Carol Ann Scheiner has been a field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ever since her son committed suicide in 2010.
“I’ve been seeing Patty since my son passed away,” she said. “And she, by all purposes, saved my life.” Patty is Patricia Farrell, one of half a dozen individuals giving readings at the recent Mystical Celebration fundraising event at the Senior Center in Secaucus.
The Mystical Celebration events began back in 2001 or 2002 as a way to raise money for the Food Pantry. Now it also funds the Secaucus Emergency Fund. Events are held twice a year.
Typically they raise between $800 and $1,000 for the causes.
The content and style of each reading differ depending upon the person providing it, with some readers specializing in tarot or astrology. Farrell offers mediumship, making “a connection with loved ones who have passed on,” according to her bio.
“She has told me things about my family that nobody knows,” said Scheiner. “She got me to think about myself because those were dark days after my son died. She has put my mind at ease many times. To know that my son is okay where he is.”
“It’s fun and you get a little tidbit about life and maybe some guidance.” –Ashli Batur
Different types of readings
“I lost my father, my brother, and my grandmother in one year,” said Secaucus resident Lane Lees. “And I tell you, you’re never so vulnerable as when you lose somebody you love.”
Describing herself as “skeptically open,” she came to the Mystical Celebration because a friend called and invited her along. “I used to really like these things. I’m interested, but a little less than I used to be, so I’m coming along and doing it because it’s a good price.”
Nonetheless, she got at least one benefit from the experience. “I was just looking at The Secaucus Reporter and thinking it would be good to know someone who’s connected to the paper,” she said with a laugh. “Isn’t that funny? I think that’s really why I’m here.”
Ashli Batur is a soccer mom in town who came straight from her daughter’s game to the event. She got her first reading at a Mystical Celebration three years ago when she worked at the event selling jewelry.
“I liked it,” she recalled. “It was very spiritual and she opened up some ideas about myself, my energy, and my life.”
Although she doesn’t get readings often, Batur said she came today because “they’re right here in Secaucus. It’s local, it’s convenient. I walk in, I see my two girlfriends sitting on the couch. My mom and my sister were already inside because they came straight from the game. It’s awesome. You’re doing it with friends and family. It’s fun and you get a little tidbit about life and maybe some guidance.”
Attendees looked over a sheet providing bios of the different readers and signed up for their favorite. Batur selected Ray Sette, “spiritualist, psychic/astrologer, medium.”
“I liked what he had to say the best,” she said. “He seems a little bit broader than the rest of them. A couple of the others were very into being a medium and he seems more all-around. I like people who can read your vibe. I’m not so much into the mediums.”
Emily Alfarano met with Ray and was surprised at what he told her. “It was interesting. I’ve never been to that kind of a reader before. I’m more used to psychic readings. He was talking a lot about the house, de-cluttering, things like that. Letting go of things in the house that are blocking the energy.”
“You have to change your energy,” interpreted Lees. “It’s an intentional thing that you do, when you intentionally clear your environment. It’s symbolic.”
Developing spiritual abilities
Gina D’Arrigo, calling herself an “artist of energy,” sold her Soul Charming line of handmade jewelry at the event. “I channel information to create a piece,” she said. “I get images, symbolism, and by creating the piece I help bring out qualities that are specific to the person. And I manifest it into a piece for them to work with so it helps them come into their fullness in this lifetime. It’s a birthing process because this is like somebody’s fingerprint, their spiritual fingerprint.”
In addition to crafting jewelry, D’Arrigo also gives readings on occasion. “Ever since I was little I’ve been able to do things, see things, hear things. It’s a blessing. You just have to learn how to work with it. It’s an interesting process to find out that not every kid can do what you do. So then you don’t really tell anybody anymore.”
It was only after a serious car accident that D’Arrigo began focusing on her spiritual gifts. “It forced me to be on my back 24/7 and really get in touch with God,” she said. “What am I supposed to be doing? That’s what matters to me. Now as an adult I own it. This is who I am. These are my gifts. I’m here to be of service.”
Judi Arcuti underwent a similar metamorphosis before becoming an “intuitive reader.” Interested in spirituality as a kid, she put it aside when she got married and had children of her own. Then she separated from her husband and developed breast cancer.
She began attending regular sessions at Mystical World, in Lyndhurst, the sponsors of the Mystical Celebration, and studied meditation and spirituality. It was while working on her own spirituality that she realized she could provide readings to others, and became one of the readers at the Mystical Celebration.
“I think anyone can do it,” she said of her latent spiritual ability. “I think we all have it; it’s just being open to doing it. Everything is a sequence of learning. Anybody can learn to play the piano, but not everybody’s a Mozart.”
Art Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.