Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Healing Miracles or Medical Mysteries?


My Beloved has had severe leg pains for days; can barely move sometimes. When things I tried gave only temporary relief, I invited a spiritual healer friend to come and give him a session. By the time of her appointment yesterday, he was also wandering in his mind and his blood sugar was up a bit high — so I booked a doctor’s visit for him later the same day. As he was in such pain that he wasn’t sure he could even get to the doctor’s, I didn’t cancel the healer. 

She gave him a lot of time. ‘They [the spirits] were working a lot on his lower back,’ she told me afterwards. He didn’t immediately notice great improvement, but by the time we saw the doctor, his pain was greatly reduced — so much so that the doctor said, ‘How often can your friend come and do this for you? It’s better than any medication I could give you!’ (He is on so much medication for his diabetes and artificial heart valve that what else he can safely be prescribed is limited to things which would have undesirable side-effects anyway.)

I had assumed his pain was caused by peripheral neuropathy, a painful condition of the nerve ends which is a side effect of diabetes, but the doctor explained that that affects feet and ankles, whereas this pain was in the thighs and calves. He thought it might be from the severe arthritis in the lower back. I thought so too, considering what the healer had said. But the high blood sugar could also suggest an infection. As there were no signs of chest infection, it could be urinary. ‘If he’s not better tomorrow, take a sample and bring it to the clinic.’

Today is Saturday. Only one doctor is on duty Saturday mornings, so it’s first come first served. His pain had returned, his blood sugar was high; he got the sample and we fronted up as early as we could manage. She found some signs of infection, prescribed an antibiotic and sent the urine to the lab for further tests. She also expressed the opinion that the burning pain in his legs is caused by another side effect of diabetes — with such a long and unfamiliar Latin name that I don’t remember it. We go back to our own doctor on Monday.

So in this case the miracle was not a cure. However, some relief is better than none, and it encourages me to continue with my own energy healing methods too.


Some weeks ago I started experiencing extreme shortness of breath after very little exertion. I had some chest pain too. The doctor originally thought it might be either pleurisy or emphysema. I’d recently had (mild) pneumonia; pleurisy could be a lingering after-effect. Also I smoked for 32 years, and even though I’ve been stopped for 23 years, emphysema can take that long to show up! A couple of my psychic friends got the impression it was pleurisy, and my chiropractor said it couldn’t be emphysema or he’d have picked it up long ago. (Whew!) 

An x-ray suggested a hernia instead: part of the abdomen pushing up into the left lung. The doctor ordered ‘a more sensitive scan’ to make quite sure of the diagnosis. In the interim I used both Reiki and Genome Healing. The breathlessness reduced to almost nothing, and the pain stopped completely. For good measure, the chiropractor attempted to push the hernia back down into the abdominal cavity.

So a week later I had the next scan, which showed no hernia. The doctor explained that we all have a fatty shield around the heart, and that mine must have been casting a shadow on the lung in the first x-ray. 

I told him I’d done some Reiki, and described the Genome Healing as ‘a guided process of talking to my organs.’ He didn’t scoff — he’s fairly open-minded — but he didn’t comment.

‘So what was causing the shortness of breath?’ I asked.

‘I can’t explain,’ he said.

I asked, ‘Could it have been partly stress-related?’ I had noticed that, although it followed physical exertion, stress seemed to exacerbate it.

He became animated. ‘Yes that’s possible. And that might be why you’ve been feeling better. Talking to the organs is a form of relaxation exercise. It’s like the progressive relaxation technique of going through each organ in turn.’ 

He was obviously happy to have found a way to explain it to himself, so I didn’t say what I was thinking: ‘Hey mate, remember it wasn't only breathlessness, there was also pain. That’s a hell of a powerful relaxation exercise if it does the trick for a week and more!’ 

The jury’s still out on this one, too. Was it a mild pleurisy that gradually got better? Did a hernia reverse itself? Watch this space.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just Put Pagan

OK, I've decided! (On my dilemma in previous post.) This census I'm not going to put 'Pagan - Wiccan' but just 'Pagan'.

