Usually this blog covers scientific research into psi phenomena. Occasionally I also relate anecdotes and other less formal kinds of data. I thought the readers of this blog would find it a nice change of pace to hear from a practitioner whose work touches on the research covered by this blog. So I invited Marcel Cairo to talk about his work as a medium for the enjoyment of our readers.
AMNAP: First of all, Marcel, thanks for agreeing to perform a reading for me and having an article written about it, published here a few days ago. And second, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed about your work as a medium. I think AMNAP's readers would be fascinated to hear what you have to say about your work communicating with those who have passed on.
Here is my first question. How did you come to practice mediumship?
Marcel: This is a question that I get a lot, most likely, all mediums are asked this question at regular intervals. I think people are looking for what I call a “burning bush” moment. A special moment in history when God or spirit appear to man and ask for his/her assistance in carrying forward their heavenly message. Well, sorry to disappoint, but there was no “burning bush” that beckoned me to this work. In my case, my development as a medium was a classic case of nature and nurture coming together to awaken my awareness.
I say nurture because I grew up in a household where scientific, intellectual, spiritual and philosophical discussions were common dinner table fodder. My mother was, and still is, as an extreme a mom as you can ever imagine. A fiercely independent doctor who questioned and challenged the establishment at every step of the way, my mother taught me and my three brothers to question authority, defy convention and let the universe be our teacher.
Anyway, while other kids lived behind closed doors, my house was Grand Central station for all types of freaks, creeps, gurus and geniuses that one way or another made their way through San Antonio, Texas. I can remember astronomers, mathematicians, athletes, artists, ex-cons, lunatics, you name it. To me, though, they were all gypsies possessing some secret or another about life. Often times, my mom would pull out the Ziriya board (a Ziriya talking board) and hold sÃ©ances. She would have me join in as she believed that children were better at channeling spiritual energy than adults. Now remember, my Mom was a doctor and researcher. To her, this wasn’t anything more than an investigation into energy and it’s continuation after death.
To make a long story short, in 9th grade at the age of 15, I asked a good friend of mine to have lunch with me. During our lunch, not knowing why, I asked her what she would do if her father died. She was taken aback be the question, and soon the subject was changed. When she arrived home that day, she was told that her father who had been on a business trip to El Paso, had fallen asleep at the wheel and died in a car crash. Even though her father was already dead by the time I had asked her this question, I felt extremely guilty and somehow blamed myself for not having done something to prevent the accident. At this same time, one of my mom’s frequent gypsies introduced me to the spiritualist church (www.nsac.org), and it is there that I began a very long apprenticeship under the wings of an honest, talented and compassionate reverend (and medium).
AMNAP: Marcel, have you always had a spiritual belief, or were you ever a doubter or a scoffer at the notion of survival after death?
Marcel: I am constantly challenging my own beliefs and am always looking to learn from others. My doubts are doubts I have of my own self; my own shortcomings as a human, as a father, as a friend, a husband, etc. Like most people, I am my own worst enemy, and can often become self-defeating. Luckily, my own awareness and my spiritual support team are there to kick me in the ass and make me snap back into a positive mode. If I scoff at anything, it is at my own ego, and how often that ego makes a fool of me when I think I know better. Spirit has been too good and forgiving of me for me to scoff at it.
AMNAP: What do you think is the purpose of life, given the work that you do?
Marcel: For me, the purpose of life is quite simple. To love. To forgive. To laugh. I can’t think of anything that feels as good physically or spiritually as those three things.
AMNAP: Do you protect yourself from any possible "negative entities" when communicating with the deceased? Ever have negative experiences while doing this work?
Marcel: Very rarely do I encounter “negative” entities, but they are there. When I do encounter them, they are mostly spirits that are commonly termed “earth-bound angels,” those who are still resisting letting go of their earthly addictions or their carnal cravings. The way I protect myself is by telling them to keep their distance while communicating with me. I also depend on my spiritual crew to protect me. Just six months ago, I did a reading for a woman who I had seen once prior. In our reading, an uncle-in-law stepped in who while on Earth had been quite “evil and clever,” to put it in my client’s terms. He was still very disturbed in some ways, and was mocking my client by taunting her with painful memories that had rocked her family. This entity started to make me feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable. I couldn’t even look in his direction because he was so unsettling. Eventually, I had to ask my “bouncers” to show him the door. That’s the thing to remember as a medium, that even though you no control over the information that comes through, you still have free will to just say no or close down. Many mediums just beginning get so excited and caught up in the communication process that they forget to protect themselves or close down when necessary.
AMNAP: How does your family feel about your avocation for mediumship?
Marcel: That’s quite funny that you ask this question because only last year, after 22 years of doing this, did I start telling both my brothers and friends of my mediumship abilities. My brothers knew that I was a “spiritualist” and attended a spiritualist church from time to time, but they had no idea that I was a medium until last year. I told my mom a couple of years ago.
