With Samhain just around the corner, the veil is especially thin, and the current astrological “climate” is very conducive for mediumship or communing with disincarnate beings. I spent yesterday afternoon walking through a cemetery, and encountered a few patches where the energy was so dense that I almost felt like I was trying to walk through water. It occurred to me that this would be a great time to share my own experiences with mediumship and intuition development so that you all may be able to communicate with your own deceased loved ones or spirit guides.
Although I was born and lived in Western New York for most of my life, it wasn’t until I was living across the continent in California when I first learned about Lily Dale. The Lily Dale Assembly is a fellowship and hamlet of psychics and mediums. There are over a hundred resident psychics who offer their services, and countless workshops and seminars are held each year. While there isn’t a particularly prominent spiritual community in the part of the country I am from, it is simultaneously one of the heaviest energetic vortexes I have ever experienced—perhaps even moreso than the vortexes I visited in Sedona. I once heard that the native people of this land believed it housed the gateway to the underworld, and though I’ve never confirmed if this was actually a widely held belief, I could definitely see why someone would think so. Yet, what makes this part of the world different from other portals is that most of the people who live here actually seem to shut down their spiritual capacities in order to cope with the vast amount of energy. Of course, this is not always the case…
New York state is considered to be the birthplace of the spiritualist movement. Lily Dale was actually founded by members of the spiritualist movement and is the central hub of the religion. While most mediums do not consider themselves spiritualists, the practices that were introduced and propagated by spiritualism remain a foundation for practitioners across the board.
There are many names to refer to the intuitive individuals who exist in virtually every culture throughout the world: psychics, mediums, shamans, magi, oracles, seers—the list goes on. Personally, I prefer the term “intuitive,” but advertise myself as a psychic simply because it is the term most people are going to search for when seeking out my skill set. Regardless of what they are called, intuitives come from all backgrounds and walks of life. We intuitives hold different perspectives from one another, and frankly, many of us make no claim to fully comprehend the forces we are tapping into. You don’t need to understand the engineering of how a computer works to use it, right?
One of the reasons I’m not fond of the word psychic is because it’s actually quite vague. Yet most people have preconceived notions about what a psychic can do based off what they saw in a movie or television show, when the reality is that psychic is an umbrella term that can refer to a wide variety of abilities and skills. It’s like if someone asked me what I do for a living and I replied, “I’m an artist.” That could mean so many different things! My answer doesn’t tell you what mediums I use; whether I am a sculptor, sketch artist, or painter. Do I use watercolors or oil paint? Charcoal or pencil? In my mind, the word “psychic” is more of an adjective that describes a quality of something, similar to words like “tangible” or “emotional,” rather than a singular noun. The other reason I am a “reluctant psychic” is that I firmly believe we all possess inherent psychic attributes and are capable of developing our unique gifts. Though there are certainly people who are more apparently psychic than others, I think a good way to look at it is like athleticism. Some people are predisposed towards a certain physique, but just about everyone is capable of playing a sport or at least engaging in some type of physical exercise. Athletes also possess different strengths from one another: some are fast runners, others may be physically strong, et cetera. I daresay that extrasensory perception is actually a SUPER-natural part of who we are!
Dad jokes aside, we have as many, if not more, capacities to sense non-physical phenomena as we do physical stimuli. You may be familiar with the different “clair” senses of extrasensory perception. Oftentimes, an individual will have one or two senses that comes most readily to them. Identifying which channels are your clearest can be monumental in developing your own psychic abilities. Our extrasensory perceptions can be thought of as another expression of the physical senses. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. I also consider thought and emotion to be senses as well. Our nervous system interprets consciousness as thoughts and emotions, rather than consciousness being the byproduct of our brain. This is why it is possible for some intuitives to communicate with plants, gemstones, and, of course, the energy of the deceased—despite none of these entities possessing a physical nervous system. Consciousness does not begin at birth or cease upon death—it literally exists all around us and beyond time itself. This is why we can intuitively perceive the future or gain insight about past events.
While there are people who can “speak with the dead” very easily, perhaps even doing so from birth, there is more than one way to perceive the energy of the departed. As someone who is primarily clairvoyant, my intuition usually translates non-physical information into patterns, images, or scenes. I am usually able to visually perceive auras, and can sometimes see chakras, meridians, and other energetic forms.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise by now that, for me, I will most often see the dead rather than hear them. It has actually proven to be quite frustrating at times, because I will see an entity without being able to discern or ask why it is appearing to me. Though sometimes I will receive images or symbols to help me understand. I once performed reiki on a friend and saw an older gentleman “come out” of his throat chakra. Afterwards, I asked him about his grandfather, and my friend showed me his picture (which looked just like the man I saw) and started talking about him. He told me that right before he died, his grandfather placed his mezuzah pendant around his neck, which is probably one of the main reasons I saw his grandfather emerge from his throat.
