Or when the universe insisted on speaking to me? Either way.
I wasn’t even sure I was going to write this article but the universe saw fit to make me do it. The universe, God, Gods, whoever and whatever you choose to call your higher power is fine by me. I’ve referenced my intense superstitions in past articles and this one will be a, perhaps, frightening dive into the inner workings of my mind. This is where the non-superstitious can happily move along to another article.
My name is Shea, like the stadium if you’re a man or like the butter if you’re a woman. No, my parents aren’t Mets fans, I’m Irish. Ok, yes, I’m Irish and Italian that’s why I look very Italian and my maiden name is a classic Italian last name.
Great, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I can tell you what Shea means in Gaelic.
From my mother’s telling, which is supported, it means ‘from the faery fort’ usually pertaining to the idea that the name bearer is from the land of the unknown. The mythical land with elves and such, or ghosts, depending. Further research will show that it means “the stately dauntless one” (which I quite like) or “worth admiring” and “like a hawk”. All of which I’m quite content with.
My predisposition to superstitions could be from nurture or nature. A believer of God and the universe could say that it was written in the stars long ago. Perhaps that by design I am truly from the land of faeries and other mythical creatures. Others could say that my mother’s superstitious, therefore I am. My brother might disagree with you, but I think he could use a little magic in his life.
Growing up with these superstitions leaves you open to the magic that exists in the universe.
There are many people that can, and maybe should scoff at these types of things. Heck, even I do. As I was listening to Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein though I had a bit of an epiphany in terms of my life. Why was I constantly suppressing this “weird” side of me?
So here I am, listening to Gabrielle go on about angels, archangels, and guardian angels and I’m like…wait. This woman wrote a book, has a fan base, and an entire career surrounding these things I only tell myself. Why?
What compelled me to keep these things close to the chest instead of just rocking them?
As Gabrielle continued on, and I contemplated the reason why I suppressed an honestly huge part of myself so thoroughly. You see, in my personal life there was always so much turmoil, and there still is in some ways. More on that in a minute.
As you get older in life, you learn that old ‘wise’ people are just big kids oftentimes. What I’m getting at is that we never really grow up, we just grow wise. Wise people are those of us that have learned from life experiences and we heed their words. In every heart, we still yearn for love, protection, admiration, and magic. Those things don’t go away.
Back to nurture and nature.
I went to school for education, that turned into psychology, that turned into what the heck. What did I want to be? Who was I? Like many, I was in the midst of an identity crisis for much of my teenage and young adult years. I still revert back to existential crisis mode when I find a task or a circumstance particularly…irritating.
A few moments in my life brought me to that point. When I wanted to travel the U.S. with my now-husband, I fought the ‘what I should do and what I want to do’ fight for a year before we finally did go. For three months we traveled the U.S. visiting National Parks. It was by far the best thing I’ve ever done, as well as the scariest. But why did I fight it for so long?
Secondly was when I wanted an engagement ring. My now-husband said “What’s that going to change? Let’s have a kid if you’re serious.” He’s not terribly romantic, but I love him all the same. If it helps, he’s English and German, so he scowls more than smiles but it doesn’t mean he’s not happy. So, we had a kid. We did it ‘backward’.
But why does it matter in the long run anyway?
You see, my parents divorced when I was young. Both remarried, and both are now divorced again. There’s another marriage in there, 6 kids in total spread across 5 parents. In high school, my Spanish teacher was sure I didn’t understand the meaning of the assignment when I did my family tree. That or I didn’t understand what the words all meant. I did.
When I was being raised, it was with vastly different ideas about parenting and what was best for us kids. My mother is of the ‘let them be’ mentality. If I wanted to wear boy’s clothes and be a tomboy, who was she to tell me I couldn’t? My father, that’s who. So I’d go from one house where I was allowed to wear what I wanted and read books all day. To the other where I was forced into what I considered just atrocious clothes and was forced to be social. It left me with a few hangups.
Our reality is an illusion.
When you get right down to it, it is. Everything is seen through the lens that is your perception. That’s how two kids (i.e. my brother and I, who had the same blood parents and consequently had similar experiences) can have two completely different ideas of their upbringing. My brother, Lord knows I love him, but he’s simpler than me. Isn’t that the way of things?
I see it even with my son and daughter, his straightforwardness and her finickiness. God help me, but she’s a piece of work. They’re both wonderful, but girls take more love and care in my experience.
So, as we stumble along this thing called life, we experience it through our unique perspectives.
And as a parent myself now, I can forgive a lot of the trespasses of my parents. They did the best they could, with what they had, and where they were in life. I understood this years ago, but something about becoming a parent breaks that barrier down. As if I released them of their parental duties and obligations to me (if only momentarily) and saw them as they are, and were.
