. They were the safe ones, who had left while it was still possible. Many others had not believed them, and had resisted their departure. Yet a crisis had already started, and they had left it all behind. The issue here concerned the capacity of people to become of one mind in an incorrect way, to fall into step without questioning. The exiles were the fortunate ones - they had sense, they could see. There was a feeling of empty tragedy, yet there was hope for the exiles in the future, though they knew not what was to unfold. Nevertheless, unknowns were better than the hopelessness they had felt before. This is why he came to planet Earth, to focus on questions like this, to help make it a place where these questions could be worked through - as if Earth is a place where universal questions could be worked out in a concentrated space, partially to help other places. This is why he and his people chose to come to Earth. There were hundreds of souls he had originally come with to Earth, though they were separated now, intermingling with humanity. Sheila and I are not of those people. This vision is of no great importance except inasmuch as it was a major defining experience.

Tulki intimated he first came to the world in the 1200s. He seemed to have had his first Earth life in the area of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan - then a united landscape. In that context I (Palden), in a life as the sultan Saladin, had already died in 1193: I was by his time a well-known figure, whose deeds were regarded as exemplary and recounted to children as they grew up. He knew of me nearly 800 years ago! Then I was seeing Tulki growing up in the streets of (perhaps) Damascus. I asked him to get to the meaning of this. He flashed me a picture of desert. He had grown up in an ordinary life, quite happily, yet there was something missing, and he had found truth in the desert. It was as if the spirit had spoken to him, as if he remembered his purpose. This information was simply to place a starting point in his trans- incarnational story - the core issue of this life was to accustom himself to Earth life. In later life he became a sheikh (community leader), within one of the local Muslim sects or groupings (perhaps Druze?). He led a beneficent life as a patron, an adjudicator of disputes, a practitioner of religious and social law and as a spiritual influence.

It felt right to leave the visions there - we had been given enough, and I found it quite exhausting. I returned to Tulki the baby - he confirmed he was well and happy, especially now we were communicating again. "My mama doesn't need to worry - she knows it is alright." He said he felt lucky to be in there rather than in our world out here. He also felt lucky to have two very conscientious parents - he had become aware that this was strangely unusual. He was quite happy for me to 'leave' him now. I thanked him for the visions - they had been very vivid. I also got a sense that this was the last of the communications. What we would do in the ensuing month before the expected birth date I couldn't tell. The answer was to come quite soon.

On Monday 20th May I woke up with a fearful feeling of depression. I got up and immediately started vacuum-cleaning downstairs, before even having a cup of tea. I was furious over many different aspects of life which seemed to be getting nowhere - all my mid-life stuff was coming up! "After all the work I've done, where have I got to?" After cleaning up, I sat out in the garden, and Sheila emerged. Telling her about it all helped. Little did we know that this was a sign: something in my unconscious knew something.

A note about our expectations. The medical due-date for Tulki's birth was 6th June. A dowser friend's estimate was 13th June. On perusing the astrological possibilities, I was estimating 16th-18th June. Sheila's instinctive estimate was 18th June - she felt he would avoid the multiple line-up of five planets in Gemini on 16th, the newmoon, sensing he would choose a Cancer moon, to anchor him somewhat to his mother. I agreed that this would make some sense, knowing what we did of him. It turned out that all of these estimates were wrong, except that Sheila was partially correct: he was born with Sun in Gemini and a Cancer Moon, but we hadn't reckoned that, this year, there would be two instances where this combination was to happen!

On the morning of Tuesday 21st May I awoke from sleep to find a restless Sheila. Something was going on. At this point, Sheila is the best person to describe what happened.

