Healing as an Art
Except for the rogue abstract philosophy class, Oberlin generally deals with the tangible aspects of life. Students read about events of the past, dissect the specimens of the present and predict the statistics of the future.
There is, however, room for belief in the unseen, as evidenced by junior Madeline Fauss’ ExCo “Conscious Energy: Experiencing Evolution.”
Fauss admitted to feeling “nervous” about the success of the class, as her psychic radio show last semester “didn’t fly so well with students.” In a second effort to impart her passion to Oberlin’s student body, Fauss designed an ExCo that she calls a “New Age Sampler” — a little bit of human energy, earth energy, spiritual healing and communication with spirits. Every class involves a lecture and an interactive activity, ranging from learning how to use a pendulum to a past life regression.
Fauss is a veteran of upstate New York’s School of Spiritual Healing and Prophecy, part of the organization Fellowships of the Spirit, where she has been working toward becoming ordained as a medium.
“I’ve never doubted the existence of spirits,” she said. “But I’ve noticed with new-age stuff that everyone who’s into it nowadays is in their 50s and kinda crazy. I wanted to bring it to people my age, especially here at Oberlin where people are really skeptical about this sort of thing.”
By having all students submit an application in order to weed out any skeptics who would hinder the progress of the class, Fauss feels that she was able to put together an exciting group of students for the spiritual journey.
“All the people in my class are adventurous, and really into it,” she said. “Everyone is willing to listen to each other and figure things out together.”
During Fauss’ highly anecdotal lectures, which might cover astrology, chakras or spirit anatomy, students listen attentively and ask questions such as, “What if I’m not listening to the right spirit guide?”
Last week’s activity involved the students using the earth’s energy — which flows up from the ground and down from the stars — to heal one another. Afterwards, most students reportedly shared a warm, positive feeling, though for one student the energy flow was too intense, and resulted in a flushed, itchy face. Luckily, Fauss was on hand for what she called a “commando healing.”
The class’s midterm consisted of a written overview of each student’s beliefs, centered around words such as “God,” “Universe” and “Love.”
The final project will involve presenting to the class about some spiritual topic not covered in the syllabus. Fauss suggested Tarot and demonology, but is “open to anything.”
The class also plans to hold a séance in Wilder.
“After we study spiritual entities, I wanted to do a séance to give everyone an experience with really connecting with spirits. I might bring another medium to help, but I’ve led a few very vivid séances before, so I feel pretty comfortable leading them,” she said.
A neuroscience major and religion minor, Fauss has incorporated both of her studies into her spiritual work.
“I mention a couple things about the brain in my lectures, about how the brain is a receiver for energy frequencies,” she said.
When she tries to bring her spiritual work into her classes, however, some conflicts arise.
“I try not to make my science teachers crazy by mentioning that I do psychic work. The neuroscience department is so accepting. They’re open to the possibility,” she said. “The psychology department, on the other hand, will just shoot you down.”
Fauss feels “honored” to act as a guide for her students both in and out of the classroom.
She said, “They’re starting to get loyal to me. I get e-mails from students every few days asking me questions completely unrelated to class. I told them if they’re going through anything they can talk to me and we can work through it on a metaphysical level. It’s a big honor to be teaching useful spiritual skills. I hope that by the end of the course people will be more in touch with their own intuition.”