Meaningful Message or Cosmic Con?

Meaningful Message or Cosmic Con?


A few years ago I used to see what is referred to as ‘angel numbers’: every time I looked at a clock, there seemed to be double numbers like 11:11, 12:12 or 3:33. Some people believe this is a communication from the angelic realm. At the time I didn’t take it too seriously – at worst I assumed I was in the right place at the right time; at best, I thought maybe my Grandma Ann was launching a cosmic high-five in my direction.

When you’re new to spirituality, a big part of the scene is about the receiving of signs like these – the kookier, the better. There can even be an underlying competitiveness as people swap stories about all the ‘totally insane!’ things they’ve seen or felt within their healing sessions or meditations.

I’m not going to say I wasn’t into this stuff because I so was. I had all the angel cards, googled all the angel numbers, obsessed over all the messages. This stuff is largely harmless because it’s a something-nothing; compared to the tough soul work of facing your demons head-on, pulling angel cards is like taking a Diet Coke break.

The oracle card queen Doreen Virtue is not exactly a hard-edged soul: the toughest message you’ll encounter in her decks is that you need to honor yourself (take a bubble bath!) or indulge in creative release (Jungian finger-painting!).

These kitschy-mystic distractions are potentially great at balancing the otherwise heavy vibes of serious healing work. When we remember it’s all done in good fun we can enjoy these tools for what they are: essentially, entertainment with a spiritual garnish.

On the other hand, the healing industry is now full of angel readers and intuitive counselors who work to channel messages for their clients. Practically speaking, they’re psychics that have been repackaged as something more palatable for a modern, urban client. While most of these practitioners are well-intentioned, many simply do not have the experience or clarity of vision required to be trusted with channeling guidance for you, especially if its an issue dear to your heart.

In my opinion, this is serious business; the delivering of these messages is not light-hearted, cheap entertainment. The wrong message delivered irresponsibly can be potentially wounding for the recipient.

I should know because it happened to me.

// My Cautionary Tale About Trusting Channeled Messages //

A  while back on this blog I alluded to a disturbing vision I had the first time I worked with San Pedro in a Shamanic ceremony. I haven’t shared anything about it until now, but it tied too perfectly into today’s post to ignore the opportunity to use it as a learning tool.

In this vision, I saw my husband and I in our apartment in Italy: me in the kitchen downstairs cooking dinner with a baby next to me in a high chair; he in the upstairs study working. I see myself bouncing the baby on my hip, calling up to let him know dinner is ready, but he is too consumed by his work to hear me. Eventually, when I get no response from him, I wander upstairs to find him dead at his desk from an apparent massive heart attack or stroke.

A key part of the vision that unnerved was the baby. Not only does my soul mate pass away suddenly and make me a young widow, but I am also left to raise our baby by myself.

My response to this vision was to freak out. My Shaman, however, told me not to worry. She considered it a lesson about why we cannot always trust the places our mind takes us because the mind can be destructive.

Months passed, and I still couldn’t put the vision out of my mind.

Around this time I signed up for my first Theta Healing class. A big part of the healing technique was accessing visions for yourself or clients. After class, one of the girls came to tell me that she had seen a disturbing vision for me. She saw – what a surprise – that I would have a baby with Cristiano but that I would raise the baby alone. She didn’t say he would die, but she did say she saw me living by myself and that we would no longer be together.

A few months later, another friend and I were chatting on Skype. We had worked together in London, and while I had gone down the path towards Theta and Shamanism, she had resonated more with a type of healing work that involved channeling messages from spirits and angels. We were both new to healing. Somewhere in our conversation, the topic floated to my Shamanic ceremony and the horrible vision I had about Cristiano’s death.

She went silent. 

And then proceeded to say that she also saw Cristiano dying young and me raising our baby on my own.

I received innumerable other confirmations from healers who all seemed to point in the direction of me being widowed. The messages my friends were ‘chanelling’ were ‘signs,’ and the more repetitive the messages got, the more seriously I took them.

