There are so many myths and legends about the the meaning of birthmarks.

Your Birthmark Could Have A Deeper Meaning, So Here's How To Analyze Yours

Could your birthmark reveal a past-life identity?

by Rosey Baker
Originally Published: 
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While birthmarks were once a source of mythology, mystery, and superstitious belief, past theories about their meaning continue to intrigue people today. During the Salem Witch Trials from 1692- 1693, moles were considered a sign of guilt and were called “marks of Satan” by witch hunters. More recently, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research has dedicated years of research toward studying whether birthmarks are proof of reincarnation and provide clues as to how you died in a previous life. So, what do birthmarks mean? There are so many differing explanations throughout history to explore.

Of course it all depends on what you believe in, but it can be fun to learn how birthmarks were viewed in the past versus how they’re looked at today. The medical definition states that a birthmark classifies that some type of abnormality is present when the child was born, such as a collection of red blood vessels gathered together on the skin to make a noticable mark. However, when researching potential mystical explanations behind birthmarks, you can’t get too far on Google without seeing Dr. Ian Stevenson’s name pop up. The Canadian psychiatrist spent the greater part of the 1970s and 1980s researching the connection between birthmarks and past lives, and he continued his studies all the way up until his death in 2007.

Whether you believe birthmarks are just a random genetic occurrence or might actually have deeper meaning, here are a few myths surrounding birth marks that are still floating around today.

They Could Be Fatal Wounds From A Past Life

One of Dr. Stevenson’s theories is that the placement of a birthmark indicates where one was fatally wounded in a past life. For example, a knife, dagger, or sword-shaped mark could indicate a stabbing that ended your life. Researcher Dr. Ian Stevenson actually wrote an entire book on the subject of current birthmarks representing some sort of past-life fate, and he documented real subjects whom he believed to be examples of this phenomenon. In his book, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect, Dr. Stephenson discusses 65 out of 2,600 past-life cases where many stories include birthmarks that have past-life stories to back them up. For example, Stevenson studied a “Turkish boy whose face was congenitally underdeveloped on the right side [who] said he remembered the life of a man who died from a shotgun blast at point-blank range,” according to Scientific American. Additionally, Stevenson studied “a Burmese girl born without her lower right leg [who] had talked about the life of a girl run over by a train.”

A Birthmark Could Reveal A Past-Life Identity

The same birthmark that someone interprets as a sign of a past-life death could also be interpreted as a past-life occupation. According to Dr. Stevenson’s research, “About 35% of children who claim to remember previous lives have birthmarks and/or birth defects that they (or adult informants) attribute to wounds on a person whose life the child remembers.” For example, a sword or dagger-shaped birthmark could also be used to identify someone who was a warrior or soldier in a past life. Birthmarks shaped like a specific object, like a typewriter, a spotlight, or farm animal, could be a clue as to what your trade might have been.


Birthmarks Are Lucky Omens

Some believe that birthmarks can also influence your present and future. For example, birthmarks shaped like a rabbit's foot or a four-leaf clover are believed by some to be signs of a life favored by luck. In Turkey in 2017, a baby was born with a heart-shaped birthmark on his forehead, and the doctors and nurses called him "the love baby," according to the Daily Mail. Other signs of lucky birthmarks include a horseshoe or angel's wings, and folklore claims these are signs you have a built-in protective shield from potentially harming influences overtaking your life.

Birthmarks Can Designate Royal Status

Birthmarks were also once thought to be associated with royal birth — and some have definitely taken advantage of this theory. For example, some common people who disguised themselves as royalty, aka pretenders to the Russian throne, took power in the 17th through 19th centuries by using birthmarks as proof of their "royal blood.” People at that time believed that royals were born with markings on their skin that indicated royal status, according to British historian Maureen Pierre, who wrote a book on the subject called Pretenders and popular monarchism in early modern Russia. The belief in this theory was so strong that these “pretenders” were actually able to take over the Russian throne in 1605.

While many of these theories are no longer commonly accepted today, people continue to use the storytelling and mythology around birthmarks to explore the meaning of their own birthmarks and whether these markings can cast a light on their past or current identity.

Experts Cited:

Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2017), researcher and author of multiple books, including Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect

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