Author’s Bio: Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a psychologist, teacher, and channel, who likes looking at life with the big viewfinder.
This interview originally appeared in 2009 in: ReligionandSpirituality.com (no longer available)
Are you a curious type? Do you ever wonder how someone becomes an intuitive, and what their life has been like?
Allow me to introduce you to Joan Pancoe, a psychic, trance channel and karmic astrologer in New York City since 1976.
Recently, Joan gifted me a good portion of her afternoon to quiz her about her life, times, and spiritual journey. After walking through her apartment where her original works of art adorn the walls, we settled ourselves amidst the surprising greenery and playful statuary of her secret garden, deep within the heart of NYC’s East Village.
I wanted to start at the beginning. Did Joan grow up in a home where the paranormal was the norm? Like many intuitive types, did she regularly commune with the other realms as a dreamy, spaced-out kid? Did she blurt out psychic hits to the neighbors?
The short answer is no, to all of the above. Joan’s trajectory and development are anything but the norm.
Born in Chicago in 1953, Joan was a chronically crying, hyper, red-faced, didn’t-sleep-didn’t-eat kind of infant. Joan, now, attributes those early years as reflective of a personal law (learned through rebirthing sessions) that stated, “I don’t want to be here; it’s not safe.”
As a child, Joan was unusually tiny; she describes herself as “cute, but monkey-like” and adds “there was arrested development.” She was unable to talk until speech therapy intervened at age 4 or 5. She was unable to read as well, until her desire kicked in at age 7, and she picked up the TV Guide and read her first words, “The Danny Thomas Show.”
This was a critical moment in her life: her first shift in consciousness. Joan remembers, “Reading tests within months went from 0 to 12th grade. There was acceleration. At the age of 7, there was some sort of release, and I came mentally online. I was off-line; here, but not here. That’s my story: sequential cycles of not here and, then, more here. It is the process of coming into this incarnation. Recently, over the last few years, I have come in for a landing and been more embodied.”
A relentless student in honors and A.P. classes; the teachers’ chosen artist with an aptitude to draw exact replicas; popular, even with glasses and braces; and a cheerleader until side-lined with an injury, Joan stormed through high school.
The combination of the cheerleading injury, the Zeitgeist of the 60s, and hormones brought another great shift. Joan went from “good girl to not so good girl.”
Almost overnight, Joan became a hippie chick, atheist and pothead. She smoked pot from the time she got up in the morning, between classes and all through the evening. She let her hair grow half way down her back; wore rose-colored glasses and T-shirts emblazoned with “LOVE”; became “hyper sexually precocious” aided and abetted by a gifted vibrator; and vowed her only desire in life was to be a hedonist.
Hedonism and pot notwithstanding, Joan graduated salutatorian of her high school class.
In 1971, Joan headed off to Barnard College in New York City. On February 19, 1972, in a West End bar, she met James Rush, the single greatest influence of her life and the person who gave Joan her psychic wings.
When Joan was 19 years old, her world exploded when Jim offered her a tab of windowpane acid. The ensuing trip resulted in Joan’s third eye seal breaking wide open. She was unlocked psychically. Joan says, “I experienced my eternal nature and everyone else’s, and I never fully came back from that trip.”
Joan’s early adult years were like a thousand bottle rockets being launched at once. Joan dropped out of college and had a wild and wooly relationship with Jim. She went to art school in Europe, partied heavily, endured migraines and fed her sexual appetites. She returned to the US and, ultimately, stopped running and surrendered. She accepted her psychic abilities, stopped having migraines, and entered a 12-step program. Once she became sober, peace of mind became her priority in life.
The juicy details of her wild ride are detailed in Joan’s second book, Cosmic Sugar: The Amorous Adventures of a Modern Mystic, which is published under the pen name Leela Jones, and explores how Leela looks to reconcile “her desire for pleasure and her passion for soul growth.”
In the early to mid-80s, Joan was energetically rewired for the first time─-an experience she details in her book, Openings. Joan reports that it felt like she was undergoing brain surgery for a couple of days as she was fitted with an energetic funnel cap in her 6th chakra. The funnel became her transmitter and, as a result, she no longer needed to travel out to various planes of consciousness; now, the readings came into her.
Concomitantly, Joan, also, realized that she needed to find substantial ways to better ground and root herself. Psychics can burn out because they run a great deal of current through their systems. Joan was feeling the reality of this. There was too much energy coursing through her present-day wiring. There was no grounding wire, and she was not insulated enough. Joan was seeing acupuncturists and healers on a regular basis, but knew she had to find a more lasting solution to prevent a major meltdown.
Philosophically, Joan has been a Taoist since her late 20s/early 30s and opted to pursue that direction. She sought out teachers and practices to help her deal with her energy overload and discovered tai chi and chi gung. For 13 years, Joan apprenticed herself, sequentially, to two different masters of two different lineages.
