Hope Reagan on Sexual Assault, Tarot, and Reiki
Hope Reagan is a graphic designer. She’s also a daughter and sister, oldest of three girls. Before her 25th birthday, on a random night in the middle of the week, she was sexually assaulted. Almost immediately after she went to psychotherapy, which eventually led her to a more spiritual journey. Tarot, reiki, meditation, you name it. This is Hope’s story.
What was your childhood like? To summarize my childhood in one word, I would use “safe.” I’m the oldest of three girls, born to two hard-working middle class parents. We moved around a couple times when I was in elementary school (California > Ohio > Connecticut), which probably had me eating a bit more of my feelings than one should, but I got through it just fine. I played sports, dabbled in girl scouts, and enjoyed hanging out with friends while drooling over the great boy bands of the late 90’s. For the most part life was absolutely peachy.
In hindsight, I’m also inclined to use the word “sheltered.” We grew up in towns that were pretty isolated from diverse socioeconomic and racial communities. Our parents also made sure that my sisters and I weren’t exposed to difficult, complex subjects that would, in their eyes, deflate our innocence.
Religion wise, we were raised roman catholic. I wouldn’t classify us as truly devout, but we went to church throughout the year, I attended CCD all the way through confirmation, and I even joined our church’s youth group in high school. Despite all of that, christianity, specifically catholicism, never really resonated with me. It felt contradictory, restricting, and incredibly isolating.
I would, however, say that I have always been drawn to the spiritual / “woo woo” side of the world. Every Saturday morning, you’d find my sisters and I catching the latest ghost shows on Travel Channel. In middle school, I got my hands on a deck of tarot cards that’d I’d lightly play around with, and I’d even, from time to time, research a “spell” or two on the internet.
“i remember that moment so vividly, because it was the last thing that i remember from that night, and the single most revisited memory since.”
Can you share your story of sexual assault? It was right before my 25th birthday, and I was living in Brooklyn, NY. It was a random night in the middle of the week, and I decided to meet up with some friends at a local bar / restaurant that I often frequented for brunch. When I got there, it wasn’t particularly crowded, and I went up to an empty space at the end of the bar and ordered my staple drink: bourbon, neat. Once my drink was made and placed in front of me on the bar, I patiently waited for my credit card to be processed while I casually read over the beer menu, which was written on large chalkboard directly to the left of where I stood. Once I received and signed the receipt, I grabbed my drink and returned to the table where my friends were sitting.
I remember that moment so vividly, because it was the last thing that I remember from that night, and the single most revisited memory since. The next morning I remember waking up, naked, in a stranger’s bed, in a room that was disturbingly empty. The man was there and we had a quick exchange of words, but for the most part I remember quickly collecting my things and heading home. I showered, got ready, and left for work. It’s important for me to note that at this point, I honestly thought I had (for me) an out-of-character one night stand.
As the day went on, and I suffered through an unusually crippling hangover, I tried to piece together what had happened. I found out that I had only bought two drinks that night, which would not explain a hangover for me, let alone a blackout. More concerningly, my friends never saw me talking to another man, or anyone else for that matter, outside of our friends at our table. It took sitting with this information, two extremely hazy memories from the middle of the night, and a kind coworker gently suggesting the possibility of a date rape, for me to start processing what had actually happened.
This is why I mentioned “sheltered” earlier on. “Sexual assault” was so far from my vocabulary at the time that it hadn’t even crossed my mind as a possibility. I’m confident in what I experienced, but I’ll never know exactly what happened that night, and accepting that has been the most difficult cornerstone of my healing journey.
“reiki has really allowed me to find purpose and trust in the universe again. not just physically and emotionally, but spiritually, too.”
What healing modalities have been the most helpful for you? The most helpful healing modalities have probably been tarot and reiki.
Tarot has been a great self reflection tool, one that I can turn to when I have trouble processing current feelings or situations. It also allows me to feel calm and connected when I’m overthinking anything. I’m still learning tarot, and developing my own intuited interpretation of the cards, but even in the little knowledge I have it has been such an incredible asset.
Reiki has been there for me in all other situations. I had my first session with a friend who is a healer about six months after the assault. I thought I had done a lot of work on letting go, but I really felt a big purge (emotionally and physically) from my system after this session, which left me shook. Shortly after, I received a message from another healer that I should get attuned myself, and about two months later, I heeded that call and became a level II practitioner.
Its most profound impact has been on my anxiety, which really kicked into gear after the assault. I’ve also struggled (and still do) with self medication and depression, and this has been a way for me to tune into myself and try to step out of that mindset. Ultimately, reiki has really allowed me to find purpose and trust in the universe again. Not just physically and emotionally … but spiritually, too, where I’m much more accepting and understanding of negative situations.
What led you to these modalities? Almost immediately I started psychotherapy to help process the assault, which I quickly felt was a little restricting. At the same time, I had a freelance client who was a shaman. She offered me a healing session, which kickstarted my spiritual journey. I soon looked into a bunch of different healing modalities and concepts, including shamanism, mediumship, tarot, astrology, yoga, Buddhism, meditation, acupuncture, soul coaching, angel healing, and so on.
Are there any challenges you have experienced so far in your healing journey? Patience and anxiety. So often I just want to feel like my healing journey is complete and I have no more work to do. But I believe that is not our purpose for our incarnations on this earth. Life is a journey, and we’re here to constantly learn from our experiences, good or bad.
How can the people in your life best support you during and beyond healing? I really valued the awareness towards space that my friends, family, and healers gave and held for me. As an introvert, it was important for me to talk about what happened, but also be allowed to be with myself for as long as I needed so I could process in my own way. If you’re close with someone who is going through a situation like this, just take the time to be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes to see what kind of space and support they’d really benefit from. And from there, just listen.
“i’m not anywhere i thought i’d be at this point in my life, but i haven’t been this happy in a long time. and i know it’s only up from here.”
How are you feeling these days? I can honestly say, I’m doing good. For the first time in a long time, I’m putting myself first and foremost. I irish-goodbyed New York City six months ago, started my own design studio so I can work on my own terms, have reignited my yoga practice, and I’m out connecting with nature for the first time … ever. I take the time to give myself reiki, meditate, or breathe when I need it, and let myself have fun when I want it. I’m not anywhere I thought I’d be at this point in my life, but I haven’t been this happy in a long time. And I know it’s only up from here.
Books: “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williams, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, “Many Lives Many Masters” by Brian Weiss, “Journey of Souls” by Michael Newton, “Lives between Lives” by Michael Newton, “Intimate Communion” by David Deida, “Deeper Dating” by Ken Page, “Woman Code” by Alisa Vitti, “Intuitive Being” by Jill Willard, “Anatomy of a Spirit” by Caroline Myss, “Miracles Now” by Gabrielle Bernstein, “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and “10% Happier” by Dan Harris.
You can read the interview about reiki that accompanies Hope’s story right here.