Almost every time I have a client sitting across from me, they tell me that they want to hear more often from their loved ones on the other side. A medium can be useful in this regard: it’s sort of like being an iPhone for reaching across the dimensions. But those who’ve passed are always letting us know they’re around in less technical ways. We just need to pay attention –and then acknowledge it.
Many times, we’ll have an experience that makes us go, “Hmmmm” — and somehow, you just KNOW that it was from the other side. There’s something a little different, out of the ordinary — but here’s what happens: we talk ourselves out of it. We dismiss it as a coincidence, or imagination, or a hundred other things. And thus, another wonderful tickle from our loved one goes unacknowledged.
In the movies, people have big, dramatic moments where they connect with the Other Side. I wish it were like that in real life, but its not. In my experience, the deceased tend to whisper, not shout. I think it’s also a function of our own “radar” being a little clogged with reality TV, work stuff, text messages and other junk.
One way to tune that radar is to simply recognize when you DO get one of those little hinkys.
Right after my mother passed, I was upstairs in my loft, when I heard some things drop to the floor of my kitchen below. I just “knew” that it wasn’t random — it was my mother letting me know she was there. A week later, I had another experience of her presence, and I believe it was because I was a little more open to that energy.
Signs of your loved ones come in little ways: you may hear a song that makes you think of them. You may “hear” their voice in your head or smell their cigarette smoke. Finding pennies is another way spirit shows up, or you may have a dream about them. You may simply feel that they’re with you, especially at special occasions like births, weddings or graduations. With pets, you may think you hear them around their favorite spots, or feel them sleeping on the bed with you.
The most important thing you can do is to acknowledge and thank them for reaching out. When you do that, you grease the channel and allow for even more communication. Don’t blow it off or think you’re imagining it: that’s like turning the ringer off on your phone, and forgetting to turn it back on.
I love the fact that our loved ones are still with us. While it would be great to hug them for real, I’ll take finding a penny, or smelling my dad’s pipe or hearing my mother’s favorite classical piece when I turn on the car radio. It’s a decent substitute.
I remember the first time I learned about Spirit Guides — and how cool I thought it was. Imagine having a whole gang of invisible helpers at your beck and call: would they do the laundry? Give me lottery numbers? Give me the answer’s to the next day’s Physics test? The answer is no, no and HELLL no. Guides have a more specific purpose in our lives.
The subject of spirit guides has filled several books, but here are the basics as I understand them. Before we’re born, we decide what lessons we need to work on when we incarnate: did we finally learn how to be independent in that last life? Did we work out our issues with commitment, hard work or money? Or do we need some remedial help?
There are lots of individual variations in our life lessons, and our guides are there to help us stick to our plan – because, unfortunately, we don’t remember it when we get here.
Call it Spiritual Amnesia. The only hint we have are the things that keep smacking us in the face: the same type of person who keeps showing up in your love life…the same struggles with money or family. The problems that haunt you are the lessons that will get us to finally (hopefully) tick off that goal that we set way back when we were floating on the proverbial cloud.
We each have at least one guide who sticks with us through all the ups and downs of this life. They sort of function as a spiritual GPS, helping us come back to our purpose.
But since this path is ours and ours alone, we have to ask him or her to get us sorted out on the journey. Their help won’t be obvious — it may come in the form of a helpful person showing up, an article, an e-mail. It’s your job to pay attention and act on the help that’s sent.
Besides our main guide who is with us “from womb to tomb” as the Jets said in West Side Story, there are guides who come and go during our life. Doctor Guides help during health issues, Joy Guides come when we need to inject some lightness…there are literally guides for everything (I could’ve used a Plumber Guide when I replaced my faucet….).
Guides have been human at some point, so they know the drill. Some may have lived relatively recently. Then there are others who existed millenia ago and have since spent most of their time evolving on the spirit plane (which explains why one of my guides shows himself looking like some kind of medieval hippie: white robe, sandals, the works. The only thing missing is the psychedelic bus and the contact high).
I’ve been asked if a deceased loved one can be a guide; the answer is no — and yes. They don’t function as guides in the classic sense, because they’ve been with us — or connected to us — here on Earth. BUT those who’ve crossed over are certainly willing to help. In this, they have two advantages: 1) they know us, what we’re dealing with and our particular human weaknesses and 2) now that they’re on the other side, their perspective is wiiiiiide open. So when you’ve hit a rough patch, by all means reach out to them.
