Posts tagged: mediumship

Cool Stuff Coming Up

Hello blog world! Just thought I’d quickly update here. I’m busybusybusy getting ready for the Victory of Light Expo this Saturday and Sunday, November 17 and 18. This is the largest expo in the Cincinnati area, and it’s chock-full of exciting lectures, shopping, healers, and readers. Come out and experience the wonderful energy, do some holiday shopping, get some guidance from Spirit, and learn something new! I will be doing private readings for $35 (per 15 minutes) in my booth as well as selling and signing all of my metaphysical books. I will also lecture on Saturday at 12 noon on “Life on the Other Side” (including Spirit messages for the audience), and on Sunday, I will participate in a Gala Mediumship Demonstration with several other mediums starting at 1 pm.

I am also very excited that this weekend, my wonderful partner, Joanne Franchina of Inner Compass, and I will unveil our new year-long Mediumship Mastery Program. This is a serious instruction program geared for anyone who is committed to becoming a psychic medium. I will have more details next week after we present it all at the Expo this weekend, so stay tuned.

With that, I send you all peace, love, and blessings!!

A WIP and the ULE

For the last two weeks, I’ve been working on my new writing project every spare moment I get. The work-in-progress (WIP–and, dare I say, novel-to-be?) is another fantasy romance inspired by Arthurian legend. What is it with me and this theme? Anyway, it’s always exciting when the words want to flow. Too bad life, and other responsibilities, get in the way.

To that end, I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be at the Universal Light Expo in Columbus, Ohio this Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. I will be in booth 713, where I will be giving private readings and selling all of my books. This expo is enormous, and there are tons of great people, products, lectures, and energy for everyone to enjoy. If you’re in the Columbus area, stop by and spend some time with us. On Sunday at 11 am, you can even come and see me demonstrating mediumship with several other wonderful light workers.

These expos, while fun and exciting, always wear me out. But I hope to get back to writing bright and early on Monday!

Blessings to all!

Image above copyright Eve Sakmar Sullivan

First Friday Free Readings!!!

This is Molt from the movie A Bug’s Life. This post reminds me of my favorite line in the movie: “I’m asking you with my brain!” 

It’s been awhile since I’ve done something new on the blog, and I think it’s about time. So, starting in September, I’m introducing First Friday Free Readings. Here’s the scoop:

1. Do you have a question concerning your life, your career, your relationships, or other issues? Email it to me at info@vandeneynden.biz and include your first name and last initial along with an email address.

2. On the First Friday of every month, check back here to see if your question is answered. It’s that simple!

Some hints:

1. Don’t ask anything so personal you wouldn’t want it published online.

2. I will RANDOMLY choose questions to answer. The readings will consist of Tarot and/or spirit messages, depending on the question and what I feel inspired by Spirit to do.

3.  Please don’t take it personally if your question is not chosen. I will do my best to answer as many questions as I can on the first Friday of each month.

4.  Please don’t ask questions concerning death, ie: “When will I die?” or  “When will ____(insert name) die?” I will never answer a question like that.

5.  Please remember that the best questions are open-ended ones, such as “What do I need to know about getting a new job?” rather than “Will I get a new job at ABC Corporation?” If you want to ask about a specific situation, concentrate on a question like “What do I need to know about ABC Corporation?” If you are trying to decide between 2 options, give me the names of both so I can tell you how the energy feels.

6. Please don’t ask questions like, “Is my boyfriend cheating on me?” This type of question gives you nothing but a yes or no answer, which provides no healing or guidance for you. A question like “What do I need to know about my relationship with my boyfriend?” will garner much more insightful results.

If your question is chosen, I will send you a personal email to let you know that the answer will appear here on the blog.

Please help me out by letting others know about this. I’d love to have more visitors to the blog, and word of mouth is a great way to spread the positive vibes around.

Look for the premiere of First Friday Free Readings next week: Friday, September 7! Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend (for you American friends).

Summer So Far

Ye gods! I just realized that the last time I posted on my blog was MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND!

I am a blog loser.

Well, I won’t beat myself up too much. It’s been a busy summer. I hit the ground running in June when my boys wrapped up their school year, and I traveled to Pennsylvania to teach a Tarot workshop for my good friend Gloria at her beautiful Spirit Education Center and Sanctuary. When I came home, I was ready to party with my theatre friends to celebrate the end of another successful community theatre season here in Cincinnati. By that time, it was July, and I celebrated my birthday with good friends in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s a glimpse of the festivities:

Yummy cake batter-flavored martinis created by my friend Jonathan. And  my husband baked a yellow cake with homemade caramel icing. I know, you’re jealous!

