Yesterday I lost my medium virginity. During a visit to Hollywood to see my daughter Celeste and her husband Patrick, Marcel Cairo was kind enough to treat Celeste, Laurel, and me to a reading.
Marcel is an afterlife medium and spiritual therapist. (Check out Marcel’s website for more info). Last Tuesday I got an email from Marcel that said, in part:
I came across your site and really got a kick out of it. I like how you present thought provoking concepts with a sense of humor. I kind of take the same approach to my work. I am a medium, and have been for 23 years now, and humor is a key bridge that unites the here and the hereafter.
Anyway, on occasion I co-host a weekly radio show called Conversations from Beyond with fellow medium, Lenny Feldsott. The show is part Crossing Over w/ John Edward and part Car Talk from NPR and on occasion, a bit of Howard Stern “Lite”. It would be interesting to talk to you about your blog and your Church of the Churchless.
I replied with a “sure” (though now it looks like I’ll be on the “In Good Spirit” show on October 11). I told Marcel that coincidentally, if there is such a thing, my wife and I would be in his Hollywood neck of the woods in a few days.
I wasn’t (consciously) expecting anything to result from that comment, but Marcel responded that he’d try to fit us in for a free reading if we wanted and our schedule, and his, permitted. Which, it did.
So there we were at 10:30 on Sunday morning, lined up in skeptical order on Marcel’s couch. Celeste to the left of me, Laurel to the right.
Laurel has been to several mediums and psychics. She’s a believer. I’m open-minded, though I probably lean toward the skeptical side. Celeste, like Patrick, is about as here and now as they come. They believe in what they experience.
Me too. Marcel started out by asking me to summarize my Church of the Churchless philosophy in a couple of sentences. I think it took me a couple of paragraphs, and I was just warming up. He cut in and tried to summarize.
“So it’s a matter of seeing and believing, right?” “Yes,” I said. “I like to say that I’ll believe it when I see it, not that I’ll see it when I believe it.” From there we were off and medium’ing.
I won’t try to describe all that transpired in the two-plus hours we spent with Marcel. The bottom line is that I enjoyed our session. I found Marcel to be genuine, humorous, sensitive, and spontaneous. He made some observations that hit me hard, though I can’t say that they knocked me for a loop.
I mean, it seemed unlikely, though not impossible, that the information he was conveying came solely from his purely human brain.
I’d give examples, but the most intriguing messages conveyed through “spirit” (departed souls) were directed to Celeste and Laurel, and were quite personal.
Interestingly, Patrick got a lot of attention from spirit even though he was at home watching football and is even more of a spiritual skeptic than Celeste. Marcel shared some zingers about Patrick that were right on the money—specific enough that they seemed unlikely to be lucky guesses.
But again, not impossible. Given this semi-skeptical attitude of mine, I guess this is why spirit declined to pay me much of a visit. I probably ended up getting 10% of the departeds’ attention. They just didn’t have much to share with me.
Marcel did say that my mother pitied me. Which I can believe, I suppose. Marcel asked if my mother was a strong, independent woman, the feeling he was getting. I said, “Yes, indeed.”
Basically her message to me was that I should stick with the intuitive non-verbal connection I have with “God” when I go on my nature walks and put to rest my questioning intellectual side that is always saying, “But then again…” My mother, or whoever, made sense. Still, I’ll have to think about it.
One thing I need to ponder is that my mother was much more intellectual than I am. She also was much less attuned to nature than I am. So she must have been working on the Taoistic side of her soul during the twenty-one years since her death.
Somebody else—maybe it was Evie, my sister who died as an infant—told Marcel that I was a know-it-all. Well, I do know a lot. But I’ve never considered myself a know-it-all. Maybe that message was meant for someone else. Like my ex-wife.
I also was advised to duke it out with my dark side. Borrowing from the first Star Wars trilogy, Marcel passed on the word that I’m Luke Skywalker. Yet also Darth Vader. (Aren’t we all?) The two sides of me are supposed to take up psychological light sabers and finally determine who’s going to rule Brian’s Brain.
This wasn’t new news to me. I’ve been wrestling with the various sides of myself for as long as I can remember. (Again, haven’t we all?) However, I appreciated being reminded that it’s best if only one entity inhabits the cranium where the sense of Me resides.
But then again, when I shared the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader insight with my Tai Chi instructor this afternoon he said, “There is dark and light, yin and yang, in everyone.” Yes, opposites make the world go round. That’s the nature of Tao.
I can’t speak for Celeste and Laurel. What I got out of the session were some fresh viewpoints on my psyche and approach to life. It doesn’t matter much to me where they came from: Marcel, the spirit world, or both.
I didn’t experience anything that made me a firm believer in life after death. But I’m probably a bit more open to the possibility now. Marcel said that I should repeat to myself, “I believe in the survival of consciousness.”