This [edited] comment on facebook, from Linda Ward, at the group 'Pagan and the Australian Census 2011', is what decided me:

'On speaking (yes, actual conversation) with the chief statistician we were told that after the data is put in ASCRG code the raw data is destroyed and there is no way to tell if Pagan- was the precursor of the entry. [A particular faith] would not be counted as Pagan if it came after the dash. The most efficient way of getting true Pagan numbers is to Just Put Pagan. This is straight from the census horse's mouth. Why not get the basic Pagan numbers first, and then have the solid data to argue effectively with ABS for changes to the next census? Also from the ABS website they are very clear that they will not negotiate with one association on any changes - only a concerted multi-organisational process will have any chance of bringing about changes. It should also be noted that Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus do NOT seek to fracture their numbers into various schools but keep to the unified umbrella term for their faiths to maximise their census figures - and they have a greater population than we do. My advice to all (and this coming from one who was part of the original Pagan dash campaign committee) is Just Put Pagan.'

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pagan or what? Australian census.

The census will be taken in August.  On the question of religion, members of the Pagan community are trying to figure out what to put that will accurately convey how many of us there are. The trouble is that on the census form we are listed under Nature Religions, as follows (an excerpt from a letter to a friend from the Australian Bureau of Statistics):

Thank you for your enquiry concerning the religion question in the 2011 Census.

Paganism is included in the Australian Standard Classification of Religious Groups (ASCRG), as a separate output category in the Classification Counts produced for Religious Affiliation from the 2006 Census. It forms part of the broader Nature Religions group.

The classification structure of this group is:

613 Nature Religions
6130 Nature Religions, nfd (not further defined)
6131 Animism
6132 Druidism
6133 Paganism
6134 Pantheism
6135 Wiccan/Witchcraft
6139 Nature Religions, nec (not elsewhere classified)

If a response of Pagan is qualified with additional information such as Druid or Wiccan, this additional information will be used in classifying the response. For example, Pagan Wiccan would be classified as 6135 and Pagan Celtic would be 6133. Pagan alone would be classified as 6133.

Obviously this is wrong in a number of ways. For instance most Wiccans, Druids and others see ourselves as coming under the broader umbrella of Paganism and regard it as synonymous with Nature Religions, not a subordinate category. There are also various strands of Paganism not listed.

For some years there has been a big push for Wiccans, Druids, Ceremonial Magicians, Voodoun practitioners and so on and others to list themselves as ‘Pagan dash’ i.e. ‘Pagan — Wiccan’, ‘Pagan — Druid’, etc. in the hope that this would swell the official numbers of Pagans and give us some weight as a body of people to be taken seriously by Governments. In the light of the last paragraph of the letter above, that is obviously not the case. Now we are being asked, instead, to put just ‘Pagan’ on the census form so as to have the desired effect. The idea is that once we have got that message across, then we can work towards further educating the statisticians. We see the various kinds of Paganism as being not unlike the various denominations of Christianity, and we’d like the census form to reflect this.

Others in the Pagan community think we should continue to use ‘Pagan dash’, so that we don’t rob the various sub-groups of Paganism of their true numbers. Apparently, if the numbers get big enough, they may rate upgrading to a primary category. (Come to think of it, there are various ‘denominations’ of both Wicca and Druidry too.) These people also argue that after the census we might be able to analyse the data and make a case for changes to the listing — but that won’t work if we don’t stick to our specific designations. 

Some, like me, are still in confusion. I’ll probably end up putting ‘Pagan’ without further qualification. After all, my background and practices are highly eclectic. I could truthfully claim to be a Wiccan, a Druid, a ceremonial magician and a shaman. Just to complicate matters, I am sometimes invited to speak at the local Spiritualist Church, and I have no problem accepting. (Nor do they have any problem with me as a Goddess worshipper.) But the truth is I identify as a witch, albeit one who has been influenced by other paths. I tend to call myself a ‘contemporary eclectic Wiccan’. I’d like to at least put Wiccan. If I were to put ‘Pagan — Wiccan’ that’s where I’d be placed, so why not be direct about it?  On the other hand, if ‘Pagan dash’ achieves nothing, it might be worth opting for ‘Pagan’ alone this time.

In the end we’ll all make up our own minds. Pagans are much inclined to think for themselves! In any case, I thought it would be remiss of me not to address the question in this blog. The least I can do is lay out the issues before you, so that you may come to your own conclusions.


Mark Hepworth of PAN  (Pagan Awareness Network) points out that some people have in the past been afraid to admit to any of the Pagan faiths for fear of repercussions. It’s sad but true that marriages, jobs and friendships can be lost because of our spiritual paths — but not via the census. The information is highly confidential and very well guarded. So, Aussie Pagans, put something truthful!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Clairvoyance and Cold Calling

Sometimes the local Spiritualist Church invites me to be a guest speaker, on any topic I’m guided by Spirit to address. They are Christian, but open-minded enough to understand and respect my focus on Deity as Goddess and to pray, themselves, to ‘Father and Mother’, knowing that God is either or both (as well as beyond all categories). Afterwards I usually do some quick, public psychic readings for individuals in the congregation. I don’t normally attend the church on other occasions, but yesterday Spouse and I went along because Joan, a locally famous clairvoyant, was going to be there giving brief messages for people. A psychic medium myself, I seldom have the opportunity to be on the receiving end.

