I was born in Brooklyn, New York in the mid 1960s. It was one of those hot, sticky, summer days when Mom went into labor with me. It became a hot, sticky, summer evening.
Late into the night the temperature suddenly dropped. The nurses rushed from room to room giving the patients blankets to protect them from the sudden cold. The thunder and lightning started, and there was wind, then hail and torrential rain.
I was born during the storm.
I don’t remember any of this, of course. My mother never forgets this and tells me this story almost every year on my birthday.
For someone who made such a dramatic entrance into the world I am rather low key. Unlike another stormborn character, I am more Mother of Cats than Mother of Dragons.
I spent my early childhood in Brooklyn periodically freaking my mother out by answering questions she was thinking but hadn’t said aloud. I would also suggest we visit people she was thinking about. To this day I will call her and she will answer saying she was just thinking about me. She’s not the only one I do this to.
I have a few vivid memories from my very early years in Brooklyn. I recall having to go to bed when the sun was still up. It was evening and summertime and I could hear the older kids outside playing. I would lay in bed, close my eyes, and imagine flying out the window. I’d fly up and down the block, up over the church down the street, and see the people walking and shopping along the avenue. Once in a while I’d fly straight up through the atmosphere into dark, starry space where is was nice and quiet. I did that all summer long. Years later I learned the Cube of Space meditation and realized I had being doing a four year old child’s variation of it.
It wasn’t until I was about eleven or twelve that I began to realize I was a bit odd.
We were living in our own house on Staten Island then and I was going to Catholic school. Our class took a trip into Manhattan to see some sights that native New Yorkers usually ignore. One stop on this trip was Trinity Church.
There is an old graveyard next to the church and we could walk among tombstones, some of which have been in place since about 1660. When our group was called over to go in for a tour I got to the door first. I grabbed the handle and suddenly I was in a church, in the choir loft and I was trying to stop a wedding. I was a young, heart-broken man and I could see people down in front of the altar. The love of my life was marrying someone else and I couldn’t let that happen. The man I was called out and the groom and his men turned to me. There was an argument across the church. I’m not clear which of them shot me. Next thing I know I’m standing on the main floor of the church looking down at my body where it landed when it fell from the choir loft. The groom, his men, and the bride were all there. She was very upset by this and I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around what happened. The kid behind me on line outside the church poked me in the shoulder and snapped me out of it. I had grabbed the door handle and froze for a second as far as my classmates could tell. It felt like fifteen minutes to me.
I can’t find any record of these events happening at Trinity Church. I am not certain what it was that I experienced. There are lots of theories from the people I share this story with. Was it spontaneous past-life regression? Did I pick up something from a spirit in the cemetery? I honestly don’t know. I do know the experience felt as real as my sitting here now typing feels real.
Being me, I couldn’t just leave it alone.
My familiarity with the local parish priests convinced me they would not be able to answer my questions, even if they were inclined to entertain them in the first place. I did what every blossoming nerd does: I went to the library. There I found the metaphysical section.
I pestered my mother to let me have an adult library card so I could borrow a broader selection of books which would help with my homework and term papers. I glossed over my interest in the weirdness. My best friend and I did our science fair project on hypnosis. The books I read on that led me to books on hauntings and possession. These led to books on ghosts and alternate realities and all sorts of things. Over the next two years I read or perused every book in that section of the library.
The same science fair friend and I even bought a Ouija board at the parish Christmas Fair. I’ll never forget bringing it to her house one night when I slept over and trying to summon Thomas Jefferson. I did mention we were nerds, right? I don’t know who or what we contacted but when the planchette started pulling our hands across the board we freaked out and let go of it. She ran and got holy water that her very Catholic mom kept all over the house. We doused the thing in holy water, tied it up in a couple of garbage bags and put it out in her trash right then and there. Good and truly spooked we watched some television and pretended the whole thing never happened.
All that reading and perusing did help me over the years. I had language for the things I was feeling and the odd occurrences that were happening. As I got older I got more comfortable with what was going on. I recognized deja vu when it happened and the physical symptoms that go with it didn’t worry me anymore. On occasion I would know things I had no reason to know. Once, in high school, I even prevented a car accident because of a precognitive dream. I had gotten used to this but the boyfriend I was with at the time was a bit freaked out when it happened. To his credit he didn’t break up with me over that. I did save his life after all.
A few months later he and I were in Waldenbooks together. After the not-accident we spent a lot of time talking about some very deep things and wondering out loud to each other about the nature of the universe and life in general. We discussed the things I learned from those library books and that day in Waldenbooks he’s the one who pushed me to buy the tarot cards he knew I wanted to buy. I’m eternally grateful to him for that. That was 1982. I was seventeen. I’ve been reading those cards ever since.
The boyfriend and I went our separate ways eventually and married other people. We managed to stay on pretty friendly terms and a few times a year I’d think about him and he’d call me. He died in 1992. I still think about him a few times a year and he makes his presence known.
Sometime during my late teen years, while attending an all girls Catholic high school, I admitted to myself that the Catholic Church really wasn’t for me. Organized religion of any stripe doesn’t work for me. I do understand sincere religious devotion and I respect it. I’m cut from different cloth. While I could go on for pages and pages about my thoughts on religion and belief I will say this: I think it’s the height of arrogance to tell someone how, and when they should communicate with the Creator. A belief system should make your life better and make you as a person better. If what you are doing is working for you than you should keep doing it.
If you need some insight or guidance I’m here to help.