The Gift of Sight

Comox Valley Spirit Fair showcases the psychic arts and introduces people to a new way of thinking.

When Brenda Lacasse was 14, she had a strange experience: she woke up to find her grandmother at the foot of her bed.  What made it strange was that her grandmother, in fact, was not in the building, or even the vicinity.  Apparently, Lacasse was having a vision of some kind.

She found out later that day that her grandmother had passed away during the night.

Quite a number of us have a “strange” story like that in our past, but for Lacasse, this was neither the first time nor the last that she experienced psychic phenomena.  At the time, she didn’t quite know what to do with her abilities.  In fact, it took half a lifetime, including 10 years of intensive study and practice under the guidance of teachers and mentors, for her to get to where she is today.  Lacasse is a professional medium, providing readings for a roster of clients, giving talks, and teaching courses to others wanting to develop their intuitive abilities.

Lacasse will be one of 14 presenters at the third Comox Valley Spirit Fair, taking place Sunday, October 16, from 10am to 4pm, at the K’omoks Band Hall.  The Spirit Fair welcomes the public to a gathering of psychics, clairvoyants, mediums and others connected to that field.  Visitors can browse the booths, sign up for ten-minute mini-readings, attend lectures, receive Reiki treatments, and snack on vegan nibbles throughout the day.

The Fair is organized by Genevieve Stainton, Lacasse’s daughter, who has inherited her mother’s gift and her passion for using it to help others.

“I created the Fair for two reasons mainly,” says Stainton.  “The first was to give clairvoyant/mediums a bit more respect and visibility than they get as a sideshow in a mall.  This important work has lived in the shadows for too long and it deserves to be showcased.

“The second reason was I felt there was a real need in the Valley for an event where people who are interested in mediumship/clairvoyance can find other like-minded people.”

The event, which takes place each April and October, has been eagerly embraced by people with an established interest in the psychic arts, but it is also proving to be a great introduction for curious but cautious newcomers.

“For some people, this is their first introduction to mediumship/psychics,” says Stainton.  She takes great care to screen the presenters to ensure consistent high quality and professionalism.  “I believe that not all who identify as clairvoyant are skilled enough to be giving readings for people.  The ones I invite know their stuff.”

Stainton and Lacasse both say the Comox Valley is a wonderful location to pursue the psychic arts.

“So many people are moving here for a reason,” says Lacasse.  “It’s a marvelous place; a great place for spiritual development.”  With forests, mountains and the ocean all around us, and the hustle and bustle of the city significantly toned down, the Valley is a place where people can slow down, take time for eye contact, and appreciate nature’s healing qualities.

While there is a lot of enthusiasm for what the two women offer, there is also plenty of resistance, which is fed by a number of common misconceptions about psychic work.

Many people picture a psychic as someone exotic or occult.

“People have these ideas,” begins Lacasse with a gentle laugh.  “I can tell you, though, that what we do is not ‘Woo woo’ at all.  It’s as real as your heart is beating.

“My room is not weird and creepy.  It’s not dark; it’s not full of candles.”

Another common attitude is that getting a reading is a form of entertainment.   “It’s not a fun thing to do with your girlfriends,” says Lacasse.  “This is serious.“

Another common misconception is that a psychic reading will provide clear and simple answers.  It’s a bit more complicated than that, Lacasse explains.

“If anyone tells you they are going to predict your future, run, because they are controlling some aspect of your life,” she says.  “Free will is the number one law in the universe.  Your future is up to you.  I can see a situation coming up for you, and you can change your mind and move in another direction.”

A psychic reading provides a great deal of guidance and insight, says Lacasse, but it will not tell you what to do.  “Some clients come in with a specific question or wanting to contact a specific ancestor, but it doesn’t always work that way.  That may not be what comes through.  This isn’t dial-a-psychic!”

Stainton explains that someone getting a psychic reading is tapping into their own wisdom, and through that to an archetypal wisdom that underlies reality, with the medium or clairvoyant acting as a skilled guide.

“We are all connected to a sacred place not only within us, but all around us and within every living entity.  A vital and virtual spiritual web,” says Stainton.

“Our ancestors knew about this sacred place and stayed connected to it throughout their daily life, letting the messages they received guide their decisions.  The more we listen to the hints whispered in dreams, recurring themes in our lives, and the little daily messages we get, the more we allow spirit to take part and help.

