I don't believe in coincidence.

There are some moments in time that blow my mind. This past week was one of them. And it’s why, yet again, I am reminded that there is no such thing as coincidence. You may have been feeling and experiencing it- an explosion of uncanny parallels, confluence, and serendipity that leaves you feeling like you might be losing it, perhaps imagining the connections or creating patterns where there surely must be only chaos. It must be a coincidence, right?

Wrong. There is an order to things.

Last weekend, I got engaged to my boyfriend. I love him. He is my person. It was a victory over my own fears around close relationships. I had grown up in a home with parents that were mentally ill and abusive, and several of my professional and personal dynamics had reflected this early paradigm for years. I had believed people were going to be sh*tty, self-serving, unpredictable, and eventually let me down, and with great frequency I was proven right.

Not the best way to embrace the law of attraction, is it?

This time, it was different. I was different. For years, and with lots of help (and energy work!), I had made a concerted effort to not react out of fear. To not act on the old muscle memory of being alone, where things made sense and I was in “control”. But my spirit guides, including an acerbic, man-hating Archangel and my skeptical, protective Dead Grandmother, were adamant that my boyfriend was the right person and that I, quote, “needed to let a miracle happen.”

I’m not going to lie. It was hard. Thank God for a medical marijuana prescription (it’s medicine- don’t judge me). But I did it. He did his hard stuff, too. And a miracle happened for both of us.

Then, just like the archetypal villain Voldemort of Harry Potter fame, my mother emerged, seemingly from thin air. The timing was uncanny, but not if you understand how energy works. Or if you watch Harry Potter movies.

I could sense something was wrong before I even saw the passive aggressive grenade parked in the comments on my engagement announcement on Instagram. My version of the Harry Potter lightning strike scar had flared up- in my case, a recurrent urinary tract infection- as I read my mother’s comment and promptly deleted it, blocked her, took cranberry supplements and started chugging water. I started to spiral. Why did I have to share my good news? Don’t I know that I can’t have moments like this without having to pay the price?

Then, with a clarity I’ve never experienced, I suddenly realized that the bladder infection was undeniably connected to the energy of this interchange. The sacral chakra is all about survival: money, matrilineal ancestry, family dynamics, personal space, security, respect and personal power, and every time I’ve ever had a cluster of these painful infections (or their evil cousin, the kidney stone!) it’s always during a time in my life in which my ability to provide for myself or be proud of my achievements was being challenged. This was an energetic and physical point of vulnerability, and one with intensely painful health consequences.

So, if I wanted to be healthy and free of these painful infections, I needed to deal with the situation.

But how does one take on the proverbial Voldemort? I reflected on our recent Harry Potter movie marathon, and realized that I had a fairly solid frame of reference:

#1: Speak the truth. You don’t skirt around the issue with phrases like, “He who shall not be named.” That sh*t didn't work for Voldemort and it's not going to work here. Ignorance or denial or aversion isn’t going to help you- in fact, it tends to give power to your nemesis. Besides, you can’t avoid this kind of energy away. And there’s no compromising or arguing with a narcissist.

So, I sent an email. I copied my stepfather, siblings, and siblings’ spouses. And I called it like I saw it: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I included resources for continued reading regarding the condition and its impacts on immediate family members. And then I walked away from my computer, feeling emotionally exhausted, understanding that this could go in a myriad of directions that I couldn’t control. But I could tell the truth, and that's what I did.

#2: Establish boundaries. With any negative energy or energy vampire or- for that matter- narcissist, boundaries are everything. In my shamanic experience, asserting yourself in “mundane reality” always has positive spiritual outcomes. Establishing clear boundaries with family members, friends and/or co-workers creates boundaries with the unseen energies around you as well. And, with any “magic”, your behavioral boundaries become literal metaphysical boundaries, equipping you with an impenetrable spiritual threshold that protects your spirit, your body, and your home. Be clear, be direct, be consistent, and don’t vacillate once you make a decision. You’ll be surprised how this action will cascade across your whole life- for the better!

#3: Allow for a happy ending. Even though it was the right thing to do and I knew, just knew, that if I sent this email I would never get a UTI again…it was still scary and stressful. What if my siblings never talked to me again? What if there was retribution or punishment for asserting my point of view? But, as in the Harry Potter books, I also knew that the best defense against this energy was what’s called a “Patronus”- a charm that is conjured by thinking of the happiest, most meaningful memory in your life, a bright light that crowds out anything negative or harmful.

So I hit “send” choosing to hope that something good would come of it, and it did. After several decades of barely having a relationship with my siblings, I received messages from them affirming my experience, thanking me for the honesty, and requesting that we all have relationships separately from my mother. It was the biggest, best feeling I’ve ever had in my heart, and I immediately thanked spirit for the direction to do the right thing. I’m now looking forward to finally getting to know my siblings and allowing these new relationships into my life.

