A “medium” is someone who mediates communication between the living and the dead. Now, admittedly, that sounds a little wacky as I type it, and a little like something not to be messed with. That’s what I’ve always thought, but my curiosity around the idea that God could somehow be present in this is still there.
I went to the West Tisbury library twice to listen to Constance Messmer give talks about mediumship and psychic abilities. Both times, but especially the most recent presentation a couple of weeks ago, “What Do the Ancestors Want from Us?” with her friend Dr. Stephani Stephens, really set me to thinking where God might be found in all of this. And Constance referred to “spirit” several times, and, like the first time I heard her speak to a group, she was adamant that everyone has the ability to reach this higher plane or frequency she seems to operate from.
I thought about it for a while, and then I called Constance. I was nervous, and wasn’t sure she’d agree to talk with me for a column about faith. She asked me what the article would be about and I’m pretty sure I said something like, “The God part.” Then she said, in a much more enthusiastic voice, “Oh! OK!”
We set up a time to talk at her office in Chilmark, postponed a day due to up-Island power outages. I was still nervous the few days leading up to meeting her. We have the same name, though, and I knew from her website that she was from the Midwest, just like me. And I had the feeling that Constance has a strong faith. You know, just a feeling.
Constance greeted me warmly, and we walked into a sparse but inviting space, with lots of honey-colored wood. She brought me into a room with a table for Reiki and Bowen therapy sessions, as well as the place where she sees clients for psychic readings, channeling, healing, and something aptly called “soul empowerment.” There was a canning jar filled with water waiting for me, which I thought was funny because I bring one back and forth to work every day.
I asked about her childhood, and when she first began to realize she had abilities.
“I’ve always had that connection of talking to God,” she said. “And then seeing things and hearing things that other people didn’t see or hear.”
Constance told me she was raised Catholic, and comes from a very prayerful family.
“From a very young age, I knew there was a difference between the voice of the divine within and my own voice.”
She told me she came from Iowa, and came to the Vineyard in the 1980s to work between college semesters. “I thought it was beautiful here,” Constance said. “I’d been to Ireland, and it reminded me of the pastures and stone walls, and it really hooked into the country girl in me.”
When she first moved to the Vineyard after college, though, she didn’t tell people about what she was capable of, because when she did tell them, they didn’t believe her. “But I knew it was divinely guided,” she said.
She eventually opened up her business on the Island, and was doing body work — Reiki and the Bowen technique, but the business wasn’t really “kicking in,” she said.
“God kept saying, ‘Do the psychic work with it … read people’s souls, tell them what you see, where the pain is, and where the ancient pain is, and what it has to do with not living their truth.’ And it wasn’t until I did that that my work took off.”
Now, I came to believe years ago that talking with God and “hearing” him answer is something that people can do, and I always wished it was something I could do. When I worked for the Catholic Church, I’d have discussions with priests, nuns, and even spiritual directors who talked about “listening for the voice of God.” If you devote time in your day to giving him thanks and asking God what you can do for him, he just might tell you, but you have to figure out how to listen.
One of the most important bits of information I believe I got from my conversation with Constance was this:
“God said, ‘You’re going to be able to see in people’s hearts, and see what’s keeping them from me,’” Constance said about what God had told her. “My favorite work is to get people to learn the difference, and to listen to which part is ego, with mind restraints, and the difference between that voice and the divine consciousness. I want to teach people to rise above that voice and find the divine consciousness. That’s really my life’s work; I want people to live from that place.”
Wouldn’t that be incredible? To be so close to God that you live in that light. Now that’s a powerful goal to work on.
“When you take the time to sit with God, a few different things could happen,” Constance said. “You could go in with questions, like, Can you help me see what I’m not seeing? And sometimes God just wants you to sit in his presence. And that is love, pure love. It shifts your whole essence if you stay in there enough.”
She quoted the New Testament verse, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Constance recommended putting aside time, saying to God, “I want to get close to you,” then notice any subtle sensation, phrases, words, and images that come to you.
“Don’t be afraid of having a profound spiritual experience,” she said. “He wants to be the God of our hearts.”
The conversation was pretty incredible, and I felt like I’d gone on a long journey in one afternoon. I felt like my mind opened up a bit.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, at 10:30 am, the Rev. Charlotte Wright will lead the Federated Church in her last service with the church as the interim minister. According to a press release from the church, they’ve greatly appreciated “her wonderful assistance during an ongoing series of transitions in the church this year.” For the past five months Pastor Wright has worked with the church council, the diaconate, and the lay leadership as they prepared for their new settled pastor. There will be a coffee hour to thank Wright after the service.
Also at the Federated Church, they plan to celebrate All Saints Day on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the 10:30 am service. It will be the first service with the Rev. Richard S. DenUyl Jr., the new settled pastor. You are invited to bring a framed photo of someone special in your life who has passed away, to be placed on a special table in front of the pulpit for the service.
For more information about any of these events, call 508-627-4421 or email email@example.com.