Healing Hands

Creative nonfiction
by Cheryl Caruolo

Despite her first major step in accepting her psychic ability, Rhiannon still had miles to go on her spiritual quest.  How to separate intuition from wishful thinking plagued her.  Being called a spiritual healer overwhelmed her.


Rhiannon was told that the most difficult part of being a healer is understanding that everyone has an individual path and, although she had seemingly magical insight to share, she could not judge, alter, or walk each path.


Elaine lived in a nineteenth-century farmhouse resting on several acres.  The brown-red house was a bit run down, but had a predictable charm with an antique wagon wheel at the gate and a wooden porch swing.  What struck Rhiannon most about the place was the horse grazing in a corral, and as she walked towards him, he moved to the fence to greet her.  He was black, but in the bright daylight looked iridescent blue.  She stroked down his nose with her fingertips and rubbed her knuckles under his jaw; his thick tail twirled in contentment.  She was unaware that Elaine had walked up behind her.


“Do you ride?”  Elaine startled her.


“No, but I’ve always been drawn to horses.”


Elaine smiled.  “Must be a totem for you.”


“Totem?” Rhiannon asked.


“Animals are spiritual guides. Native Americans say that animal medicine is the strongest healing force on earth, and totem animals protect and guide you for life.  If you are drawn to that horse, I guarantee you he is your connection to other dimensions.”


Elaine was slightly shorter than Rhiannon.  She wasn’t wearing any makeup and her shoulder-length dark brown hair was cinched in a ponytail.  She wasn’t so much plain as authentic.


Elaine guided Rhiannon up a maroon-carpeted stairway to a small room reserved for healings.  A Cleopatra wicker chair faced a wall lined with windows draped with palms branches like the ones given in Catholic churches at Easter.  In the corner was a rose-colored loveseat with several white velour pillows scattered on it; hanging from the ceiling behind it, a dream-catcher.


Elaine moved around Rhiannon’s physical body to enter healing symbols into her energetic field.  Almost immediately, Rhiannon started to shake.  The heat from Elaine’s hands was so intense, she felt it penetrate from the crown of her head, through her eyelids, into her chest, stomach, back and legs, until it burst through the bottom of her feet.  In the next moment, Rhiannon was sheathed in a ball of fire—her energy field bright, dominant.  Escaping her physical body, a rich, golden flame melded into the walls, shot out the windows, growing thicker, taller, stronger.  The husk of her body sat in the middle of the orb like spent wrapping paper.  The smell of burning cedar was all around her, through her, in her.


Free in her energetic body, she floated around the room on the tongue of the amber flame.  Its color shifted into blue, violet, and pink, settling back again to amber.  Its shape thinned as it stretched up, thickened as it expanded sideways.  Rhiannon was able to direct the flame, restructuring its outer edges into a sphere like a mini glowing sun.  The outline of the sphere was serrated, but the center was full.  Alive with a deliberately pulsing heartbeat, it summoned Rhiannon to believe.  Maybe even dared her.


Unrecognizably intermingled with the flame, her energy spread out in all directions.  Devouring the room.  Penetrating the walls. 


Suspended above the room, Rhiannon saw light beings enter.  They passed through, like bolts of lightning, too fast to discern.  As her awareness shifted back into the healing room, she felt soft hands cup her face.  But when she opened her eyes no one was there.  She stared out the window until Elaine returned with assorted berries and lemon water.


“Some light food to ground you.”


Rhiannon mentioned the cedar scent to Elaine.


“I didn’t light incense,” she said.  “Sometimes spirits make themselves known with aromas.  I imagine it was one of those guides.”




“Three light beings around you.  A male entity stands to your left, a female to your right, and an older woman commands them.”


For a moment, only the distant barking of a dog was audible.


“There is one more thing you need to know,” Elaine added.  “You are a descendent of King Solomon.  His power to heal works through you.”


Rhiannon had no idea how to respond to the statement.  She sucked the berries, feeling them slide coolly down her throat.


The only story of King Solomon that Rhiannon knew was a parable from the Bible.  Two harlots claim to be the mother of the same infant and they ask Solomon to settle the dispute.  He tells them that if each insists she is the mother, he will cut the child in half so they may both have him.  As he motions to raise the sword to slice the baby, one woman cries out to give the child to the other woman.  By her reaction, Solomon knows she is the child’s mother and hands the infant to her.