#4: Take the silver lining. Besides, there's a silver lining report- contact with negative beings can give you superpowers! In Harry Potter’s case, his connection to Voldemort gave him the ability to speak “parseltongue”- aka the ability to communicate with snakes. For me, I truly believe that growing up with my parents equipped me for a world filled with narcissists, liars, gas lighters, manipulators, and negative entities. This “power” is frequently referred to in shamanism as “warrior medicine”: the ability to infer and intuit the truth beneath the lies of our world. It’s like an early warning system for who to trust and who to avoid, which situations are dangerous or positive, and how best to navigate this complex spiritual and material landscape. This warrior medicine also permeates my energy work, enabling me to remove negative energies or memories through holographic, multi-dimensional sessions, reconfiguring the client’s system to empower and assist them as they grow in the right direction.

I’m grateful for my parents. I think I picked them long before I was ever born. I now look at my childhood as an ultra-dimensional training ground, and am more dedicated than ever to leverage my lessons learned for the benefit of others, particularly my clients in TOTEM.

I’m not sharing this story for ego affirmation or a public pat on the back. If anything- and as any child from a dysfunctional home will tell you- it’s embarrassing. It’s hard. It feels kind of gross. It’s scary. It’s ugly. It’s a risk to take, both as a person and as a business owner. Not to mention that both of my parents are hilariously litigious for individuals without much in terms of financial or legal resources. But then I remembered the shamanic value of “saying brave things” and besides…stuff got even weirder and more shaman-y after this email, and I just couldn’t resist sharing the rest of the story in the event it’s of benefit to someone else.

After hearing back from my siblings and realizing I wasn’t a permanently destructive email monster, I went to sleep and had an incredible totem animal dream about black panthers! In this dream, there was a large facility with megalithic structures and impossibly huge black panthers with shocking, beautiful bright blue eyes. I was, reasonably, afraid of these massive cats and kept navigating from room to room, discovering a particularly large feline following me with interest. Then, I was suddenly out of the facility, holding a very large baby black panther. Hilariously, it was wearing a dog harness and was trying to nibble on my fingers like a puppy. A voice said, “This one will be gentler and easier to manage than the others you saw. This is yours now.”

I woke up knowing I had a new totem animal, something I had desperately wanted for a long time. I knew it was a sign that I had shifted something big, and when I researched the meaning of black panther on my cell phone, still in bed, I discovered that they have been revered by shamans and priests of various cultures and continents, leveraged as a protective ally for those becoming more assertive, truthful and, for want of a better term, those that embody righteous indignance. And, of course, it was associated with the Full Moon (which was the next day) and powerful feminine energy. I also learned that, as babies, these animals have bright blue eyes...something I never knew prior to this dream.

I then wandered out into the living room that morning to check email and the news…and saw that notorious human trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested by the FBI overnight. I have followed the Epstein case for years- long before the Netflix documentaries or his arrest and “suicide”. I was fascinated (and horrified) by the unsavory connections to revered stars, world leaders of politics and industry, and the machine of espionage and social control managed through the currency of blackmail, all at the cost of traumatizing and abusing young women. In a way, the Epstein case and arrest of Ghislaine was the very cornerstone of the narcissistic manipulation permeating our society. Her arrest was a big deal to me.

And I knew something larger was shifting. That my own succession of recent experiences and my new totem animal were a microcosm of the larger macrocosm, and I was thrilled at the prospect of what this meant for society. Are these the changes we’ve been waiting for? Are the “good guys” winning? Are things really, actually changing for the better? Are we calling things what they are, confronting things that had previously been limited to the dark?

In the days that followed the dream, black panthers were everywhere: walked into the living room and the jaguar scene of Apocolypto is on; got the Strength card in a reading with a deck featuring a black panther; then, when commenting on how much I loved the original Batman logo on someone’s t-shirt outside of Whole Foods, I saw two more t-shirts with the same logo, all within the next 20 seconds. And then I immediately saw the batman logo on a license plate on car. Which model of car? A black Jaguar, of course;)

Now, I know this sounds like the kind of dot-connecting that crazy people at the bus stop are famous for, but shamanism tells us these are signs to affirm our experiences. The feeling when you're in it is unmistakable- I even attempted a dorky high-five I was so excited by the rapid fire signs and symbols! It was encouragement from the spirit that exists beyond the control matrix, piercing the veil to connect and communicate with us as we focus on our shamanic missions. And it feels good.

I was reminded that the work I do at TOTEM is important. It is the same stuff that has worked, time and time again, for me. Whether you believe in unseen forces or negative entities or just want help identifying and navigating intersections with negative or psychologically-harmful people, shamanism can help.

As we head into the last week of Mercury Retrograde- with a Chiron (the celestial "wounded healer') square happening this coming Sunday- take advantage of this energy to clean house, re-asses relationships and dynamics, and re-assert boundaries where and when needed. This is a great week to create the space needed to welcome new, wonderful, happy things into your life. And, when in doubt, be vulnerable and tell the truth. It's what I'm doing with this email because I trust my clients. If this doesn't resonate with everyone, that's okay- it's just for those that find something useful in it.

And, of course, if you have any questions or want to learn more about our divination or energy work services, email me anytime at: totemrach@gmail.com. TOTEM is hosting several small group workshops that support the work of establishing energy boundaries, conjuring "patronus" charms, and working to receive tangible abundance- aka the "good stuff" in life.

I'll just leave you with the words of the wisest and craziest fictional character- Rust Cohle, of HBO's True Detective:

“You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing...Well, once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.”

Take care of yourself. Create boundaries. Allow for miracles. And get ready for the good stuff.