About two weeks ago, Mau—our studio housekeeper—approached me and Abbey to make the following solemn announcement:
Ma’am, may nakita akong mama sa banyo nung isang araw.
(Ma’am, I saw a man in the restroom the other day.)
When Mau uses this tone of voice, it’s usually not to report seeing one of our male students or teachers. The studio’s resident Reiki Master Teacher, Sarah, cheerfully confirmed Mau’s uncanny sighting by telling me and Abbey that she sensed “a man’s spirit and a fire elemental” wandering in the space. (She promptly proceeded to clear the studio by meandering from room to room with a bowl of burning sage.)
After two years in this line of work, I’ve gotten used to hearing this sort of thing. Being a Muggle in a field where the unseen and the intangible are commonplace makes me part of an uncomfortable minority. Fortunately, my philosophical training is largely phenomenological, so I live by the epistemological strategy of conceding the validity of others’ experiences. Truth, like reality, is a matter of negotiation, and negotiation, like everything else, is determined by power.
The uncomfortable minority never has that much power. (Muggles, it seems, have even less. So when Mau and Sarah tell me something’s wandering around, I say the wisest thing I can possibly say: “Okay.”)
Sarah doesn’t buy it though. She doesn’t believe I’m a Muggle—she simply thinks I think too much and the intellectualism blots out the input of my other senses.
It’s entirely possible—and not entirely unwelcome. Intellectualism is also a strategy.
And so is being a Muggle.