ENDWELL, NY — Before 2005, Trish Chastain-Sage had settled into a good life.
After a sour experience with a mainstream evangelical church, she was finding new outlets for her spirituality. Her master’s degree in social science suited her job at SUNY Upstate Medical Clinical Campus; her four children and husband, Tom Sage, were all happy and healthy.
Then, illness took one of her teenagers straight to the brink of death.
In weeks of frustration and anger, not knowing if her son would live or die, she was ready to ditch the whole idea that there was a loving God who cared what happened on earth.
Then came the angels, announcing her son would recover, says Chastain-Sage — and her life would never be the same.
“They were beings of light and emanated a love that has no human equivalent expression,” she explains on her Web site, www.lightwork therapy.com. “During the time I spent with them, I was shown a glimpse of what appeared to me to be heaven. I understood in this brief moment that there was no exclusion from this place based on religious belief and that it was open to all. I also understood that there was no death and only transition from the earth plane to the plane I was being shown.”
The experience left her highly intuitive, she explains, and with the awareness that she had a job to do. Although once her belief system had been rooted in the evangelical mainstream, she now found herself being carried along in the flow of new thought.
That work would place her in the category of those sometimes labeled “New Age” and other times called “crazy.”
She took training from several different sources, including author Doreen Virtue, a psychologist and metaphysician whose 20-plus books detail what she perceives to be angelic intervention in human lives.
Chastain-Sage calls her new company Lightwork Therapy and new life’s work Intuitive Counseling. The angels are her conduits between heaven and earth, she says. They give her impressions that she passes along to those who ask.
She holds workshops, teleseminars and other presentations and already she has individual clients all over the world, including more than a hundred in Greater Binghamton.
Mary Ellen — Mel — Hindin lives in the Washington, D.C., area. A paralegal, she learned of Lightwork Therapy through a friend. She made an initial half-hour phone appointment with Chastain-Sage — and now she’s a believer.
“She doesn’t look into the future,” Hindin, 55, explains. “She asks you if you want to speak about anything special or she can tell you what she’s hearing about your spirit.”
After her standard 30 minutes of meditation prior to speaking with a client, Chastain-Sage told Hindin her impressions. She said Hindin was hanging on to a romance that was going nowhere, but she needed to let go so another relationship could enter her life.
“Relationships come hard to me,” Hindin says. But two weeks later, she met someone new, and now she’s on the third serious relationship of her lifetime.
Katy Bailey of Binghamton has long believed that angels surround and serve humanity. She, too, has gone to Doreen Virtue workshops in New York City, but knew of no one in Binghamton practicing a similar ministry. Local psychic Phil Jordan had told Bailey that he “saw” her in France, that her name at the time was Therese and that she died young.
Not knowing any of that, Chastain-Sage told Bailey one of her impressions: she “saw” St. Theresa, the Little Flower, who was a nun in France.
“It’s a matter of belief,” says Bailey, Employee Assistance coordinator at Binghamton University. “And those kinds of things make me believe.”
That’s how it was for Chastain-Sage, too. She never actually asked to see angels. But there they were, she says, and it fell to her to step out of one reality and into another. That new reality has manifold aspects.
“If I said I talk to dead people, I’d be on every prayer list in the country,” she says. “People believe there’s something dark involved — but these are beings of light. I no longer feel like I have to defend my faith.”
So now, she’s publicly proclaiming her new vocation. She is a Reiki practitioner and certified by Doreen Virtue to be an Angel Therapy Practitioner.
Chastain-Sage will facilitate several workshops at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton this month, and her Web site puts her whole experience out there for the world to see.
Some will laugh, she knows. Others will be even less kind in their assessments.
“I’m a very grounded, down-to earth person,” she says a bit defensively. “I’m not Bohemian. Look, I’m wearing a turtleneck and a wool skirt.”
She’s not especially gifted, either, she says. Her workshops aim to teach others to do for themselves what she has learned to do.
“I’m so motivated by wanting so much to see people heal and be connected spiritually, whatever that means for them,” she says. “I’ve talked with a lot of people who’ve been hurt by religious or church experiences, and I’ve helped them not to throw out the baby with the bath water.”
In 2005, she almost lost her faith in a higher power. Now that she’s convinced not only of God but of his compassionate guidance through angels, she’s ready to share her knowledge and experiences with the world.