When Joan looked down at her small, tight, size 5.5 feet, she knew, without a doubt, that her feet had been bound in past lifetimes. She, also, knew she needed to open up her feet to be able to ground her energies more effectively. Pancoe chose tui na massage work, a kind of chi gung which, in this case, was a painful process. The result was a leap to shoe size 8W, and an ability to ground her energies more deeply.
For over 20 years, Joan has maintained her daily chi gung practice. A natural outcome of her years of practice is that Pancoe now offers Taoist and Tantric practices and meditation to her clients.
Joan credits her Taoist pursuits and daily practice with the ability to physically withstand energetic rewiring upgrades from the cosmos. Joan has concluded that she is rewired on a 12-year cycle; the astrologer in her notes that is, also, a Jupiter cycle.
Her last major rewiring came during an all-night, new moon ceremony at a qigong camp in northern California. Everyone was chanting. Joan went to the causal plane, then, the galactic and, then, the void. Joan shares, “The Taoist system has infinite levels of the void; form arising out of formlessness at every moment simultaneously.”
To Joan, the energetics of the rewiring were akin to gigantic yellow snakes invading her body and entering through her crown chakra. Understandably, she was freaked out with this enormous push of energy. These energy “snakes” travelled down her central channel. Joan felt “stretched open on all levels simultaneously,” and, then, the energy “snakes” popped out through her feet. Joan was excited when she realized she had received major insulation (think yellow casing on electrical wires) and had been, once again, rewired.
Initially, Joan channeled her information from the Akashic Records. Now, as a result of her latest rewiring, Joan channels from the Galactic Forces, and they exacted a conscious commitment from Joan. The commitment required was that Joan’s primary relationship had to be with them. (When Joan asked for clarity, the Galactic Forces allowed this did not preclude Joan from having “consorts,” mates, or intimate relationships.) In return for her commitment, the Galactic Forces said they would take care of Joan. She willingly agreed.
As a result of the rewiring, Joan was having more fun with her life. One book had come out; another was being written. She was “doing her daily practice, aligned, making the most of this incarnation, moving at high speed, open, and the emotional tone of her being was changed.”
Joan’s primary tone became one of joy in being─being in this moment, in this body, in this lifetime, in these experiences. Her primary message is “Enjoy the ride.”
But like all of us, Joan has learned through experience: “When I was going through my divorce at age 33, I realized my worst fears of being open, vulnerable, and hurt. There was huge pain that I had been avoiding. Literally, he tried to kill me. I was sitting in my home group [of a 12-Step meeting] and realized that even though I was hurt, I never felt more alive.”
These days, when it comes to pain and suffering, Joan does not indulge or feed her demons. She is able to let those feelings move through her, and she knows her core is stable. Throughout the years, Joan has been a student of higher consciousness and studied with a wide range of teachers.
In 2005, Joan went on a pilgrimage to India with her spiritual teacher, a Naada master. There was much chanting, meditation and visitation of temples. Simultaneously, Joan was awakened to hundreds of past lifetimes in India, many of which found Joan homeless, destitute, and despairing. Joan concluded, “All of these lifetimes had been sealed until I got there. There is joy, now, because I know I really paid my dues.”
Joan’s says her spirituality is what gives meaning and value to everything in her life. It is her bliss.
I asked Joan to share three pearls of wisdom for those on the path. This is what she had to say:
1. Validate your inner journey as much as your external accomplishments because society won’t do that for you.
2. The thing you fear and resist the most is the direction that you need to go in because it’s probably why you are here [from a karmic standpoint].
3. If you don’t cultivate a tone of joy in being or at least have equanimity about your journey, you are probably going to have a karmic do-over.
Remember the aforementioned James Rush, who offered the LSD that cracked open Joan’s psychic seal? When Jim was alive, he would continually taunt and ridicule Joan about her sobriety. Once he passed over, Jim apologized; he allowed that he now understood: Joan was a clear channel because she had no alcohol or smoke in her system. And her greatest gift was not the clarity of her channel, but “her tone of enthusiasm for the adventure.”
Joan and Jim’s relationship, a huge soul contract for them both, continued and deepened throughout the years. Even after Jim’s death, 12 years ago, they remain in contact. Jim comes through with messages, and he has guided Joan on a number of big, multidimensional trips and continues to help her expand her consciousness.
Today, Joan’s expanded concept of herself and what she feels she is becoming is that of a “galactic dakini.” Wikipedia describes a dakini as a tantric deity; the term is translated as “a female embodiment of enlightened energy,” “she who moves in space,” and “sky dancer.” The Galactic Forces would concur: this is where Joan Pancoe is going.