Despite my experiences, I don’t currently advertise myself as a medium or offer mediumship services, simply because it is not something I have developed enough to confidently offer to others. I don’t typically see dead people, and it is not something I have learned to “do” on command. My experiences thus far have mostly been spontaneous. Perhaps the day will come when I answer the call to work as a medium, but the future prospect that excites me the most is actually teaching others to develop their own intuitive faculties.
Needless to say, I was very excited when I finally had the opportunity this past August to travel to Lily Dale and attend an intuition development workshop held by the renowned psychic mediums (and sisters) Sharon Anne Klinger and Sandra Anne Taylor. I have actually seen other readers online use some of their tarot decks, especially The Akashic Tarot. I’m always a bit skeptical of other psychics (again, we all have very differing beliefs!) but was relieved to find that I loved their openness, connectedness, and enthusiasm. The workshop itself was packed with information, resources, and exercises; but was very conducive to the atmosphere of “play” that is so vital for psychic development.
One of the exercises that ended up being very meaningful to me actually inspired this blog. We essentially visualized ourselves walking down a hallway with many doors, and opening the ones we felt drawn to. I was greeted by a beloved aunt behind the first door I opened. In life, she was simply a special person and a loving, maternal presence for many. She was deeply intuitive, and held a deep connection with God as a Third Order Carmelite. While I am not religious myself, “angel” is the first word that comes to mind when I think of her, and can appreciate that she was a rare soul who truly embodied Christ-like love. Once we identified the presence behind the door, we were instructed to note whatever sights, sounds, messages, sensations, or impressions that came to us. She opened up her hands to release a dove, then pulled me in and squeezed me in her embrace. I saw the golden-orange glow I associated with her energy in my mind’s eye. I felt the sparkling sensation I would sometimes get in my chest interacting with her. She then told me that she was going to help me heal my heart (which was actually the intention I had set for this specific day of the workshop) and that she would be “sending me doves.”
About a week or two later, I was in my apartment when I spotted a mourning dove on the sidewalk looking into my window. Almost immediately, I thought of my aunt and could feel her presence, but it only took a few seconds before I knew something was wrong. I went outside to examine my feathery visitor. The dove took a few steps away from me before collapsing to his side. My heart sank. He wasn’t able to fly. I guessed that he had flown into the column by my window and injured his wing. A very grim omen, I thought to myself. Does this mean my heart is broken beyond repair? I saw only a faint wisp of his aura, and could just sense his life force was weak. I wondered if he was just moments before death, but somehow, I knew he was going to recover. After spending several minutes trying to soothe this precious, hobbling bird, and sending him mental images of me holding him to convey my intent to help; I actually managed to get him into a box with food, water, and a towel. I placed him beside me on my porch and waited to see if he would eat or fly away. As we sat together, my friend sent me a text asking me what I was doing, and I sent him a picture of the dove and explained the situation. He replied that sometimes when a mourning dove loses its mate, it will lose its will to live and die. I glanced back at the bird, fathoming the depths of synchronicity in finding myself tending to a creature centered in a mythos of broken-heartedness.
Whatever happened to this dove, I remembered that as an energy healer, I am doing no favors if my focus is fixated on the sickness or the plight another. When I am performing energy work, I like to visualize my client smiling and in vibrant health. I acknowledge and accept their circumstance, recognize that they are a divine creator currently playing the role of a physical being, and extend love to them just as they are in the moment I am interacting with them. All beings are sovereign in spirit. My role as a healer isn’t to “give” someone energy, but rather, to help their own life force flow without restriction.
And so, I placed my hands over the dove and began channeling reiki. I visualized the dove taking flight, singing songs, surrounded by other doves, and nestled beside a mate. After several minutes, I moved the box up on a perch about five feet off the ground, ensuring he would be out of sight and reach from any cats or birds of prey (which I’ve never seen in my neighborhood), then stepped inside. I did a bit of research for how to care for an injured dove and searched for a vet or wildlife rehabilitator I could bring him to if he didn’t recover. When I went back outside about fifteen minutes later to check on him, the box was empty. The dove had flown away. What I originally feared may be an irredeemable situation suddenly became a lesson of hope. I had the impression of my aunt’s hand on my shoulder, and felt her reassurance: your heart is never beyond healing. I will admit that at the time of this writing my heart is still guarded… but I find solace in knowing that I am never truly alone and am being assisted in more ways than I will ever truly know.
It is my sincerest hope that this blog inspires you to explore your own intuitive gifts, connect with the spirits assisting you, and open your own heart to the love that is all around you.