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    The Shift

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    Spirit knows it’s important for me to make up my own mind. I know this because Spirit led Jamie Homeister to put a gold dot above my crown when she sat down to paint my “subtle body,” her term for the mixture of my physical, emotional and spiritual being, and because she told me so. I have a lot of drive and determination. I’m creative and original, according to the brown Homeister sees in the middle of me, which she painted before we ever met, just by focusing on my name. Micromanagement would kill me. She wonders: Do things feel stagnant at work? “It just felt like things were gummy,” she tells me. “That’s something that could be shifting here pretty soon.”

    The author's chakragraph.

    We’re sitting in her office on the third floor of a building in New Albany that houses at least one yoga studio. I sip the herbal tea she offered me and eye the candle burning next to a brass bucket of crystals by my ankle. The candle stands in the middle of a square cloth, with objects placed at each of the four sides, oriented, Homeister says, to the cardinal directions: feathers for the east air, snakeskin and horseshoe-tail crab for transmutation and the south, a seashell for the water of the west, and bones for the north, its cycle of death and rebirth.

    For the past three years or so, the 34-year-old has made her livelihood as a shaman who convenes with spirits. She’s known for her painted “chakragraphs,” watercolor silhouettes she paints (based on client names) and then interprets. A chart hanging on the wall beside her desk bears something like 78 squares of color, each with a different meaning Homeister drew from color theory, color psychology and trial-and-error with clients. She conservatively estimates she did about 600 readings in 2018. Locals pay $125 for an hour-long reading. If you want to do one remotely, over the phone or by Skype, it costs $132, $147 if you’re outside the U.S. Homeister says she gets clients from as far off as Australia and Singapore. “Texas is super-popular,” she says. “I feel like I read an entire town there.”

    Homeister used to be a painter, but neck pain made her drop her brushes when she turned 30. She started practicing reiki — basically a no-touch massage — but felt drawn to a more emotional practice. The stick figures she drew for reiki, incorporating clients’ aches and pains, evolved into her chakragraphs. She says she’s also a medium who can see the dead.

    We go through the past year I’ve had (turbulent, stressful) and then talk about my future: “Spirit said, ‘Say yes to a new opportunity, but not at the expense of your sanity. Nobody is impressed by a half-baked cake, no matter how nice it’s packaged.’”

    Just what is Spirit? Well, say we’re all radio waves, us humans wobbling around down here at the same frequency, where we can bump into one another. There’s higher radio waves than us, Homeister says — spirits. They could be those of the dead. Then there are spirits even higher than that. “You’re a spirit, I’m a spirit, we’re all…this rug is a spirit,” she says. “To me, it’s just the omnipresent all.” And where does that come from? “I believe God,” Homeister says. “Creator.”

    Now’s about the time when I could tell you I don’t believe in any of this. That most of the information Homeister gives me — “I feel like you’re naturally kind of guarded, but you’re extremely deep in your relationships” — could apply to anyone, that the specifics — the silver dot over my left eye indicates headaches, or an eye problem, Homeister says, and I push my glasses up my nose — are shots in the dark. But I’m not going to do that. Something about all this appeals to me. Not in a spiritual way, but an aesthetic way.

    When Homeister tells me the little white spaces in my chakragraph’s chest signify emotional wounds, specific memories immediately come to mind. The idea that there’s a divine entity out there that led her to that conclusion doesn’t work for me. But the idea that our histories live inside our bodies? That seems obvious. And as for “Spirit”? Homeister describes her experience of painting chakragraphs as stepping aside, letting Spirit make suggestions beyond words. Put another way, she describes the mysterious process of making art. What kind of writer would I be if I couldn’t relate to that? Maybe what she calls Spirit is just the place that offers me the lines and images in my poems, I tell her. After all, they don’t come from me — at least, they don’t feel like they come from my conscious self.

    I ask Homeister about the significance of the fan of gold spreading out from my ear. “I feel like you’re listening to Spirit,” she says. “You’re listening to direction.”

    This originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover photo: The author's chakragraph.

    Dylon Jones's picture

    About Dylon Jones

    Dylon Jones is a senior editor at Louisville Magazine.

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