Sunday, February 23, 2020

My 1989 Psychic Experience

In my posting of 2/9/20, I began to discuss my experience with psychics and said I’d first met one in 1990. However, on reflection, I realized that’s incorrect. The year was 1989. Also, in the past two weeks, I’ve remembered an earlier visit with a psychic—two decades before that 1990 session. 

While studying at a local university in 1970, I took a week off and visited friends in a nearby state. One of them urged me to put aside my hesitation about psychics. She’d booked an hour session for me with a man who’d previously told her something amazing about her family; she wanted to discover what my thoughts on his abilities were. 
This man, I’ll call him Ephraim, began by telling me about how he’d discovered his gift. After at least a half hour, if not more, Ephraim suddenly shook himself as if to awaken to my being there. Then he proceeded to tell me several things about myself that I thought he could have discovered from my speech patterns and regional dialect. So I wasn’t impressed.
Next, he talked about my family life. That did impress me for he knew many things about my extended family. (When I later asked Betty what she’d told him about me, she replied, “Just that I wanted to reserve an hour for a friend.”)
After telling me several things about my family—all of which were true—he told me that I had a spiritual guide whose name was “Arthur” and that he watched over me and was my great-uncle. Once again, I thought that he was off target. I’d never heard of an uncle called Arthur. The only Arthur I knew was the imaginary lion who’d accompanied me everywhere from the time I was in kindergarten and got me through the trauma of seeming abandonment. 
The next summer, while visiting my aunt, I asked her about her uncles. It was then I learned that indeed I did have a great-uncle Arthur, the brother of my grandpa Ready. I wondered then if Great-Uncle Arthur was the indwelling spirit who lived in Arthur, the lion who’d befriended me throughout my youth. 

So until 1989, that was the extent of my experience of the “occult”—the term Cynthia used in her comment for my last posting. Here’s a brief journey through that experience: After Dulcy died in early July 1989, I lost my usual exuberance and love of life. A friend—an ex-nun—urged me to see a psychic. “You might hear something,” she said, “that’ll really make you laugh and lighten up! Help you get your equilibrium back!”

The next day, I researched and found a well-recommended psychic. At our session, she wore a T-shirt and jeans; her only jewelry was a wedding ring. Immediately, I felt myself relax. She seemed like someone who could become a friend.

I’d told her only my name, nothing else about myself. Yet when we sat down and she dealt the cards, she looked at me with concern, then reached over to grasp my left hand. “You’ve experienced great sorrow recently. The death of someone. Not a human. A cat. She’s your soulmate. It’s like your heart is broken.”

I burst into tears.

When I was calm again, she told me that the cat and I were going to write a book about our relationship and it would touch the lives of many people.

A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story happened.


PS: In my next posting, I hope to sum up other experiences and then share with you what happened in March 2019 that left me bereft. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Background Posting on My Experience with Psychics

The initial story behind this posting took place in 1957 when I was a junior in college. During a math class, I experienced transcendence. Drawn into what neither mind nor heart, nor word nor speech can understand or explain, I knew pure joy. My words cannot capture its essence. I have been able to arrive only at this lackluster definition: For me, joy is the totality of bliss at the height and depth of my being.

As I left the classroom that day, I knew three things: I was going to enter the convent the following year; I’d become a Benedictine nun; and I’d devote my life to prayer for all creation. 

Before that class, I’d not known that in the next hour, I’d come to two divergent roads: One, which I’d cherished for ten years, was to become an engineer. The other had never occurred to me; it was not even drawn on the map of my consciousness. After that class, I knew as well as I knew the sun rises daily that I’d enter the convent in fourteen months. 

The next story behind this posting took place the following year. I was taking a one-credit-hour course in religion. Father Francis, a Benedictine monk, taught the class. He took seriously his responsibility to inculcate the Roman Catholic dogmas and doctrines into the young women sitting before him in that classroom.

On one particular day, he used both the Hebrew and Christian testaments to talk about “false prophets.” He said that when someone predicts a happening, we should be wary if that person gives a definitive time and place. We might have intuitions about the future, he said, but only God knew anything for sure. We were not in control. 

So, he concluded, steer clear of those who shouted from the rooftops that the world would end at such and such a time; or that something dire would happen according to the intoxicating words of a self-proclaimed prophet.

As I listened, I thought of my transcendent experience of the year before. Was I being a false prophet to myself in predicting when I’d enter and where and what I’d do for the rest of my life?  For all those months, I’d felt so sure. As I sat there, examining my experience and my response to it, I could not let go of the belief that I’d somehow been called to a life of service as a nun. I wasn’t being a false prophet.

Then Father Francis began to denounce psychics, tarot-card readers, mediums. He said they were false prophets who claimed to be able to tell the future. As Roman Catholics, we had to resist the lure of exploring our life beyond the present. In fact, he said, to do so was to commit a mortal sin. (According to the catechism I’d begun to study in first-grade, a mortal sin sent an unrepentant person to hell.) Father Francis then explained what might happen to a person who self-indulgently explored the “dark side” of life.

While I let go of the idea of hell and mortal sin in the next three decades, I still remembered his caution about psychics and never sought a session with one. Then in 1990, following a loss, I visited a psychic and came away with my intuitions shored up by what she had said.

In my next posting, I’ll share my experience with psychics, especially the one I spoke with last March. His words tunneled into my mind and left me bereft. 

PS: This posting’s first story is detailed in my convent memoir: Prayer Wasn’t Enough.

Photo from Wikipedia.