Reiki and Reaching the Beyond: A Happy Medium in Clifton


I sat down with Clifton resident Lee Van Zyl on a bright October day to talk about her unusual small business and how she went from being a barrister in South Africa to a Reiki and medium educator in New Jersey.

Van Zyl was born and raised in South Africa. She was practicing criminal law there but when the United States responded to a rise in apartheid-era violence by offering her the chance to emigrate to the US with a special Visa, she took it. She and her then-husband settled first in Boston but later moved to New Jersey with their two children.

Van Zyl said that her young daughter started seeing - and speaking to - dead people. “It was pretty unnerving,” she said, recalling the early days of realizing that their child had a special gift which made her seem “a bit odd.” Van Zyl noted that her daughter was being picked on and bullied at school because of this, so she set out to find a place where her daughter might find a more welcoming atmosphere. She found exactly that at a wellness center in Nutley. The center offered instruction for children in meditation, energy work, psychic development, and shamanism (working with nature). Van Zyl took her daughter there every Saturday and the classes really seemed to help.

On one of their weekly visits Van Zyl spotted a flier advertising a special three-day class in mediumship - the practice of mediating communication between the living and spirits of the dead. Intrigued, she decided to give it a try and found that, like her daughter, she was able to communicate with spirits. “It was the craziest thing,” she said of learning that she could actually perceive spirits. That weekend, she said, completely changed her life.

A week after that experience, the instructor called Van Zyl and invited her to lead a mediumship circle at the center. Although unsure that she would know what to do, Van Zyl agreed and everything just fell into place once she was there; leading the group felt natural and easy. She started regularly leading these circles, teaching others how to communicate with spirits, and found that doing so greatly improved her own life. Formerly unhappy and struggling in her marriage, Van Zyl discovered that exploring the spirit world brought her a new energy and “life became easy.”

Van Zyl worked at Blue Lotus in Montclair for about six months, helping others learn how to harness their energies and to connect with spirits but she outgrew that location due to high demand for her unique services. She moved her business first to Rutherford and then to Clifton in 2020, where she had been living since 2012 with her new spouse. Van Zyl plans to remain in her current location for a while, having just signed a five year lease on the quiet, second floor spot.

Her business isn’t just about communicating with the beyond; Van Zyl is a Reiki master and instructs others in Usui Reiki, which is the traditional Japanese form. Reiki means “energy healing” and is based on the connections between mind, body, and spirit, capitalizing on each person’s innate ability to heal itself if we can tap into that Universal Energy.

Although she also offers psychic services, you won’t find Van Zyl in long flowing robes and colorful head scarves, waving her hands mysteriously over a crystal ball. When I asked her about it she smiled and said, “It isn’t what you’re imagining.”

According to Van Zyl, psychic readings are really based on intuitive development - the practice of tapping into our own ability to behave intuitively without the limits we inherit from society’s norms and expectations. Most successful people are highly intuitive and are known for trusting their “gut,” from business tycoons to doctors. Tapping into this ability is most important for developing one’s own self, changing the focus of our energies and allowing us to manifest the life we want.

Because Van Zyl’s focus is on mentoring others, she really appreciates having local clients who are part of her community. She offers many services, including Reiki training, Reiki session work, intuitive development, personal healing sessions, mediumship training and readings, past life regression, meditation, and spiritual life coaching. Her main focus is on teaching others to tap into their own abilities so that they too can share this energy-focused path to healing.

Van Zyl’s center, located conveniently in the Quick Check plaza on Valley Road, is open seven days a week by appointment only. Group classes are generally scheduled on weekends. You can learn more on her website: Van Zyl is offering a special discount code to Clifton residents, good through December 31st, 2022 - Clift22 for 15% off.

Whether you’re already convinced of the power of mediumship and want to hone your own skills or you’re just curious about what Reiki is, you will find Lee Van Zyl to be a calming, easy to talk to presence. This Clifton small business is one happy medium.

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