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Category Archives: Healing

I had psychic surgery to remove my alien implant

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Oh no.

I always come to see Mark when I visit this most mystical outreach of Australia’s coastline. I’m a skeptic, sure, but Mark’s my healer. He’s my wild card; the aberration of science that I’ve described as being the real deal in the same way that racists will have their one black mate who’s “all right”. It makes no sense, but we’ll happily let it through to the keeper.

Mark was the knife-edge on which my skepticism swayed. I’ve told so many fellow naysayers: “but there’s this one guy…” I’ve accredited him with dispensing of my circular thoughts, a broken heart and my smoking habit. Or at least, I’ve thought of it as a dual effort between us – one with immediate results I couldn’t have achieved on my own. Accordingly, I’ve lisped away to people: I could feel energy pulsing down my body and streaming out of my feet.

I think. Couldn’t I? I remember telling Mark I could.

Mark is placid as a panda bear; as warm as a roaring hearth. As benevolent and wise as Yoda. He’s the sort of person you can make prolonged and meaningful eye contact with without wanting to stab out the jelly in your vitreous with pencils. Last time I saw him he diagnosed an energy block in my abdomen.

“That’s funny,” I piped up. “I’ve always had a huge phobia about being touched around there. I’ve had nightmares since I was a kid about being rigged up and prodded in my hips by disembodied fingers.”

Mark suddenly saw arrows. “I’m being shown arrows,” he said. “You were shot in a past life by a jealous lover.” He gave a warm chuckle as I pictured my punctured ovaries. One healing later, I left: a big ball of loved-up expanded consciousness, floating off down the street to the sea.

Now, past lives are about as high on my ‘Maybe Believe This’ list as DNA ThetaHealing ™, but in the name of consistency, I decided to return to this subject with Mark on my next visit. I.e., would he stick to the arrows story?

“Last time I came here you said we should investigate an energy block,” I said.

Mark gazed at my energy for a bit. “I often baulk at saying things like this, because most people don’t react well,” he said, at which point my hips tightened a few notches. “But it’s an implant.”

“An implant?”

“Yes. I’m seeing reptilian ETs – Zeta Reticulans. They used to rule the Earth and would quite frequently study humans by using implants, but these days we thankfully attract more benevolent beings of a higher frequency. The Zetas put an implant in you at birth to study your reproductive system. I can probably get it out.”

I rolled with this. Mark’s not alone in thinking reptilian aliens are all around us; it’s a theory David Icke made popular, and I love hearing David Icke’s theories. Love it.

“I’m not going to use the spirit guides in this operation, I’m going to use the friendly ETs,” Mark said, as I removed my shoes.

I climbed aboard the table for 40 minutes. I usually love this bit, but I wasn’t feeling it as much this time, due to the inconvenient truth of Mark talking about aliens. I was mourning the Mark gone by; the one who told me not to intellectualise spirituality, the one who said he had no interest in studying things like chakras and what have you.

I tried though. It could be true, was my mantra. You don’t know for sure; you only know your version of reality. And besides, it’s worth the $90 for a good blog post.

I saw my individual cells, golden, spinning, shimmering and spitting like Coke bubbles. I felt myself opened up flat as a pancake on the table – although Mark later told me the operation was multidimensional.

“I’ve never seen one as big as this before,” he said when he was done, talking down at me as I lay on the table with my arms behind my head. “It was like the Tardis. There was a whole universe inside.”

“Really?” I said, unable to not be impressed.

“But then there’s a whole universe inside every cell,” Mark pointed out.

“A universe in my pelvic bowl,” I marvel, and we chortle.

“The Zeta aliens actually came in at the beginning,” he said. “It got a bit nasty, but they were asked to leave. Could you feel it being removed from your brain? There were strands leading all the way up your spine, meshed into every cell, and up into your brain. It was a very tricky procedure – I only facilitated it.”

Mark didn’t seem too rattled after facilitating major surgery on the biggest alien implant he’d ever seen. He explained that I’d attracted bad sexual experiences to myself because of the implant. “Your critical mind will explain this away over the next few days,” he continued, “but you know it was special. There was a lot of love in the room. Don’t forget this experience you’ve had.”

“So,” I offered hopefully, as I swung my legs off the table. “Do you see this as a visualisation technique to hypnotise me into freeing myself from some emotional blockage?”

