Coming Out Of The Psychic Closet
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.'
For many years, I thought I was just really stupid, or weird, even crazy. Many of my earliest memories are of vivid extra-sensory experiences and sometimes traumatic paranormal events. Growing up psychic is certainly not for sissies. I woke up many nights with what I perceived to be 'shadow people' standing next to my bed. I still don't like to talk about those days. I am a psychic medium by birth, but only discovered this fact much later in my life. There were many signs and synchronicities over the years, of which some were quite exceptional, but due to my stubborn rejection of my psychic heritage, I only managed to connect all the dots many years later. I inherited my psychic ability from my paternal grandmother. Throughout my childhood my dad used to tell us amazing stories of his mother, and how she used to talk to dead people and foretell the future by looking into people's teacups.
Family legend has it that as a young woman she was an 'Irish beauty' with pale skin and piercing violet eyes. 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!
As a matter of fact I had a terribly traumatic childhood. But afterward I sort of reraised myself ~ Michael Gruber
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.
At first I thought everyone saw, heard and sensed the same things I did, but on that momentous day in daycare, it became very clear that this was not the case. The name-calling and bullying escalated by the time I went to school. I was a gifted, unusual child growing up in a very religious and politically conservative society. Nevertheless, I was intuitively drawn to the mystical and the paranormal from a very early age. 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.
In this stifling environment I was obviously soon misunderstood, ostracized and bullied, to the extent that I began to view my highly sensitive nature and psychic heritage as a shameful secret... as some kind of personal ‘disability.’ To be sensitive, emotional and spiritually aware are still taboos in this world, especially for young men. Combine that with being an empathic ‘new age weirdo’ who talks to dead people... and you have the perfect breeding ground for shame, self-hatred and public humiliation. The fact that my parents were emotionally absent, and not at all nurturing or supportive, did not make things any easier. I soon realized I had to wear a mask and pretend to be what I am not, for fear of rejection and ridicule. I fervently began to resist my extra-sensory experiences. My fascination with all things metaphysical soon became my ‘dirty little secret.’
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.
Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone ~ Roald Dahl
Oddly, books also brought me a fleeting 15 minutes of popularity among my peers. I was around 13 years old at the time and I used to secretly read books about divination, the paranormal, and mediumship, in the school library. It was the safest, most peaceful place for me to hide from the bullies during school breaks. One day three older girls noticed the palmistry book I was reading, and the leader of the pack came over and asked me what it was about. Not used to this kind of attention, especially from older kids, I proceeded to spill the beans, before I even considered how she might respond. Instead of being shocked or amused, she asked me if I could “tell fortunes." Without any hesitation, I said yes. She immediately beckoned her friends over, and insisted I read their palms.
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 a long time, after my stint as the ‘teenage library psychic,’ I refused to publicly acknowledge the existence of psychic or paranormal phenomena. I had by now gone thoroughly undercover, and deep into the psychic closet. Yet, I still was frowned upon by teachers, and rejected and tortured by many of my peers, for daring to be different from the norm. I was a weird kid. Period. On my 16th birthday my father gave me a yellowed, sealed envelope from my grandmother, which she handed to him a few months before her passing. It contained a short letter to his eldest child, explaining my psychic heritage. The letter also contained a St. Christopher pendant, which she said I should wear for my protection. I did not take any of this very seriously at the time, and disregarded all of it as the 'woo-woo' ramblings of an old lady. Sorry grandma, I will apologize to you in person someday, when I finally get back to the Other Side.
For many years, I had a problem with intense anxiety and I frequently experienced acute panic attacks. The problem was so severe when I was about 4 or 5 years old, that I had to be rushed to the emergency ward on more than one occasion, and once had to be hospitalized, because I would literally stop breathing. My dad told me years later that on that particular day I was so uncontrollably hysterical, it took the physical strength of two nurses, my dad and the doctor to pin me down for an injection. The first time I personally became fully aware of having these panic attacks, and that they were linked to something beyond this world, was when I was about 7 years old and in the second grade. I was sitting on the living room floor one afternoon, paging through a book, when suddenly an intense sense of dread engulfed me. At the same time an ominous 'shadow' descended upon our home, as if the sky had suddenly turned overcast outside. The living room became gloomy as if it was suddenly twighlight. Someone... or something... was in that room with me.
Then, I remember feeling somehow very angry...when the pages of the book in front of me began to vigorously page all by itself... from cover to cover... rapidly... like someone flicking through a deck of cards! I was beyond myself with terror! I ran for dear life, jumping over furniture and just about diving through the front door to get out of that house! Outside the sun was shining brightly and it was still a beautiful, peaceful summer's day. I refused to go back into the house for the rest of the afternoon, patiently waiting on the front lawn, until my parents came home from work.
As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know ~ C.G. Jung
Soon after, I woke up one night from some kind of bad dream. Crying inconsolably, I ran to my parents' bedroom, where my mother lay sleeping alone. My dad was not yet home. Mom could make no sense out of what I was trying to say. She thought I was simply afraid of the heavy thunderstorm outside. Apparently, I was sobbing and repeatedly crying, "Daddy has the moon on his face...!" Later that night the phone call came. My father had been in a head-on collision and had not been wearing his seat-belt. He went through the windshield, head first. The shattered glass cut into his face, leaving a large, deep wound shaped like a half moon across his forehead. He carried that scar for the rest of his life.
By the way, that 'self-paging' book was certainly not the first or last time that psychokinetic or telekinetic phenomena happened around me. Psychokinetic occurrences are an almost normal, although very infrequent part of my everyday life since I can remember. For example, it is not unusual for me to somehow crash computers and cash registers everywhere I go, when I am out and about on a particularly emotionally distressed day! A few people in my life have also learned not to stand under any exposed overhead light-bulbs, whenever I'm around, as they do tend to unexpectedly explode from time to time. Same thing happens with street lights.
