Whether you believe it’s possible that someone can possess psychic abilities or not, believe this: to sit down with a self-described psychic and medium can be intimidating. Before I caught Paul Selig before his talk at The Assemblage NoMad, I found myself wondering if he’d be able to read my thoughts. As it turns out, that’s not really how this whole thing works.
Selig operates by connecting with a host of what he calls “guides”: energetic beings who are present with him at all times. While he is conducting his wildly popular workshops, livestreams and events, or channeling entire books— he’s published five and is at work on a sixth — he calls on his guides to transmit powerful, enlightening and freeing information that is full of “great love.” I asked Selig about what it’s like to be psychic, and learned about his spiritual journey — which began thirty years ago.
The Assemblage: I understand that you had a major spiritual experience in 1987. Can you talk a bit about that? What happened?
Paul Selig: I had been raised something of an atheist. I was 25 years old, and I was freshly out of grad school, and I hit a real wall. I had a list of things that I had to achieve in my life that I thought would make me good in the world. And I got the whole list and I wasn’t okay. So, really out of sheer necessity, I began to look for something more. I found myself on this path in a rather unlikely way.
I heard a voice telling me to get my act together, which was the first voice. A few months later, there was this thing called the Harmonic Convergence, and I heard people were going to be waking up. At that moment in my life—because I had gone from living in a world where there was no such thing as spirit to one in which perhaps there was—I thought, “Well, if there is a God, or something like that, and you wanted to wake up, why would it say ‘No’? It wouldn’t want you to be asleep.”
So I went up to the roof of the building I lived in, on 22nd Street, and I asked to be woken up. Somebody had given me a mantra and a crystal — I thought you needed the props in those days. I don’t know what happened. I may have been hyperventilating. I may never know. It was the experience of energy moving from the pit of my being up through what I now know is the chakras and out through the top of my head. The feeling left me frozen and swaying in this energy. I knew I was safe and I knew it was something specific for me to experience. I think, in retrospect, having grown up without any evidence of the supernatural, I’d had some psychic experiences as a child but I dismissed them. I needed something that was tangible.
Around that time — maybe as a result of that experience, maybe not — I started seeing lights around people. So, there were fruits. It was enough that it kept me going forward. I don’t know if I used it for that reason, as a touchstone, or if it was significant in terms of how I operated, but it was a very challenging period in my life, because I’d gone from living in one universe to a universe that operated a bit differently.
TA: What has it been like to live through the past thirty years with this as a part of your life? Do you find that people are more open to this kind of thing now?
PS: I was in the closet with this stuff for years. I taught at NYU for 25 years and I wasn’t really talking about this [channeling]. I had a little group that met in my apartment for years, and I was channeling, working with energy, and I would see clients periodically, but I was somewhat covert.
The world has changed a great deal. The fact that you and I are having this conversation and it will be seen somewhere is testament to that. There’s still resistance. I still bump into people who say, “Well this is impossible, and you must be faking,” and I go, “Well, you know, if I were going to fake this stuff, there would be a lot easier ways to do it than how I do it, because it’s arduous for me physically.”
I channel whole books. I close my eyes and in front of an audience, a new book is dictated that is then transcribed and requires no editing. So, the world seems to have acclimated to possibility in a good way, and I think some of that’s happened because the material world as we’ve known it seems to be failing us in some ways. I think we’re being forced to reckon with ourselves and our world and our values and the values of our culture and make, hopefully, the higher choices.
TA: Can you talk about what the experience of being psychic looks like in daily life?
PS: I can try. People sometimes assume that, because I can do this stuff, I’m tuned in all the time and I can have any answer in the universe. I’ve had people come to me and ask me to translate Sanskrit for them, because they assumed that I should be able to do that, or ancient Aramaic. I’m sure there’s a guide out there that can do it, but that’s not how I operate.
