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Having a go at healing

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I’ve got no belief in chakras and find explanations of energy healing too intangible to sink my teeth into, but I can’t deny experiencing some weird effects when I went to see one healer in particular, in Byron Bay. Pulses moved in waves down my body, streaming out of my feet, and I was left feeling an incredible sense of well-being. It’s thrown a spanner into the skeptic works.

That healer wasn’t Eve, but Eve agreed to walk me through what she does and test my new-found skills on photographer Nicole Cleary…

When Eve’s father brought home a little jar of crystals, with the names neatly listed on a piece of paper, he’d intended to nurture her interest in fossicking and fossils. Instead, he set her on a course of holistic spirituality that now sees her practising past life work, crystal healing, chakra balancing, aura cleansing and reiki out in the hills of north-east Melbourne.

“Dad tries to suspend his cynicism,” Eve says, over a cup of tea at her kitchen table. “He was a hippy in the ’60s, into macrobiotic food and yoga, but he saw that as a passing fad.”

Eve’s mother, a home birth midwife, holds the belief that if something helps the mind, it helps the body. She’ll happily accept meditation and yoga as being vital for the spirit, but finds the idea of past life regression and spiritual cleansing challenging. “Her take on it is as long as the person believes they’re being healed, it will benefit them psychologically,” Eve says.

Eve’s parents can’t have been surprised at her spirituality. One great-grandmother was a healer and midwife in Poland, another was a herbalist and witch in Vancouver Island.

“For as long as I can remember I felt there was something beyond what we see, sense and feel,” says Eve. She studied Wicca in her twenties, but found the dogma and hierarchy jarred with her. Eve began working with kids and researching colour therapy – a field more substantive than her other services; it’s used widely in branding, for example. An advertisement in new age freebie Living Now led her to embark on a two-year Diploma of Complementary Therapies. After completing her studies, she set up shop.

They’re physically there, says Eve of my problematic chakras, but invisible. She describes them as the seven major intersections in the body that meridian lines run through. We have seven spinning chakras down our spinal columns, with each one driving an energy layer.

I’m not content with the physically-there-but-invisible explanation (“I can see them,” Eve clarifies), so Eve suggests we test them with an amethyst pendulum. By hanging the pendulum over each chakra, we should be able to discern its health by the direction it’s going in (hopefully clockwise) and the speed at which it’s spinning.

I’m annoyed with my traitorous stomach when it starts whirling like water down a plughole as soon as the pendulum starts spinning above it. In fact, it feels like everything else in my body is spinning clockwise, too. Eve concludes that my third eye and crown chakras are low, and moves on to some colour therapy, using squares of felt on my body. I can’t see the one on my head, I point out, but apparently the colour is doing its thing regardless of whether I can see it or not.

Eve’s hand on my head relaxes me completely, but then there are moments when she loses me again. Take the witch’s fingers of light, with which Eve rakes my aura right through my body (they’re her fingers, essentially). While she’s in there, Eve talks to the little girl that lives in the vicinity of my base chakra. “It’s okay,” Eve tells her. “I’ve got permission.” This is followed up by an aura soothe – a large selenite crystal swept above me in strokes.

Having a go

Photographer Nicole lies down to become my guinea pig. Her heart chakra’s running low: both Eve and I are using a pendulum over it, and both pendulums almost stop, which I’m delighted about, but Nicole looks disturbed. This can mean heartache, says Eve. The sluggish movement over Nicole’s throat indicates trouble communicating.

To heal Nicole’s third eye, Eve instructs me to stand behind her and put my hands either side of her head. I’m trying to pulse some kind of energy at her, but I’ve got a horrible feeling it might be sexual energy, the only energy I’m familiar with. I hope she can’t tell.

Next, I cleanse Nicole’s body by sweeping a crystal down it, visualising a white light passing from the top of her head and out of her ailing throat chakra.

Eve shows me how to zip Nicole back up, as if running an invisible mosquito net over her body. It’s like closing a patient up after an operation – if you leave them unzipped they’re vulnerable to all sorts of bad vibes.

A person working in the holistic field has twin annoyances to accept: the inevitable barnacles of naysayers viewing you with a level of cynicism or condescension and demanding rock solid evidence, and people wanting their fortune told on the spot. Sometimes both at once. Take the time a woman thrust her palm out for a read and Eve wondered out loud if she’d ever considered life insurance.

Anyway, how did I do? “Your healing’s like your driving,” says Nicole, as we pull away from Eve’s house. “I could feel it but it was very hesitant and kept stopping and starting. It wasn’t very relaxing.”

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