What if you’re genuinely interested in learning more about the spiritual world, but you’re as cynical as you are curious? It’s a journey that One Grounded Angel journalist and energy healer Trudie McConnochie knows all too well.
If you’ve ever found yourself curious about spirituality and everything that sits within that concept, you may have also found that it can be a hard world to crack into – things get waffly, pretty quickly. It’s a balance that journalist and energy healer Trudie McConnochie understands all too well. When she started her spiritual journey, she was exactly the kind of person who might cringe at the term “spiritual journey.” In fact, it was her role in magazines that kick-started it all, back when she was working for New Idea in Sydney.
“They started a column with an angel card reader and they needed staff to supply questions, just to get it going,” she says. “I sent one in as a bit of a gag, not really expecting to get much back. But what she sent me was so accurate and so insightful… things that I knew were true but didn’t want to do anything about yet, because they were so confronting.”
“When I started getting into spirituality, I was looking for someone who would just speak plain language but it was all so airy-fairy.”
That experience both introduced Trudie into the spiritual realm but also how it was an interesting way to get some insight into how she was really feeling. She bought some of her own angel cards and started doing some readings, finding what the cards told her increasingly helpful.
“It was something just for me – I didn’t talk to other people about it, because I felt spirituality had such a stigma,” she laughs. “I didn’t want to be put into that category of hippies or people who didn’t use deodorant or all those stereotypes that go along with spirituality. I didn’t understand then that there are different ways to develop your spiritual side.”
It was later on, after back to Auckland, that she decided to do a course on how to read angel cards – – a type of oracle cards that convey guidance from your guardian angels. While practising with her fellow students, all the readings that Trudie was getting were telling her to move back to Australia – an answer she really didn’t want to hear, she laughs. But she was feeling stuck in her personal life and decided to give it a go.
Once she was back in Australia, things improved quickly and she realised the power of making different choices and being in a different environment – and that the cards had empowered her to make those decisions.
Eventually she launched a card-reading business called One Grounded Angel and the name is a nod to the particular kind of spirituality that Trudie is a fan of: the grounded kind. “When I started getting into spirituality, I was looking for someone who would just speak plain language but it was all so airy-fairy; people were talking about concepts I didn’t understand,” she says.
“It wasn’t relevant to my life! So, I was looking for someone who would have a really grounded approach to spirituality and help me use it in my life. I was not someone who was going to go off and move to an ashram. I needed someone who would help me integrate this into my daily life and no-one was helping me to do that.”
“That’s what I want to offer and that’s why I put ‘grounded’ in the name. We have to be able to use spirituality in the real world; we can’t just shun 5G and be ‘only positive vibes’… it’s just not realistic,” she says. “We’re humans, we’re complex and we’re going to screw up a lot, that’s part of the journey. So, we need to be realistic about what it means to be on a spiritual journey.”
It’s one of the reasons Trudie thinks her journalist background has been so helpful with being an energy healer – journalists are both curious but cynical, and that’s a great blend when you’re working in a field where people really do want to promote a ‘rainbows and unicorns’ attitude (sometimes literally).
“That curiosity is part of what drew me into this; I’ve always been interested in what motivates people, what they think and why they think it and – particularly in recent times – how people can have real tunnel vision in terms of blocking off facts and not recognising them at all,” she says. “And the cynicism really helps me, because there are a lot of people who get on board with spirituality who go down the rabbit hole – and I was never going to do that.”
For instance, Trudie now offers her work as an energy healer as part of her card-reading sessions but she’s firm that it’s a tool that sits alongside a mental health professional, rather than replacing one. “Often the people who come to me have done a lot of therapy and when they come to see me, they’re like ‘I know I’m co-dependent, I know I’ve got control issues and I overthink everything, I just don’t know what to do about it,’” she says.
“And I found this with therapy too – I love it, but you can sometimes feel like you’re hitting a wall. So, energy healing goes to the deep subconscious level to shift the beliefs, fears and trauma energy that are stuck there, that we can’t often get to on our own. Because knowing what’s going on isn’t always enough to shift it.”
When it came to becoming an energy healer and learning reiki, Trudie said she went looking for practitioners who were similarly grounded in their nature – and had the life experience to match it. “If you’re looking for a relationship counsellor, are you going to go to the one who’s been in the same marriage for 40 years? Or are you going to go to the person who’s been divorced three times? I’d choose the divorced one, personally, because they’ve been through some shit. And that’s how you learn!”
As part of offering a grounded approach to spirituality as an energy healer, Trudie has also designed her own angel cards, because the ones available were either dated or an ill-fit. A constant part of her One Grounded Angel offering was doing a card reading a day on Instagram and the vibes of the oracle cards she was using were not exactly 2022-friendly.
“Some of them are a little bit Biblical: they’re not relatable, they’ve got cherubs floating around the heavens… and they also tended to oversimplify things while bypassing the deeper issues that we need to confront if we’re working on ourselves,” she says. “I wanted to create a set that were as helpful as they were empowering.”
“Go to a lot of different people, because no one is an expert. That’s the whole point about spirituality, we’re all here to learn.”
Trudie says there was a noticeable increase in people needing help when the pandemic first hit and there have been peaks and troughs ever since, as two years of lockdowns have exacerbated relationship issues or career stagnancy. But as people turn to the spiritual world in an attempt to find out what’s next, Trudie says it’s important to trust your judgment when looking for an energy healer.
“If something feels a bit off to you, stay away from it,” she says. “People are usually pretty good at knowing what’s right for them or not, unless they’re freaking out. When we’re in that fear/stress mode, sometimes we don’t make healthy choices about where we go for our information. Go to a lot of different people, because no one is an expert. That’s the whole point about spirituality, we’re all here to learn.”
That can be hard for people who are seeking definite answers, she says. “That idea of ‘it’s all a bit of a mystery’ can be hard for some people, who are looking for absolute truths to feel safe,” she says.
“The pandemic has really highlighted that – we all want to know the end point and when we can go back to normal, even though normal wasn’t necessarily a healthy place. We don’t know how long this is going to last, so the challenge is to be comfortable in that uncertainty and still being able to feel secure within ourselves, trusting that we’re going to be okay. And that’s hard. But spirituality can help us develop the ability to feel safe and secure despite the uncertainty
“I’ve had people reach out and say, ‘I’ve just started dating someone… are we going to get married?’ and essentially, they’re asking, ‘Can you flip to the last page of the book and tell me how this ends?’ and that’s just not how the world works; we have to take it chapter by chapter, page by page. I’m very careful to explain that to people who are hoping I’ll predict their future for them.”
But spirituality can be a good tool for those who are interested in it, she says. “Some things that we work on might never go away entirely – some of our baggage, we might have the rest of our lives. But if we’re on a spiritual journey, we’ll be shedding layers of it as we go, because we can’t release all our pain, fears or emotional baggage in one go – we have to keep chipping away at it gradually. That’s the nature of being on a spiritual journey – it’s a slow process. That can be frustrating to realise, but the alternative – staying stuck – is not a great option.”
Finally, she warns, be careful on Instagram, as there are a lot of scammers impersonating energy healers, card readers and astrologers. “Be very suspicious of anyone who follows you back then DMs you offering their services – a legit spiritual practitioner will never force their work onto other people. And if you decide you want to book a session with someone, always book through their website, not social media.”