Once my birthday was over, it was time to pack and head to beautiful Lily Dale, New York to teach some workshops. I never tire of walking the lovely grounds there, working for Spirit at the outdoor message services, and meeting new people to share ideas and experiences. If you are at all interested in metaphysics, you should definitely plan a trip to Lily Dale for a future summer holiday. Here are some photos that might capture your interest:

The welcoming gate sign at the entrance to Lily Dale.

The Lily Dale Auditorium, where many famous speakers and mediums have addressed crowds.

The lovely Healing Temple, a space filled with amazing peaceful healing vibrations.

A gorgeous view of the lake from the Lily Dale grounds.

One of the gorgeous Victorian homes on the grounds. Need a new place to live?

While in Lily Dale, I also got to meet up with one of my best buddies, my dear friend, fellow author Char Chaffin. Without Char, my novel Merlyn’s Raven would not have seen the light of day. Here we are together for breakfast:

Photo taken by Char’s wonderful husband, Don, who was good enough to share his wife with me that morning. 

My workshops were well-received, and I truly enjoyed my time at Lily Dale. Coming home just last week, I celebrated my 22nd wedding anniversary with my husband. And now I realize it’s time to get back in the swing of things here at home. Only a few more weeks of summer remain until my boys go back to school. Time moves so fast, and we are left with our jaws hanging open, saying, “When did that happen?”

I have quite a few more things on my plate this summer. I am offering a one-day Tarot class on Saturday, August 4 at my office. I am starting a 6-week Mediumship Development class for beginners on Wednesday, August 8. On Saturday, August 18, I will go to Camp Chesterfield in Indiana to teach a 3-hour workshop on Protection. Lexington, Kentucky is my last destination of the summer, when I travel to Patti Starr’s Mystical Paranormal Fair on Saturday, August 25 for a book signing and gallery-style message event. Details for all of these events are available at the websites tagged above or on my website’s events calendar. If you are in the neighborhood and so inclined, I hope you’ll join me for some summer fun.

So now, I’ve got to wrap up this blog. My boys are learning to drive this summer, and it’s time to leave for our dental check-ups. The Universe continues to bless me with plenty to keep me busy. I hope you find the blessings in your everyday life, too.

See you soon!

 

Metaphysical Movie Review: NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE

lily-dale-gate

I’ve visited the town of Lily Dale, New York, several times in the last few years. As a Spiritualist minister and medium, I’ve heard about Lily Dale ever since I began studying mediumship. Most Spiritualists consider Lily Dale to be the Mecca of the Spiritualist movement. Its own small town and community, Lily Dale was established in 1879 on the banks of a lovely lake in upstate New York as a place for believers in the new religion of Spiritualism to meet and exchange ideas. Ever since, people have been flocking to Lily Dale to experience its serene energy, to take classes and workshops presented by leading speakers and teachers in the areas of metaphysics, healing, and philosophy, and, of course, to have a chance to connect with their loved ones who have passed over to the Other Side.

Currently, 40 registered mediums live and work on the grounds at Lily Dale. To be a registered medium, one who is allowed to give private readings to those seeking these services during a visit there, a person is rigorously tested by the Lily Dale Board of Directors. I have a good friend, Rev. Jaccolin Franchina, who is a registered Lily Dale medium, and I often stay with her when I make my visits. I have had the opportunity to teach classes and workshops at Lily Dale several times in the last few years, this past June most recently, and it’s always an honor for me to present there. I enjoy the tranquility of the grounds and the sense of camaraderie I experience from being with like-minded people. I dream about Lily Dale often, and I won’t pretend I haven’t thought about becoming a resident there myself at some point in the future. So when Jaccolin told me about her appearance in the HBO documentary NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE, I was excited. I hoped that Spiritualism and mediumship would be presented accurately and fairly so that more people could see what this small, mystical town was really all about.

no-one-dies-in-lily-dale-9

The documentary, directed by Steven Cantor, was made during the 2009 summer season at Lily Dale. It mainly follows three people who have lost loved ones as they seek to communicate with them through the mediums at Lily Dale. The film shows these visitors, and others, attending Lily Dale’s daily message services and sitting with mediums for private reading sessions in their attempt to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual worlds.

For the most part, I liked the documentary. It was quite moving to get to know the seekers who had lost loved ones and to hear their stories. I found myself in tears several times, understanding and deeply feeling the anguish the seekers were experiencing. Two of them had lost children; one had lost the man she’d hoped to marry. Any loss is hard to bear, but the pain carried by these people was quite palpable throughout the film.

