The Visible Spirit
By Sophie Minello
A New Pair of Glasses
Raised as a Catholic, I always had religion ingrained in my everyday life. In my Catholic school, we had daily religion classes and frequent masses and events centered around our God. Additionally, my mother never failed to take me to mass every Sunday and make sure I said my prayers before a meal or bedtime. Recently, however, I’ve drifted away from being the routine Catholic I have been taught to be. In religion and culture especially, I’ve been every sheltered. I’ve realized that there are greater ideas of belief that I connect to more than I’ve ever connected to the Catholic tradition. I wanted to understand and explore more than what I was sheltered to understand and don’t even fully agree with. The new belief I chose to explore was spiritualism.
To experience this religion, I received both a reading and talked to a practicing spiritualist. Having no strong prior knowledge about the art of taking readings or the understanding of spiritualism, I learned so much within these two quick meetings. My first experience was with a lady at Elaine’s Astrology. She welcomed me up into her space, a room above a shop in the downtown area. As I sat in the waiting room, I glanced around the room. Scattered around, there were crystals of all kinds, fancy stones, and other earthy objects. I realized how important energies are to spiritualists, even the energies of the earth. I admired this quietly, then I was called into a small room that only fit a tiny table and two chairs. There were art pieces plastered on the walls, but I never got a good look at them. Instead, I was focused on Elaine, who sat across from me yielding a slight accent, long blond hair, and a kind smile. She was a middle aged woman, and she went right into my palm reading.
“You have beautiful palms!” She exclaimed, examining the lines. Often times, people try to convince you that psychics are just in it for the money. They say extremely vague lines, trying to get more information out of you to guess and hopefully get it right. I’ll admit that sometimes I felt like Elaine was doing that, but other times I felt like there was something else. “What’s this about your father?” She said, making me wonder. I don’t have a father in my life since my mother never married, and this idea of someone having a problem with their father is a very common occurrence. At this point I wondered if she was just doing a guess and check method. However, there were moments when I was interested in her knowledge of me. “Music. What’s this with music? I can see it all around you.” Given, I was wearing a band shirt, but it wasn’t a band she would have known. I wondered, how could she have guessed that? I felt like there was a give and take, sometimes she was on point and sometimes she was pretty off target. However, after the reading was over I could tell she wasn’t in it for the money. She truly wanted to help people, as she lectured me about getting rid of this negative energy that I was carrying around. She even gave me a list of things to work on so I could keep myself balanced. Despite my skepticism about her guessing, she did have some kind of view into the energies that I carried and knew how to keep them balanced.
After visiting this professional psychic’s business, I decided I needed more personal insight about the beliefs of spiritualists. This is when I met with Brooke, and during this experience I felt entirely opened up to this whole new world of spiritualism beliefs. A friend and I met with her in a quiet and sun filled library one day after school. Positive energy radiated off of her, and her openness to share her story and answer our questions was extremely kind. Brooke is a studying spiritualist in Lilydale, NY. She does readings often, and I was glad to be able to ask her questions and gain clarity about the craft of readings. She emphasised that to do readings and connect to the spirit world was nothing extremely abstract. It wasn’t a gift, but it was the practiced and heightened natural ability to use intuition. For spiritualists, in birth we all have this ability to get in touch with these higher energies, however through the education system’s promotion of science and reason, we lose touch with these abilities. Brooke explained how meditation and yoga is a big help in getting in touch with this part of yourself. Her ability to give readings isn’t something she just realized she could do one day. She had to be sure to actively study and practice her ability. Through her studies, she’s developed a process before her readings. This process includes a prayer and meditation with the person she’s reading as she calls spirits forward. Immediately, I felt more connection to Brooke than I did with Elaine. Brooke really cared about this practice, she wanted to be one with the person she was taking a reading of. Through these sessions, she is able to contact guiding spirits and past loved ones. Because of this, her practice helps promote spiritual healing.
Another interesting belief that Brooke had was the inexistence of coincidence and the importance of synchronicity. Everything is a message or sign, however, she believes these signs come from the universe as a whole and not a God. I really enjoyed this belief of hers. The universe is just as mysterious as God, and I believe that the terms can essentially mean the same thing. All of Brooke’s views resonated with me very deeply. Again, as I struggle with Catholicism I’m so glad to have found beliefs like those of Spiritualism.
This religion seems to be fairly flexible to people’s beliefs. I realized that learning more about psychics made me less skeptical of them, knowing that they are just using a natural gift. I was also able to learn about myself through the act of getting a reading. I think that the beliefs of spiritualism are quite beautiful. From what I understand, their main focus is to be in touch with yourself and reach a spiritual healing of sorts. These are two very important things, whether you’re a spiritualist or not. Throughout these experiences, I was able to learn about spiritualism, but also about myself. It was as if I could see and experience things clearer, like I had a new pair of glasses. I’m very glad to have had this opportunity to explore spiritualism.