Island Arts: Psychic house healer Sheldon Norberg
By Diana Ariza Klose
Sheldon Norberg has been practicing and developing his skills as a psychic house healer for 20 years. This Alameda resident, Bay Area native and father of two, who grew up frequenting the University at California, Berkeley during his teen years, has walked the most unlikely paths to become, as he calls himself, a psychic house cleaner.
Beginning with transcendental meditation at the age of 10, Norberg has pursued a lifelong interest in states of consciousness. After his training at the Academy of Intuition Medicine, he developed an extensive practice in meditation and energetic space healing and became an adjunct faculty member at the institution while earning his bachelor’s degree in psycho-spiritual healing at San Francisco State University. He is a certified practitioner of Chi Nei Tsang (Chinese organ massage), a certified hypnotherapist and a non-denominational minister who has trained in holotropic breathwork, alchemical divination, shamanism, yoga, and sensory deprivation.
He has recently published his second book, “Healing Houses: My Work as a Psychic House Cleaner,” in which he recalls situations he has encountered throughout his career. In it, we learn how the energy imprint left in a physical space by human activity affects us, and on occasion, interferes dramatically with our daily lives.
You can find more in-depth information about Norberg’s work and his new book plus excerpts on his website. Norberg will be appearing with “Ghost Hunter’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area” author Jeff Dwyer at Books Inc. this Friday, April 15. Books Inc. is at 1344 Park Street, and the event begins at 7 p.m.
I have to tell you I love your writing style. I couldn’t stop reading the chapters you published on the website.
Thank you. The most interesting thing to me is that I turned out to be a good writer. I never thought of myself as a writer. I saw a Vedic astrologer about 15 years ago, and he asked, “Have you written any books?” and I said no. He said, “Well, in your chart it looks like you are a writer,” and I just kind of laughed and thought, “Oh, another astrologer.” Probably within a year, I sat down to write my first book, which did quite well.
What was the path between that first book and the work you do now?
Well, “Confessions of a Dope Dealer” (the first book) is very time-condensed toward the end, and in “Healing Houses” I kind of pick up where I left. Getting back to astrology, I hit my Saturn return, and realized that my life was not functioning, I wasn’t the person I wanted to be, I didn’t feel like I was in a healthy psychological state, selling weed was no longer a career that I was driven to be successful in, and my awareness of people’s addictive behaviors, and the sort of compulsive nature of it, disturbed me. I stumbled my way back through another astrological reading. A friend of mine recommended that I go see a psychic, and I thought, “Oh no.” My rational materialistic upbringing makes me very cynical and critical, which is the complexity of the work I do, and my writing of “Healing Houses.” I was raised and atheist, so I’m a very “prove it” kind of person. The psychic reading was open-ended, but it made it seem like it would be worth going back to school. That launched me into a long period where the healing house work was the top level of what I was achieving with my new approach to awareness, but at the same time I was stripping away at all the layers of my life. I eliminated my whole social circle for years, eliminated my drug use, quit doing psychedelics for a decade, and started doing my internal searching for who I was, and what I was doing here; piece by piece trying to clarify all of the amazing things that had happened to me.
Do you believe that experimenting with entheogens heightened your intuitive skills?
You’re always looking for people who have attuned themselves to these states of consciousness without having ever done any kind of alteration, because I certainly can see the possibility, but I imagine that far more people that are working in this realm have had altered states that were driven by neurochemistry, if you want to put it that way. If you look into cultures that use shamanistic tools, it’s very much about accessing other non-ordinary realities or seeing things that you can’t see because of all the filters that you are wearing to live your daily existence.
Do you know if there are other people who do this kind of work?
I have trained a number of people, but I think that because of my background, I have a unique skill set and an undaunted sense of approaching the work. A lot of my referrals came from other psychics who absolutely did not want to go anywhere near those houses. It’s a challenging workplace, and most people aren’t cut out for that. I’ve gotten beaten down on a few occasions, and toughed it out, and that’s what developed my capacity to go forward. There are a number of stories in the book about that. When you’re in a place where there’s been some really intense death or large-scale negative actions, it can leave a feeling that’s really disturbing.
Do you think that the type of daily activity that happens in a building – not necessary something as extreme as a violent death – affects the energy of that building?