The ability to heal is rooted in the ability to find truth.  In her quest as a spiritual healer, Rhiannon was beginning to realize that her personal wisdom would be her only barometer.


It is ironic that a spiritual message would come to Rhiannon through a Christian anecdote.  Raised in an immigrant Catholic family, she was indoctrinated with the fear of God.  Forced to give confession every Saturday to be purified to attend church on Sunday, Rhiannon had little positive to say about organized religion.  She tried.  She walked the church aisle to received Christ in a traditional Communion Ceremony, shook strangers’ hands reciting Peace be with you, and contributed part of her babysitting monies into the wanton mouth of the donation basket.  But she didn’t get it—how, why would a benevolent God punish beings made in His image?  He knew that humans were imperfect, so a righteous, scolding figure never made sense to Rhiannon.  And why couldn’t God—giver of life—be a woman?  Mostly she struggled with speaking her heart to an intermediary—she wanted to reveal her fears privately to her creator.


When the time was approaching for Rhiannon’s fourth sacrament, she asked her parish priest the purpose of Confirmation.  Expecting him to say something about its spiritual significance or re-dedication to God, she was stunned when he callously replied, “Because you can’t get married in the Catholic Church if you aren’t confirmed.”


The response was one of many absurdities of the Catholic religion she knew.  Her father was an abusive alcoholic, yet he was exonerated each week with a swallow of the Eucharist.  And immediately after Mass, he took Rhiannon down the street to a bar.  Older men bought her Shirley Temples and taught her to play pool—she could shoot a combo from behind her back when she was eight years old.


Fortunately for Rhiannon, her maternal grandmother, a devout Catholic, was also genuinely spiritual.  She taught Rhiannon that all life was connected and that nature was the breathing, living extension of us.  She read her the stories of all the saints.  Rhiannon was fascinated with Saint Francis and his communication with animals. Was it coincidence that she was drawn to Elaine’s horse?


Rhiannon was jolted back into awareness when Elaine reminder her, “You are being divinely guided through collective consciousness with higher dimensions.  Light is information.  Be open to guidance of all forms.”


Several weeks after her encounter with Elaine, Rhiannon received a call from a woman who said that her horse had just undergone surgery and she needed her to heal him.  Rhiannon was stunned to get the call out of nowhere, but intrigued.  She remembered her grandmother’s teachings and something Elaine said about the horse in the corral, “Animals are naturally telepathic.  They are on a higher spiritual plane and possess powers of divination.  Allow their instinct to guide you.”


Sam was a desert-sand-colored quarter horse with icy blue eyes.  Rhiannon had never seen a horse with blue eyes before and their intensity surprised her.  Despite his size, Sam was skittish.  When Rhiannon stepped into the stall, Sam hobbled back into the farthest corner.  She felt his fear prickle up her spine.  As Rhiannon advanced slowly toward him, he took a step, then dropped his head and hesitated.  Rhiannon saw her reflection in his gumball-shaped eyes and noticed the outline of her body glowing.  With her hand outstretched in front, she telepathically told Sam that she wanted to help.  He lifted his head and walked up to meet her.  As soon as Rhiannon touched Sam’s haunches, he began drawing energy.


During the twenty minutes Rhiannon worked with Sam that first day, she stood along his left side the entire time.  She felt as if her feet were not grounded and she could see a ribbon of energy passing through her into Sam.  The stream of energy was made up of honey-thick layers of rose, gold, and blue-purple waves of warm light.


About ten minutes into the healing, Rhiannon flashed back to an incarnation as a medicine woman in another part of the world.  She felt herself in the body of a petite, dark-skinned woman and, at the same time, standing outside her body watching herself.  She was crouched by the side of a river, grinding herbs against rocks along the embankment.  Simultaneously in and overlooking the experience, Rhiannon smelled burning cedar.  Feeling her dry hands hit the notched edges of the stone while seeing them cracked and callused was odd.  She could hear conversation, but no one was around.  When she finally realized she was communicating telepathically, she smiled involuntarily.


The next time Rhiannon arrived to work with Sam, he waited for her to open the stall and then walked straight up to her, lowered his head and placed his soft face against her chest.  Rhiannon had never felt anything like the torrent of emotion rushing into her.  She did not know how long they stood together because she lost the feel of the dusty dirt below her feet and the wetness of the November dampness in the air.  All around her were swirls of golden and purple light, and she felt herself disappear into Sam.  The feeling of joy and serenity was far beyond anything she had ever thought possible.  Rhiannon believed the unity between Sam and her was the unequalled joy of a higher dimension.  She knew the veil had been lifted, and she was allowed a glimpse of the home from which she came.  The home to which she would someday return.