At this point, I just accepted it as a fact of life: Cristiano was going to die. I was going to lose the love of my life and be forced to raise our child by myself. The only thing I could do was to live every day in appreciation for the time I had with him.

Fast forward a few years later…

I’m on retreat with my Shaman. I tell her I’m still stuck in this place of fear about Cristiano dying and how that fear has kept me from starting a family. We agree that I’m going to ask ‘the plant’ (the divine spirit of San Pedro) about this so I can get some guidance and release.

On the first night, I’m too spooked. I try to ask the plant but I’m too nervous and the moment slips away from me. As soon as I formulate the question, I clench myself in fear of the response. Realizing that I’m just not ready to ask the plant about this, I decided to back off and focus my attention elsewhere.

On the second night, I finally find my way to a calm space. From somewhere deep within, I manage to center myself and ask the plant to tell me the truth about that vision. The plant responds with a touch of coy that ‘there is no such thing as truth.’

Shaking off my irritation, I clarify the request: ‘Fine, then show me the deeper meaning of the vision I had about Cristiano dying.’

Clarity came quickly.

I see Cristiano at his desk again. I’m coming slowly up the stairs with the baby, who is now sleeping in my arms. Cristiano is not dead. Instead, he’s looking intently at the baby and me, realizing that another night has passed without him spending any time with his daughter.

Cristiano doesn’t die in the physical sense; he ‘dies’ and is reborn as a father.

He reconnects with his true role in our family by undergoing a moment of personal transformation.

My Shaman explained that the symbolism of my dream is a potent metaphor for the irreparable schism many couples face once they have children. In the vision we are literally on two different ‘floors’: me cooking downstairs with the baby (concentrated on family life), Cristiano working upstairs (focused on money and career). Some couples are unable to close the divide between them, which can lead to divorce and estrangement.

Undoubtedly, the vision speaks of a difficult time in my marriage and transition into motherhood. But importantly it has no relevance whatsoever to me becoming a widow or my child becoming an orphan.

So, what happened?

Why did all those other people see me ending up a bereaved widow? WTF was that all about?

#1 Counsellor Training

The healing vocation lacks a counseling foundation, and this is a big problem. What I mean by that is this: in psychology et al., the aspiring psychologist must understand the foundations of their craft and the techniques required for mastery alongside a firm understanding of what it means to be a counselor working in service to others. Years of observation by their teachers help them to understand how to work with people in pain and act in respect of the trauma they are holding.

In the healing world, it’s pretty easy to attend a few workshops and then turn yourself loose on an unexpecting clientele, not realizing that the INCREDIBLE insight you feel you’re passing on to them has potential to harm if they’re not ready to hear your message. I have so been there.

Learning what is to be shared or not shared with a client is a huge step in becoming a successful practitioner and it takes time.

#2 Inexperience

It’s very easy as an inexperienced healer to pick up on fears held within another person’s energy-body and confuse that with a higher truth. Big fears like the one I had tend to hang around in the aura, especially if we’re nourishing the fear with worry and anxiety, which can enlargen the energetic space it occupies. The person channeling on your behalf thinks they’ve made contact with the spirit realms but in reality, they’ve just snatched low-hanging fruit from a dusty aura.

I think this is the main thing that happened with me. My friends were incredibly kind, well-meaning people, but we were all so new to healing. We didn’t know our hermetic ass from our elbow, and there was no chapter in the healing handbooks that mentioned, “You have no fucking clue what you’re doing right now, so fucking chill out.”

Not to mention, the vision originated with me. So this criticism is not just for newbie healers, but also for ourselves. It’s bloody HARD to differentiate mind-manufactured visions we receive in meditation against what can be considered divinely channeled. Surrendering yourself to become a vessel that can receive that kind of vision is not easy, and it takes time.


If someone has told you some weird shit that makes you feel uncomfortable, whether it be a healer, astrologer channeller or otherwise, hold steady. Not only is it unlikely to be true, but I’m willing to bet it’s also not very helpful.