As with Spirit Guides, the same rules apply with someone on the other side: you have to ask them for their help. Even if they were huge butt-inskis in life, they’re encouraged to keep their noses out of your life unless you ask them to weigh in.
When it comes to guides, loved ones, angels, whatever, the main thing is to remember that YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE. All of these entities are here specifically to help us in growing and evolving. And when they do, they get points, too. It’s like that saying that goes something like, if you really want to learn something, teach it. They learn from us, we learn from them…and hopefully, our personal evolution helps someone else.
I’ll do another blog shortly describing how you can meet your own guide, but in the meantime, just ask for what you need and know that your spirit helpers hear you. Prick up your ears and see what they send your way!
I still remember the first time I ever used a Ouija board: I was in fifth grade, having a sleepover with my friends. After a long, giggly debate, we decided the dead person we most wanted to contact was….Betsy Ross. Go figure. (I voted for Bobby Sherman, but he wasn’t dead– a minor technicality).
Anyway, we shut the bedroom door, lit a candle, gathered ‘round the board….and promptly had the crap scared out of us when my mother (listening on the other side of the door) gave a spooky “Woooooooo.” Cue the sound of high-pitched squealing 10 year olds.
Ouija boards have a reputation, which hasn’t been helped by a long line of stories starting with “I heard about this guy who….” or movies where they burst into flames. But I personally don’t believe they are the default gateway to the demonic, and here’s why.
The board is a way of communicating with the spirit world. Like any work with spirit, certain precautions are necessary. Whenever I do a reading, meditation, etc, I make a habit of surrounding myself with the white light of love and protection. I declare that only positive and helpful entities be allowed into this circle. To me, this is my “Beware of Dog” sign to any spirit that might want to make mischief .
The same kind of precautions apply when working with a Ouija board. You only want “good spirits” to come through. And here’s one more thing I learned from a very experienced medium: have a bouncer. She works with a board all the time, but generally gets the information from one spirit guide alone. When she wants to communicate with a different spirit, that guide steps aside – but keeps an eye out in case things start to go off the rails. He has the power to tell that troublesome entity to hit the road.
Several years ago, I had a Wiccan friend of mine make a Ouija board for me. See how beautiful it is?
She put a lot of positive energy into it – and added one special touch on the back: the engraved message, “with harm to none.” When I work with this wonderful board, I have one of my guides serve as my doorman. I also make sure to start every session with positive intentions and the circle of protective light.
Having said this, however, I don’t recommend working with a board casually.Like chainsaws, explosives or PowerPoint, you need to know what you’re doing. It’s just good sense.
As for all those tales of spooky Ouija boards? Wait…it’s spelling out something….”Forget….about….it….”!
The headline is a line from one of my all-time favorite shows, I Love Lucy. In an old bit from their vaudeville days, Fred introduces Ethel, who’s posing as a medium in order to lead a seance which will hopefully impress Ricky’s spirit-obsessed new boss. Here’s a little taste…
Having done my share of working with spirit, I can pretty much attest to the fact that it does NOT go down the way it does in Lucy. For one thing, I don’t wear a turban — way too Norma Desmond/”Sunset Boulevard” for my taste. And unless the lights go out in the bathroom while I’m putting on my makeup, my eyeliner is on straight. There are a few other aspects of connecting with the spirit world that my clients tend to ask me about, so off we go.
First off, a medium and a psychic are not the same . A medium specifically works to communicate with the spirits of those who’ve passed on. A psychic tunes into the energies of people [living, generally], places and things, to provide an insight. The process of mediumship and psychic reading is similar, in that you’re “turning off” your own brain and allowing your Higher Self to take over and receive information from a source beyond the everyday – but the goals are different. They’re essentially two different channels on the same radio. Simply put, all mediums tend to be psychic — but not all psychics are necessarily mediums. [For those of you reading this with experience as a medium or psychic, I know, I know: this is a waaaaaay simplified description. Let me know what you think in the “Comments” section below. Now back to our regularly scheduled blog….]