I woke at 4.45am with a feeling of dampness. "Uhuh", I thought. I had period-like pains too, and sciatica down my left leg. This was odd, since when I get sciatica it usually runs down my right leg. I struggled downstairs to the loo. There was a fair bit of water and a little bit of blood. The pain was dreadful, but it wasn't regular or very spaced out, as I imagined labour pains to be. I made a cup of tea and then tried to get back to bed. Lying down was agony and I was tearful and frightened. Palden didn't want to wake up. I got up again. Walking around was the only way of easing the pain. I tried to wake Palden again but he just said that it wasn't labour, it was too early, and to try to get some sleep. I went back downstairs and tried to sit down but that was impossible. At 7.00am Palden came downstairs, ready to help me through whatever was going on. Palden adds: at a quiet moment, I consulted within, seeking Khang. He had six or seven others with him - they seemed to be doctors, whom I'd once met - and they did a few things with Sheila, but they seemed to be quite satisfied and confident. I got a 'get on with it' impression.

Palden talked me through the pains. The best way of dealing with them was to lean my hands on the ends of the armchair and bend and sway. There was a strong Chinese presence. I felt as if I was Tulki's last mother going through her labour - she was unhappy and having a hard time. I got fed up and told her to do her own labour and not to try to get me to do it for her! I was making Chinese-sounding noises too, to help with the pains.

At 9.00am I rang the health centre but the midwife wasn't there. Not to worry. I rang again at 9.30. In the meantime I made an appointment with Marion, my cranio-sacral therapist about the sciatica! The midwife and I connected at 10.30 and she came round at midday. Just before then, Imla came round, listened to what was going on and just smiled and chuckled, with a glint in her eye: "You've started up, Sheila!". When the midwife came, she cuddled me and swayed me through a contraction. I was definitely in labour. I shook and shook and was quite panicked. This was too early! I asked Palden if this meant that Tulki was to be a Taurean. At first he thought it did, but then he checked on the computer and lo! the Sun had just changed sign and Tulki would be Gemini with a Cancer Moon. This was as we had predicted for June 18th, except we were a month out!

The midwife agreed to come back at 5.00pm. Palden and I scurried around making the living room ready. Well, I tried to scurry but I never got very far - the rushes were already only five minutes apart. That timing went from the beginning of one rush to the beginning of the next. They went in pairs - a strong one followed by a weaker one. Palden rang Diana and Jane, who had agreed to attend the birth, and they came with Laura within an hour or so. Strangely, they were all free that day! Palden adds: I invited Laura spontaneously. Five years old, she had been Marieka's closest friend when Marieka lived with us. The day before, whilst driving past our house, Laura had apparently told Jane that Tulki was coming - she drew some pictures to welcome him. Obviously Laura was more tuned into Tulki than anyone else!

As soon as Diana and Jane arrived, I was clinging to them for support. I was still frightened and shocked at the early start-up. Jane, particularly, was amazing - she seemed to empathise with me completely. It wasn't like she followed my pains by a split second - she went through them with me completely, knowing my experience and breathing me through it. The midwife was called again, as the contractions were now every two minutes. It could be happening quite soon.

Hours or minutes passed - I don't know which. I was bellowing primevally through the pains. I imagined the sea rolling - I pictured the pages about 'Labouring Women as an Elemental Force' from the book Spiritual Midwifery [by Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives]. I saw the picture of the sea in that book. It helped me tune into the wave-like sensation of the rushes. At one point I became like a mighty Su-mo wrestler, power-rocking around on the futon for a long time, making guttural oriental noises. I was, at this point, completely in charge of my experience. Jane, Diana and the midwife sat around and we all laughed. I passed Angel cards around. Tulki drew Synthesis.

I then said I wanted to pooh. What I meant was that I wanted pooh to come out, but the midwife read from this that I wanted to push pooh out. Quick phonecall therefore to the second midwife to come. There was much busying with getting towels ready. I tried pushing but it didn't feel right. I felt ashamed that I perhaps didn't want to give birth to my baby. Poor little Tulki - I didn't want to have him! I felt very bad about this. I was getting absolutely nowhere.

I had an anterior lip, it turned out, so it was stop time. Tea and sandwiches for everyone but me (!). Then I was in the bath - I thought I'd like it but actually it was horrid. I felt dreadfully constricted. And cold.