I was especially interested to see the mediums and how they were depicted in this film, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although we didn’t get to know any of them in intimate detail, I enjoyed hearing from several of them about how mediumship works, why they live at Lily Dale, how they interact with Spirit, and other fascinating topics. Most of the mediums featured seemed very comfortable talking about themselves, their beliefs, their homes, and their work, and they were articulate and intelligent in discussing the matters of Spirit and Spiritualism. I appreciated this very much, because I know that for many folks who watch the film, this will be their first exposure to mediumship and the people who are its ambassadors. I hope the viewers will take away many positives from their encounters with the mediums in this documentary.

Of course, I loved seeing my friend Jaccolin and her sisters featured in the film. Jaccolin and her family amaze me, as they come from a family of Spiritualists and have participated in Spiritualism all of their lives. Jaccolin also happens to be the mother of my awesome office partner, Joanne Franchina, and they’ve always made me feel just as if I’m a part of their family. I loved seeing the sisters interact, talk about their spirit relatives together, and even participate in a seance with other mediums on the grounds. This sense of community and love is something I’ve been able to witness first-hand, and it’s a joyful experience.

I also appreciated the beautiful way the film was put together. Lily Dale is a lovely place to visit, and its grounds are a treasure trove of natural beauty. These sites were often highlighted throughout the documentary, and I could feel the peace and the balance of Lily Dale’s healing energy in each of these scenes. I applaud the director for including so much of this footage.

I do have a few criticisms of the film. Well, perhaps they’re more frustrations than anything else, but they are there. I was curious as to why a visiting medium, Michelle Whitedove, was featured so prominently in the documentary. Ms. Whitedove is not a registered medium at Lily Dale, and yet she was filmed doing a private reading for one of the seekers followed in the film. Granted, the seeker did seem to find some closure and some healing after her reading with Ms. Whitedove, but I couldn’t help wondering why another Lily Dale medium wasn’t suggested to this client. Ms. Whitedove has an entertaining and rather larger-than-life personality (and some killer shoes, no less), and I found myself thinking that she was selected to be featured in the film for this reason. That’s not a criticism of her work, simply an observation. I don’t make it a habit to criticize other mediums because I know that every medium receives her information differently and presents it in line with her own personality, and I like to believe that everyone who does this work is doing it from her heart and to be of service to Spirit and humanity. I was surprised, however, to see Ms. Whitedove give medical intuitive readings on the platform at Inspiration Stump (one of the venues where the public gathers daily at Lily Dale to receive spirit messages given by the student, visiting, and registered mediums). At every Spiritualist institution I have ever worked, giving medical advice is prohibited because mediums are not medical professionals. A medium giving medical advice can place the institution in legal danger by doing so, and Ms. Whitedove brought through a great deal of medical information while at Inspiration Stump. Perhaps Lily Dale bent the rules for her just for the filming of this documentary, but I hope that this won’t continue in the future. My student mediums don’t need to be confused by seeing someone do something they know they’re not supposed to do!

I was also a bit puzzled by one of the seekers that came to Lily Dale. This lady was a fundamentalist Christian, and she’d lost her son to cancer. Because the director had made a point of showing evangelical Christians protesting at Lily Dale’s gates about the damnation of the mediums and anyone who entered there (honestly, something I tend to think was set up for entertainment purposes, as I’ve never encountered or heard about other protests taking place at Lily Dale in all the years I’ve been going), I was very surprised to see this lady take any interest at all in anything a medium would tell her about her son on the Other Side. At first, she seemed open to receiving whatever healing she could through the experience; she said as much when she first appeared in the film. However, she certainly was not open to anything the medium who read for her had to say when she sat with him. I have encountered similar experiences, and it’s definitely not fun. Again, this lady is entitled to her opinions and her beliefs, and I’m sure it makes for entertaining viewing to see two people arguing about religion and the existence of Spirit. But honestly, I couldn’t figure out her motives. If she wasn’t really open to the idea of spirits communicating and felt it was wrong according to the Bible, then why come at all? I felt the medium dealing with her handled the experience very well, but it left me feeling sorry for him and even sorrier that she wouldn’t be able to receive the healing she so desperately needed.

I also found another seeker’s reaction to her first reading at Lily Dale to be rather exasperating. So many people come into a reading with a very definite expectation of what they want to happen. They want to hear what they expect to hear, and if they don’t, it negates for them the validity of the whole reading. Granted, we did not see the entire reading during the documentary, but the seeker was obviously dissatisfied with the results and complained bitterly about how she just didn’t believe it. I couldn’t help wondering what she wanted to receive from a reading that she felt was missing. This seeker did receive a second reading that seemed more in line with her expectations, but again, I think it’s unfortunate when folks can’t keep an open mind, which will help them to realize that not everything that comes through in a reading makes sense right away. It’s also important to remember that so many of these folks are grieving when they come for help, and this can block the process and make giving and receiving a reading more difficult.

