Planet Soul

An Energy Healer Revealed My Mom’s Darkest Secrets

I thought she was way off. It turned out I just didn’t know the full story.

Illustration: mrbabies2/Instagram

II wasn’t always open to the idea of going to a healer. When I left the doomsday cult I was raised in, the greatest relief I felt was falling into the warm, rational embrace of atheism where nothing existed outside of what science could prove and no one could consider me delusional. However, when I started doing psychedelics, my understanding of reality began to shift and the concept that we are all energetic beings became very, “Yeah, duh.”

I’ve had myriad interdimensional experiences that have convinced me energy healing is real, so I was intrigued when I heard about Master Zhang, a Chinese master healer who’s famous for seeing inside people’s bodies and creating medicine out of thin air. While I believed it was possible, I still questioned whether some sleight-of-hand or magic was used. Those I knew who’d seen Master Zhang confirmed this wasn’t something that could’ve fallen out of her sleeve. This was a small orb of light slowly materializing into a physical pill, or, in some cases, liquid pouring directly out of her palm. Apparently, just the experience of witnessing the formation of the medicine had rocked them mentally. If you’re wondering, they say it tasted like herbs and menthol.

Naturally, I became obsessed. I read a book about her intense life in rural China and how she had performed so many miracles that the Chinese government kept throwing her in jail. At one point, the government put her in a hospital, strip-searched her, forced her to produce medicine, and she made over 100 date-sized pills. Then one-by-one, she diagnosed the health issues of each government official until they let her go, declaring her a true healer. Before I was even finished with the book, I emailed her translator. Master Zhang speaks no English, and at the time she didn’t have a website, any social media, or even an email address, so I could only contact her through her translator. When I made the appointment, the translator explained that the healer had a specific process that would take place in her home: scan the body, find any spirit entities attached to my field, and then relay any instructions from my spirit guides.

I parked outside Master Zhang’s home and waited for the translator to arrive. We went inside the house to a small room with a shrine full of various statues, candles, and incense. Master Zhang was warm and seemed quite normal. All of our communication took place between the translator. There were no formalities or questions asked, she just started scanning my body. She told me she could tell from my skull shape that I had not passed through the birth canal. This was true; I was born via C-section.

She made me swallow multiple times while she looked at my thyroid and told me it was currently fine, but that I’d had issues with it in the past—also true. A few years ago my thyroid just suddenly stopped working, but recent test results show it’s perfectly normal.

She correctly identified that I have sporadic pain in my right shoulder, a sluggish liver, migraines, and severe period cramps. Although I was fully clothed, she could see where I had scars from a few surgeries and told me that it would take five years for my body to come out of shock from being cut open. She gave me a few suggestions for food that would heal my liver, but overall, she said I was very healthy and didn’t require any medicine.

Part of me didn’t believe this. Part of me thought she was missing something crucial.

This was difficult to take. I’ve had several health challenges over the last few years that felt pretty catastrophic and were accompanied by a lot of food and chemical sensitivities, but she didn’t mention any of that. Even though I’ve felt better in the last year after following a pretty strict diet and replacing all of my products with chemical-free alternatives, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that something is still wrong with me. And here Master Zhang was telling me that she saw problems in my past, but that I had healed myself.

Part of me didn’t believe this. Part of me thought she was missing something crucial. I also really wanted to see her make the medicine. That was at least 40% of why I went. So while it was nice that I had healed myself, it was also a major bummer to not witness literal magic.

Next, she told me there were two entities attached to me. One was an angry man in his forties who had committed suicide. He told her we were engaged and that I had something of his that he wanted back. My first thought was, Everyone I’ve ever dated has been an angry guy in his forties, this could be anyone. Then, Wait, am I about to find out that a guy I dated not only killed himself but thought we were engaged? Then she said the thing he wanted back was the ring he gave me and I knew I had no idea who this guy was. She moved on.

Next, she asked if I’d ever had an abortion. I said no. She told me that the spirit of a late-term aborted female fetus was with me and that if it wasn’t mine, it was probably my mom’s. I told her that I’m extremely close with my mom and she has never held back from telling me every horrific detail of her life, so I would know if she’d had an abortion. In response, she shrugged and said that me, my mom, and the baby all had the same eyes.

At that point, I felt like making the appointment was a mistake. Sure, she was right about some of the stuff happening in my body, but I’d expected more. And who were these two spirits that had nothing to do with me? I was irritated and ready to go.

