A well-meaning friend recently sent me a “Happy Father’s Day” meme. At first, I was a little surprised, since I don't have any children, and my dad passed away many moons ago. Then I thought about it again, and responded, “Much appreciated! I am very proud of the man I raised myself to become.” Yes, indeed. Growing up psychic and sane was certainly no mean feat, since my childhood resembled a combination of the movies 'Matilda' and 'The Sixth Sense,' with a sprinkling of 'The Jerry Springer Show', all set against the backdrop of 'The Handmaid’s Tale.'
She was admired, but also feared by some in the small town where she lived in the 1940s and 5o's. Some of the locals would actually cross the road to avoid her. Apparently, word had gotten around that whenever she talked kindly to strangers, someone in that particular family was going to get sick... or kick the bucket... or both! Poor grandma, I'm sure she meant well. However, whenever they needed their fortunes told, or had problems with paranormal activity in their homes, they always knew where to find her. According to my dad, she was a badass 'ghostbuster' in her day!
I suspected at a very young age that there must be something terribly wrong with me. I was clearly very different from other children, and it was confirmed soon after my 5th birthday, when the headmistress at kindergarten peppered my tongue with cayenne, in front of the whole school, for telling “tall tales” about a mysterious “angel man” watching over us from the corner of the playground, as well as the sad little "ghost girl" who used to play with us on the merry-go-round. Apparently, I was upsetting the other kids, and some of their parents.
My mom was not impressed, for example, when she discovered one day that her missing glass bowl had been turned upside down and used as a ‘crystal ball’ to do readings for some of the kids in the neighborhood. Not to mention the fact that those kids were a little freaked out too! What can I say... we had no computer games in those days.
Growing up in Apartheid South Africa, my childhood environment was shaped by a government policy known at the time as Christelike Nasionale Opvoeding (Christian National Education). This restrictive policy was geared towards social engineering and allowed very little religious or ideological freedom. The Calvinistic and highly chauvinistic values of the regime were drilled into us, and we were programmed not to question authority, and to comply with the prescribed cultural and social expectations of our community.
At least I no longer blurted out the secrets of unsuspecting adults at social gatherings, which often caused many red faces and awkward silences around coffee tables and barbeque fires. I'm sure many folks were quite relieved that I opted to keep my mouth shut.
I was fortunate to grow up with a lot of books in my childhood home, and I became the proud owner of a public library card as soon as I could read. Just like Roald Dahl's character, Matilda, books really were my saving grace. In my late teens, I was fortunate to discovered the classic book, An Experiment with Time by J.W. Dunne, and this helped me a great deal over the years to understand and interpret my dreams, which is a skill I now effectively use in my work. The most important thing I learned from Dunne’s book was that I was not the only guy in the world who sees the future in his dreams.
I actually knew very little about palmistry, but I was born with the ability to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ things when I touch someone, or hold an object that belongs to them. So, one by one I took their eagerly upturned hands and gave the first psychic readings of my career. I will never forget the expression on their faces as I talked about their problems at home, their schoolwork issues, and all the drama of their teenage romances and the boys they secretly had crushes on.
Word spread of the geeky kid in the library who tells fortunes, and soon there was a mob of youngsters waiting for me at the library every day. The library became my ‘psychic parlor’ and a refuge for all the teenage angst of the senior girls. But my newfound fame was short-lived, because the crowding and noise got so out of hand that the school’s librarian had no other choice but to put an end to it. She also sent me to the headmaster’s office, where I received a beating with one of the canes from his extensive collection - for being a disruptive influence, and for doing “the devil’s work.” The following week, at Monday morning assembly, he read from scripture and sternly warned the student body against the evils of witchcraft and satanism. I was just thankful he never called my parents.
For many years, I had a problem with intense anxiety and I frequently experienced severe panic attacks. One of the most traumatizing happened during the school holidays in the early part of 1983. I was 16 years old at the time and waiting for a bus in Church Street in Pretoria, South Africa, when I was suddenly overcome by the most horrible sense of dread. The anxiety was so overwhelming that I could hardly breathe. I had no idea what might have caused this suffocating feeling, but I just new that I was in extreme danger... and I immediately had to get out of that area! At first I walked, but eventually ran like an insane person for about 2km (1.3 miles).