There came a pause.

“Or are you describing things in real terms?”

“In real terms,” he said. His eyes shone softly, as though he were just giving me a lovely recipe for parsnip soup.


As I walked out, something in me pouted. I love the thought of two shimmering entities walking down the high street with me; why can’t I just go with it? I greatly enjoyed, as a child, believing the spirit of God was channeled through me and that I could bless people just by doing an internal yawn; even if it constantly irritated the family. Where’s the harm?

But Mark had pushed me past my limit of making allowances and moving the goal posts. I hate it when men do that. And so, with reluctance, I write up my findings.

– But Mark will see this and he’s a lovely guy.

– He WON’T see this – he’s not psychic!

In conclusion, in conclusion… I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m quite good at lying on a table and turning it on. Getting the love flowing. Could it be I already found the greatest love of all, inside of me? Possibly. I’ll report back.

Blubbing in a towelly nook

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‘Pranic healing and massage’ may sound as though it involves a forefinger and the perineum, but in actual fact it’s about removing energy blockages in the whole body and resolving deep-rooted emotional issues.

Regular readers will be aware of my pathological fear of New Age men, but Greg (name changed!) comes recommended by my two work chums, Sheridan and Gemima (real names!), who always come into the office next day looking flushed and fanning themselves. I can see why when Greg opens the door; he’s like Hollywood’s idea of a New Age man, if the New Age man was in Oceans 11.

We have a bit of a chat about what to expect. When a practitioner says: “You might find you cry, but that’s okay,” which they invariably do, I take it with a pinch of salt. It always reminds me of my first boyfriend waggling two fingers at me and announcing his unfailing ability to satisfy a woman thusly. If you don’t cry or orgasm gratefully, are you the failure?

I hop up onto a massage table in Greg’s house in just my undies and lie on my back under a towel. He walks me through some guided meditation that’s by the book, but still, I feel a bit like I’m being hypnotised. Thoughts start getting surreal and I keep morphing into Sheridan and then Gemima, who’ve both lain in this very spot. Maybe their psychic shadows are imprinting on me. It’s really off-putting. (“Maybe something awful happened on that table and you were disassociating,” James at the train station coffee cart says later.)

The pranic healing itself is done hands-off, other than occasional light touches on my head, but when Greg lubes up to segue into the massage, I freak out a bit. When a woman’s massaged my head or hands in a spa treatment I’ve enjoyed it, but having a man do something so intimate without getting me shitfaced first is incredibly confronting. And this goes on for three hours. Have you any idea how massaged you can become in three hours? There are 206 bones in the human body, and Greg swizzle-sticks them all, with no earlobe or toe left unturned. In fact, I can confidently say he now knows my body more intimately than any man I’ve ever slept with, with the exception of my sexual organs – although I’m sure he gave them a sly massage through some meridian point. Sometimes his hands tremble with the force of whatever’s coming out of them. I amuse myself by trying to zap him back with some piping hot lifeforce of my own.

My critical mind keeps piping up to mock my attempts at being pure consciousness. What if he’s rubbing himself right in front of your face? … Shut up, he can hear you, you know … He must be so bored, you should apologise and leave… This is rubbish; nothing’s happening … What’s that? Is that his leg?

Then, of course, something strange happens. It’s when Greg works from my lower back, up my arms and to my hands that I start crying, facedown in that towelly nook. I’ve barely got time for a We’re not really going to do this, are we? when I feel a bottomless well of grief and loneliness; not just the pinpricks of self-pity that can be willed out when one is laid horizontal and feeling a bit vulnerable, but grief bleeding out of my eyeballs and filling my mouth. Quietly. My fingers curl softly around his arm. He’s gentle, respectful and non-intrusive. I want him to stop touching me and not leave me at the same time.

Through the hole in the table I discover there’s a flower to look at, which my tears are plopping into. There’s some kind of card with writing on it as well, but my eyes are too blurry. Thankfully, when Greg moves onto my legs the feeling goes and I’m lulled into a vegetative state.

Afterwards, after I’ve got dressed, Greg pulls out a chart and shows me where the energy blockages were. He doesn’t need to tell me; I could feel which bits were stiff as a board and resisting arrest. But he tells me what that’s likely to mean, depending on which meridian lines and chakras are affected. He correctly identifies what memories came up for me, and reports on images he saw, which I was seeing, too.

