Shirley MacLaine is an Oscar-winning American actress, singer, bestselling author, activist and former dancer. Apart from her notable acting career, she has also gained a reputation as an outspoken political and humanitarian activist, specifically civil rights, women’s rights and environmental protection. As well as acting, she has also written numerous books regarding the subjects of metaphysics, spirituality and reincarnation.

She has experienced several past lives including in the harem of high ranking Ottoman Empire official, a Persian entertainer, a Muslim gypsy girl in Spain and a Lemurian (a human root race that pre-dates Atlantis).

In her 2011 book ‘I’m Over All That: and Other Confessions’ she shares her thoughts on reincarnation and reveals several past lives she believes she’s had. Below is an extract.

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Probably one of the reasons why reincarnation makes sense to me is because I understand how each one of us is so many people. When we open up and allow our soul’s memory to emerge and express itself, we can be amazed at the talent for multiple personalities we each have. I don’t mean multiple personalities in the sense of a psychological disorder. I mean each of us has had multiple experiences in past lifetimes that equip our souls with memories and intuitions that can’t be explained any other way. How did I know and recognize streets and temples when I first went to India? Why did I find myself speaking Portuguese when I was in Brazil? Each human being can point to any number of similar experiences, specific moments that make them wonder why and how they know what they know.

… When one understands karma, reincarnation—physical re-embodiment of the soul—is paramount. “What the soul sows, so shall it reap.” This means that every human soul is in control of his or her destiny, depending on what each human needs to work on the next time around. The soul lives on and the learning of self continues.

Androgynous Being

I vividly remember being androgynous in the Lemurian (pre-Atlantis) time period. My state of being and that of others around me was peaceful and serene. Procreation occurred through the power of the mind in deep meditation. Each of us had male and female genitalia, but what was important was the desire of the soul, which was made manifest through connecting to the God source. Each human had an equal vibration of yin and yang, female and male.

At some point in Lemurian history, some of us became intrigued with the idea of dividing the yin and the yang vibration so we could observe the other with more objectivity. I was one of those who agreed to participate in what came to be called sexual division. Today, every culture on Earth has a myth that describes the equivalent of Eve being born out of the rib of Adam. Out of one came two. That is what I remember experiencing.

I remember the ceremony and the attendant spiritual practitioners and masters. I was immersed in a tank of very thick water which was also infused with light. Each of my seven chakra centres was open and receptive. I felt peaceful and willing to be divided. The spiritual practitioner meditated on a ray of light coming from above, which included all the seven colours of the rainbow—one for each chakra. I joined the meditation of the spiritual practitioners as the light went down the centre of my physical body, separating each chakra in half. We knew in those days that the physical body was what we had created from coagulated thought. We knew we had created our bodies with our celestial thought patterns.

Slowly, my body began to separate into two vibrations—one yin and one yang. Each was equal to the other. I directed my soul to enter the female side of my separated body. On cue, my soul mate, who was present, entered the male side. The sexual division was complete. Out of the androgynous body two were born: one male, one female—each with an inculcated soul. From then on, I felt as a human being that I would always look for my other half.


I had a past-life experience as a harem girl in the home of a pasha in Turkey and became physically nauseous with the memory of my confinement and lack of freedom. I learned how the major religions intersect and witnessed Coptic Christians living peacefully side by side with Muslims.


At Isfahan, I had another past-life experience where I had entertained a large audience at the theatre outside under the stars. I remembered how good the acoustics were and felt the warmth of the summer night.


I remembered being a Muslim gypsy girl who had migrated from Morocco and was living with the Coptic Christians in the hills of Spain. I remembered a cross I wore, which, when I presented it, protected me from the Muslims and the Christians alike. At one point in my present-day walk, I was guided to a jewellery store in a small village along the Camino. I looked in the window and saw the cross I remembered from several hundred years before. I went in and questioned the proprietor. He gave me the same information I remembered from the past-life memory; it had belonged to a gypsy girl (me) from Morocco, and she had used it for protection. I bought the cross (my only purchase on the trek) and always take it with me when I leave home.

In an interview with New York Times in 2017 she said, “I used to get a lot of teasing about the metaphysics. But lately it’s stopped. People are beginning to have past-life memories of their own. I guess a lot of them have come to realise that what I did with ‘Out on a Limb’ was make it O.K. to talk about these things in public”. In her 1983 book, ‘Out on a limb’ she details her spirituality beliefs.