Time For a Spiritual Awakening?
Alternative Therapies Can Soothe the Soul, Relax the Body, and Calm the Mind
Mysticism. The dark arts. The occult. Those words evoke images of such ancient practices as palmistry, astrology, numerology and psychic readings—practices that some perceive as being related to black magic, and witchcraft.
For others who flock to experience live shows starring psychics like Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, who regularly talks to dead people and has a long-running series on TLC, the dark arts are as normal as hot dogs and apple pie.
While a majority of American adults self-identify as Christians—many of them also believe in “New Age” beliefs like reincarnation, astrology, psychics, and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects like those in nature, says a study done by the PEW Research Center. A non-partisan, global public opinion polling organization, PEW finds that one-third of Americans say they do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe. A slim majority of Americans (56 percent), say they believe in God “as described in the Bible.” One in ten Americans do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.
The study also found that 62 percent of Americans believe in at least one of four spiritual concepts identified as New Age (like reincarnation and astrology) and 41 percent believe in psychics.
While psychics have traditionally profited from predicting the future, or communicating with deceased relatives, many now work in the field of wellness, calling themselves “intuitives” or “intuitive healers,” who channel “energy” that helps people discover what they want out of life.
Candess Campbell, a Spokane native, is a practicing therapist, psychic and intuitive reader who works with local as well as international clients. Certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), a therapy that helps patients reprocess traumatic memories, Campbell specializes in trauma work.
Campbell’s academic background is notable. Early on, she attended Spokane Falls Community College to study chemical dependency. Later she graduated with an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in religion, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology—both from Gonzaga University. Campbell’s doctorate is in clinical hypnotherapy from American Pacific University. And, she’s an ordained minister and a Reiki master.
Working full time during her years in school, Campbell was hired as a chemical dependency counselor at a federal prison camp, and then as a counselor at the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations. She opened her private practice upon graduation.
“Although many people will not believe something until it is proven with science, I am a big believer of personal experience, as well. In fact, science, which I love, is finally catching up with what we have known intuitively for many years,” says Campbell.
Campbell says her work with new age tools like energy clearing and reading her client’s chakras happened over time. Chakras are a network of seven energy centers throughout the human body.
“While I was working … in counseling, I was studying and learning about spirituality, and I went to the Church of Divine Man (a community spiritual center based in San Francisco) where I learned how to do energy clearing and such. I had gotten several readings from them and I was able to do chakra readings—pull up my chakras and read them myself.
“The thing is, when you know something, often you think that everybody knows it. So what happened for me was starting to understand that not everybody knew what I knew,” she adds.
When she was a teen, Campbell says she had a near death experience which she says may have helped her abilities to help people heal.
At age 14, Campbell jumped from a moving vehicle and sustained a contusion. She lay in a coma for two weeks at Holy Family Hospital. She remembers a priest had been called and gave her last rites. “And then I woke up,” she says.
“My brain was not working right and that catapulted me into the psychic world, and when your brain is not working, you have to go somewhere else,” she says. “I went through the whole life thing, and went to the other side. God said you can’t stay here you have to go back. And I was angry. I was really angry.
“That’s why I believe my abilities are better than most because of that … because of the near-death experience,” Campbell says.
How do you do that?
Campbell says one of the typical ways psychics work is through intuition. “We get intuitive information in four different ways,” she says. “Everyone has the ability to develop their intuition.”
Campbell says she communicates with those who have passed over regularly, and many times it happens when she is exercising, although she’s not sure why.
“One time my granddaughter, who was not a year old, was in the living room while I was riding my recumbent bike. I was thinking that I wish my mom who had passed over could see her. Just then she came to me and said ‘Honey, I see her all the time,’” she says, laughing at the memory.
Today Campbell describes herself as grounded and happy. In addition to helping others to heal, she has authored two books: Live Intuitively: Journal the Wisdom of Your Soul and 12 Weeks to Self-Healing: Transforming Pain through Energy Medicine. Campbell has co-authored two additional books with Chet Caskey, Spokane’s own ghost tour operator and historian. Caskey has written a number of poltergeist-related books, including his latest, Spooky Spokane: The Ghosts, Killers and Dark History of the City.
Campbell collaborates with Caskey on ghost tours at various venues around town. Caskey usually takes on ghost history while Campbell gives people short psychic readings.
“I tend to be grounded, have my feet on the ground, and when something spiritual happens, it happens, and I follow my path and my guidance,” she says. “This is why staying grounded and in present time is so important. It is also why it is necessary to have a practice to clear other people’s energy from your energy system.”
Campbell’s services include intuitive readings, connecting with a loved one on the other side, energy clearing and healing. She stresses though that if someone is seeing her as a counselor, she does not offer psychic information in sessions.
“Making a decision to enter counseling or coaching can be overwhelming,” she says. “It is an important step. We all experience disruptive times in our lives where we need help in clarifying what to do next or to process feelings.”
What do your hands say about you?
Marla Retzlaff DeMars, owner of Mystic Marla Palm Reading, reads palms for a living. That is … it’s her job to look quite closely at your hands, and then tell you who you are, where you’ve been and maybe where you’re going. She is uncannily accurate.