Back on dry land, shivering, I was off into Su-mo again. But this time it was getting really hard. I remember going onto all fours and digging my head into Palden's lap, grinding my hands into anything of his I could find, and screaming with the agony while I shoved my bum in the air. Apparently, this was nature's way of slowing the baby down so that I could get the lip out of the way. God, it was taking a long time, though! Then someone else took over. Jane? I was way spaced out now. I just remember asking Palden to draw the curtains as it was getting dusk. Then later he was there again, whispering to me that it wouldn't be long now because Sagittarius would soon be rising over the ascendant and for the last few hours it had been Scorpio - it all made sense, as we instinctively knew that Tulki wouldn't have Scorpio rising. Thank God I was at home and not in hospital! I kept worrying, making sure I looked to the midwives as if I was managing okay, so that they wouldn't suggest going to hospital. But I had all the thoughts: give me an epidural! Where's the pethidine? and so on!

Sometimes Palden would make references to Tulki and to the psychic experiences we'd had - but I didn't want to know. Just wanted him to hold that space and let me and the women get on with what we were put here to do. A couple of times he put his hands over my tummy and did some energy-work - that really helped a lot. I could have done with that all the time! Palden writes: It had looked as if Sheila might pop by late afternoon. However, this was premature. True to pattern, she and Tulki were wishing to get it over with! But the final stage wasn't coming - Sheila was encouraged to push, but it wasn't working. I felt there was more time to go - that was when I consulted the computer. This posed a classic astrologers' dilemma - what do you do when the 'client' doesn't want to hear 'bad' news? It was clear to me there would be a 3-4 hour period with little progress, while Scorpio was on the ascendant. I kept quiet for a while, and eventually told Sheila. This clicked something for her, and she relaxed in her feelings of mother-inadequacy.

Later, I reflected on a Tibetan teaching worth recounting here. The teachings on death and rebirth elucidate eight states of reality or bardos - waking life, dream-state, deep sleep, meditation/trance, dying, after-death (the intermediate state), pre-birth (pregnancy) and birth itself. Each of these states are experienced by the same soul, and each have equal status in the inner evolution of the soul. This implies that the birth process itself possibly involves roughly the same magnitude of experience as the whole of a waking lifetime - regardless of our concepts of time, which apply only to the wakeful state. Inwardly, I gave a lot of attention to 'being with' Tulki while he was in the birthing state. This was deeply rewarding, and it possibly helped Tulki feel inwardly supported and hand-held on his journey. To him it was a very long journey, an infinity of time far outstretching the few hours it took. That experience of being squeezed, of making an act-of-will to get born, of getting to grips with the process itself, was all-important.

Sheila writes: After dark, everything changed and it was time to push. I sat back in a supported reclining position. If I went on all fours leaning on the sofa I really lost it - I think I needed people around me whom I could see. Or maybe I was remembering Fay's miscarriage which was done like that.

This went on for a long time. A lifetime. I think they tried changing my position but nothing worked well except this sitting position. Palden was on the sofa behind me. Everyone else was in a semicircle around me. The lighting was low. It took me a while to get the hang of this pushing - how to maximise on a contraction. At first I only got two pushes to each contraction, but near the end I was managing up to five. The midwife talked me through them quite often.

As time went on, no one spoke. As another contraction was brewing, they saw me change my state. The two helpers on my side raised me slightly and we all went into 'effort' together. Diana was sitting like a Buddha with her arms and hands open - meditatively holding the energy. Whenever I caught someone's eye, there was infinite compassion there. This was difficult to reconcile. There was such peace and patience emanating from all my supporters, yet I was experiencing a profound intensity of physical, mental and emotional exertion. I was sweating profusely. Such a contrast from the quietness around me! Laura was asleep in the corner of the room. Her breathing and child-snoring was a great comfort - all those alpha-waves oozing into the room.

I didn't know whether or not I was doing well. I kept asking. They kept saying yes. The pain was intense. How could it take the baby so long to come down such a short distance? Surely he's crowning? That excruciating pain I'm feeling has to be him crowning? But no-one told me and I didn't ask - better not to be disappointed.

