Magic and the Art of Vibing
Yesterday would have been my sister’s 49th birthday. It’s weird to think that in my memory, she will never age past where she left us, at 46, just a little more than two years ago. We had a party to celebrate our new house, John’s and my seventh anniversary, and – at least for me – Corina’s birthday. We were finishing cleaning and making the house look like a home when I realized that most of our photos were still in storage – except for one of John when he was about 10, in his Little League uniform. He’s cute as can be – and I’m guessing thousands of parents across the country have similar photos of their smiling kids. As I write this, I remember that I have several versions of the same photo of Eric as a boy. Jesus – where did the time go? He’s my kiddo, but certainly no longer a boy.
I remember being pregnant with him and trying to see into the future. First, to when he would turn 18 – the legal age at which I would no longer need his parents’ consent to seek him out or talk to him. That, of course, was before we opened our adoption. Even as he grew, I would try to picture him as a teen or young man. I knew I would be 45 when he turned 18, but I had no idea where I’d be or what my life would be like by then. I couldn’t even imagine what he might be like, probably because I wasn’t watching him grow up day by day.
I recall one particular time in my pregnancy when I was focused on this whole concept of the future. I was at Sunday Mass at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Jersey City when the pastor, Fr. Vic Kennedy (amazing that I still recall his name!), was giving a sermon about the evils of magic. I wasn’t aware of using any magical powers at the time, just bored with the sermon and trying to “see” far enough into the future to imagine my still unborn son as a young man. It was impossible, because I didn’t know him yet. But then Fr. Vic started in on the same things my father always carried on about – that anything that smacked of soothsaying, fortune-telling, of any other form of future divining was forbidden by the church. The pastor’s reasoning was that using magic was a way of trying to make ourselves on par with God. I’m not sure if he mentioned Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – but it would make sense if he did.
I remember being incensed in that moment. How dare you? I thought. You’re the pastor and you’re telling these lies. If God didn’t want us to have magic – whether it be in the form of psychic knowledge or the actual ability to make a things appear and disappear – he wouldn’t have given it to us! The fact that it exists and we know about it means he wanted us to have it and use it. Sure – some people use it for evil, but some people use spray paint and fire for evil. You don’t see the church preaching against spray paint or fire, do you? And the worst part is that all of these people sitting here in these pews are going to walk out of here believing you that magic is of the devil!
In spite of my dad, magic has been a part of my life in various forms for as long as I can remember. I was about 6 years old when I caught a glimpse of the tooth fairy. Seriously, I saw a tiny streak of bright blue light flash across the bedroom I shared with Corina. I remember it like it was last night – not 40-plus years ago. Then there have been various magical moments across the years – like my visit to Blarney Castle in May 1998, driving down the highway at midnight with U2’s Joshua Tree blaring at full volume, and swimming in the Pacific Ocean with John.
I saw a psychic when Eric was about 11 who had absolutely no knowledge of him. During the reading, she asked me who Betty was (my mom) and told me that I had a son, about 10 years old, who lived a great distance from me (I was in Phoenix; he was in New Jersey). Some people really have access to this kind of information – and it’s not from the devil. Nor does it mean they’re competing with God – just that they’re tapped into the same information that God has. One of my earliest coaches told me we all have that ability: we all know everything was how she put it. It’s just a matter of whether we choose to tune in to the knowledge or not.
For much of our lives, Corina and I were very in tune with each other’s thoughts. One night, we had the identical dream. And sometimes she would send me messages – particularly when I was at the store and she’d forgotten to ask me to get something (in the pre-cellphone days). I’d grab a bag of ice for no apparent reason, only to get home and have her say, “Cool. Glad you got my vibe about the ice.” If I came home without the ice, she’d be disappointed that her vibing hadn’t worked. It got to the point where we couldn’t play Pictionary on the same team because it was an unfair advantage over the other team. I’d start drawing a straight line and she’d say “Hangar!” Yes – it was just the base, but she knew. She’d draw a circle and I’d say, “Bicycle!” But of course.
Somehow I missed the fact that she was as sick as she was – and that she would be leaving so soon. I think I needed to believe she would get well – we both did – because otherwise, that last year would have been unbearable. Though I still miss her every day, I know she’s OK now and I am so grateful for all the time we got to spend together over the last 18 months. And she still visits with regularity, usually through my dreams. I asked her to give me a sign she was around for the party – and all day, the apps on John’s cellphone kept turning on by themselves. The flashlight. His iTunes. His stopwatch. Would make sense that it was Cori, saying hello.
In my office, I have a giant tie-dyed wall hanging in deep reds and yellows serving as a curtain. In the center is a big yellow Om. It wouldn’t be my natural preference, but Corina would have loved it, so I keep it there to remind me to breathe and to keep her nearby.
According to Gaia.com:
The syllable OM is an ancient Sanskrit letter originating between 1500 and 1200 BC in the Vedas, a collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns sung in praise of the Divine. They were not written at first, but were vibrated into existence using human speech. Teachings on the metaphysics of OM were later elaborated on in the Upanishads, ancient Indian mystical texts. Later, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali categorized the 8 Limbs of Yoga. The sixth of these, Dharana (meaning concentration), described various methods of supporting the mind to achieve single-focused attention. Repeating a mantra, especially the syllable OM, was an important aspect of accomplishing this sixth stage of yoga, or union with the Divine origins. Patanjali taught: “Chant Om and you will attain your goal. If nothing else works, just chant Om.”
Prayer, magic, chanting Om … all of them seem to have the same purpose: to help us achieve our goals. Fr. Vic, I think you were dead wrong. Of course, my sister now probably knows for sure. If we can figure out how to pick up the vibing again and I have a chance to ask her, I’ll let you know.
Laura Orsini is an author who works with other authors to help them make and market exceptional books that change the world for the better. She is birthmother to Eric, who is finishing college in Boston this summer. Their adoption has been open for the better part of Eric’s life. She continues to toy with the idea that these posts will one day become a book. In the meantime, you can learn about her novel in progress, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World.