Grandma Foley read tea leaves. Told fortunes. Predicted futures. And the parish priest had something to say about that—no chance in hell would any kitchen-table psychic be permitted to darken the minds of the faithful while he was in charge. More recently my brother was possessed by an evil spirit. This according to a California psychic who knows about such things. The source of the malevolent spirit? An antique, of course. Right in his house. A doll, to be specific. And that hellspawn was the cause all his physical pain.
Cue the eye roll. Summon the inner skeptic. Really? Aren’t we talking about the uneducated? The gullible? About pagan ignorance? Delusions created by the great unwashed? Superstitions passed down through generations, peasant to peasant? Or are we? What if our assumption of peasant ignorance is in actuality our own lack of knowledge? The buffoonery of the brain refusing to venture into strange borderlands? Borderlands consisting of illuminated pathways of which we have no understanding?
In a world of grave instability, Grandma Foley peered into the vestiges of Earl Grey at the bottom of a teacup. A seer in extraordinary times—Wars. Depression. Serious rationing. Her efforts became a running Foley family joke. Dismissed as endearing, as laughable. But what if she was a true medium, a channel of soul light, offering tender care to those who found her kitchen table? What if she was a true gift in dark times to women saddled with more kids than they could possibly cope with? And burdened with husbands drowning in alcohol. Women cursed with intelligence, relegated to peeling potatoes and scrubbing floors.
What if the remnants of Earl Grey were not a mere distraction, but authentic communication from the illuminated borderland? Sacred light that could lead them back into their own light, into their own power. Allow them to see beyond their present circumstances. What if Grandma’s purpose was to affirm the beauty and goodness in the person sitting across from her? What if the message of the seer brought radiance, if only for a little while?
You would never know it from his constant smile, but my brother was very troubled. Hogtied by traumas never spoken of—traumas I witnessed being inflicted upon him when we were children. So…what if the California psychic was not a fraud, but a spiritual guide charged with making the first crack in the fierce armor surrounding the trauma lodged inside my brother’s heart? What if the malevolent doll was actually a safe, protective symbol of his child self—an outside entity that he could approach, study, and control with psychic rituals until he was ready to confront the real demon living inside him: an evil that had nothing to do with a spooky toy. And had everything to do with trauma buried since childhood.
If we can come to understand—then embrace—that paranormal voices are really the normal voices of the natural world of which we all inhabit. The natural world, the unseen world, seeks balance with powerful force. That volcanic force does not recoil from our resistance. It pushes and pushes toward light, toward resolution. It is healing in motion. It is love in its most potent form: rugged, enduring, tenacious, nurturing, supportive, instructive.
We are all here on this physical plane for a profound purpose. That purpose is difficult enough to accomplish under the best of circumstances. It is impossible to achieve if you are possessed by an evil spirit that is really your own dark shadow.
When we can see the light and purpose in ourselves, we can begin to see the light and purpose in others. Even in a grandmother sitting at her kitchen table in Brooklyn divining messages from wet tea leaves. And even in a psychic with a seemingly dubious message that just so happens to have the power to sneak light in through the back door of a broken heart.