The more time that goes by as I journey home and go about my business the next day, the more I’m able to rationalise the experience as coincidence, general knowledge and the law of probability… but it should be noted that at the time, I was buying it. Or if not entirely buying it, definitely putting it on lay-by. And as Greg says, “Our critical mind doesn’t want us freeing ourselves of the traps we’ve made.”

As a side note:
Greg gives an explanation of how we recreate our past experiences over and over as our lives spiral through time. Our DNA’s a spiral, he says, and so is the universe. The planets rotate around the sun, but beyond that the universe is spiraling, and so history keeps on repeating itself until we can gain some perspective by ascending up the six spheres of consciousness. It’s a theory favoured by David Icke.

Also, says Greg, our DNA carries the imprints of our parents, grandparents and ancestors, whose experiences become our own. It’s an idea I first heard from strange Theta-Healer and DNA restrander Maria. It’s not dissimilar to the idea that DNA replicates at a distance, which has been posited by Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier (argh! Nobel Prize science and pseudoscience collide. Now I feel even more wobbly), recently backed up by Professor Jeff Reimer at the University of Sydney. Psychic slayer James Randi disagrees with the idea of DNA teleportation, needless to say, drawing comparisons with homeopaths’ claims that water has memory.

Getting electrocuted by reiki

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I think I’ll draw up a couple of DON’T TOUCH stickers to put on the two inexplicably intense points on my body that people should steer clear of, because even when I warn a New Ager not to go anywhere near them for risk of a knee to the nose, they do. I’ve been told they’re the result of a jealous lover’s arrows in a previous life.

Seems like nobody’s quite sure what reiki is. Try a little experiment now – open a window and ask somebody.

Here, in a woody ‘burb in the city, I’m given crystals to hold and there’s some touching and waving going on. The practitioner has very warm fingers and it feels kind of nice. Then she sends me shooting 10ft in the air by craftily going for one of the verboten points while I’m lulled into a false, floppy sense of security by the Native Indian chanting and wafty smell of jasmine. It’s like Luke Skywalker being electrocuted by The Emperor. It takes me ages to relax again.

“How’d you go?” I ask her after, when I’ve climbed back off the table and regained my composure. “Can you feel anything when you’re working on someone?”

“You can feel blockages of energy,” she replies… And there’s a bit of a pause.

“Did I have a blockage, then?”

“You actually had a guardian child standing at your Sacral Centre,” she chuckles. “She had her arms folded and she was saying, ‘Nup,’ so I couldn’t get to it. I thought I’d just sneak around the side, but she wouldn’t let me. That’s when you jumped.”

I respond with, “Mm, that makes sense,” which is my default thing to say in these situations.

“It wasn’t like she was sitting in the corner crying,” the practitioner says. “She was quite feisty. In the end I persuaded her to take down your natural shield, and together we put up a pink shield with gold sparkles in it. You’ll find that it protects you, but it will get a bit ragged if you have too much emotional stress – and that’s when you’ll find you need another session.”

I leave feeling thoroughly manipulated. And not by cleansing violet light.

Psychometry, somewhere outside Geelong

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The evening’s all a-bluster as we trundle over the West Gate Bridge and point our quackmobile towards Geelong. It comes as a surprise that there’s a psychometry group in this direction. While the Mornington Peninsula is a hotbed of psychic activity and angel guides (there’s a whole newspaper devoted to the stuff), the Bellarine Peninsula is less concerned with esoteric wisdom. Sure enough, our destination turns out to be quite godforsaken looking, and about as spiritual as a sock.

Or is it?

En route to this Monday night gathering, at which we must give psychic readings for other members, Esther and I rehearse our scripts, utilising the cold-reading tips set out in Professor Richard Wiseman’s book, Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There.

I practise my double-headed platitudes: “You’re a person with great depths who enjoys pondering the big stuff alone, yet people seek out your company,” I postulate.

“You’re not one to gossip, but people value seeking out your advice,” Esther counters.

For today’s mission, we will need some kind of personal trinket, which will be put anonymously into an envelope and picked by someone else, who will do a reading based on it. Esther has a rummage in the car for something I can use.