Even after Sam’s healing was complete, Rhiannon visited with him every week.  Sometimes she would simply sit on the cold, steel benches overlooking the corral while he galloped around.  Their inexplicable bond pacified her soul.  In Sam’s presence, she felt whole— their connection was unfettered, unconditional, untainted.  Sam had that charmed lack of inhibition that children have when they talk openly to imaginary friends—angels and guides—just as Rhiannon had sitting at her grandmother’s feet long ago. 


The enclosure was falling apart—the fence splintering, the gate warped, the latch rusted.  Sam could have gotten loose with one push of his massive head, but he never tried.  He was content to be who he was, where he was.  Through him, Rhiannon slowly built confidence in her otherworldly abilities.  Through him, she started to trust her intuitive knowledge as much as the contributions from her five earthly senses. Through him, she began to understand the omnipresence and unity of the Divine.  Rhiannon wasn’t sure she would ever be worthy of a king’s lineage, but she had finally accepted her place as a spiritual warrior.


Copyright © 2010 Cheryl Caruolo
Image © Kim Hattaway


Cheryl writes:
“‘Healing Hands’ was written as memoir, based on blended personal experiences. It was my hope that it would invite a larger audience to consider the concept of senses beyond the basic five and the possibility that spirituality is a sacred part of everyone’s DNA.

While her writing is diverse, Cheryl Caruolo specializes in science, spirituality, and personal essay.  She is co-author of two books, a featured artist in multimedia art exhibits, and winner of several literary contests.  Cheryl holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.  You can visit her website at www.cherylcaruolo.com and email her at cc@cherylcaruolo.com.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Verdier July 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Absolutely loved your story. It touched my heart, and yet, I’ve never though of myself as an “animal” person. I didn’t realize how much power and spirit they had until 1) I got the most unlikely kitten who was emotionally damaged when I got her, and 2) I read Ms. Caroulo’s story. thank you so much for writing it. I am inspired, and convinced that my precious little kitten was sent to me to heal me, and that she needed to be healed by me. Thank you for writing it – I’m inspired!


Nicole February 4, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Jeff, what’s wrong with this world is not people like this woman but people like you! Ignorant! Didn’t anyone ever tell you that it is wrong to dump on other people’s beliefs!?! Rude! Why did you feel the need to insult this woman? If you thought the story was dumb, then you should have just stopped reading! Plain and simple! Why did you feel the need to cuss? Couldn’t you find any intellegent words to express your displeasure? Wow, that tells me a lot about the kind of person you are! Lastly, if anyone is the “f*ing 5 year old” it’s you because hopefully a mature adult would know that a response like that is inappropriate! You should be ashamed of yourself!


admin February 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Cheryl, Nicole, and other readers,

Our apologies that “Jeff’s” comment ever got posted to this site. While we encourage comments on the stories we publish, attacks such as Jeff’s that are crude and vulgar are not acceptable. We have deleted the offensive comment and should something like that happen again, we will need to moderate comments before they are posted.

Cezanne’s Carrot Editors


Mary Verdier February 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I just have to say that this negative post from Jeff is one of the reasons we have to be very careful about what we post on the internet. Comments don’t always have to be completely supportive, but can disagree without being disagreeable. We live in a different world than when we were all growing up. It is not a private world any more and often (sometimes unfairly) people judge us from what we say in a “tweet” or an e-mail. I always remember a lesson my my mother taught me as I was growing up. Do not ever write anything that you don’t want to read in the morning paper. Often what we say says more about us than about the person we are criticizing.

So I guess I would say to Jeff or to anyone who is inclined to say hurtful things that will remain forever in some archive, think about how it will affect the person who you are writing against. Will it cause harm, or will it help that persona and others? Be careful before you hit the “send” key.

To admin – I realize you don’t always have control about what gets posted. I am sure you are doing the very best you can – and it is not easy. Thank you for noticing and thank you for deleting the offensive comment.

To anyone who is inclined to express hurtful sentiments on line, I would still encourage them to express them, but in a more dignified and respectful way. Words hurt people. Why do that? The world is harsh enough as it is. To all who read this, Happy Valentine’s Day and try to remember everyone who loves you, and whom you love. Love will come back to you when you least expect it.


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