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I left the brick-and-mortar religion of my childhood days long ago in search of a philosophy that felt more personal, more meaningful, to me.
Starting in ninth grade, I wrote an article on Hinduism for the school newspaper—a topic that ignited a flame of controversy in the fires of the Catholic faith.
The year before that one, I got confirmed. I still innocently chuckle to myself when I recall my mother telling the Priest that I hadn’t studied the scripture because I had begun taking an avid interest in astrology, tarot cards, and eastern teachings. The Priest, sitting directly across from me, looked at me with cocked eyebrows, shifted his mouth to one side, and heaved a kind of sigh, which to me read: oh, child. What in the world are we going to do with you?
At the time, I wished my mother hadn’t told him that. I did not want to be perceived as wayward and, at the core, certainly feared any potential backlash in the form of judgmental or disapproving comments. Instead, I simply wanted to loosen my grip on Catholicism seamlessly, as though I had let Dandelion fluff float away into the vast, thin air, knowing that the season was quickly coming to an end as winter approached, which for me, would symbolize a time for deeper contemplation and possible reevaluation.
Eventually, that would give birth to a kind of new beginning.
Endings, while inevitable, seem to be a central theme in my life. I tend to outgrow things faster than my sentimental heart would prefer to. People. Places. Certain ways of thinking and doing—they all beg for reinvention, and once transformed, leave me to revisit my own ever-shifting reflection in the rivers of time.
“You’ve changed,” is a phrase I hear from others often enough now. For them, however, this means that I no longer subscribe or participate in my external reality in the way that they’re used to—and for me, that alone is the difference between metaphorical death and several more years on a spiritual oxygen support machine.
That right there is a chilly, foot-shuffling fact of life—the ever-present, ever-nearing autumn we call change. And yet, so many of us attempt to resist or deny its arrival on our doorstep.
One thing I have been changing these days is how much energy I give to many so-called spiritual communities. For a while, I felt as though someone had asked me to take two breaths per minute instead of 10. Not too long ago, I was almost obsessed with tarot card readings and energy healing practices of all kinds. Reiki healings, ‘Divine Feminine childhood healings, crystals (which I’ll admit I still sometimes wear due to the mere fact that it cost so much to purchase them), and energetic cord cuttings were staples in my life.
I always found a reason to clear my chakras, “fix” my “childhood or abandonment wounds”—which by the way, I believe we all have to one degree or another—and cut etheric cords with another person who was, in my view, no longer serving me.
I shudder now to think of how much money I spent on these modalities over the past several months, but nevertheless, I continuously seemed to identify with some perceived need for them.
Now, before I dive any deeper, I want to mention that I know that many people work in these industries, and right off the cuff, I basically respect the vast majority of them. In fact, I do know and have heard of a slew of gifted people who have contributed positively to the experience of the collective. However, there are also just as many in this same industry who are power-hungry, misguided in their use of their power, and by default, cost their clients and followers far more than simply their fair share of dollars.
One of the most extreme examples of this abuse of power is in the Maria Duval psychic scam. Ruthlessly, this scam defrauded millions of people out of a minimum of 200 million dollars over a course of 20 or so years. People who were challenged with compromised health were told that they would be offered help by Duval if they paid for a sequence of consultations, which even led to certain victims spitting out thousands of dollars in order to be “healed.”
This scam took the form of a hand-written letter signed by Maria Duval herself and included personal information, which successfully conned the people into believing in the depth and authenticity of her “special abilities.” Moreover, the tone of those letters strongly appealed to the victim’s emotions, and as we all know, once people’s sentiments have been aroused, they’re sold.
Unfortunately, similar scams are not unheard of today.
In the past, I myself received frequent chain messages in my inbox, signed and personalized to me by other so-called psychics and healers who promise to forecast my upcoming year for a good hefty buck. Of course, these “predictions” always centered around key areas of life that we are all concerned with—namely our finances, career, health, and love life—to name just a few. Although I never bought into or purchased any services from these senders, I nevertheless remained well-aware that they were sometimes a temptation on the shelf, a cookie dangling in front of the eyes of a hungry child.
When I was younger, I regularly attended annual psychic fairs once or twice a year. At one show in particular, I can remember having my palm read to me by a lady who told me that my usually bright aura appeared rather murky and that some friends on social media did not have my best interests at heart. I was only 18 at the time and still quite “adolescent-like” in mindset, wondering who I was, where I was going, and who my real friends truly were.
Shocked by her statement, I eagerly inquired, thirsty as ever to know who these sinister contacts were.
“I’ll tell you who these people are if you book another appointment with me this week,” she said. Fortunately, it was my own mother who, in due vigilance, warned me not to fall for such tactics by anyone. “Sarah, don’t fall for that,” she begged, lifting me from the fog of deception.