She finished up the session by relaying messages that my spirit guides had for me. She said I needed to trust the universe and surrender more. She said I was too stressed. She mentioned that writing would play an important role in my life and I needed to share more of what I wrote, even if it felt difficult, instead of squirreling it away on my computer. This all felt pretty accurate, but it wasn’t enough to recover from the let down of everything else.

On my drive home I called my mom to tell her how it went. I started at the beginning, but then cut myself off mid-sentence to ask, “Did you ever have an abortion?” The silence on the other end of the phone was eternal. My stomach dropped.

My mom admitted that she did have an abortion before I was born, that it was a girl, quite late-term, and that it wasn’t something she wanted to do. She wanted to have the baby, but the circumstances were incredibly dark and just kept getting darker until there was no other choice.

The part of me that was still trying to make sense of the situation wondered why all of these spirits who should be haunting my mom were haunting me instead.

I could tell she was getting overwhelmed, so I thought telling her about the angry guy spirit would lighten things up. But, no. My mom said, “I know who that is, too. It’s the man I was engaged to before your dad.” She told me how she broke off the engagement, but wouldn’t give him back the ring. He was so furious, he shot at her with a gun, but she got away. He killed himself shortly thereafter. I was speechless.

The emotional whiplash of going from, “I’m pissed that this woman didn’t make magic medicine for me,” to “My mom’s already difficult life was even harder than she let on,” was intense. But the part of me that was still trying to make sense of the situation wondered why all of these spirits who should be haunting my mom were haunting me instead. Had I just not pissed off enough dead people to have spirits of my own? Or was it that my mom had pissed off so many dead people that I was receiving her overflow?

Once I got past that, I was mainly left shocked that there was still more to learn about my mom’s horrific past. That the person I’m closest to in the world didn’t feel like she could tell me these things. Or that she didn’t want to bother me with the full reality of just how bad her life had been.

My mom has lived one of the most difficult lives, full of every type of abuse, neglect, and betrayal you can imagine. She’s battled severe alcoholism and hasn’t had a drink in over a decade. After breaking her neck in a drunk driving accident that was her fault, she’s lived in excruciating physical pain every day for 17 years. The layers and variety of pain are unfathomable.

In a voice so tight and fearful it broke my heart, my mom asked if knowing these things changed the way I saw her. I said emphatically it changed nothing. I believe she did the only thing she could and I was proud of her.

My relationship with my mom hasn’t always been a good one, but it’s something that has grown and taught me an immense amount about what human beings are capable of. There has been no shortage of moments in my life where I look at my fears, faults, and shortcomings and think, She did this to me. But the more I fully acknowledge how far she’s come, it’s impossible to not see the good qualities she’s passed on to me: strength, courage, resilience, and an ability to find the light no matter how dark it gets.

Nothing has ever been easy for her, but you would never know it from talking to her. Every time we’re together, I’m struck by how many total strangers initiate conversations with her and how she generously chats for way too long with anyone who’s up for it. She will do anything for anyone, even if she barely knows them, and truly wants nothing in return. This is just who she is. Yet considering it in the context of everything she’s been through is especially impressive to me now.

There’s something powerful about sharing the darkest thought you’ve pushed down for decades.

“Can I tell you a memory that I haven’t told anyone?” she asked. “After they induced labor and it was over, I looked down and saw a nurse cover her with a sheet and then ran out of the room with her. I was so upset and out of my mind, all I could think about was if she looked like me. When the nurse came back in to check on me, I asked her, ‘Please tell me, does she have my eyes?’ and she wouldn’t answer me. I think about that all the time.”

Chills ran through my body as I told my mom what the healer had said about all three of us having the same eyes. We both cried. I could feel the weight of this dark secret my mom had carried for over 30 years slowly releasing. There’s something powerful about sharing the darkest thought you’ve pushed down for decades and finally being fully seen without judgment.

While I’d originally gone for my healing, it felt like I’d actually received healing for my mom. My irritation about the session melted into gratitude for helping her release something that had still been haunting her. It also felt like another stitch in the ongoing tapestry of healing our relationship.

After a few days thinking about it, I wondered if maybe the healer was right about there not being anything wrong with me anymore. For the first time in a very long time, I ate tacos, something that used to make me break out into full-body hives. Before I even finished them, I already knew I’d be fine. Things felt different now.

She was right about everything.

Writer and figment of your imagination living in Los Angeles, California. chelsealockwood.com

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