“As an industrialized civilization we have become disconnected from this spiritual web.  Psychics and mediums are people we can turn to to get reconnected.”

She believes everyone can access their intuitive or even clairvoyant abilities to some degree.

“Just like playing an instrument, it takes time and practice and an awareness of our own egos to not let them influence the message being given,” she says.  “Great composers and songwriters know their instrument in a technical sense, but also remove their egos to let the music and art come from the same spiritual place where clairvoyants receive their messages.”

Both Stainton and Lacasse have worked hard, and continue to work hard, to develop their art.  Stainton also gives courses and workshops to other aspiring mediums and clairvoyants.  It is one thing to have a natural gift, as Lacasse realized back when she was a child, but quite another to know how to use it, or even how to live with it.

“There can be real alienation for those who have this gift.  We don’t do well in school.  We often have learning disabilities and mental health issues.  It can be very lonely.”

Growing up, she knew she was different.  “Originally, I just thought I was weird,” she says.  She used to provide readings for friends but didn’t fully understand the full context of what she was doing.  She pursued a career as an aesthetician, which brought its own challenges.

“Every time I touched someone, which was all the time, I’d be getting all this information.  It was difficult,” she says.

About 10 years ago she went to see a psychic on Salt Spring Island who told her, “It’s time.  You need to get to work.”  This woman became a mentor, explaining to her what she needed to learn and referring her to the right books.  And for the past five years, Lacasse has been studying with a Spiritualist Minister from England.

Lacasse’s specialty is psychometry, psychic readings based on objects, using photographs (psychometrists are sometimes used by police to help solve crimes).  She can work with just a photograph, even one sent over the internet as a digital file, and also likes clients to bring some photos to their sessions.  Not only do the photos help her connect more quickly and deeply to her field of information, they help the client relax, which aids the whole process.

“The rational mind puts up defenses that say this is not possible,” explains Lacasse.  Psychic knowledge comes most easily when those defenses are down, for instance in the transitional zone between sleep and waking.

A typical reading lasts an hour.  “The first thing I do is get you to close your eyes and breathe.  I can feel your energy and connect with your spirit.  I’ve already prepared before you came, done a meditation and connected to you,” she says.

Clients often have specific questions and Lacasse will answer them if possible, but above all she is open to whatever messages come to her.

“It’s a conversation with spirit.  You plug me in and I am the voice of the universe… or whatever,” she says, laughing.   “I’m a conduit.”

When she is giving a reading, Lacasse says she literally hears voices coming through.  “It’s unmistakable,” she says, noting that the voices may come from the client’s ancestors or other loved ones who have passed on, or they may be from other ‘spirit guides’—entities such as angels, animal guides or woodland creatures.

“They are very clear and direct, and very honest.”

While some clients particularly want to contact the spirit of someone they loved who has died, most people come because they are confused about their lives.  “They are asking, ‘What am I supposed to be doing?’  ‘What is my path in life?’  I like to bring my clients clarity about this and get to the root of what is stopping them from reaching their own potential.  When you’re doing what you’ve signed on to do with your life, you have peace and clarity.  There’s no more struggle,” she says.

Lacasse will only see clients once a year; she doesn’t want to support over-reliance on her services.  She has seen people become addicted to psychic readings and the last thing she wants is to support this type of dependence.  On the contrary, she hopes the experience she provides connects people to their own knowledge and power.

“To exist in our society, we tend to get stuck in our thinking.  We need to move to our feelings.  People need to learn to trust themselves and listen to themselves.  We are all powerful beings and know much more than we think,” says Lacasse.

Stainton works with the same goals, but in a different way.  She offers what she calls Soul Based Astrology readings.

“I cast a client’s chart, and as I’m providing the interpretation, specific examples and cues come in from spirit.  Messages are relayed in a way that the person really gets it,” Stainton says.

You can try out both Stainton’s and Lacasse’s offerings at the Spirit Fair.  You can also get your tea leaves read, receive a tarot card reading, learn about Feng Shui and Kiniseonics, and soak up the atmosphere created by a group of like-minded people gathering around a common goal.

“The shared energy at the Fair is very open and receptive—it’s palpable,” says Stainton.  “It makes for some very dynamic readings.”

For more information about Brenda Lacasse visit: www.brendalacasse.com.

For more information about the upcoming Spirit Fair visit: www.mysticvancouverisland.com.