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 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.
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.
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).