“But it’s got to belong to me,” I point out.

She looks at me sharply. “You say that as though makes a difference.”

Oh yeah.

Nevertheless, once we get to the venue, I can’t help noticing Esther has a superstitious riffle through the empty envelopes on offer until she finds one with her favourite number printed on it. Sap!

Terry also notices. He’s the leader of this group, and also – according to my Googling skills – a local performer in the vein of Tom Jones. Right now, he’s lurking under the pretence of handing us nametags, as I stuff an earring into my envelope, trying to duck behind Esther.

Tonight there are 12 of us – all women, including Terry’s wife – sat in a tight circle in a barely lit Masonic hall. We’re not allowed to cross our legs as Marg leads us through a guided mediation, presumably so that the ‘christlight’ in us can seep out unhindered.

After the meditation we’re all asked to share what we saw. Everyone, bar us two interlopers, admits to having had a conversation with their spirit guides. Terry had also conversed with a dolphin “that seemed to know me” and seen all sorts of spectacular wizardry that Ronnie James Dio would have baulked at. Personally, my mind had just wandered down its usual route. I hope the group can’t smell my sexy pheromones.

Next it’s the bit we’ve been waiting for – the psychometry. Terry picks my envelope, and waxes lyrical about a totem animal, an eagle, that is coming to him loud and clear.

I open my envelope to find some kind of necklace with a ‘T’ on it. I pass it from hand to hand, tangling the chain between my fingers.

“I get the feeling this person has been waiting very patiently for their time to come,” I say. “They’ve watched others have their moment in the sun, but they really feel it should be their time now. And it will be. But they need all the support from their family they can get.”

“That was 60 to 70 per cent right; so that’s really good,” says Terry when I’m done. He spends the rest of the meeting trying to unsnarl his necklace.

“I’m getting bananas,” Esther shouts when it’s her go. “I don’t know why, but I can smell them really strongly … and I can feel a pain in my head, here.”

Carmen reclaims her ring. “I quite like bananas,” she admits politely. “And I get headaches sometimes.”

I notice that there’s a script of sorts being stuck to here. Almost everyone complains of a burning sensation coming off their object, and “I can tell this person has great wisdom” gets bandied about a lot. My overwhelming feeling, though, is that I’m in a room full of curtain twitchers.

We finish off by healing Annie, who – I am deducing – has a serious illness. We stand around her and hold hands as she weeps. Terry warns her about a couple of dubious men in her life who mean her harm, touches her head and gives it a little push. Cured!

As we bid our farewells, two of the women tell me I have a remarkable gift, steadfastly ignoring Esther.

“I actually did see a banana!” she says indignantly as we jump in the car.

I really hope Annie seeks proper medical attention.

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.”

Homeopaths threaten journalist with bodily harm (diluted by a squillion)

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Ben Goldacre.

Ben Goldacre is the Lord Flashheart of science journalism, lancing the boil of pseudoscience and fashioning meaningless hyperbole into a frilly bonnet.

As a bona fide doctor he’s got a bone to pick with anyone passing themselves off as having a medical background in their effort to hawk holistic wares and sell the spiel to lazy journalists. His most bloody battle is with homeopaths (followed closely by ‘Doctor’ Gillian McKeith). Homeopaths have, in fact, threatened him with bodily harm; presumably at only one part to a squillion.

Known for his exposé column in The Guardian, his website and a book, Bad Science, he uses terms like “bollocks du jour” and concocts ways for you to try your own experiments at home to see if various holistic health breakthroughs really work. (No.)

Your average 30C homeopathic preparation, he points out, is a dilution of (according to the Society of Homeopaths) “one part per million million million million million million million million million million”. Homeopaths claim (as do David Icke and Masaru Emoto) that this dilution won’t affect treatment, as water has memory and will have taken and retained an impression of the original molecules.

“If water has a memory,” brays Goldacre, “then by now all water must surely be a health-giving homeopathic dilution of all the molecules in the world. Water has been sloshing around the globe for a very long time, and the water in my very body as I sit typing away in London has already been through plenty of other people’s bodies before mine. Maybe some of the water molecules sitting in my fingers as I type this sentence are currently in your eyeball.

“How does a water molecule know to forget every other molecule it’s seen before? How does it know to treat my bruise with its memory of arnica, rather than a memory of Isaac Asimov’s faeces?