My guides are present with me. I have access to them at all times. However, what they will do with me in my daily life is support me in taking actions based in fear. It tends to all be immediate. Now, if I ask them, “Am I ever going to meet somebody and settle down?” which I would like to know, I may not hear it. But I will hear about the action that is required today. So, on that level, it’s a very simple thing. And at the same time, my entire life is informed by this. At this point, what used to be foreign and exotic is now normal. I mean, there have been little lights going off around your head since we’ve been talking and I’m thinking, “Oh, that’s nice.” But I don’t know what they are, and I wasn’t asking. It’s just not surprising for me to see that.
Very often, the phenomena that comes through when I work is palpable to many people, so they can have their own experience of energy. There are people — I suppose I bump into them occasionally — who are very resistant to that. But I’ve been known to work with an audience of 200 people, and eighty percent of them have never heard of this stuff and they can all feel it and experience it and go through it.
I think that there’s something important about people having their own experience of phenomena, or the divine, or whatever you want to call it. Then you have your own touchstone for your life as to what can be possible.
So the books are energetic teachings, and people have experiences very often of the energy of the guides and how they work through the interchange with the books — I think that that’s all valuable. So, again, there are things that I’m so used to right now that I don’t consider them strange or even glorious, even though they may be. It’s just part of the way that I experience my world.
TA: You mention seeing these lights by my head — is that something you experience often? Do you see this kind of thing just walking down the street?
PS: Not a lot. It’s usually when I’m with somebody. I used to teach college, and when the kids would have an idea, I would see a light go off over their heads. I would say, “You just had an idea,” and they would say, “How did you know?” It was like the idea lightbulbs in cartoons. So sometimes, it’s like that. If it’s a blue light over the head, I perceive that is an aspect of the auric field — it’s the divine part, the higher self, or something making itself visible. That’s how I’ve experienced it.
When I see little dark patches in people’s field, it’s usually something that needs to clear. If I’m with a client and I say, “What’s your father’s name?” and the little dark thing goes off, I know that there’s some issues with the father, and maybe work on clearing that. Sometimes, I think it’s the people in our lives showing up. If you’ve ever had the experience of knowing who was on the phone when it was about to ring, that person is moving into your field to see if you’re there. And that’s all about it is.
TA: What do you enjoy the most about channeling?
PS: The part of me that channels and comes through in this way is unafraid and doesn’t operate in fear. It holds great love. It’s something that I get to experience when I’m channeling in a way that is sometimes joyful and sometimes very humbling to me, Paul. That’s not my experience in my daily life, and I hope one day it is.
I get to have that experience of being beyond my small personality self, who cares how people see him, or believes it’s supposed to sound or be a certain way, because, with this stuff, all bets are off. There’s no way to control it at that level.
TA: Has there been a particularly beautiful or touching moment that you’ve had happen while channeling?
PS: What comes to mind is that the guides are capable of great love. I’m a shy man, and I don’t run around staring people in the eyes or touching them. It’s not my normal thing. They do. They can. I’ve been witness, through them, of people opening up wide and allowing themselves to be seen and to become really visible in their own beauty. I don’t know that I can call that forth as Paul in the way that they can.
One of the things the guides do in workshops is stand in front of everyone and claim them in their true nature, in their freedom from the old. People have described it, at times, as complete, unconditional love. I don’t know that I hold that as personality, but I’m getting to experience it, and that’s a gift.
The guides literally step into me, and then they witness. They hold a higher vision. They see beyond the fear, the shame, or the secrets or the mask. They just love. That’s it. There’s a whole energetic shift that happens when they work. They say they operate in a higher octave. They use octaves as descriptors. They’re playing a high note. And when they claim someone in their field, they’re claiming them in the note that they’re playing. They’re lifting them to be in resonance at that level of vibration. That’s why it can happen. It doesn’t really happen at the level of personality, because the personality is the one that has all the problems and is so invested. But to lift beyond that, I think, is to know love.