All history aside, their lens through which they understood things affected mine. As a parent myself, I consider it my duty to tear a lot of those limiting beliefs that were more or less forced on me, to better parent my children. I will absolutely leave my children with their own issues, my poor daughter who sorely tries my patience, and my son who may be a tad too clingy to his mama. But the hope is that I can equip them with the right tools and enough self-respect to carve their own path, regardless of my and my husband’s shortcomings.
Back to the Angels and the universe.
All repressed memories and emotions aside, I never let go of the magic. There was and always will be a magical realm that exists for me, and I hope that I can show more people the way there. As I listened to Gabrielle recite her experiences, I saw that she was doing the same.
It’s funny, in one part of my brain I was putting her down, but it was just remnants of my limiting beliefs. ‘What a weirdo’ I thought, even as I knew that I felt and thought similarly.
She talks about guardian angels, the spirits of loved ones that have passed on that continue to guide you. My entire life I spoke to my grandfather that passed before I was able to make memories with him. And my great grandmother, who I have fleeting but warm memories of. Their spirits talk to me the most, my grandfather being more timid but super warm. My great grandmother being a bit of a spitfire, but equally warm and inviting.
It’s not like a thing you can really explain.
There are sensations, moments that your brain picks up an anomaly and you just think of the person. Maybe a smell, or a sound, or just this feeling. I’ve always been tuned into it and wasn’t at all sure there were others who could possibly be too.
I always associated the number 13 with Saint Anthony. It’s a family thing that has been passed down a few generations now. He would be my angel. Whenever I want to know if something is the right choice I would pray to Saint Anthony to show me 13 and make it so obvious that I can’t ignore it. If it’s not right, show me the number 12. 12 was bad.
12 is Saint Michael’s number.
Now, this is where the magic happened. As I listened to Gabrielle explain the first two, I nodded in agreement. I’d never put much stock into Archangels though, so it piqued my interest. It far surpassed my interest straight into my superstitions though.
Prior to knowing 12 was Saint Michael’s number, I always associated 12 as ‘bad’. It was just a hunch, but whenever my life was spiraling out of control all I saw was 12. Constantly, I’d look at the clock, punch my time clock, get a parking ticket. The number 12 was there.
13 was good, Saint Anthony being the Saint of miracles and lost things. And for a long time, I was quite a lost soul, looking to Saint Anthony to magically make things better.
When I saw 13 I had faith again in the universe and that even the bad things were working towards my betterment.
When Gabrielle asked me to think of an Archangel though I immediately knew it was Michael. You see, there’s this show I used to watch when I was young, dumb and depressed called Supernatural. A show about two brothers fighting the monsters of myth, a battle of good vs. evil. A show I’m still quite obsessed with as a matter of fact.
I’d wake up with nothing to look forward to but getting drunk in the afternoon watching Sam and Dean Winchester saving the world from monsters. Dean is my favorite (sorry Sam, I really do love you too, just not as much as Dean) and Dean is Michael’s perfect vessel.
You have to watch to understand, but the series finale had just wrapped up a few weeks before I listened to this book and the timing of it all had my radar up already. Of course, it’s Dean Winchester in his flannel shirt and boots driving his black ’67 Impala to save me while playing “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas (the show’s theme song). It was quite literally my dream come true (if only Dean were a real person!). I sincerely missed the show already so I was rewatching it from start to finish on Netflix.
Where things got weird.
Naturally, Michael was my Archangel, he was a protector. Whenever I would see 12 and think it was bad, now I think it was Michael, protecting me. He was always there, guiding me away from the wrong choice, and working in tandem with Anthony, guiding me the right way. It’s really poetic if you think about it.
Saint Michael is an archangel, a spiritual warrior in the battle of good versus evil. He is considered a champion of justice, a healer of the sick, and the guardian of the Church. In art Saint Michael is depicted with a sword, a banner, or scales, and is often shown vanquishing Satan in the form of a dragon.smvtc.edu
That was some of what I read when I started researching more about Saint Michael. I started to feel a sense of peace and harmony with the universe, knowing that I was so divinely supported. It’s that part of us that remains children that tap into that magic that exists, that we as adults try to explain away. Not wanting to explain it away though, so it led me closer to it.
So, I laid my head on the pillow that night feeling as if the universe truly did have my back.
After all, even when I didn’t believe completely, the universe saw fit to give me more than I could have hoped for. I’ve traveled the U.S., got married, have two beautiful and healthy children, and I’ve been able to stay home with my family the entire time. Dreamlife, or what?