All in all, I found NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE to be a rewarding viewing experience. Seeing Lily Dale on film was wonderful, and I do feel that everyone in the documentary, mediums and seekers alike, were treated fairly, respectfully, and compassionately. Death is not an easy subject to deal with or to document, and it’s difficult to even know what to say to someone who is grieving a catastrophic loss. Healing from this pain can happen through mediumship work — I’ve seen it myself countless times, and I’m always, eternally grateful for it — and I was especially glad to see that some measure of healing came to some of those who made the pilgrimage to Lily Dale.

I look forward to visiting Lily Dale many more times in the future. I hope you’ll consider a trip there, too. In the meantime, NO ONE DIES IN LILY DALE can give you a taste of what this special place is really like.

The Radio Ambush

A week or so ago, I was a guest on an internet radio show. I do a lot of these since I’ve published my books, and, for the most part, I really enjoy them. I get to talk with some very interesting, smart, fun people about topics I love: mediumship, ghosts, Tarot, magick, Spiritualism, writing, the creative process, and many others. Whenever I get a request to do one of these shows, I try my best to fit it into my schedule. It’s another way to connect with more people and to spread the message that my books promote. I consider it an honor to be asked to appear, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Most of these radio shows are done on stations that cater to a metaphysical audience. This latest one was no exception. When the host contacted me, I checked out the webpage and thought the show’s audience would be right up my alley. They’d featured interviews with other mediums, psychics, and ghost hunters. Via email, the host and I arranged a night that would work for both of us for my appearance. That correspondence took place over 3 months before my spot. In the meantime, I tried to send him copies of my books (which didn’t work out), but we didn’t really have any other contact.

The day of my appearance (which was scheduled for that evening), I received a surprising email from the host. He explained that he had a co-host on the show who was a conservative Christian and might have some questions for me about my mediumship work. I got the distinct impression from this that there might be a confrontation about religion on the docket.

Honestly, I didn’t know how to respond. The terrified, non-confrontational part of me wanted to immediately back out. I don’t enjoy fighting about anything, let alone feeling as if I have to defend my spiritual beliefs. I even wrote an entire chapter in my latest book, Ask A Medium, about a similar topic. I wrote that chapter for all of the clients and students who tell me how much they hate trying to defend themselves against radical religious types who berate them and try to scare them out of their spiritual views. I don’t like this any more than the next guy, but over the years, I’ve learned some strategies to at least feel more sure and steady when embroiled in this kind of debate. But having to do this on the radio was not my idea of a fun time.

The responsible part of me chided myself for wanting to cancel my appearance. Having hosted my own radio show, I didn’t want to leave anyone in the lurch if I backed out at the last minute. My reasonable side posited that I had not been treated fairly and told up front that this show might turn into a religious debate, and if I didn’t want to do that, I shouldn’t harbor any qualms about saying, “Forget it.” The self-righteous part of me swelled up, too, saying that I shouldn’t be driven away from an opportunity to talk about my beliefs because I was scared I would offend someone with more strident and stringent views. I should be allowed to speak my piece; after all, wasn’t that why I was invited to participate in the first place?

In the end, I dashed off an email to the host, saying that I was not very happy about the prospect of debating religion on the air, but I would do my best.

Well, I did my best–and then some, perhaps.

Look, here’s the thing: if you’re a Christian, and even if you’re not, don’t fling Bible quotes at me. Truth be told, I like the Bible, and there are some wonderful, inspirational words of great wisdom in there. There is also some stuff that is a product of its time and the many, many interpretations and translations the writings have gone through over the centuries. Using the Bible to back up your case is like building a Three Pigs house out of sticks: it won’t withstand the wind from the Wolf. The Bible can be used to support ANY argument that you want to make. Think it’s OK to kill someone? There’s certainly a lot of havoc-wreaking vengeance in the Old Testament, often initiated by Yahweh Himself. Want to sell your daughter into slavery? Go ahead–the Bible says you can! Considering consulting a medium to talk to the dead? The Old Testament says you shouldn’t, and that God will hate you if you do–but isn’t it funny that God didn’t seem to hate Jesus when he had his pow wow with Moses and Elijah on the mountain as his disciples watched? Do you see what I’m driving at here? Evangelical Christians use the Bible as the literal Word of God, but many, like the co-host of this radio show, use it to support their way of thinking while ignoring some of the other parts that don’t suit their parameters.