Well, I want to. The thing is, I’m still a “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of person. Marcel advised that I open myself to signs of spirit, which might come from any direction.
That was good advice. Communicate away, spirit. I’m open 24/7. Once I see, I’ll believe. To me, the best form of spiritual belief is an empty receptivity to whatever reality may exist beyond what I know now--not blind faith in some dogma or theological assertion.
Lastly, we got to meet Marcel's charming wife and child after the session. Nina, his daughter, is a red-haired bundle of cute. In the course of searching for information about Marcel to share in this post, I ran across a Cairo family video on Google Video. Watch "The Art of Sharing." Nice music, nice family.
[Next day update: OK. I get the message.
When I read this post to my wife last night, she said, “You didn’t mention your father.” When I checked my email this morning, I read a message from Marcel that said about my father, “You failed to mention him at all in the story.” When I perused the comments to this post, I saw that Roger asked, “Did Marcel discuss anything about your Dad?”
So…Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. To put it mildly, he was a Force to be reckoned with. He turned to the dark side until, at the end of his life, he saw the light. My own father never did, so far as I know.
Yesterday evening my psychotherapist wife observed to me, “From what I know about your father, he was like Darth Vader: powerful, domineering, highly intelligent. You may think that he wasn’t much of an influence on you because you only spent an hour with him in your entire life. But no matter how little or how much kids know about their dads, the influence is there because fathers are so important to us.”
Yes, Marcel mentioned him. I can’t remember all of the details. And I don’t feel like listening to the tape of the session right now. My father is my dark side, my Darth Vader. I tried to convince my wife that the reason I didn’t mention my father at first in this post is that everyone has a dark side, like Warren, my Tai Chi instructor, said. So why focus on my father when I’m speaking about that aspect of myself?
“Because he wasn’t like most fathers,” Laurel told me. “Your father was strongly dark. Not just a little. A lot.”
I know. As I said in my “One hour with my father” post, ever since I got to know what a jerk my father was, I’ve been wary of the paternal genetic heritage that’s lurking in every cell of my body. Identical twin studies seem to show that about 50% of personality has a genetic basis; he’s one-half of my genes; so I figure that a quarter of who I am, more or less, is Pure Jerk.
Which feels about right. I keep that side of myself fairly well hidden, but it’s there. Probably that’s why Marcel advised that the climactic battle between my Luke and my Darth has to take place. Or maybe it could be a reconciliation. Whatever. I’m not going to force the two of them together. We’ll just see what the Force has in store for us.
I get glimpses of what that energy is. I suspect that I’m not firing on all cylinders because I don’t trust letting myself go. I enjoy feeling the higher revs of my inner engine, but am afraid that if I unhook the horsepower limiter I’ll take a turn too fast and do a Thelma and Louise over the cliff.
And yet…in just about every Tango class I’m reminded that tentativeness is a kiss of death for the male lead. Last night my partner and I were having some problems with a clockwise basic turn. I tried to figure out what was going wrong, then got frustrated and said to myself, “Screw it. I’ll just do it.”
Which I then did. Just fine. In Tango the woman only knows what to follow when the lead is unambiguous. Passionate Darth Vader energy melded with pure Luke Skywalker intention.
Get them together and you’ve got something. Good.]
Marcel is a friend whom I met through my daughter. I have been to Marcel a few times for readings and have found him to be unbelievably accurate. The last time I sat with Marcel, there were two specific issues in my life that I needed some insight on. At the very beginning of my reading, he addressed one of the issues, and then he went on to address the other. All with NO guidance or hints from me. To have a reading with Marcel is a wonderful experience -- and I highly recommend it for believers and skeptics alike.
Posted by: Doreen | September 26, 2006 at 05:59 AM
To Doreen. May I ask, "Does Marcel charge a fee for his readings?" Charging a fee is No Big Deal. I'm just curious.
To Brian. May I ask, "Did Marcel discuss anything about your Dad?" Again, No Big Deal. Just curious.
Thanks for reply,
Posted by: Roger | September 26, 2006 at 07:01 AM
Brain, I envy you on how you write; I wish I could.. I laugh my ass off! And I guess I recocnize your points easy like we all do here. Its good to have you around!
Posted by: spooky | September 26, 2006 at 07:08 AM
Roger, see the update that I've added to the post. You, Marcel, and my wife all noted that I never mentioned my father. Now I have.
In case Doreen doesn't reply, Marcel's usual fee is, I believe, $100 for a two-hour reading. Sure seems reasonable to me.
He told us that for over twenty years he didn't charge at all for readings. When he started to do so, his medium mentor was shocked.
To my mind, this reflects well on both Marcel and his mentor. It's clear that Marcel isn't into what he's doing for the money, because he could be a lot more commercial than he is.