Totally. It’s the difference between walking into a church and walking into a casino. Every place carries that sort of imprint of what the business expectation is, and what the reaction of all the people who interface with them is. There’s more and more research on how our nervous systems becomes aware of things milliseconds before we are consciously aware of them, or even if we are not consciously aware of them. Research has found that your skin, your brain, are automatically aware that somebody’s eyes are on you, because there’s a direction of consciousness hitting your field. It’s a tremendously interesting field of study. Some people react skeptically, but there is scientific research and there’s no mistake.
How do you go about healing a house?
I meditate, I sit in the space, although I occasionally do long-distance work. Over the years I have developed a step-by-step approach to look at what I see as the energy structure of a house, similar to the energy body, but very different. The way a house is constructed, it’s not a physical organic living entity but it has a distinct presence and intention (whether that’s intentionally said or not) so I try to communicate with the matter of the physical space, and with the charge of the matter that’s left by that intention; then I try to dust off those prints, remove, scrub, ignite, whatever technique I have to run through as a psychic. Sometimes I will have to sit through somebody’s death process; I’ll rewind and review their murder, or their death, until we are able to come to a point of release of the tension around it.
Is all this within you, or is there some action that happens as well?
Yeah, it may not be happening at all, it’s all in my head (laughing), it’s all the voices I’m listening to and images I’m seeing, although I get a lot of confirmation (of the shift) from my clients.
I’m really trying to understand because for a person who hasn’t had that type of experience the only reference point there is, is what you see in the movies.
And the movies are always blown up to 10 or more times the level of reality. In reality, these things are very subtle, and they are challenging, and some times difficult, and sometimes frightening. The effect level of the impact of our human energy on space is a thousand times greater than what we see in the movies, but a hundred times more subtle.
You talk about “grounding” in your book, can you explain that term?
It’s very standard in psychic work. It’s meant to discuss whether a person or object has a connection with the Earth. Whether you think of yourself as connected to the Earth’s magnetic field. We are all within the magnetic resonance of the Earth. It’s a wave form, coming from the Earth at about seven hertz per second, and there is this question of whether you are attuned to it or not.
So when applied to a house, is it like a sense?
It’s very much a sense, but it’s also very much to do with location. In each particular location, the directionality of the magnetic field is different, so houses are all built in different places, and have a different connection to that. As far as I’m considering it with the intentionality of being grounded, few or no houses are intentionally built. Very few people are setting up a house as an intention structure, and with the intention that the house will be grounded. The really weird thing about my work is that after I go through a house and do this practice, the people who live there, whom I’ve never met and who are usually in some sort of strange and traumatic situation around it, notice direct effect in the way they feel there and the way the place feels; and not just the people who live there, but the people who visit them as well.
Could it be that we, Western civilization, are discovering the fact that reality is not synonym with rational? Or that “rational” is maybe just a point of view?
That’s the one I still hit my head on most days: Is the world, really, magic? Or is it material? We’ve been kind of in this locked-up wrestling match for a long time, and you know magic has definitely been on the underside, but I think that so many people have been through, both psychedelic experiences and straight ahead indefinable non-ordinary experiences that there is this window opened, and certainly people are looking at this juncture in the collapse of our society for greater connection. People recognize that we’ve lost connection with a lot of things.
After delving into your work, your studies, and experiences, I get this sense that to do this type of work, you have to be a combination of counselor, psychologist, psychic, priest, and healer, or what I would call a version of a Shaman, in the sense that it is someone who can bring the spiritual and the material together, and work with it. Would you say that’s accurate?
I was waiting for that word. I like that word.
Do you see yourself doing this kind of work for the rest of your life?
Well it’s been 20 years, and I am hoping that it becomes something I do full time, but the switch hasn’t clicked yet. I love working with people too, I find that the house work gives me a certain satisfaction and there’s a certain elite-ness to it that appeals to me. I’m doing something very rare, and I like that.
I want to end on a really light note, so like James Lipton, I am appropriating a few questions from Bernard Pivot’s and Marcel Proust’s questionnaires. What do you value most in your friends?
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?
I haven’t read fiction in so long. I guess it’s Odysseus.
How would you like to die?
(After a very long silence) It’s kind of funny, I’ve died so many ways in my experiences, I used to want to die explosively, but probably just at rest.