So, in this radio discussion, I was lambasted with Bible quotes and had my integrity as a medium called into question. How did I know I was talking to good spirits when there are lots of righteous Christians tricked by the devil? Didn’t I know it was wrong to speak to spirits? Didn’t I worry about the health of my soul?

Well, quite frankly: give me a flipping break.

I believe in intention. And I believe in a loving, nurturing God. If you set your intention to always remain in that Divine Energy that is God, then you are not going to touch in with anything in your mediumship work that is evil or negative. Why? Because God’s energy is in EVERY energy. If you set your intention to connect with the Divine Spark of God that resides within every energy, then you will be able to connect with loving, high vibration energies of loved ones who have passed as well as guides, teachers, and angels. Yes, I am aware of the warnings in the Bible that the devil can disguise himself as an angel. But why would a loving God allow this to happen? If you set your intention to connect first with God, then God is not going to allow anything negative to happen to you. Period. Nothing can harm you. You will find your peace, and you will do your work–any work–in that loving light of Creator. End of story.

So what happened in the interview? I tried to be patient, and I tried to answer the questions in a mild tone of voice and explain my position as lovingly as I could. I even threw a few Bible quotes of my own in there to prove my point about being able to use the Bible to support any position. (Another reason not to quote the Bible to me: I can quote it right back to you, mister.) But ultimately, I said, “Look. You are not going to convince me that I’m wrong, and I’m not going to convince you that you’re wrong. You have your faith, and I have mine. All we’re doing in arguing is perpetuating a negative energy cycle because we’ll wind up mad at each other. Why do that?” Eventually, the co-host relented, and the first host went on with questions about mediumship development–questions I would much rather answer.

I am not advocating disagreements here, nor am I advocating picking a fight and trying to belittle someone else. But I am advocating standing up for your beliefs. Educate yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to read arguments against your beliefs and then to come up with intelligent answers as to why those arguments don’t hold any water. If you’re going to argue theology, know your subject. Be as smart as you can about what you do so that you can present your side in a thoughtful, organized, intelligent way. Knowledge is power.

Try not to let yourself become embroiled in a heated argument, though. I did my best in this instance to control my temper. It takes a lot to make me mad, but I was mad by the end of that segment. (And hey: Jesus got mad in the Bible, too. Remember the scene he made at the temple?) But I tried to remember that keeping a cool head was only going to make me look more reasonable, and raising my voice in anger would make me look defensive. In the end, I was proud of myself for defending my beliefs and not backing down when confronted while remaining reasonable and gracious.

I was, however, quite miffed about the whole situation. I don’t think it was very professional of these radio hosts to treat me this way. I think there’s a lesson here for me about better preparation for these shows. I’ll have to be more careful, more selective, in the future. So I do thank Spirit for this, because I know it will make me a better person in the long run.

I hope some of you will find encouragement by reading this post. Be respectful, but don’t make nice; don’t back down. Your beliefs, and your integrity, are worth more than that.

The Dixie Chicks say it pretty darn well.

May blessings abound for you.

Victory of Light Expo This Weekend

For those of you in the Greater Cincinnati area, I’ll be working all weekend at the Victory of Light Expo. The Expo is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 7 pm.  I will present “Quick and Easy Tarot,” a two-hour workshop where you can learn simple and fast ways to read Tarot cards and receive accurate, inspirational messages. The workshop is $20, and it will be interactive and a great, fun experience for beginners or more advanced Tarot enthusiasts. “Quick and Easy Tarot” will be presented at 11 am on Saturday, November 21. On Sunday, November 22, I will channel my Master Teacher, Merlin, in a one-hour presentation called “Messages from Merlin.” This begins at 11 am., and a love donation will be accepted for this demonstration. I will explain the trance process and then open myself up to accept Merlin’s energy and allow him to speak and answer questions posed by the audience.

I will also be at my booth space on Saturday and Sunday, selling and signing my books. I will be doing a limited number of private readings at the festival as well, mostly in the afternoons. If you’d like to get a reading, please stop by my booth early and sign up for a time as slots tend to fill up quickly.

For more details about the fair, please keep reading. I hope to see you there!

Victory of Light Expo
November 21 & 22, 2009
Sharonville Convention Center

The Victory of Light Expo comes to the Sharonville Convention Center
November 21 and 22, 2009, 10am-7pm each day. One of the country’s
largest metaphysical conventions for the general public, the expo
features the world of parapsychology, psychic development and holistic
healing. This is Cincinnati’s premier body, mind and spirit event.

