A Certain Type of Magic: A Connection Beyond Words

By Courtney Quinlan

A mystic told me once that my purpose was to mend ancestral wounds. To sew up unfinished deeds and unfinished sentences that my great and grand mothers couldn’t say.

She told me before I even opened my mouth. She said I walked right in and she was struck by my energy.

Something stirring inside me, some quiet voice that has been with me my whole life.

I felt the ghosts of silent women stand behind me. Waiting generations for someone to help them speak. So it is tasked to me to tell their stories of mental illness, of pain unnoticed. It is my task to liberate and give them their words back — pressed and bound, stitched and etched into eternal ever after.

I’ve heard many words such as empathetic, psychic, intuitive, open, clairvoyant, but none of those words ever fit right. Too defining, too restricting.

You can’t call me on a 1-900 hotline asking when you’ll meet your soulmate, I don’t know.

There is no crystal ball, no spells — perhaps a walker between worlds or a person who observes things others cannot.

At one point I remember being afraid of these things. The death dreams. Relatives coming to me in my sleep to whisper a farewell, to tell me through scrambled channels that they were love, capital L, O, V, E.

I became a representative, a conduit, a death doula.

Chosen, my mother would say.

I’ve learned when I absorb too much — to shut down, to hibernate when the world is full…

When there is too much anguish. When the air feels heavy and my temples ring my heartbeat. When knowing feels like a burden.

When people’s pain — when a stranger’s eyes tell me what their soul is longing to say. When you pass by bodies shouting to be held and comforted because we are scared.

Most of us are walking around scarred and guilt ridden and we just want someone to tell us that our future is going to be meaningful, that things won’t always feel this way.

I step back.
I reassemble.

I replenish in forests where I can feel dirt and clay beneath my feet. Where I feel life and see spirals and Fibonacci sequences reoccurring. Reassuring me that there is a master design, some type of blueprint, something so intrinsic and innate.

My mind is at sharp contrast and far from the buzzing of cables and wires trying to connect us. The glare of a screen. The cries of war on tv. Injustice. Destruction. Man-made.

The disadvantages that carve their way into my stomach, a force that rivals gravity, a pocket for other’s pain.

Maybe somehow it’s because I relate.

I know that static state between freeze and flight; a mental purgatory that reads like a manifesto imprinted in auras or energy fields or pheromones. Whatever it is that calls me. Whatever puts me in that right time, at that right place.

The beauty of recognising those silent moments, those quiet moments when your body tells you to drop everything and run.

Where you bound upstairs at midnight, and time stops for a moment, and you reach him just as he’s standing in his crib gasping for breath. You thank God or Gods or Goddesses. And you don’t question how you knew or why, because these are the privileged moments, the ones where it feels like a blessing.

My baby, my boy, my young man. I know him. I knew him in utero, felt who he would be and knew his face. I speak through walls to him.

More than a mother’s instinct.

When he was young I told him I always knew. I knew things like what he had in his hands from two rooms away. I would find myself calling his name right before he was about to call mine.

I told him that all Mothers have a magic eye. He would ask me to show him and I said it couldn’t be seen, like most things magic, and he would gently rub my forehead.

Everything a natural check and balance between love and hate, magic and mundane, privilege and weight.

I don’t think I could carry so much beauty, something I have grown to see as my compass, something that provides so much wisdom — without carrying some of the burden.

I never asked for this.

It was somehow bestowed upon me or born in me. Connected like strings pulling limbs and making fingers move. Dependent, cohabitation, mutualistic — a universal ecosystem, like the forest, clockwise, cyclical.

Like the moon and tide.

Sometimes you wax and sometimes you wane.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends A Witch Alone (Thirteen Moons to Master Natural Magic).



Courtney Quinlan

Courtney Quinlan is a lover of words and how you can craft them together, piece by piece and build a story, or a moment in time that speaks to someone. She lives in Vermont, as a single parent, with her son who is on the autism spectrum and advocates fiercely for him and others with disabilities. She volunteers as a parent advocate and editor for The Urban Howl and Wild Heart Writers and is a contributing author of poetry and prose. She can generally be found lost in a whirlwind of creative thought, she is unfiltered and fairly transparent. She is passionate about empowering women and social justice issues. She likes to get crafty, making beaded jewelry and crafts and photography inspired by the natural world around her. She is a sarcastic lover of humor and is blessed to be able to laugh at herself and find the irony in stressful situations. Rarely embarrassed and often clumsy she is practicing the art of vulnerability and can be found just throwing her whole self out there!

  1. Thank you bunches! <3 so honored to share this space.

  2. Bonnie Rose


    It is Sunday. I sit here reading your words, as tears stream. I read, over and over, as I
    am reading me. I AM the same woman. I AM the same woman whose creativity has
    but a flicker left, before the light disappears. I no longer paint, I rarely write, and my
    heart aches to be touched and held by he, my Muse that I pushed away with every
    wall that I could build, so as to not be hurt. I fear it is too late in my life to reignite
    the light that once was. I must believe that it is never too late..

    Thank you for your words. Today, I will pick up my journal and write the words that
    are deeply hidden and gripping at my heart.

    • Oh…I’m so happy this touched something in you!! It’s never too late. All creative people have lulls <3 so much love to you….keep revisiting your journal -best, Courtney

  3. Tears… Lots of them, mainly because I suddenly realized that I’m not alone, that the words I try express about how I feel, you have captured. Thank you from the bottom of my soul

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