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“I feel a presence,” she said, her eyes closed.
I was sitting in a Victorian building in Cape Town. The way the floorboards creaked and groaned under my feet as I entered earlier, made me feel like I had stepped into a bad cliché for spiritualist settings.
Spiritualists carry the belief that the living, if so in tune, have a connection to the spirit world and can communicate with them.
These communications are revered because these souls that have passed on carry messages of enlightenment, knowledge, messages of healing, and are there as an aid for a soul’s progression in this life.
Some call them spirits, others call them guides, and some call them angels.
Unfortunately, spiritualists are often berated for their unconventional belief system, and often mocked for it.
I know for myself, I have rarely received a warm welcome to my own beliefs. But, I have been exposed to spiritualists throughout my life that have solidified what is true to my own heart.
I had just arrived at the haunted (I don’t know if that’s true) Ashby Manor.
I had actually scanned the foyer for crystal balls and Ouija boards as I was ushered into a small room with a collection of wooden chairs filled with a bunch of spiritualists, all seeking answers from the other side.
Margaret, the medium—the humor of the name doesn’t escape me—was seated in front on a raised platform.
She opened her eyes, as if she had seen what she needed to, and looked in the direction of a man, a few rows in front of her. Our eyes followed hers to a man sandwiched between a person and the wall, he was slunk a little low in his chair.
He doesn’t want to be here, I thought.
She looked directly at him, their eyes meeting and said, “I have a message for you, if you are open to hearing it?”
He laughed somewhat nervously and replied, “I feel like you have singled out the nonbeliever in the room. I was forced to come here, but sure, I am open.” The way the word fell off his tongue made me beg to differ.
I am always interested to see this kind of dynamic. A “nonbeliever” and a medium, who if worth their salt, would deliver messages from spirit that would often have them floored.
As a spiritualist myself, I am always conscious that beliefs are sacred and personal, and whatever someone believes in should be held in the utmost respect; we are not separated by faith—we are ultimately connected by it.
I was already impressed by Margaret asking this man if he would be open to hearing it.
His body language had admittedly given him away; his arms were folded across his chest, a sign he felt he needed to protect himself, and he was slunk lower than most of us were sitting, a sign he was trying to hide.
Margaret has a smile that makes you feel like you know her. Her comforting energy makes you feel like you can spill all your secrets, as if you were sharing them with a trusted friend. She also laughs like a bellow—loud, proud, and full of fiery spirit.
After her brief moment to connect and channel this spirit, she wasn’t laughing and her tone was gentler, as if the message she received was one that would be difficult to give.
I knew that look.
“That’s perfectly okay, darling,” she spoke. “If it gets too much for you, you let me know, okay?”
He nodded somewhat tentatively.
“It’s a man, not an old man, a young man. He crossed over early; it causes him great distress. It was sudden; he was here and then he was gone. It’s caused you and your family deep pain.”
The man started to straighten up a little more in his chair.
“Does that make sense?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said rather quickly.
“He’s not suffering, he wants you to know that. He’s happy; the only distress he feels is about how he crossed. How his loved ones were left in pain, particularly you.”
“It’s my son,” the man blurted out. “He died in a car accident.” I could see this man’s demeanor faltering and he looked as if he was trying not to shake.
“It’s okay,” Margaret replied with a tender smile. “He’s here; he’s happy he’s here.”
I wish this was the part of the story, where I could remember the stories she relayed to this man about memories of him and his son, but alas, I have a terrible memory. I only remember the man saying, “Yes! Yes, we did that!” or “Yes, it’s him!” or “How can you know that?”
This man had been carrying this with him for an entire year, and it was as if he was being thrown a lifeline.
In my belief, he was connecting with this son on the other side, through Margaret.
She then continued with, “He wants to tell you to stop giving up on your life. He says that he knows you are struggling to let him go. He hopes this helps you because he’s not gone, and he’s worried, and he wants to thank your friend for bringing you here because he’s tried himself to get through to you and he knows you have felt him.”
It was at this moment that this man, burly in stature, put his head in his hands and wept. It was the kind of cry that comes from the very depth of the soul, where his chest heaved with sorrow and his friend comforted him; her tears flowing as freely as his.
Margaret sat still and silent for a long while.
I had to wipe away my own tears as an entire room of people felt the palpable energy of a son and father receiving the closure they both clearly and so desperately needed from a life taken so abruptly.
She said one final thing to him, “Souls do not die, darling.”
There were a few other channeled messages, but I feel we had all been so affected by that one; many of us sat in an awed silence, paying our own respects to a young son who had finally gotten through to his grieving father.
Afterward, I saw him shaking her hand, gripping it with both of his, and with a great respect and gratitude thanking her for the message. His eyes tear-stained, his demeanor no longer protected and hidden, but open and receiving.
I saw her soft smile and her tired eyes—channeling energy from the other side is draining. It takes of someone, something few know and there is a need to recharge and rest.
I was in amazement of this woman, and the strength it took for her to channel a few messages in one sitting. As with any belief system, there are an innumerable amount of fakes and frauds, and for me, Margaret is the real deal, an earth angel, a lightworker.
There is no higher honour for a spiritualist to be able to carry messages from the other side. In this case, this man needed closure to be able to continue living his life; he was withering away in grief and his son wanted him to thrive—safe in the knowledge that it was okay to let him go and heal.
Some others need a little nudge in the right direction when they feel lost or confused, or simply need their faith to believe in something greater than themselves and give this life meaning.
I believe that, as Margaret, we are all capable of being sacred messengers of a world we cannot see, where our loved ones cross over into, and where guidance from the divine is sent to us.
Ever had that nagging sensation? Or felt like you have seen something out of the corner of your eye?
The spirits, the guides, the angels, are among us, and all we need do is quieten the mind and listen.