The voices around me spoke in such hushed tones. Then the midwife was saying "Beautiful baby... beautiful baby...", and the others were making awestruck sounds - but still no one said he was actually coming. They tried to make me put my fingers inside to feel his head, which I did do, but it felt wet and I didn't like it. I found out later that Tulki had been crowning all the time - I was learning to hold him in position with each contraction rather than letting him drop back. Thus the perineum could stretch a tiny bit more each time.

Suddenly his head was out, but it still hurt! Another push, then the shoulders were out - and, guess what?! no more pain! There was a screaming, slippery, slithery thing on my tummy and I didn't know what to do with it! I thought I'd feel great rushes of mother-love at this point, but I didn't. I just felt knackered, shocked at the whole business, and not quite ready to have a live baby to look after. Palden writes: Sheila was really 'out of it', shell-shocked. Everyone was blissful, crooning over this beautiful baby - this had started when a sprig of quite long hair had stuck out while he was crowning. He was genuinely beautiful. Time was warping madly.

Twenty minutes went by, and then the midwife cajoled me into getting up. "Come on, Sheila, you know what we agreed." [They had agreed to cut the umbilical cord after birthing the placenta]. So I stood up as they lay the baby on the floor. A couple of pushes and the placenta was out in one whoosh and very little blood-loss. Then I sat down again - finished! I'd done my bit. Over to everyone else! Palden took Tulki and cut the cord and did whatever else needed to be done - dressing him? [Actually, everyone was doing things, but Sheila wasn't taking it all in!] Then everything went quiet and the lights were very low and Diana had Tulki in her arms, wrapped in a shawl, and I was laid on the sofa. I tried feeding Tulki a bit. People from next door came to see the baby - it was like I imagined visitors to Jesus in the stable. [They had actually been following the sounds coming through the wall, and they were deeply moved to be able to see the end-result!] Then I was in the bath with Palden looking after me. Getting out of the bath, I was very shaky and panicky and thought I was going to die. I needed homeopathic Aconite, but I didn't have any.

The midwives, Jane and Laura went home. Diana, Palden and I talked quietly and ate soup. I took Tulki again and Palden and I marvelled over this little miracle of life, this little living Buddha who'd come to share his life with us.

Tulki was born at 22.44 BST. It was over. He was here. Now we were into another phase! From now on it was nappies, feeding times and big adjustments. I was over the moon. I shared an inward nod and wink with Khang, and gave thanks to Spirit for the gift we were given, promising that we would do all we could for this little one to fulfil the purpose of his long journey. Glowing, we sat there for some time, chatting and being - and then Diana went home and we three went to bed!

Concluding thoughts

Throughout this saga, it feels as if we have been threading links between the worlds of before-birth and post-birth. Our intent was to bridge this transition and to aid Tulki's remembering of his purpose, as his life unfolds. Continuity of consciousness is a matter of deep choice, and I had discussed it quietly with Tulkitoes and Khang over the months, in half-thoughts, often at night. We were aware it would have its advantages and disadvantages in the modern world - remembering his purpose (or glimmers of it) would perhaps ease his later development, though it might also make parts of his life uncomfortable. Far-memory and sensitivity are not easy to carry in our day.

We had succeeded in setting up preconditions for such a remembering by laying filaments of thought and imagery between the past, present and future, and by discussing things with Tulki. Tulki's world in there was interwoven with our world out here, reducing transition-shock - he was dying out of his world as well as being born into this one. All this in but a few hours yet, to him, a very long, timeless squeeze. We had created threads without which such a remembering might not succeed, except in the way many of us experience it - a remote yearning, a feeling that there is something we're here for, but God only knows what. This choice would affect us for the rest of our lives.