One of the funnier instances occurred inside a grocery store in 2009, on a quiet weekday morning. I was walking down the cereal aisle, minding my business, when a piece of PVC water pipe mysteriously became dislodged and dropped from the ceiling, missing my head by inches. Fortunately, I only had a scratch on my face and my shirt was covered in a muddy slush. Interestingly, most of these everyday 'disturbances' subsided and even disappeared once I began working full-time as a psychic professional. One of the most traumatizing and memorable anxiety attacks 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 2 km (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 discovered its true meaning, after sharing some of 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 and being an energy sponge. To this day I wonder if I could have made a difference at the time, had I been more empowered with a better understanding of why I was experiencing these bizarre things.
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.
After many sessions, during which nothing much happened, I had a major breakthrough one day. I remember suddenly feeling an intense ‘explosion’ in the are of my solar plexus, as if a floodgate had burst wide open. I was pinned to the couch by a powerful stream of energy rushing through what felt like a churning ‘cavity’ in my stomach. It was like a tornado drilling right through my spine, and into the floor below me. It was the most astonishing thing I had ever felt. After the initial shock, an incredible sense of relief and freedom washed over me. The therapist asked me what I was feeling, but I was unable to speak. I was completely paralyzed, as if in a trance. Silent tears were running down my face, and I felt profoundly calm, blissful and at peace.
Living a spiritual life may not be easy. It demands total authenticity. It brings you to dance to a unique song that only you can hear fully, and sometimes you dance alone because no others can hear the music ~ Debra Moffitt
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.
On my final visit to the unorthodox ‘shrink,’ he unexpectedly gave me as parting gift a paperback copy of the book Mind To Mind: The Secrets Of Your Mind Energy Revealed, by the late Betty Shine. She was a renowned psychic medium and healer in the United Kingdom, and her book helped me find my way back to who I really was. It opened up a whole new world for me, very far removed from the books on palmistry I used to read in the school library.
I soon started doing some of Betty’s meditation exercises. My favorites were Journey to the Centre of the Universe and The Auric Egg. Betty’s exercises became the foundation for my personal psychic re-attunement and my ultimate spiritual awakening. Little did I know at the time that these exercises would eventually become spontaneous experiences that came and went for the next decade. There was a long period when I had recurring dreams and out-of-body experiences of returning to that spiritual ‘university’ on the edge of the Universe, for more and more ‘lessons.’
Betty's book and grandma's pendant were also not the only unusual, synchronistic gifts I received along the way. While I was a senior at university, for example, I became acquainted with a new student, named Rudy. Our friendship was brief, but to this day his synchronous appearance in my life intrigues me. How exactly it happened remains a mystery to me, but one day he just unexpectedly showed up at my door with an unusual gift in a brown paper bag. It was a brand new deck of Rider Waite® Tarot cards.
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!”
When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind ~ Patrick Rothfuss
I had sensed that something significant happened during those blackouts, but I never would have thought that those fainting spells had in fact been near-death experiences (NDEs). The descriptions I read of other people’s NDEs were generally different from what I had experienced, so I did not know what to make of it. Amazingly the answer came to me courtesy of a skeptic! According to research conducted by Dr Kevin Nelson, a leading advocate for brain-based theories for NDEs, the leading cause of near-death experience is fainting. Although Dr. Nelson does not believe that there is anything spiritual about NDEs, he certainly helped me find some answers about my own spiritual and psychic awakening.
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.
In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast. Those who once inhabited the suburbs of human contempt find that without changing their address they eventually live in the metropolis. ~ Quentin Crisp
Then a strangely familiar voice spoke to me telepathically. I remember it telling me to be grateful to be alive; that I live in an abundant Universe, that my life was meant to be happy and joyful, and that I had a unique purpose and a special mission to fulfill in this lifetime. I suddenly remembered where I heard that voice before! It was the voice of my ‘imaginary’ playmate ... that very same ‘angel man’ who watched over me on the playground! He was the one who spoke for the ‘others’, the one who was always there when ‘they’ came to visit. When I started working professionally a few years later, he introduced himself to me as “Jordan.” And as time passed, I discovered that his name was actually “Yarden" from the original Hebrew יַרְדֵן, meaning “the descender,” or “to flow down,” or “descending from above.”
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.
My daily, humdrum existence changed, in radical ways I could have never imagined. In time everything in my environment began to shape and rearrange itself around me. I experienced one synchronistic event after the other. It was as if the right people and the most perfect opportunities just flowed towards me and crossed my path in a miraculous chain of events. I received daily signs and intuitive confirmations, and at night my dreams were filled with ideas and visions of what needed to be done the next day. The confusing riddle that was my ‘dirty little psychic secret’ finally began to fall into place, and gradually my life began to transform.
In my youth it was near impossible to find any reliable information on alternative 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, or any cable TV for that matter. Bear in mind that I basically grew up without television, since it was only introduced to South Africa when I was in my early teens, but I did spend a lot of time in the movies. The closest thing I had to a psychic role-model in those days was the actress Sissy Spacek in the classic Stephen King film 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 myself. 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. © 2020 Anthon St. Maarten
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anthon St. Maarten is an international psychic medium and destiny coach with clients in more than thirty countries spanning five continents. He is also a metaphysics teacher and podcaster, spiritual blogger and author with a special interest in new thought spirituality, metaphysics, sacred sites, parapsychology, mediumship and psychic phenomena. Anthon is a hereditary psychic medium in practice since 2004 and his services are available by phone or video conferencing.