AUBURN — The objects on display in the window of Open Door to the Immortal Phoenix caught Cara Dodge's eye when she walked by them one day.
The business's owner, Lorna Reynolds, gestured for Dodge to come inside. There, she told Reynolds about the house she just moved into. A section upstairs made her feel uneasy.
"What does all this have to do with the railroad?" Reynolds asked her — even though Dodge had not mentioned a railroad.
Later, Dodge said, she discovered online that a past owner of the house worked for the railroad. He had also been hit by a car and killed.
Dodge has been a regular client of Open Door to the Immortal Phoenix ever since.
As she recounted the story Friday, Dodge sat on a couch toward the back of 139 State St. space with Reynolds and Patricia Sanchez, who offers counseling services.
Reynolds, a medium and metaphysical specialist, opened the business in December 2018.
"I believe whoever walks through this door is just meant to walk through the door," she said.
One year into its operation, the space offers a host of services for spiritual counseling, hypnosis, psychic readings and reiki energy healing. Paranormal explorations are also offered throughout the building, which Reynolds said is busy with paranormal activity due to its use at one point as an extension of Auburn Correctional Facility.
She also teaches classes in spiritual uses of manifestation, pendulums and a divination technique that uses dowsing rods to communicate with spirits. But she's especially passionate about one field.
"My heart is with hypnosis," she said.
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Reynolds is now doing research for a book about past life regression, a phenomenon that involves putting people under a type of hypnosis that allows them to talk about their past lives. To help with her research, Reynolds is offering the sessions for free for the next six months.
She also hopes her business can begin working with health care professionals in the area to offer alternative solutions for problems like anger management and information retention — issues that Reynolds said she already addresses with some clients.
"Anxiety has been a huge issue for a lot of people that I’m seeing here in the New York area," she said.
Sanchez joined Reynolds at Open Door to the Immortal Phoenix about three months ago, adding a counseling component to the business.
"I’ll ask a client, 'Can I hold your hand?' So I can feel their energy. So they can feel me," Sanchez said.
Along with more traditional counseling, Sanchez started to offer coloring therapy and a lending library where patrons can borrow from a selection of nonfiction books about spiritual healing.
"This is a place for healing. It really is," she said.
But when Sanchez first entered the space — with its symbols of psychic and spiritual powers — she had to conquer fears she now feels were instilled in her by more conventional religious institutions.
"Collectively, our mission is to help, not to hurt, hinder, destroy or anything," Sanchez said.
They both agreed that Reynolds wields a more direct approach to spiritual guidance: "When somebody comes to me, I’m not going to let you forget, you’re the one that made the choice that put you where you are," she said.
She continued, "Because accepting that responsibility and owning it is your first step to healing."
Clarification: Patricia Sanchez is not an owner or business partner in the Open Door to the Immortal Phoenix.