I have always been lucky to be surrounded by good witches in life. Wise people who see things, feel things, sense things from deep within themselves and offer you guidance. When I was in my early twenties, my best friend since grade school, Deborah, grabbed onto both of my arms in the middle of New York’s Avenue A to tell me that she could see my aura. She was an Ivy League graduate, a Long Island-born Jewish goddess, who had never had any sort of New Age training other than having her Tarot Cards read in a moment of existential angst. But there she was, proclaiming during a ridiculous, tearful argument we were having on that crowded sidewalk, that she could see my aura, that I was surrounded by a purple light and that everything was insignificant compared to the grandeur she had just visually witnessed around me.
Looking back on this now as I write this, I realize my friend may have had psychic abilities she was not aware of. She probably had synesthesia to be exact, but we’ll explore that later. Deborah is no longer with us on this planet. Cancer took her away from us at too young an age, so I cannot ask her if she could see other people’s auras or if she had had other experiences within the psychic realm. But what I can add to this story is that our mutual childhood friend Alexandra, a Venezuelan-born beauty with an old soul, had written to Deborah a year before her passing to tell her that she had had a dream where she saw Deborah’s death, this before any cancer diagnosis. She immediately wrote me in a panic to ask me what I thought Alexandra’s dream meant. Doesn’t mean a thing, I told her. Alexandra just saw a symbol of your metaphorical rebirth. Don’t worry, I said, it’s just a dream.
Believers & Skeptics
Many have had these scientifically inexplicable moments that cause tension between their instinctual, right side of their brain and their analytical left-brain one. They are Twilight Zone moments when we think we may actually possess special abilities, or that someone we know does, or that we have a psychic connection with someone else on this planet.
But what are we to believe and should one go around telling everyone about their experience? I would probably limit it to your most intimate circle because most will think you are bonkers. In 2018, The Guardian pointed to a 1988 report by the US National Research Council that found “no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena.” And we report that this same council has found no evidence since then. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see how much the scientific world relishes in dismissing and ridiculing psychic phenomena. Thankfully, there are a few brave heretical believers out there like the physicists Freeman Dyson and Brian Josephson who acknowledge the possible existence of telepathy for instance.
Skeptics still outnumber believers in the United States, but not by as much as you’d think. Polls tend to show that about a third to half of Americans believe in phenomena such as precognition or telepathy. For example, in a YouGov poll, 34% of the respondents said they believe they’ve had some sort of psychic episode. As is expected, it’s more common among women (40%) than men (29%).
But if we lean toward skepticism are we denying our inner intuition as people who come from Mother Nature? That gut instinct that protects us and the ones we love from danger better than any modern app can? For Laura Lynn Jackson, the author of The Light Between, and contributor to Oprah magazine these unexplained occurrences reveal that you are psychically in tune with the universe. “Being psychic is nothing to be frightened of. It means we are more connected than we could even dream and more invested in each other’s experiences. Honoring your psychic abilities will help you feel that connection.”
How to Tell if You’re Actually Psychic
You may possess psychic abilities if you have had moments like these: You’ve communicated with someone without having to utter a word (telepathy). You experience déjà vu a lot about people and places. You’re highly aware of other people’s emotions, feeling them as if they were your own and even if they’re on the other side of the world. You have extremely vivid dreams and recurring ones and can remember every detail of them even after you awake. A deceased family member has visited you in a bone-chilling realistic dream that was like an out of body experience. You know in your gut that someone has been in an accident before you get the confirmation. You suddenly decided one day to wait another five minutes to take the next train and on that very train you met your future spouse for the first time… There are many more types of psychic powers, like healing with your hands and seeing other people’s pasts and futures, but these are just some.
Jackson says that psychic abilities can often sit quietly, then suddenly emerge when we’re not focused on them. “Or perhaps you’ve had a strong urge, while driving, to avoid a certain way home…only to find out later that there had been a terrible accident on the route you were on. Most of us have had these gut feelings — also known as intuitive pulls. But a psychic pull is even more clear: It feels almost like having a magnet in your solar plexus area that pulls you toward or away from something. This feeling is typically coupled with a clear sense of knowing (which is called claircognizance).”
What my friend Alexandra — who dreamt about our friend Deborah`s death a year before her passing — may be a precognitive empath. Judith Orloff, MD, describes them as people who see things about the future, either while they’re awake or in their dreams. According to Orloff, “they may receive these premonitions spontaneously or when they intentionally tune in — a skill that can be developed with practice.”
What Deborah tapped into that day when she told me saw my purple aura was an extraordinary sensory condition known as synesthesia. In the science world, it’s perhaps one of the psychic abilities that are most accepted. What happens to people who have synesthesia is that they might meet a person and their neurons associate them with a color or a melody or an object. According to PubMed, researchers are still unsure about how common synesthesia is. One 2006 study proposed that it occurs in only 2 to 4 percent of the population.
I looked up what having a purple aura means and what Deborah’s vision of me meant. Turns out having a violet aura symbolizes one’s desire to seek answers that can help you figure out what to do with your life or understand who you are as a person. Yep, that’s where I was in my life back then in my early twenties standing there with her. It’s nice to be connected with people who have the ability to really see you and the big picture of things. Whether you are a believer or remain skeptical, the truth is the eerie beauty of all these strange and magical moments make us feel all the more in sync with the world and with others.