The expo showcases a large variety of intuitive and holistic
practitioners who will provide personal readings and healings. Over
200 tables of merchandise such as jewelry, crystals, clothing, art,
books and spiritual and wellness products will be available for
purchase.

Over 50 seminars will also be offered including several free public
demonstrations of psychic abilities such as soul mate readings,
mediumship, psychic handwriting analysis, past life readings, angel
messages, clairvoyance and channeling.

Internationally recognized holistic physician and author Lewis Mehl-
Madrona will present the seminars, “Native American Ceremony & Ritual”
and “Narrative Healing: Change the Story, Change the Person.” Mehl-
Madrona is author of the best-seller Coyote Medicine as well asCoyote
Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and the recently published Narrative Medicine.

Live New Age music will be provided by keyboardist Lighthawk Mark
Kenworthy, New York’s The Gypsy Nomads who will perform their
trademark French Gypsy Celtic Folk Rock, award winning Native American
flutist Douglas Bluefeather and singer Terri Rivera Piatt. Belly
dances will be performed by Emerald Breeze Dance Ensemble.

Admission: $12 one day, $20 two days. Seniors and students $2 off.
Children 12 and under free. Parking is free.

The Sharonville Convention Center is located at 11355 Chester Road,
Cincinnati, OH 45246. (Exit 15/Sharon Road exit on I-75, west to
Chester Road, right on Chester. The Convention Center is on the left.
Look for the bright pink banners.)

Complete details about the expo including links to presenters’ and
exhibitors’ websites and a detailed seminar schedule are available at the website.

Mistakes and Falls from Grace

A few days ago, one of my favorite clients came in to see me for a massage. I’ve been a licensed massage therapist in the state of Ohio for nearly 14 years, so by now, most of my massage clients know that I am also a minister, a medium, and a published author. Many of my massage clients have even decided to receive a reading at some point. For some of them, it was a brand new experience, something they had never done and were very nervous about trying. Some have gotten one reading and have never scheduled another; some have come over the years for several readings. I never read anything into any of these decisions by my clients. I always ask Spirit to bring to me the people that can be most helped by my work, and I trust that this is what will happen.

Anyway, this particular massage client has had readings with me and other people before, so she is no stranger to the intuitive process. She is also very intuitive herself, and we often discuss these matters during her sessions. At her last appointment, she’d shared with me that she’d bought tickets to a celebrity medium’s local appearance, and she was going to take her dad. She was excited to take her father because she was hoping he’d hear from her mother, his wife, on the Other Side. I hoped the same thing–it’s such a blessing when someone who really wants to hear a message from a departed loved one is able to have that experience!

My client told me during her recent session that they’d gone to see Celebrity Medium. Now, I’m not going to mention any names here because I think it’s unfair to do so. I wasn’t at the large group session that was conducted, so I didn’t see the proceedings with my own eyes. But my client was very disappointed in the manner in which Celebrity Medium (CM for short) conducted the readings for the audience. She said that CM was very accurate in the readings, which is usually easy to gauge by watching the reactions of those receiving messages, so this was not a disappointment. The thing she really disliked about the experience was CM’s brash and negative way of talking to the audience members. She said that at the beginning of CM’s appearance, CM told the audience members not to shake their heads or say “No” in response to a piece of information given. CM warned the audience that this broke down the communication process and wouldn’t be tolerated. Then my client told me that when an audience member did this during a message from CM, CM said, “What did I tell you at the beginning? You suck! I’m not working with you. Sit down!” The reading was ended right then and there, and CM abruptly moved on to someone else. Apparently CM berated the audience several more times during the appearance, creating a negative energy and a bad taste in my client’s mouth.

I listened to this recounting of events with a heavy heart. I have no reason to believe that my client would make up this story. I told her that I was sorry to hear this, that maybe CM had had a bad day and was in a particularly agitated mood, that it happens to the best of us sometimes. But I couldn’t help feeling that I was apologizing on behalf of my chosen work for someone that made us all look bad. To actually say, “You suck” to someone in your audience, someone who has spent hard-earned money hoping to see you and to hear a message from a loved one (and believe me, these CMs get a heck of a lot of money for appearances like these)? To belittle someone publicly for not following your orders? To me, this sounds like “bullying mediumship,” where an overbearing medium almost forces a sitter to accept a piece of information by wearing the sitter down verbally. And honestly, it broke my heart to hear it. This CM is someone I’ve admired in the past, someone I’ve tried to emulate in my own work. Yes, I do believe CM could’ve had a bad day, and that bad mood permeated CM’s work in an unfortunate way. I like to give the benefit of the doubt. But as much as it upset me to hear it, I know it was brought to my attention so that I could work on it in my own mediumship.