“I wrote this in the newspaper once and a homeopath complained to the Press Complaints Commission. It’s not about the dilution, he said: it’s the ‘succussion’. You have to bang a flask of water briskly ten times on a leather and horsehair surface, and that’s what makes the water remember a molecule. Because I did not mention this, he explained, I had deliberately made homeopaths sound stupid.”

My question: Why don’t homeopaths just up the ratio of herb to brandy and dispel the ‘there’s nothing in it’ argument? Or is it the brandy alone that gives you that warm glow inside?


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Having not even heard of Vianna Stibel’s ThetaHealing™ till two days ago, I now discover it’s as entertainingly reviled as Scientology.

Rational Wiki (a familiar looking online encyclopedia dedicated to “analyzing and refuting pseudoscience”) says: “It was developed by Vianna Stibal, a naturopath who claims to have healed herself of cancer instantly in 1995. Not that IT CURES CANCER!!! or anything, except her followers think it does.”

Here’s a blog from Vianna’s ex-daughter-in-law, called ThetaHealing Revealed: The Fraud – The Cult – The Truth: To Protect Those Who Innocently Investigate ThetaHealing, which seems to have been created just for me.

Stump up the $550 and I’ll take the Basic DNA ThetaHealing course in January. That way we can speed up the process of finding out whether I will remain your sturdy-ish skeptic, or will insist on being addressed thenceforth as ‘Bindi’.

“Can you even cure a runny nose?” ThetaHealing gets a YouTube bashing

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“I don’t know what I do for a living,” shrugs Mark. “People ask me and I say, ‘I make people cry. Sometimes they fall asleep.’”

I’m back in Byron Bay, the Most Spiritual Town in Australia, back where I started my Snake Oil Skeptic quest. I’ve bought some Aphrodite Herb Tea, Maca Inca Superfood Powder, worn a floaty frock, followed the sound of steel drums and talked rubbish to the local ne’er-do-wells while staring out to sea, but really I’m here to see the healer from day one.

So far all my experiences with healers and psychics have left me with nothing but flaring nostrils and clenched fists – all except for Mark. There’s definitely something going on with him. I shit you not, when I look into his eyes I feel a bit hypnotised, like the rest of the room disappears. I’m hoping he can give me some pointers on how to become more open to spiritual experiences while accepting none of the rhetoric. I’ve felt like I’ve had a spiritual side since I was a kid without all that; I’ve felt it buzz and pulse and hum. And then abandon ship at around puberty.

“I just can’t get past chakras,” I say, as Mark sits across from me and bores his eyes pleasantly into my head. “So they’re everywhere spinning in the body… but where’s the shred of evidence? Can I get anywhere without accepting chakras as a basic foundation upon which to build?”

“I’m not interested in chakras,” Mark says. “I just know what I can see and feel; I can’t explain it and I don’t want to study it. It was drummed out of me as a child, because I grew up in a very scientific family. Then, when I reached my thirties I tried studying healing under two egotistical healers and it was a terrible experience.”

He asks if I’ve read any Eckhart Tolle. “I’ve been carrying around The Power of Now for ages,” I admit, “but I can’t bring myself to read it.” Especially in public.

“Your ego mind won’t let you,” Mark says. “But the ego mind is just a construction. Imagine it as a voice sitting on your shoulder, trying to tell you what to do. You are not your mind, you are a higher self.”

“I would call that ‘higher self’ my unconscious mind,” I challenge. And that goes for angels, higher powers, spirit guides, coming across weird ‘signs’ and ‘miracles’, and much other new age phenomena. Unconscious mind.

“Yeah, whatever you want to call it,” he says (touché!). “Just try not to intellectualise spirituality. You’re spiritual already; your ego mind just doesn’t want you to be because it wants to be in control. People study spirituality as hard as possible and think they should be here, when they’re here.” He moves his hand along an imaginary scale. “You get people wandering around Byron who look spiritual, but they’re not – they’re terrible people.”

Before I hop on the table, Mark checks out my energy by staring at the wall a few metres away.

“It’s all over the place,” he says.

“You’re not even looking.”

