(I couldn’t write the word “sixth” because I didn’t want to give you the wrong impression… Although, yes, your intuition right: this ìs a ghost story.)
Take it from a girl who still dreams about finding her Hogwarts letter in the mail: there ìs another world out there! Maybe not inhabited by pointy-hatted witches and wizards, not sure about the existence of trolls and unicorns either, but there is magic in this world. It’s actually hidden in plain sight, buried deep within all of us, and a growing amount of people starts to be aware of it. Spirituality, the universe and the presence of higher powers are no longer the sole territory of dreamers and weirdos –no offence, weirdos, I’ve always counted myself to be one of you. Rational, grounded people increasingly embrace it as a way of life too.
One of them is Sophie Jongejan, your every modern witch. She used to pursue a successful career in fashion, hosting big shot photo shoots, which lead her all over the world. Glamorous, exciting and thrilling, yet something was off, so she decided to hit the brakes and start over. Or rather, so did her soul, as she suffered a massive burnout and didn’t really know what to do with it –can’t really blame her, the fashion crowd tends to cure every ache with a dramatic sigh and a coffee. On her journey towards more harmony, she stumbled into the world of soft spirituality. She tried practices like reiki, acupuncture and healing by energy, met with various healers, started following her intuition, researched into tarot cards and the moon. Also, casually, along the way… she discovered the medium powers she’d suppressed since childhood. Those scary ghost dreams she always used to have as a kid: not a coincidence! She spent a year refining her gift and learning how to deal with it, and now offers to read people’s souls. Which sounds a bit unnerving, I know.
“I tend to bullshit-check myself”
“Since I was very little, I felt presences around me. Someone sleeping next to me, a breath, a movement. It is of course a scary experience, but my parents used to laugh it off so I decided to block it. Bad idea: not everybody feels them, but we’re actually all ‘haunted’ by such presences. They are what I like to call our spirit guides, our own personal team of light. They actually mean no harm and, once you’ve accepted them and connect to your higher self, they will guide you towards more harmony. Of course, every now and then you come across -let’s put it mildly- ‘playful’ spirits that want to joke around with you, but let’s focus on the good stuff here!” A soul reading consists of Sophie connecting with that team, as well as with your aura and so-called Higher Self. They send her messages, sometimes show her bits of past lives or point out some traumas you need to process. Women in particular tend to be haunted by traumas, a type of stress, which they pass on from generation to generation. Actually, whatever bothers you may also strain up to seven generations of women in your family -both ancestors and descendants. In short, you kind of owe it to your grandmama and great-granddaughter alike to come to terms with yourself… All this helps you find guidance, understand what makes you unique, what your talents are and what your soul’s purpose is in life. In short: you’ll be more insync with your intuition. (Also, if occasionally Sophie bumps into a “joker” while hanging around with your soul, she’ll kindly ask it to bugger off and leave you alone.)
Sophie started to be aware of her “special” sense -let’s avoid giving it a number, shall we…- as she researched into spirituality. One course in particular, a weekend at the Arthur Finley School of Intuitive Sciences, was a massive awakening: “I was actually just there to accompany a friend of mine and didn’t take it too seriously -especially since the school couldn’t be more Hogwartsy: you step off the train on a dangly platform and follow a country lane up to a grand mansion. (Spooky detail: I crossed several people along the way and started wondering if I was the only one who saw them… Anyway, they were friendly enough.) Upon arrival, the teachers immediately divided us in groups -I couldn’t help but think of the Sorting Hat ceremony- and I was apparently upon those who were recognized for their medium powers. Honestly it is something I didn’t believe myself, I tend to bullshit-check myself a lot, until they made me see what I could actually do. Suddenly, everything fell into place. After that, I started embracing my intuition and discovered how freeing that could be.”
Following her intuition meant giving up her own fashion production company and setting up The Place, an online holistic platform that strives to make spirituality more accessible and… elegant! She wants to dust the notion off and free it from certain patchouli-scented clichés. She shares knowledge, gathers spiritual guides from different disciplines and gives workshops on the moon cycle, tarot reading, etc. “It is about reconnecting with and living according to spirituality. I adapt my beauty routine, my cooking, even my gardening to the moon and energies for instance. It is actually more easy than you think because it is such an essential, yet often forgotten, part of us. It is a kind of wisdom we all carry within us, but we lost our connection with it. We kind of lost our roots actually, which is why so many people feel lost nowadays.”
In Sophie’s case, you can take those roots quite literally. She was born in Africa to a French mother and Dutch father and travelled the world with them. She lived all across Africa and Eastern Europe before ending up in the Parisian fashion scene. Up next was Hong Kong, if you could even call that a homebase because she spent most of her time in airplanes and on trains. One of those lead her to Belgium, where she met her current boyfriend. He made her stand still for the first time and the couple just renovated their dream home in the countryside near Ghent -an elegant cocoon, filled with flowers and surrounded by dreamy trees (one of them containing a squirrel house, which I somehow find a very important detail).“I’m still a nomad who needs to move a zillion times a year, but falling in love and finally settling down made me learn to love and enroot. My roots used to be trapped in my suitcase, now I’m discovering the harmony of having my own little cocoon. Works like magic!”