I tend to be tenacious in public mediumship demonstrations. If no one in an audience takes a particular description that I get at the beginning of a message, I tell them, “Yes, someone here DOES know this person. You do. Think!” I do this, though, in what I consider to be a light-hearted way. I am not trying to belittle someone in the audience for not remembering his dead people. We all have moments where we can’t remember someone who’s passed, or we don’t recall a particular trait about that person. It’s OK. The medium may have to work harder to find where the spirit goes, but she will succeed in getting the message to the person who needs to hear it. But throwing a fit in a public demonstration and telling an audience member that you’re not going to work with her isn’t going to solve anything. It’s only going to create a more hostile energy, which is going to make your job as a medium even harder. And what about working from a place of love? I know we all get frustrated with our fellow human beings sometimes. But love is the vibrational link that makes mediumship work. If you can’t maintain an energy of love while you’re doing this work, you’re going to lose your link–at least, that’s what happens to the mediums that I know. How did CM stay connected to Spirit after throwing that little tantrum? I don’t know. Maybe CM knows some tricks that I don’t. I can say, though, that I’m sure CM didn’t make any more fans that evening. In fact, CM may have lost some, which is unfortunate.

I think the bottom line is this: no matter what our profession, we need to treat others with respect and love. Sure, it can be frustrating to work with others sometimes. If you’re a medium, you may be annoyed that your sitter can’t remember her Uncle Frank, who is telling you everything about himself while she shakes her head no no no. It is still your job as the medium to deliver the information and the message and to allow that sitter to mull it over in her own time. And it is part of your job to be as patient as possible and to stay focused on the love vibration that you need to perpetuate. Your ego about being right doesn’t matter one iota. Spirit and the person you are serving are the things that do matter.

Sending you love, peace, and blessings. xox

Metaphysical Movie Review: GHOST TOWN

GHOST TOWN (2008)

Starring Ricky Gervais, Tea Leoni, and Greg Kinnear

Directed by David Koepp

When I originally saw the trailer for the movie GHOST TOWN, I thought it looked fairly predictable: man has near-death experience, triggering a new and annoying ability to see ghosts. Hilarity ensues. Even though I thought I had the whole romantic comedy angle of this one figured out, I still wanted to see it, simply because the subject matter was right up my alley, and I really wanted to see Ricky Gervais perform.

If you don’t know who Ricky Gervais is, you must be an American. He starred as the obnoxious boss in the original British version of the television show The Office after co-creating the project for the BBC. I’d read nothing but rave reviews of that show, along with his other big project, Extras, which I’d heard him speak about during an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. I expected that Ricky Gervais would be a brilliant comedian, and although GHOST TOWN looked rather mainstream, I rented it from Netflix, hoping for an entertaining couple of hours.

I did enjoy the film, especially Ricky Gervais’ performance. He plays Bertram Pincus, an uptight, misanthropic British dentist living in Manhattan. When he dies during a routine surgical procedure and is resuscitated, he wakes up with the baffling ability to see ghosts. The trouble is, these spirits are being held back from making their transition to the Other Side, and since they suddenly have found someone who can see, hear, and talk to them, they want him to take messages to their loved ones so that they can move on. Pincus, however, wants none of it–he doesn’t like his fellow human beings, and their being dead doesn’t endear them to him in any way. So when Frank (Greg Kinnear), a slick, Blackberry-addicted philanderer, promises Pincus that he can get rid of the other ghosts if the dentist will break up the impending marriage of his widow (Tea Leoni), Pincus reluctantly agrees. And although hilarity doesn’t really ensue, there are some truly funny moments along the way.

ghost-town1

Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) tries to hide from all the ghosts in Manhattan.

Ricky Gervais makes an amusing and endearing misanthrope. It’s hard to completely hate him, especially when you learn his backstory and see that he really does have quite a sharp wit. His scenes with Gwen, Frank’s widow, contain clever dialogue and bright acting, even if there isn’t much romantic chemistry between the two of them. And Greg Kinnear makes Frank an entertaining cad who delivers some of the best, most poignant lines in the film. It’s his scenes with Pincus that change the contrary, cynical dentist into a man who finally understands that compassion makes him a better, happier person. From a mediumship standpoint, I found myself shaking my head at the fantasy of it all, but the moments when Pincus finally accepts what he needs to do brought tears to my eyes nonetheless.