Then, just as suddenly as it came, the feeling was gone. I came to an exhausted halt, drenched in perspiration, yet utterly calm and relieved. This inexplicable incident was soon forgotten, but in recent years I accidentally recovered its true meaning, after sharing some my childhood experiences with a fellow psychic. I had never made the connection before, but after doing some further research, I soon realized that a few months after my panic episode, on the afternoon of May 20th, 1983, at least 16 people were killed and about 130 injured in a car bomb explosion in Pretoria. The explosion happened outside the Nedbank Square building on Church Street, at the height of the city's rush hour…just a few steps away from where I had been standing on that day when that dreadful panic attack hit me! So much for psychic overload!
In my early 20’s, I was referred to a therapist by my doctor, in the hope of overcoming my anxiety. It was a miraculous synchronicity that I went to see this particular therapist, because he just happened to be a mainstream psychologist who was also interested in alternative spirituality, energy work and holistic healing. For obvious reasons, he never admitted any of this to me at the time, I only figured it out many years later. Instead of just doing the usual psychotherapy, we also did past life regression and energy healing. At the time I did not understand what he was trying to accomplish; I thought he was teaching me some kind of self-hypnosis. And I thought his therapeutic skills sucked, because he spent most of his time sitting back in his armchair with his eyes closed.
Years later, I figured out that what I had experienced was an unblocking of my solar plexus chakra, which is the energy center for mental understanding of our emotional life. Interestingly, the spiritual lesson of this chakra is to achieve self-love, and acceptance of our place in the stream of life. The solar plexus chakra is often linked to issues relating to self-image or self-esteem, oversensitivity to criticism, fear of rejection, and fears of our secrets being found out. The information stored in this energy center also relates to personal power, our sense of belonging and the consciousness of self within the Universe . It is the basis for a positive, healthy self-image and connection to one's personal spiritual path and life calling. Based on my childhood experiences, I clearly was a prime candidate for developing a problem in this area! Not that any of this mattered much to me at the time. All I cared about was the fact that I never again experienced a single panic attack since that day.
It was not my birthday, or any other special occasion, so I asked him the reason for this unusual gift. His answers still haunts me to this day. “It is best to receive your first deck as a gift, instead of buying it yourself,” he said. Then he left. A few days later I heard that he had dropped out of school and I never saw him again. Sadly, that deck of cards ended up being burned in a bonfire later that year, which a friend and I felt compelled to make in the backyard when we became reborn Christians for a period of time.
In 1996, I experienced three consecutive blackouts, or fainting spells, a few weeks apart. I simply fell unconscious for no apparent reason. Twice I badly injured myself, and still have the scars on my left ear and the right side of my forehead. On all three occasions I had profound out-of-body experiences (ODEs). I remember feeling like I was floating and seeing my own body lying on the floor. Then it felt like I was moving very rapidly through a dark tunnel… to a place of safety. It felt like all the sacred knowledge and deepest truths of the Universe were surging through my very being. I also felt intense emotions of well-being, and joy, and peace. It was unbelievable, and so pleasant, that I did not want to return, but I kept hearing a far-off voice telling me that I had to go back, because my work was not done. I felt annoyed that anyone would expect me to go back, but I was being sucked violently back into my body and waking up feeling disoriented, and really miserable.
The weird blackouts happened within a period of one month, and I have never experienced anything like it again. After the third incident, I was tested extensively in a medical lab for every possible cause, but nothing was found. They did blood tests, had me running on a treadmill, and even took an MRI scan. Nothing. My doctor was puzzled. Nobody could explain what may have caused me to just fall unconscious, without anything being wrong with my physical health. In fact, I was extremely fit at the time, since I worked part-time as an aerobics and Yoga instructor. I was also enrolled for a personal fitness trainer certification course in those days, and it was a source of great amusement for the other students, when I showed up for lectures with a black eye and swollen forehead. Nobody believed my story that I had just fainted for no reason, and they teased me endlessly about “getting wasted and beat up in a pub brawl!”
After these experiences, my psychic awareness rapidly began to increase and intensify, although I still did not take it very seriously and kept it secret from friends and family. After all, I had majored in Psychology in the early 90s and knew very well where people ended up who claimed they ‘saw things’ or ‘heard voices’. I had no intention of becoming just another psychiatric statistic. But after several further traumatic life events, and strange disruptions in my professional and personal life, I eventually could no longer avoid the inevitable. I increasingly felt a sense of urgency to fulfill my true life purpose, whatever that may be. I also continued to have vivid dreams and other psychic and paranormal experiences, which I ignored to the best of my ability. Eventually, I could no longer keep up the pretense.