Palm reading often times can be dismissed as a party trick, or a greedy fortune-teller’s cash cow. But palmistry is actually an ancient form of divination.
Palmistry has its roots in Indian, Chinese astrology as well as Roma fortune-telling. From the ancient remaining record of the frescoes in ruins of India and words passed down from Brahmanism, we can find palmistry was very popular in India at that time. In China, palm readers also have a long history.
We are seated in DeMars’ little cubby of an office, in a corner at Chosen, the vintage/antique store on Main and Division. She is very welcoming and puts me at ease with her soft small talk. She answers questions about moving to Spokane from Nebraska, and talks a little about her two adult daughters. DeMars, who served in the U.S. Navy, was also an RN. She received her master of nursing from UCLA
Then she gets down to business.
I put my hands up at her request and she starts examining my hand with some kind of magnifying glass. She doesn’t waste any time.
Just imagine someone telling you that you have a defiant streak in your personality, which DeMars did during our abbreviated palm reading session.
I’m already aware that I have a defiant streak, but watching someone I barely know see my defiance as a line on my palm was freakish. She also told me I was drawn to chaos (yes), that I’ve done a lot of work on spirituality (yes), that I’m sensitive (yes) and that I have a romantic heart (I think so).
“These lines show you’re really striving for spiritual connection and tells me people are prone to being morbid and drawn toward the dark,” DeMars says. “It’s kind of like the Hemingway curse.”
“Your fate line starts here. You had a big break and a reset in what you wanted to do in your early 20s … and when you were about 25 … that’s when you made a big decision … probably in your career since it’s your right hand. You’ve had a pretty strong go of it career wise,” she says as she focuses on my right hand.
“Here … where this line crosses and fades out, you had a lifestyle change and you lost some sense of what the world was really like then. You probably felt a little ungrounded at that time. The world didn’t make sense to you,” she adds.
I called it a spiritual hernia at the time. She was eerily accurate about my age when these different events happened.
My hand shape, she says, is water with air—hand shapes can be any of the four signs earth, fire, water, or air, or a combination of them. “The air hand shape speaks to bringing lofty brainy ideals, and gathering them and bringing them down into a usable, earthy form. I think of academics, teachers, journalists, philosophers, and people that have a lot going on up here,” she says pointing to her temple.
“You have a straight palm … you don’t tend to be as lofty and unattainable as some air people. You’re a little more emotional than the airy only, more emotionally connected than most airs. You can connect personally as well,” she say.
She said my fingertips showed all loops are going with the flow. Translation: I’m fairly easy going, don’t get rattled too easily, kind of move in and out of things easily, and I’m friendly (yes and yes).
She caught my attention with the next phrase. “You have a loop of leisure in your left hand,” she said. I was imagining beaches in Tahiti, but the translation wasn’t what I expected. “When you get done with work you’re down and done,” she says. “You want to relax, have an easy time of it. People with this don’t love housework. It’s that loop and that domestic side of things. That’s pretty common with that loop of leisure.”
As DeMars talks about my life lines, heart lines, fate line, and travel lines—and some I’ve never heard of before, she confides that palm reading is like reading a book for her. “It cuts through all the BS,” she says.
“And we can get down to what’s really important in somebody’s life, if I can see them and get them to feel comfortable. If there’s something I don’t see in their hand, they can tell me and then I can use my intuition, we can work on changing something and/or moving something in a better direction,” she says.
Skeptics and scoffers … DeMars has had her share. When she first opened her business, she purchased a magnetic sign for her car promoting herself. She says it wasn’t long before she realized that kind of advertising wasn’t going to work for her.
“I had people who would attach pages from the bible to my car windshield,” she says. “They actually desecrated the Bible to put it on my car. I get all kinds of things. I’ve had to develop a thick skin.”
Her client list includes psychotherapists, analysts, pharmacists, physicians, lots of professional people, and many medical professionals. “and they’re always more scientifically wired and … they’re amazed.
“I tend to pick up intuitively whether a person is more spiritual, more emotional or more scientifically-based person, and I might change how I’m addressing them,” she adds.
DeMars says her style is to be useful and practical. Her clients include individuals, couples and families. She has one client who is on retainer, and one family uses her services for conflict resolution. She says meeting so many different, fascinating people is what she loves most about the job.
Speaking of skeptics, does DeMars go to psychics herself?
“I’m a little skeptical. I have gone to them. I wasn’t super impressed really. I can count on one hand the people that I’ve interacted with (who are psychics). But I think real psychics are few and far between: there are some who have developed their intuition like me, but they do not have the ‘gift.’
“I wouldn’t do it just for the money. Some people are into the glitz and the glamour, shock and awe kind of thing. I’m in it to do good,” she says
“The dark arts,” DeMars says. “Like you said, because that old history flavors it. A cloud kind of hangs over new age healing practices, but it’s a helping art form at this point. It’s an unorthodox healing.
“People are hungry for connections. When they see somebody, they want to be seen and understood and for me it’s a quick, sincere somebody and to understand them,” she say.
Candess Campbell can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on Ghost Tours, call Chet Caskey’s tour line at (509) 747-1335. Marla DeMars can be reached by phone at (509) 992-3182.
Judith Spitzer is an independent journalist and photographer living in the Pacific Northwest.
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