The fact of the matter is that even though this psychic wasn’t charging me an outrageous amount of money for her services, she was asking me to book an additional session with her just so she could tell me what she more than easily could have told me in that one hour alone. Furthermore, what good would it have done me to know who exactly was gossiping about me and why? That alone feeds the ego and could prove to be psychologically destructive long term.
A couple of years later, I had a reading with a woman in my area who I considered to be highly intuitive. At one specific moment during the reading, she stopped the recording and asked me rather pointedly—and seemingly out of absolutely nowhere—whether or not I was bisexual. Surprised by this, I replied: “No, I’m not. I’m actually gay, though.”
“Oh, no. You’re really bisexual,” she insisted. “See, the way it works for you is that you prefer feminine men and masculine women,” she continued. I shook my head. “No, not really,” I reported. End of story.
At the time, I had almost reached my 20th birthday and had spent a good part of my teen years questioning my sexual orientation and then finally coming to terms with the fact that I was not straight. Year after year, I felt tormented by my own wondering and fear that I might indeed be a lesbian and at that point, I sure in heck wasn’t about to let someone tell me how I should identify. Not only that, but the purpose of the reading had absolutely nothing to do with my attraction to anyone. In hindsight, I see that as an unnecessary and inappropriate interrogation.
Then, there are those “psychics” and “clairvoyants” who warn you that you’ve been “cursed.” In my experience, they tend to prey on you like a house cat breaking the wings of a bird and watching it die. Of course, if you believe their words, they can effectively remove the “curse” in question for a bare minimum of 900 dollars. After that is done, they would be more than willing to “restore your chakra system” for a grand total of 700 dollars and then seal it with “white light” and an “energetic shield” to ensure psychic attack prevention in the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, if you’ve gone through an especially difficult time, you may actually begin to believe that you have been “hexed” and feel anxious or paranoid as a result. Generally speaking, if you’re a suggestible person, when someone informs you that you have been “cursed,” you tend to actually feel that way, provided that outer events and circumstances seem to support that assumption. Needless to say, having a “psychic” approach you and tell you that you’ve been “hexed” is a bright red flag. Run, don’t walk. And fast.
All jokes aside, I now steer clear of anyone—and I do mean anyone—who claims that they have “healed all their psychological wounds” and “reached enlightenment—indefinitely.”
Sometimes this takes on the guise of a coach or guru who claims to know exactly how to “make the law of attraction work in your favor” by “making you a magnet for success and for material things like money, a bigger house, fancier car, and who can also help you climb out of debt” by somehow hacking into your subconscious and removing all of your “financial prosperity blocks”—as if it were really that simple.
Usually, I see these types of people featured in ads and they look as though they’re sitting on a sofa in a mansion or in a corporate office. How spiritual is that?
Similarly, anyone who suggests to me that I am in some way “broken”—in ways other than being “hexed,” as mentioned before, isn’t getting so much as a penny from me.
Guess what? We’re all “lost” and “fragmented” in one sense or another. It’s called the human condition, and it’s everywhere. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that few of us have had an ideal childhood. Granted, some of us had it far worse than others and dealt with trauma no one should ever have to endure in his or her lifetime, but truthfully speaking, can any of us really vouch for the fact that our parents were perfect? Probably not.
Moreover, the sheer arrogance of another imperfect being suggesting to me that I am “damaged goods” seems like a thick attempt to gaslight. No other human being should claim to be “wiser,” “more healed,” or “more enlightened” than anyone else.
Few of us are entirely immune to “low vibrational” moments of envy, sadness, doubt, or frustration, and while we would certainly be much healthier if we regularly practiced living a more Zen lifestyle, most of us could probably agree that we’re all subconsciously “blocked” or otherwise “challenged” in some ways.
No one has the answers. Some of us only have our answers—and that’s perfectly okay as long as we’re aware enough to admit it to ourselves and put down the masks when the situation calls for it.
In my experience, some of the most conscious individuals do not talk much about it. They do not advertise or brag publicly about it to others or on social media. Nor do they label themselves as “Indigos” or “Starseeds.” They do not claim to have any unique insights or skills that no one else has. Instead, they simply and quietly align themselves with their true nature behind closed doors—a true nature, by the way, that we all in fact share. That’s all they do.
So, be careful of some of those self-proclaimed “psychics,” “spiritual teachers,” and “gurus” out there.
While I certainly cannot deny that several of them are indeed humble, well-intentioned, and genuinely gifted, a few of them may likely not be, and if you’re caught at an especially vulnerable time, you may be their next victim.