All in all, you won’t find any hilarious gags in GHOST TOWN, and you’ll probably see the ending coming a mile away (although one event in the movie certainly did surprise me), but you might turn off the DVD player feeling a little happier and lighter after watching one sardonic Brit realize his human potential.

GHOST TOWN star rating (out of 5 stars): **1/2

*****

So, do you like this idea of metaphysical movie reviews? I’m a film fanatic, so if you have any you’d like to recommend, please let me know! Blessings to all!

On Being a Teacher and Role Model

I’m teaching this weekend at Camp Chesterfield, where I received my mediumship certification in 2000. These papers declare me tried, tested, and true at talking to dead people. There’s a special thrill that comes with being invited and allowed to teach at the place where you worked so hard to prove yourself worthy of a special designation, a special identity, especially one as enigmatic as “Medium Missionary.” It is a great honor to move from the place at the feet of the teacher to the spot on the stump where the instructor sits.

Merlin spoke the other day on this blog about how we’re all teachers, and I’ve been thinking about those words as I prepare for my weekend. It is a great responsibility to be a formal teacher for someone. Students listen and take to heart everything that you tell them. They base decisions that they make in their lives on information and material that you present to them. In many ways, the responsibilities of being a psychic reader or medium are the same; what you present to people must be given in the spirit of divine service and the highest intentions possible. In the end, it is the student’s responsibility to use that information in the best way possible, but you, the teacher, must still be a role model. And it’s an avocation I take very seriously.

I wasn’t always like that. In college, where I studied theatre education and student taught at various high schools, I didn’t want to be a role model. I wanted to be a friend. I wanted to be the “cool” teacher. I wanted the kids to like me more than I wanted to work hard and, in turn, to challenge them. Maybe this is why I never taught once I graduated. I couldn’t find a teaching job, perhaps because Creator saw that I wasn’t ready for the big responsibility, the challenge of being a role model instead of a pal. I can look back on it now, almost 20 years later, and see myself clearly, especially after over 10 years of working in adult and metaphysical education. I have finally reached a point in my life where integrity and responsibility are integral to my character, and any responsibility I take on has to fit with that.

I love to teach. I love to share information with others and to experience the excited spark that alights in a student’s eyes when she finally understands something. I love to coach a student as he tries something new, as he pushes his own boundaries and achieves something he never thought possible. It’s the most rewarding feeling in the world. It’s humbling and inspiring and oh so wonderful.

Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to be a role model. It’s hard to always live up to the expectations that others have of you. And when you’re a spiritual teacher, it can be even more challenging. Sometimes people expect you to be perfect. They expect you to have the time and energy to listen to every word of the 2-hour monologue of their life story. They expect you to read 800 pages of their manuscript on spiritual purpose when you can’t even get past the first paragraph because of all the grammatical mistakes (did I mention my degree is in theatre, speech, and English Education?) They expect you to patiently explain to them the Laws of the Universe when you don’t even completely understand them yourself. At times like these, and in many other moments, being a teacher, or any kind of role model, is exhausting and downright onerous.

I have lost patience with some of my teachers, too. I’ve seen people I’ve admired in the past be sullen, rude, or downright nasty to enthusiastic students. I’ve watched clairvoyants I’ve lauded cheat on the platform during public mediumship demonstrations, pretending to do good work and trying to dupe their audiences. Witnessing this has thrown me into self-righteous tirades and made me question not only the character and  sincerity of those people but also my own dedication and faith. How can I support a belief in after-death communication when I see people I thought were true believers resorting to magician’s tricks to get a message? How can I teach these metaphysical concepts and ideas to others when I’m not sure I can even trust what was taught to me?

I’ve come to one conclusion as these questions swirl through my mind: I can only present to others my own experience. I can only pass along information that fits into my understanding. Maybe it will fit theirs; maybe it won’t. That’s not for me to decide. What I can decide, though, is what kind of person, what kind of medium, and what kind of teacher I will be. If I can stay connected to my own inner divinity and honor God within myself, I will stay in integrity and not slip into shoddy practices or methods. If I can hold fast to my principles as a Spiritualist medium and minister, I will be a good role model for those who see my message work, read my books, or hear me speak. If I can be comfortable saying, “I don’t know” to my students, we can discover together the important lessons and mysteries we are trying to understand. These are the things I need to remember, and this is the energy I need to live. I’ll make mistakes sometimes. I may be short-tempered with a student, or I may allow my ego to rule momentarily as I try to be “the best.” But I trust that my higher nature, the part of me that is a divine and perpetual soul, will recognize these slips and pull me back into the better and more productive energy. 

It’s a good goal to have. 

Peace, love, and blessings to all. xo

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