Tucked away in Mystic close to the Ledyard border on a quiet, unassuming street is an attractive, nicely landscaped house that once inside, one quickly discovers is anything but ordinary.
Named The Mystic Gathering Center by its owner, the Rev. Colleen Grace Clabby, it is a place where people come to be healed with color, sound, and vibration — to get in touch with their intuitive selves.
Just like you take your car in for a tune-up, Clabby describes what she does as ‘tune-ups’ on the body and spirit.
Sessions take place on a vibro-acoustical sound healing table, which she programs with different frequencies. On another table are dozens of tuning forks in a rainbow of colors.
“I pick up different tuning forks and work your physical body and your ethereal body — your spiritual and emotional field,” she says. “All the while being given direction and guidance from your own spiritual higher self and mine — always together, always in conjunction with the higher messages.”
Serendipitously, someone placed tuning forks in Clabby’s hand about a decade ago.
“It was the Chakra set, the major colors of the rainbow,” she says. “I was never trained how to use them. I just started practicing them on my sister Clare and the guidance came right through. I could hear very strong messages and guidance about where to place the tuning forks on the person and what to do.”
She says that the sanctuary she has created in her home is sacred and that communication with a higher power is accessible to anyone who seeks it.
“Every single human being, if they open themselves to their higher power, can hear very well,” she says. “That’s where we come from. We’re not manufactured someplace — that I know of. I’m like a soul physician, like a soul coach combined with tuning you up and doing repairs.
“Frequencies that we’re being bombarded with here today are really interfering with our listening ability and our intuition,” she explains. “There’s a lot of distraction out there that is counterintuitive. I don’t think that we are ever really quiet and still long enough to hear anything. And because of that, we don’t know how powerful we are.”
Clabby took a long and circuitous route to get to where she is today. She grew up on River Road in Mystic with seven other siblings.
Her mother exposed her to the spiritual realm at a young age.
“We were brought up Catholic, but my mother was a real radical in the Christian church — she began to refer to God as ‘She’ and in those days, you didn’t do things like that. So my world was open. My mother and father would invite the seminary brothers and the priests from Enders Island over to our house for supper and family gatherings. My mother never really wanted us lay people to be so separate from the church and especially as a woman she wanted that connection. I grew up pushing the envelope like my mother.”
At 19, Clabby went to radio, television, and theater school in Boston and got her radio operators license. She attended the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
“I loved being on radio, interviewing people. I loved theater. Then I traveled a bit and worked at different jobs and moved around. I just did what 20-year-olds do — bounced around, always thinking about ‘What really is my path and what is it that I want to do here?’”
While working at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan in the late 1970s, she met an older gentleman named Morris.
“I spent 20 years of my life with this man. We lived all over the place: Miami, Las Vegas, New York City. I lived a whole different lifestyle. He had life experience I didn’t have. He was very convincing. I traded my soul a lot for the material world and it made me very unhappy because I could feel and knew the difference between my own soul and what I really aspired to and wanted to do, which was working with spiritual things.”
She says she left the relationship several times during the 20 years but always went back to him.
“Morris was a very unhappy man but he loved me and wanted to give me everything. But, he only knew about the material world. It was almost like he was a very young soul trapped in an old body and I was a very old soul trapped in a young body.”
Clabby’s life took a major turn in 1987 when her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 57.
She was standing alone at her sister’s house when she got the news.
“It was a beautiful summer day and I am praying in my mind, thinking ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do? How can I help to heal my mother and keep her on this earth?’ and this booming voice came into my head and it said, ‘You can heal yourself with color, sound, and vibration.’ It was like a strong command and now I’m frozen to the floor, looking around and thinking, ‘What did I just hear?’ and then the voice again goes, ‘Yes, you humans can heal yourselves with color, sound, and vibration.’ It certainly had my attention now and I’m all ears because I’m open to the divine plan, I’m open to God’s miracles. I know that we’re not alone here. We don’t live alone on this dimensional field.”
Clabby’s mother lived another seven years. Meanwhile, Clabby struggled with this message she had received, trying to figure out what she was meant to do.
“It’s almost like you’ve heard a bell ring or have been “contacted” and all of a sudden your whole being gets in sync with something. It’s like jumping out of an airplane and now, there’s another whole world that you’re a part of. This is the divine. This is my higher self telling me that I can heal myself and I can help to heal others. And so that’s what I did.”
It was then that she decided she was going to build a healing center.
“I got it into my head — this very cool healing center with crystals, with light, and all sorts of things. I left all the material stuff. I lived that lifestyle for 20 years and had to leave under my own power. I had to say ‘no thank you’ to all of that.”
Even though she left him, when Morris died in 2000, he made her a major beneficiary of his will, leaving her enough money to realize her dream.
“I asked God, ‘Where would you like me to go?’ I said, ‘You’ve got 30 days,’ because I had a lease that was going to run out. God said, ‘You’re going to go home, back to Mystic.’”
“I had this house within a week. I bought it over the phone.”
Clabby had a friend in real estate whom she asked to look for a place in Mystic for her and her 18-foot teepee. Her friend had just listed the property and sent pictures. Clabby’s sister went to see it and told her there was even a curvature in the earth for her teepee.
“I needed to be in Mystic where I come from, full circle,” she says. “People said, ‘Who buys a house over the phone without seeing it?’ I said, ‘Somebody that trusts and listens to God, to the guidance.’”
Clabby moved to her new home in 2006.
“I came here with a pocketful of money and built my dream. It needed a lot of work but the bones were good. Because I was so passionate about what I wanted to do, I spent all my inheritance on this place, built a healing vortex starting in the lower level.”
In addition to the tune-ups, Rev. Colleen conducts prayer meditations on Sunday mornings. She also holds drum circles and "soul spa" days, and weekend retreats.
A few years after opening The Mystic Gathering Center, Clabby was ordained as an interfaith minister. She traveled back and forth to New York City for a year to attend seminary school with a 96-year-old Kabbalist Rabbi.
She also formed a company called Mystical Road Productions that sells spiritually-based products including CDs she produced with composer and friend Barry Goldstein.
“Where are we going?” Clabby asks. “We are at crossroads here. We have to trust ourselves but we don’t really know ourselves. So again, we don’t know how powerful we are. And this place was built so that you could come in here, spend a little while, and get tuned up back to your real self.
“We, you and me and God — connect you back to yourself in such a way that you leave here feeling like you have just gone “home” for a little while and that you are at peace.”