The breakthrough came at a point in time when my life seemed to have spiraled completely out of control. I had reached the stage where I simply felt I had nothing more to lose, and I had finally also lost the will to continue the charade. It all came to a dramatic climax, when I found myself late one night searching Google for the most effective, and least messy methods of suicide... until I experienced an unforgettable metaphysical encounter, which ultimately led to a profound spiritual awakening. It may seem somewhat shocking for me to say this, but today I believe that this was the best thing that could have happen to me at that time. While I thought I was giving up on my crazy life, and throwing in the towel, what really happened was that I finally surrendered my resistance to my true self.
At first, I smelled a strangely pleasant odor that I suddenly remembered very vividly from my childhood. This distinctive scent always preceded the ‘floating bubbles of light’ which I used to often see as a child. I had completely forgotten about those experiences, yet here they were again... the flickering light specks that look like ‘bundles of fireflies.' The smell they came with was like electricity, or ozone. It was not unpleasant, simply unusual. For a long time I had no way of describing it, until I bought a small air purifier a few years ago. I soon discovered that the faint smell of ozone, which is generated in small quantities by the negative ions from the purifier, was rather similar in scent.
It was also revealed to me that the word Yarden consists of the Hebrew letters Yud Resh Dalet Nun, read from right to left. My jaw dropped when I uncovered the meaning of every syllable and I soon realized that "Jordan" was much more than just an individual spirit guide, or my personal guardian angel. Yarden was not a person or a singular being, he was a group of entities, a universal energy, an infinite intelligence.
Yud is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and means "hand." The Zohar states that the Yud represents the head of all creatures, and in the Sephrotic tree the Yud symbolizes wisdom - the stage of concealment which precedes its development into a state of expansion in understanding. Yud is the smallest letter in the alphabet, yet is frequently associated with the large concept of emanation, the highest level in the Four World paradigm of Kabbalah. Resh is the 20th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and means "beginning" or "head". Resh literally means "there is a beginning." Dalet is the 4th letter of the alphabet and means "door" or "doorway." Nun is the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and means "shine, sprout, spread," According to the ancient Kabbalistic text,The Bahir, the bent Nun represents the spinal cord through which the body is fed by the brain. Go figure.
To this day I find it quite mind-boggling when I think of that incredible moment. Behind my desk, in front of the flickering screensaver on my laptop computer, intending to plan my own demise... I experienced instead a deeply significant spiritual breakthrough. I was confronted with an overwhelming and sudden awakening to my spiritual origins. I was reconnected with my inner divinity and higher self in a very powerful way. I still did not know what I was going to do going forward, but I finally felt free in that moment to fully acknowledge who I really was, for the first time in my life. For weeks afterwards I was like a hung-over, dazed Rip van Winkle, who had finally woken up after spending many years in a restless, feverish sleep. I was now perceiving with astonishment a sparkling, new, mystical world through the eyes of a newborn. After that fateful night, my life took a remarkable turn for the better.
In my youth it was near impossible to find any reliable information on spirituality, metaphysics, psychic phenomena and the paranormal. In those days we did not have films and television shows like The Secret, Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal or What The Bleep Do We Know? There were also no Long Island or Hollywood mediums on cable TV. Growing up, the closest thing I had to a psychic role-model was the actress Sissy Spacek in the movie Carrie, as well as the stereotypical gypsy fortune-tellers and their crystal balls in my dad’s old comic books. The metaphysical books I could find in the school library were on subjects like the evils of witchcraft, or how Harry Houdini became a debunker of mediumship. No wonder it took me decades to figure out what all the ‘strange things’ were that I was seeing, hearing and feeling! Fortunately, with the dawning of the new millennium, came the TV show Crossing Over with John Edward, which brought me the final missing puzzle piece. Seeing someone whom I could actually identify with, doing this kind of work out there in public, like it was the most natural thing in the world, gave me the courage to finally come out of the psychic closet.
Today, my quest continues to liberate others from dogma, ignorance, prejudice and fear, and inspire people to live their life by design and fulfill their true destiny. My early life experiences compel me to search for more answers, and it continues to inspire me to teach and write. The confusion and frustration I had to endure as a child, often due to ignorance, fear and intolerance, made me vow to research, learn and share as much as I could about alternative spirituality, psychic phenomena, parapsychology, the paranormal, and metaphysics. If I can spare just one sensitive child unnecessary trauma, inspire just one adult to come out of the 'psychic closet’, or save just one Indigo soul’s life from ending in tragedy, then the bewilderment I had suffered as a child would all be worth it.
© 2017 Anthon St Maarten