CLINTON  For most of his waking hours, Michael Olin-Hitt is a typical husband and dad who teaches English at the University of Mount Union. 

But the past 15 years of his life have included what some would call an extraordinary spiritual gift.

Olin-Hitt is an oracle.

He recently released "Messenger of the Holy," a revised version of his 2007 autobiography, "The Word of God Upon on Lips."

He refers to his guide as "The Messenger," adding that some people call it God, their angel, channeling or their spirit guide. Native Americans, he added, call it their animal guide.

"With the first book, I was still kind of enchanted with the gift," he said. "It's kind of become the background of my work."

Olin-Hitt has written several fiction and nonfiction books and most recently launched a magazine. The Braided Way features others who have similar gifts. He said he received the concept while writing his autobiography, along with the symbol of a braided tree.

'It's a merging'

"The Braided Way comes from lessons The Messenger provided in 2006," he said. "From the perspective that he sees all faith visions and traditions are braided and intertwined. The idea is the focus is on our spiritual practice, not dogma and tradition. In so doing, you expand your awareness in ways a single witness cannot."

Olin-Hitt said his mother had the same gift, and several other family members also have some capacity but have chosen not to pursue it.

He admits it can be lonely, and that's one reason why he's publishing the magazine. 

"I'm just trying to host other people's spiritual practices and experiences," he said. "One thing I've come to realize is how lonely it is to have these spiritual manifestations.

"I never thought I was crazy, but I wondered to what extent the information came from my subconscious. How much is me, and how much is beyond me? Finally The Messenger addressed it and said, 'Why are you asking the question? Of course it's you. It's also us. It's a merging.' What I've come to realize, it's never pure, it has to be filtered through the perspective of the host; the cultural perspective and language, which brings with it, culture."

Olin-Hitt said prophecy is sacred and inspired, but it has to come through a human being, which is why the messages he receives often are metaphorical.

He said reason and fear can be resistant to the idea that such gifts might exist, adding that many people probably do have spiritual experiences but never would admit it.

"Our rational minds can't understand this," he said. "Fear is a barrier. You have to release control, only to realize you never had control. It can be extremely disorienting, that there's a universe beyond the span that's even more meaningful."

Olin-Hitt also conducts oracle, or "wisdom," sessions for groups of 10 or fewer. He said that when he conducts sessions, people often ask about their relationships and family. He audio records the results and makes them available to the participants.

"People come with very specific questions," he said. "But The Messenger takes a huge look at it, and it becomes that the particularl thing isn't a big deal. It frames our perspective. Sometimes, it's like counseling. There have been healings. It's amazing."

Willing vessel

Olin-Hitt said oracle sessions can be physically taxing and disorienting. He said he has been attacked by what he said The Messenger describes as "spiritual parasites," which must be prayed away.

"I look at all those things in Scripture and realized I used to think, you know, 1st century Palestine, a New Testament understanding of mental illness," he said. "And I've come to be aware that some of those things are, but these things happen. People who have spiritual insights not only learn to recognize it, but deal with it."

Olin-Hitt said his students are aware of his gift, but he prohibits them from participating in counseling sessions.

"There's professional boundaries. I can't be that guy," he said.

Olin-Hitt said he doesn't think he's special, rather just a willing vessel.

"I don't know if I was chosen so much as I was available. What's humbling is it always happens. But every time I allow myself to go into that state, The Messenger's there. It's sweet, supportive information. I'm convinced the spirit only sees our sweetness," he said.

Olin-Hitt say one of the dangers of a very powerful spiritual experience is it can lead a person to think they've been chosen for a purpose. "Then it becomes quite dangerous," he said.l

"I tell people we all have a birthright to an intimate relationship with the Holy, call it God, the spirit or the creator," he said. "But they're different forms of manifestations. Some are very dramatic, like mine. We all have it. I think if we want to engage in it, we simply have to make ourselves available, and the spirit sweeps in and uses what's present."

The book is available at Balboa Press Online Bookstore, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

To learn more, visit MichaelOlinHitt.com

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com

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