There is an old saying: “No man is your enemy, no man is your friend, every man is your teacher.”
–Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play It (my latest fav book)
When I first started navigating the woo world after moving to Vermont (for the sake of brevity, anything related to healing/psychic/Tarot/magic will be called “woo world”), I really wanted a teacher. Kind of a mashup of Xena: Warrior Princess and a modern-day Oracle at Delphi, like the one in The Matrix.
“You’re the Oracle?”
“Bingo. Not quite what you were expecting, right?”
I looked for plenty of Oracles during those early days. You know, the ones who would tell me to look out for the vase, or I’d meet the most amazing woman who had every single quality I needed, or that I was special and chosen by God to do healing work. Well, maybe I wasn’t outwardly that arrogant, but I certainly wanted to feel less lost. I wanted to know that quitting my teaching career wasn’t another foolish decision in a string of what seemed to be a growing track record of impulsive living.
I also wanted to be around people who called themselves psychic. I wanted to see if they were “real” and how they acted in normal situations, not levitating over crowds or passing enormous baskets filled with money. I had enough of that in the Christian circles of my youth, and wondered if people in the woo world were different. My natural reticence toward the magical – the Devil’s gonna get in if you open yourself up — kept my eagerness in check. To a certain extent.
I began my search. Googled. Read all the woo magazines I could find. And yes, went for the bigger names. I figured if they had a solid background and testimonials, then they must have a gift. There was one world-renowned medium who gave occasional talks at a local center for free, and I respected that they took an evening to answer questions and mingle. I thought, maybe they can help guide me. I wasn’t able to pay the dazzling hourly rate, but WR Medium also had a training program for budding mediums and I figured this would be a good way to check it all out.
The talk on healing, manifestation and life after death was interesting, but I was impatient for dessert: free readings. I could tell that WR Medium’s acolytes hung on every word and wanted the chat to continue late into the night. This, of course, triggered me back to those desperate years of altar calls and prayer circles.
Save me. Save me.
WR Medium - who had an undeniable charm with a slightly brittle edge — did mini-reads for a select few at the end of the talk, and I was hopin’ and wishin’ and prayin’ that I’d be picked, while maintaining the cool exterior and skeptical eye needed in situations like this. I wasn’t selected, which made the reads for others less impressive.
Of course her grandma loves her. Yes, he watching over them. I could say the same shit!
However, I didn’t rush out the door. I wanted answers. I wanted something. But I couldn’t get close enough, as 6 women crowded around WR Medium like hungry children at the breast. I wouldn’t be a desperate sort. Not me.
WR Medium peered over them, looking straight into my eyes with a gaze narrowed in its intensity. I flinched. Every aspect of my mind was instantaneously exposed and my impatience clearly noted. WR Medium kept staring at me and I wasn’t sure of the appropriate response — approach? Levitate? Ask for an autograph?
Finally, a word. It was as if I was backstage with a B-list celebrity who finally noticed me, the special one. Yet there was no time for niceties.
“Do I have anyone around me? Any guides? People?” I asked, with the breathless voice of a fan girl.
Charm turned cold in the matter of a second. “Yes. There are many around you. But I’m not here to do readings,” WR Medium replied. “You can call my office and make an appointment.”
I stepped back, feeling all of 14.
WR Medium noticed — and extended a modicum of tough love on me. “You’re ready for a teacher. But the question is: could you actually listen to one?” and gave me the squinty look of a star whose light has been overextended.
As I walked out to my car, I realized that I was too far into this world of sensitives to call it a crock. It didn’t make WR Medium’s words any less confusing — but as discouraged as I was, I couldn’t turn back now.