Except my daughter had other plans, and so at 1 AM I was awake and on the couch with her. Eyes wide open, playing with toys, as if it wasn’t the middle of the night at all. So I put on Supernatural.
It was episode 12.
Season two, episode 12 to be exact, “Nightshifter”. The one where Dean is wanted by the police because a shapeshifter was using his face to commit heinous crimes. A shapeshifter that was now robbing banks and poor Ronnie had caught on and was trying to eliminate the “Mandroids”. Well, how odd is that? Does the universe speak in code too?
Not only is 12 Saint Michael’s number, but this was an episode dedicated to shedding skin, fairly symbolic if you ask me. And my daughter was still wide awake so we went right on to episode 13, “Houses of the Holy”. Now, not only was this a reference to my favorite band (and presumably the actor who plays Dean, Jensen Ackles, who named his son Zeppelin) but it was all about angels.
An avenging angel (who turned out to be a restless spirit of a priest) who ‘saved’ the ‘un-saveable’. Awarding peace of mind and salvation to the sinners of the world. Quite like Saint Anthony if you ask me. Except without the part about killing people in order to be saved. But symbolic nonetheless.
So there I sat, enjoying another episode that I hadn’t seen in a number of years when one of the Winchesters asked the priest in the church which angel was on the stained glass. Well, Saint Michael of course! While this was an obvious nod to later seasons of the show when Dean would be revealed to be, and would eventually become the vessel for Michael.
It was like a siren went off in my head.
What are the odds that on the night of January 2nd to January 3rd (1/2–1/3) from the hours of 1 AM, 2 AM and, 3 AM I would be watching episodes 2–12 and 2–13 because that’s where I’d left off. Right after everything I’d heard of in the book? The universe was definitely saying something, right?
Now, maybe ‘normal’ people wouldn’t find much significance in this. But for me, the sirens in my head were blaring. And it didn’t stop there. In the days surrounding, “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas would play. The actors would pop up everywhere on my Instagram feed. I would turn on the TV to season 13 episode 13 and take a picture to show my husband.
You definitely think I’m nuts.
Or maybe that I’m making this all up. But I’m telling you, I’m not. That picture is there as evidence whether you think I’m nuts or not. Besides, where’s the fun in being ‘normal’?
I don’t know why I needed to tell you all this, but I did. It beat in my head like a drum until I could put it out into the universe. Maybe it will lead me to my next destination in life (anywhere physically near Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki preferably). Or maybe something much simpler, like believing in myself and continuing to pursue my dreams.
You never know what the universe and its signs mean, no one does, but they’re there if you choose to see them. I’ve also seen cardinals lately, a woodpecker, and I’m like 99% sure I saw a pelican. It’s the pelican that was really surprising as I don’t think they’re native to NJ.
And I just need to tell you that, no, I do not walk around like “Oh, what does it mean from the universe that I spilled the salt?” Even if I still throw it over my shoulder for good luck. It’s just being in tune with those things that are just left of normal.
As I contemplated what it all could possibly mean I thought of writing my own book. If Gabrielle Bernstein can write of these things and not be labeled weird then why can’t I!? But then I thought of J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, and Janet Evanovich. I also love Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Stephanie Plum series’, no big surprise there.
So, while I don’t know what the signs of the universe mean, and I don’t know what the future holds. I hope that this story serves as an inspiration to you. You are divinely loved and supported too.
Go for that big dream you’re dreaming. Dare to be different. People are going to judge you no matter what! I’m sure Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki thought, “this show?” That led to 15 years as characters that fans still refuse to let go of. Where their conventions bring tons of fans, and it’s far too expensive for me to even look at their face in person. Never mind get their autograph! Or a hug *swoon*.
Janet Evanovich I’m certain didn’t think she’d write some 20-something books about Stephanie Plum. Stephenie Meyer was an overnight sensation with Twilight. A series that has a similar fan fight over who they love more, Jacob or Edward. Jacob should have been the one but I guess it wouldn’t make sense. Edwards fine I just liked Jacob more. And I know J.K. Rowling wasn’t planning on Harry Potter having the most cult following I’ve ever witnessed outside of Star Wars. Star Wars too, to come to think of it.
Just remember that whatever dream is in your heart is yours alone. Only you can bring it to light if you only dared to. Don’t rob the world of your uniqueness. You might just change someone’s life.
A big thanks to all of the above, for serving as an inspiration to me and many like me. Thank you for being brave enough to go for it and show the world it’s possible.
Also, go watch Les Brown’s “It’s Possible” and get some more inspiration.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, depression, and/or addiction, just take it one day at a time. There are resources.
Originally written on Medium.com