Due to time constraints, the messages were indeed brief and not for every person present, so I was thrilled when she stopped in front of me and asked, ‘Who’s Florence?’ I told her, ‘That’s my Nana.’ Then she asked, ‘Who was it who learned piano?’ and I said, ‘That’s Mum.’

‘They’re both here,’ she said, ‘Sending you lots of love.’ She asked who loved fishing, and who was a member of a Masonic Lodge (she could see him dressed up in the costume). They were my stepfather and my Dad, respectively. She then said she was getting the name ‘Keith or Kath’. I hesitantly suggested my Aunty Kathleen, but added that she never called herself Kath, in fact hated that abbreviation of her name. It was much later that I realised it was more likely a close family friend called Keith, who boarded with us for years when I was a schoolgirl and died shortly before my Mum did.

The spirits told her that I love reading, that I read lots and lots of books, and mentioned the word ‘library’. I was always a bookworm, and I was a librarian for 18 years.

She mentioned someone called Bill. Spouse and I both knew it had to be my previous husband, who died in 1995. ‘What’s he got to say for himself?’ I asked. She said, ‘He’s saying he likes your new curtains.’ Yes, we have recently got new curtains. I laughed, ‘That’d be Bill.’ I recognised it as his way of making a little joke to confirm that he’s the one who pops in now and again when I feel a presence.  He’s not the only one who does that, but there are times when I get a strong feeling it’s him. Now I know for sure. I could just hear him saying something like that, with a cheeky chuckle.

She didn’t get so much for Spouse, but did ask if he had a daughter. (Yes, he has.) She said, ‘I’m seeing a woman who’s connected to your daughter. I can see her holding the little girl’s hand. Again, both Spouse and I knew this must be his first wife, who died last year. ‘She is sending lots of love to you and your daughter,’ Joan told him.

None of this was particularly dramatic. Mostly it was simply a message that these people who have passed on were sending their love. Yet it was exciting in a way to be told so, and certainly warming. With hindsight I notice that in each case she was given either a name or some very specific information that would identify the person exactly.  For instance, his love of fly-fishing was one of the defining things about my stepfather, the thing that would of course be included if anyone told you about him.
She knew nothing about me or my circumstances, and the messages were delivered very quickly; she wasn’t probing or anything — yet she was correct about the new curtains, the love of reading, and the library connection, all very specific things that you wouldn’t get if you were faking.

Not that I suspected her of faking. Her reputation is excellent. But a few months ago one of my writers’ group said she has trouble believing in psychics because she has read how easy it is to do ‘cold calling’, a technique for faking the ability by being sufficiently vague to start with and watching the client’s body language. She tried it on me in front of the group for a few minutes to demonstrate, and was jubilant when my facial expression confirmed one of her guesses. 

The rest of the group wanted to get on with writing, so I cut short the experiment there. Afterwards, as at least one other person there had had a reading from me, I wished I‘d said, ‘Tell her how I do it‘ — because I use Tarot cards and a crystal ball, and when I use the crystal ball I don’t scry, I touch it and close my eyes. In other words, I’m not watching the client’s body language at all. When I use the cards, they are pre-shuffled and spread in an untidy heap from which clients are invited to let themselves be drawn to the right ones. That is, they themselves select the cards. And, although the cards have room for interpretation, they do have particular meanings which can’t be too far departed from.

The sceptical writer did assure me she wasn’t alleging that I did cold calling; she was just saying it made it hard for her to trust psychics. It hurt a little all the same. It was very, very close to saying she thought I might be doing that (or else that I must be fooling myself). Hard to justify what I do, though, when I’m the one doing it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, i.e. it’s the clients who can verify my ability — or not. That’s why it was good to notice that Joan could not have been faking. She didn’t fish around, she jumped straight in with details that weren’t a bit vague and couldn’t have been guessed. They were accurate for the people she was talking to, in very specific ways. And, like me, she had her eyes shut a lot of the time whilst tuning in. 

Yes, there are fakes out there. Don’t let that blind you to the fact that some of us are genuine.