As I write, Tulki is now six weeks old. He has already changed greatly. For the first week he didn't open his eyes much, but then he started looking around. Now he looks searchingly at people and follows Sheila when she walks past. For the first few weeks he had a grievous stomach difficulty, but that passed. We adults tend to disregard the sheer number of new adjustments a child must make - to breathing, body- sensations, stomach-activity, light, temperature and our own clumsiness! Tulki is progressing well, a lovely presence. He likes the company of people too, though there are also signs that he enjoys aloneness sometimes too. One little observation: at times we have needed to administer herbal medicine, and he has accepted it in a knowing, cooperative way, as if he knew clearly what it was for - we wondered if this related back to the time when his life was saved during his time of 'death' from his Chinese half-life, and 'rebirth' into his Tibetan half-life.

His registered names are Tulki Joe Yeshe - Tulki is his nickname, Joe a cover-name and Yeshe a Tibetan soul-name (wisdom). Once, I called him Jokhang, the name of the main temple of Lhasa. However, he isn't Tibetan, and he needs an ordinary English name. Hence Joe.

In all these matters of psychic communication, the rational mind rattles on with the usual: this isn't really happening, this is just imagination - what if we've got it all wrong? Indeed, this all sounds as if we're losing our marbles! It's easy to fall victim to the perceived judgements of others and to the skepsis of modern society. However, we choose to stay with our perceptions, experience and interpretation of it: change starts with isolated pioneers, judged often to be mad, and Sheila and I each have plenty of experience with that! Majority views don't constitute final truth. The healing of humanity's many ills surely starts with childbirth.

Only time will tell. There has been too much interlocking information, continuity and consistency to this communication process for it to be rationalised away as a fabrication. The responsibility involved counterbalances any wishful thinking we might have. Tulkitoes is behind all this - he has already started work. His first message is to demonstrate that humans are born with intelligence, knowledge and understanding. Babies are not a blank slate on which to inscribe our aspirations, conditioning and values.

It is remarkable to get to know someone before their birth. It changes the whole agenda. We know more of whom we're dealing with and what is needed. It's like weaving a psychic infrastructure, an energy- field for Tulki to walk into. At times one of us explains something and he visibly listens and absorbs it - the dialogue continues in a new way. Nevertheless, when he wants to cry and struggle or to nuzzle and demand attention, that's his right and his need as a baby, and we accept it. At other times he lies there, gazing intently, just being, waving his arms and legs around in that characteristically weightless baby way. What a privilege to share this! We shall measure our pre-birth impressions of him against the unfolding realities of his life, holding his life-vision with him yet leaving him free to develop as he will. What we have been given is not without reason.

As a man, I've gained access to some inner secrets fermenting within a mother's womb. Women's internal experiences during gestation are - to a man, however empathic or imaginative he might be - a mystery. Yet to share these experiences has been a great gift - and our separate inner experiences with Tulki have interlocked and built up a parental psychological containing-field which feels strong and valuable. This experience has bonded us all.

The Glastonbury midwives do many home-deliveries - they've even delivered kids out in fields and amidst the Glastonbury rock festival! They've midwifed many advanced souls, and they are to be praised for that. One, a Christian, had some reservations about our psychic communications yet, admirably, she did not allow contrasting beliefs to obstruct the process. They both were happy to use homeopathic remedies and to accept our goobledegook. They deserve a medal.

The illustrious Tulkitoes yanked us from within and drew us into his world. We've had a peep at what goes on in there, and it's many-dimensional. It involves the 'dreamtime', the 'intermediate state', far- memory of other lives, his own inner ruminations and his experiences of our world through Sheila's tummy. During the pregnancy, he has sometimes been wrapped up in there in his own world or soul-travelling far away, and sometimes he's been 'outward-facing', attuned to us and to events outside Sheila's tummy.

Tulki has given us a great gift, above and beyond himself. We are much blessed. I pray Tulki's life is auspicious and rewarding, and that his and our choices pay off! Meanwhile, we three will do our very best. Thanks for sharing this journey with us. We share this with you in the hope that it may encourage others to develop conscious pre-birth links with their children. A wholesome birth is so important! And the world needs the human end-results of it.

With love from Tulki, Sheila and Palden.

NOTE: More about pre-birth communication: Diary of an Unborn Child, by Manuel David Coudris.