Why did I hide this part of me for so long? I guess because I am a very private person on one level, and because I never wanted my vocation to define me. I don’t walk into every situation in life broadcasting that I can talk to the dead like I’m something special. It’s totally irrelevant to who I am as a person. Sure, it’s helped me grow, but if people are going to care about me, it’s because I have earned that care by being a good relative or a friend.
AMNAP: Has it ever been difficult being a medium for you? Any regrets?
Marcel: Yes, it has. Being a medium means it’s a lot harder to deceive yourself. When I act selfishly, inappropriately or uncompassionate, I am immediately aware of it and feel the mighty sting of spirit rubbing my face in it. As a carnal being with an ego, I make at least a dozen mistakes a day, and have at least two dozen inappropriate thoughts every couple of hours. In sit-down readings, I often feel like a hypocrite when spirit starts to talk about my client’s spiritual shortcomings. I’m the first person to say, “Hey, don’t sweat it because I’m also no angel, and spirit still talks to me.”
Regrets? There are a few biggies. Mainly not preparing for a reading properly by either being drunk the night before or not getting enough sleep. If I get cocky, spirit makes me pay by humiliating me in front of clients or my wife. It’s painful.
AMNAP: What do you say about skeptics who claim that you cannot really communicate with the dead?
Marcel: I’m a fighter by nature, so my reactive instinct is to want to prove skeptics wrong. Sometimes I’m able to refrain from engaging them in battle, but more often than I care to mention, I end up goading them in to some kind of fruitless debate where no one wins and everyone’s time is wasted. Look, I’m not trying to change anyone’s belief system. All I really want is for people to entertain the idea that consciousness survival is possible and that if applied correctly, it can benefit your spiritual journey. In all honesty, I don’t have any problems with skeptics. Being skeptic only means that you are unsure, but open to new possibilities. It’s self-righteous cynics that I can’t stomach. Cynics thrive from destruction. That’s the kind of person I try to steer clear of.
AMNAP: Do you have any worries about your own death?
Marcel: I don’t fear death, but I dread dying. I was in New York on 9/11 and saw the collapse of the towers with my own eyes. I had nightmares for months afterwards and still have a difficult time with it all. My paranoia about flying has quadrupled. I’m also a father now, and I don’t think there’s enough I can do to protect my daughter. In my readings so many children come through for their parents, but in the end, it doesn’t mean a thing. There’s not much that can console a grieving parent. I understand that completely now.
AMNAP: What is your best personal story about mediumship where something that has come up in a reading?
Marcel: There are many things which delight me in each reading I am a part of. I am always in awe and wonder at what spirit manages to bring through. One of the things that really stands out in my mind goes back to a reading I did for a father who lost his four year-old son who was hit by a car as he and his mom were crossing the street. The parents were separated at the time of the accident, and quite expectantly, the father could not help but place some blame on the mother for the son’s death. This four year-old boy brought through so many validations that it was shocking even to me. It wasn’t just the things he said, but the maturity in which he said them. At the end of the reading, the boy asked the father to forgive his mother, that it wasn’t her fault, and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. The father was in tears, as this was a big request to make. Then, as if to seal the deal, the four year-old son made me raise my hand in the air with all my fingers spread out and go and place them on the hand of the father. After the father was able to speak through his emotions, he told me that he and his son never parted ways without first putting up their hands to each other, exactly the way the son had me do in that reading. It was very touching and emotional for me. It made me forget for a moment all the mistakes I make and all the struggles I sometimes have in other readings.
AMNAP: Anything else you would like to tell the readers about mediumship or the implications of your work?
Marcel: People who study PSI and other related topics hope that somehow survival of consciousness will be proven in a laboratory using the scientific method. I don’t think this is possible, because in the end, it really comes down to belief, not facts. I mean here we are nearing the year 2007, and we are still debating whether we came from from monkeys or Adam and Eve.
A good analogy here is the field of history. Though people say history repeats itself, in actuality, history cannot be repeated in a lab. Does that make it less real? Less worthy of serious study? In fact, most people think that history is an objective science, but it’s not. History is purely subjective in the eyes of the observer. Not one single event in history has been agreed to by all people. Not the Holocaust, not the landing on the moon, and not 9/11. Still, no one questions whether history happens. Everyone just question who’s version of history to believe.
As a medium, I have a simple mantra – aim for 100% honesty, not 100% accuracy. Mediumship, is a biography gathered from unreliable sources written in invisible ink on pages that don’t exist. It’s an imperfect form of communication for lack of a better one, but its proper application and careful study can be life defining. For me, the difference between those with faith and those without is just that; believers have something that can't be touched, and those who doubt, just doubt. I’m happy to believe. I’m even happier to know for sure.
AMNAP: Thanks again Marcel for sharing with the readers of this blog. I hope all our readers enjoyed this different approach to a topic than our usual emphasis on controlled experimental studies. . .