As in baseball, ballet or pro-wrestling, some people are born with a gift and it takes hardly anything to bring that gift to the forefront [we hate those people]. The rest of us can learn their particular skill, but it takes some doing, and some will be better at it than others. I believe that’s the case with psychic ability — and to some extent, mediumship. It’s a natural function, but some have the volume on their particular radio turned way up loud, and tuned in perfectly right from the git-go; the rest of us need to fiddle with the dials.
I began working only psychically, but after some profound experiences with the spirit world, I made a conscious decision to develop my own mediumship abilities. Unlike many mediums, I wasn’t talking to my dead granny as a child; I pursued this as a discipline, because it intrigued me and because it was a way to deepen my service. To that end, I spent some time at the Arthur Findlay College outside of London, considered the “Harvard” of spiritual studies. I joined students from all over the world — and at all levels of expertise — who were there to sharpen their ability to recognize the presence of spirit, connect with it and convey messages.
It kicked my ass.
The coursework involved getting highly specific details about spirits, then trying to connect them with someone in the group. The focus on “specifics” is two-fold: 1) to confirm that there is indeed life after death and 2) to combat the perception of mediumship as a bunch of hooey (keep reading for more on this).
As if this wasn’t challenging enough, add in language and cultural differences, jet lag, and heavy English cuisine, and its no surprise that I was completely, utterly knackered at the end of each day.
One of the things that made the experience — and mediumship, in general — so tricky, is that the information passes through a very human filter. Speaking only for myself, I don’t get the message verbatim: I pick up images, words, feelings from the deceased and try to interpret it. So it’s hard not to try and figure out what things mean, rather than just giving it, “as is.” The logical part of your brain wants it to make sense. Your ego doesn’t want to be wrong. Yes, there are super-gifted mediums out there with very high rates of accuracy — good for them. But no one is 100 percent right all the time. Not even John Edwards, Sylvia Browne or Alison DuBois [BTW, my fellow reality TV fans, did you SEE her on that infamous episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”? Holeeee crap!]
You should also know that you may not always hear from the person you hope to hear from. Being a medium is like having the only working wi-fi in a crowded airport: a lot of folks are gonna try and jump on it.
Just like when they had a pulse, some spirits are still bossy. Others have a very important message they want you to hear, which will take precedence over just hearing “hi” from your dead mother. You can certainly ask that special person to come through during your session — and personally, I do my best to link in to that spirit. But know that you hear from who you’re supposed to hear from and get the message you’re supposed to get.
At this point, I have to mention the unfortunate reality of phony mediums. These are the people who cynically target those in grief or in need, bilking them out of peace of mind, not to mention, cash. I think there’s a special place waiting in Hell for them. You don’t mess with someone’s grief. You don’t take advantage of their pain. If you do, well, let’s just say, “Karma is a big, sparkly bitch.” And not in a good way.
My own experience with the spirit world has shown me that those who’ve crossed over are generally pretty positive. They’ve been released from physical pain, they’re with people they haven’t seen in years, they don’t have to deal with stupid bosses, mortgages or traffic, and that whole “death” thing turns out to be pretty cool. They care about those left behind and want them to know that the problems of this world are, in the end, just not such a big production. So for a faker to tell a vulnerable client that they’re “cursed”, or that the spirits are angry, or some such baloney (and oh, by the way, you can appease them by letting him/her do a ritual at the low, low price of $2500) makes me want to deliver a serious beat-down.
A session with a medium is a very personal, intimate thing. You may find yourself sharing details of a difficult relationship or a tough situation, so its best to find someone who comes highly recommended and is above all, a professional. You should leave feeling empowered, positive and uplifted. You should have a sense of peace or closure. You should NOT be scared, worried or in a hurry to empty your wallet in order to rid yourself of some bad mojo. Yes, a reading from a qualified medium does cost money — and there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, it IS a skill that takes time, training and a lot of physical energy. But there’s a huge difference between paying a one-time fee for a one-time service — and feeling pressured to hit the ATM repeatedly as the price for fighting off bad spirits, curses and random hoodoo. Trust me, your loved ones on the other side could care less about your money because (psst!): they don’t have checking accounts in Heaven.