“I don’t have to look right at you, I can see it anywhere. I can see it remotely, around someone in another town. You’re throwing energy out but not letting any in. It’s important to forgive yourself for things. And you’re floating a metre above the ground. It’s important to stay grounded and draw up energy from the ground.”

I’m probably on the table for about 40 minutes, with Mark moving his hands around about six inches over my body. I’ve had this done loads of times in the name of journalism and felt nothing but intense irritation. When Mark does it I bounce like I’m floating on a lilo in the sun, a pina colada in one hand. There’s a subtle sense of being pulled upwards, but more noticeable are the ripples pulsing down my body from my head, finally streaming out of my feet. It’s not an Icke-style awakening, but it’s something.

I swing my legs off the table and Mark looks into my eyes. “Wow. That’s beautiful,” he swoons of my newly arranged energy, in a totally non-pervey way. I think everybody – new ager or skeptic – is secretly waiting for someone to tell them they have a stunning aura, so I’m pleased by this.

Questions I wanted to ask but didn’t, for fear of hearing vague answers that would prompt more questions:

  • Can you mess with someone’s energy as they’re walking down the street without them knowing?
  • Are the spirit guides aliens from the star system Alpha Draconis?
  • Why did they give us critical minds?
  • Why does Universal energy need human vessels?
  • If we’re made up of a higher self and ego mind, which one does the libido belong to?

Joining a women’s healing group

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Wasn't like this.

“If we have to look at our vaginas in a mirror,” said Esther, “I’m leaving.”

I’ve tried all sorts of New Agery with Esther in a past blog (and possibly a past life), like Healing My Embittered Soul With Song and Tapping Myself to Emotional Freedom below. Neither of us are fans of angels, spirit guides and unicorns, and Esther has issues with tolerance, so hopefully healing doesn’t involve any of the above, and/or touching our Sacred Feminine.

This must be a sign, though: waiting at Parliament Station, ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams starts warbling out of the tannoy. Why? That’s the anthem for the very slightly spiritual, isn’t it? The ones with the Only God Can Judge Me tattoos. Why? This has to be one of those coincidences I’ve started to look out for.

Once at the building, we’re asked to take off our shoes (Esther is wearing two stripy socks, I’m wearing one. Coincidence?) and we bunker down in a room with cushions laid out in a circle. There are eight women and one facilitator, who’s a new age counsellor. It soon emerges this is group therapy, in the form of shares and visualisation, with much of it anticipated to be “of a highly adult nature”.

As this is the first meet-up, there’s much discussion of the fairest way of doing things, which reminds me why I don’t like to travel with women – way too much conferring. Whoever speaks, it’s eventually determined, should be handed a talking stick to symbolise that they should not be interrupted. The facilitator hunts around the room for something.

“I hope this rather phallic candle isn’t upsetting anyone,” she murmurs as an afterthought, as it journeys obscenely around the room.

Now that's a talking stick.

Once we finally get started, I like this environment. I’m with eight very nurturing women, most here to find their “authentic self”. We’re using voices so unusually hushed and gentle that I’m lulled into a trance and become preoccupied for much of the session with trying to imagine what each lady would sound like down the pub after a few squawky chardonnays.

At first I’m a bit wistful. If this were a men’s group we’d be in the woods staring into a bollocking great bonfire and thrashing drums, Robert Bly-style. Even in this room there’s a rogue element of Lord of the Flies though. Everyone stiffens at the thought of outsiders joining next month, yet we’ve only known each other half an hour.

I’m a latecomer to sisterhood. I grew up with a fierce determination not to be anything like a woman, nor suffer the guilt by association, having observed close-up that men had all the luck, all the fun and the last word. Mum’d pipe up with the odd feminist comment at the dinner table, for my benefit, but I’d join in any derision. Naively, I thought I’d picked a side, the winning side. The battle lines were clearly drawn, and needs must.

Now I’m completely comfortable in this room, talking honestly – which is a relief, as a grown woman who believes she’s “one of the boys” tends to be a lost lamb indeed. I can feel the empathy emanating around us, and when one girl cries in exhaustion I just want to go over and stroke her hair. Instead we are instructed to picture a big sphere hovering in front of us all and imagine exhaling our bad thoughts into it. “You can make a noise if you like,” the facilitator urges, then gaily boots the thing out of the room.

I’m going to go back again, you know… and I won’t be writing about it.