Posted by: Brian | September 26, 2006 at 12:22 PM
Thanks for reply. Your trip to LA, got me thinking. It's been three years since I traveled thru LA, from Vegas, then on to Sequoia (sp?) Nat. Park, back to Vegas. Cool vacation. I need to make that loop again. While in LA, visit the Ennis House and Bradbury building. Then, on to see the big guy; Gerneral Sherman. I need to book a round trip ticket to Vegas, asap.
Thanks for inspiring me......Roger
Posted by: Roger | September 26, 2006 at 01:11 PM
Posted by: Roger | September 26, 2006 at 01:19 PM
Just a thought:
the shadow/dark side is not knowable, by definition. So although there may be some influence in your life that brought darkness, you recognize it. If you recognize it, you can fight and bring light, but it is not your shadow.
So there is something else.
Posted by: Edward | September 26, 2006 at 01:25 PM
I think by far my favorite thing about this post is that all this yakity yak about mediums and spirit served to inspire Roger to book the next flight out to Sin City... that just tickled me to no end. :-)
I love Vegas. The first time I went to Vegas I thought I would hate it. Boy, was I so so wrong. I love the electricity, the duplicity and the invisibility that Vegas feeds and draws from me. Hey, let me make one thing clear. My ability to tune into spirit has nothing to do with my own personal battle with God, morality, religion or humanity.
It just so happens that every so often, I have to put "me" on pause, and help one soul on one side of the highway send a message to a soul on th eother side. That's it. There's nothing unique, paranormal or extra-terrestrial about it. My only desire is that if I am going to do this, at least let me be somewhat good at it.
The truth is that I am at constant odds with the world. Often times, I'm just like a paroled, but not forgiven, carny running the ghost train ride at the county fair - lost somewhere between the joyous noise of nostalgia and the cotton candy fragrance of escape.
The difference is, I know that the fair never closes, so I do what I know how to do best... keep the ride moving for the thrill seekers thirsting to explore the darkness beyond the tracks.
Tickets, please. ;-\
Posted by: Marcel Cairo | September 26, 2006 at 01:38 PM
I think I understand your Vegas comments. When I vacation, I tend to mix the Wildside with the Outside. Vegas is kinda located near a number of National Parks.
There is the Wildside of Vegas. Thank God for the ancient Philosophy, "What happens in Vegas,.....Stays in Vegas."
Posted by: Roger | September 27, 2006 at 07:37 AM
My initial reaction to you visiting a medium was one of almost shock, disappoinment and surprise. I believed you were way above that stuff.
Actually I still do think that - all I can say is keep on writing - great reading whatever.
Posted by: Isha Wagner | September 28, 2006 at 06:19 PM
Isha, I don't feel like I'm above anything. I understand what you're saying, and I'm not one to put forth a false humility when I consider that I really do know something.
But here's the truth: I don't know whether it is possible to communicate with departed souls. Or, for that matter, if there is such a thing as "departed souls." I just don't know.
My wife has gone to a number of mediums and psychics. She's convinced that they're for real. Laurel is a grounded, truthful, spritual woman. Her belief in what many call "channeling" is sincere and well-founded.
I'm open to new experiences. I'm open to having my mind changed through new information. I found Marcel as believable as any other "mystic" who claims knowledge of the Beyond. Meaning, his experience is his own; it isn't mine.
So until I experience what he, or anyone else, claims to know about the hereafter, it's just a hypothesis for me. Anyway, Marcel just happened to come into my life. I didn't seek him out, but I'm glad I met him and had the reading.
Like I said, I gained some insights into myself and my family relationships. And that's certainly worth what my session cost. Which was nothing.
Posted by: Brian | September 28, 2006 at 08:32 PM
Marcel needs 2 hours just to put together disjointed pieces that most mediums and string into complete sentences and meaningful messages. He spends too much time justifying himself and b-lining the listener to make Lincoln/Kennedy connections with words he finds, as well as insisting he's right while making assumptions about the sitter that have no basis in experience or knowledge of them. Sadly, people can't post anything truthful and realistic of their experience of psychics if it has any negativity in review on the Best psychic directory, so he gets to look like he's actually a good medium - they won't put it up.
Posted by: Jules | October 31, 2016 at 02:07 PM
We can be our own psychic. Blavatsky called it the Akashic Records and Tom Campbell calls it a database which we can contact by using our intent. Makes me think that satsangis who have an intent to see and meet their guru during meditation will probably experience just that. Its just information in a database and we can access it if we want.
Non physical reality is just a different focus, just connecting with a different data stream. There is a youtube featuring Tom Campbell called "Akashic Record: The art of querying the database" if anyone is interested.
Posted by: Jen | November 01, 2016 at 02:35 PM