Once upon a time, when I used to imagine a psychic, I’d conjure up an image in my mind that was somewhat reminiscent of a caravan gypsy from an Enid Blyton circus novel. She’d be wearing a brightly coloured turban and have dreadlocks and bare, dirty feet. Her posture would be a mystical sort of impressive slouch. She’d stare at me through half-closed eyes and scream out insights from her crystal ball at random intervals – okay, now I’m thinking of Professor Trelawny.
I don’t think of myself as a naïve person, so I did not venture into this activity looking for answers or specific guidance, nor with any set beliefs. I’m open and I’m curious, and I wanted to see what it was like.
When I first went to see a genuine modern psychic, these preconstructed images had me feeling unreasonably nervous and uneasy. I was loitering around the magick store the psychic worked in, staring at the crystals, Buddha-quoted décor and other various witchy bits and pieces trying to distract myself before she called me into the tiny room at the back of the shop for my reading.
I was stunned when she first entered the main room of the shop, because this woman did not resemble my imagined psychic in any form. She wore slacks and a plain shirt and looked like an ordinary human. I breathed a sigh of relief. When she led me into her room, there was no crystal ball in sight – just a small table with two chairs, a stack of coloured paper and a bowl of quartz crystals. The room was quaint, but airy and light; it could’ve been someone’s living room.
She asked me to select a sheet of paper and I chose purple. She then instructed me to sit in silence. She somehow tuned herself in to ‘above’, and wrote in silence, in elegant, loopy writing, on that purple card. I watched in severe trepidation as she did this, but slowly began to smile as she reached the end of the paper, and barely looking at what she was doing, sketched a large, vintage-style book.
“You’re a writer”, she said, and it wasn’t a question.
She picked out a fair amount of truths about my writing; perhaps she used that as her initial lead for a reason. Once she’d solidified my trust that she knew something about my present, she went on to discuss the future.
The writing she’d composed was a series of poetic phrases that we needed to work together to decompose. While some of it was reasonably vague and could be argued to be specific to my demographic and location, and not necessarily hugely insightful, a fair chunk of her insights and predictions were super specific and turned out to be pretty accurate in hindsight.
A year and a half later, I decided to see another psychic, one I’d heard friends rave about. She was immensely different to the first woman. I learned at this point that ‘psychic’ is a really broad term; each one has his or her own different methods and gifts, often a combination of a few. This second psychic ‘tuned in’ via a deck of tarot cards. She shuffled quickly with ease, divided the deck into three piles, stuck it together again, and began throwing them down on the table messily, coming up with phenomenal insights as she went. She had my close friends and family picked out to a tee via star sign and specific personality traits. She also ‘saw’ the spirit of a friend of mine who’d passed away some years earlier and knew explicit, private details about her death, as well as her persona.
The legitimacy of psychic ability is widely debated. I absolutely believe there are ‘fakes’ out there. I experienced one abroad, she read for me immediately after reading for my best friend and was ‘shocked’ that our fifteen-card readings contained many of the same cards – even though her deck was absolutely tiny. Basic probability tropes left me uninspired. If a psychic only makes very general claims, particularly in a large room of people where statistically somebody will have a heart problem, somebody has a loved one passed over with an “a” in their name and someone has baked a muffin at some point in their lives, you can be pretty sure they’re bogus. While I believe that scepticism is crucial and healthy, there are some who genuinely have the ability to exercise psychic insight, and thus being open to this sort of thing yields great rewards.
There are several theories as to how and what exactly psychics tune into when they read for someone. If you did year eight science, you’ll remember that everything is made up of energy; it’s literally everywhere. Psychics tap into this energy, through ‘extra-sensory perception’. This is done in a plethora of different ways, using many different tools.
It’s worth mentioning at this point that although some are said to be born with psychic abilities, these ‘powers’ are like a hidden muscle everybody has, and everybody can take steps to refine them. At a basic level, learning to relax very deeply is a skill with multiple benefits that allows us to reduce the “intensity of the stimuli” from our physical bodies and help us better focus on the non-physical realms. This can be done via meditation.
So, if you’re curious about a psychic experience, I’d strongly suggest going for it. Whilst being open is always a good thing, I also recommend some level of scepticism. A psychic’s word is never gospel, even if they are legitimate.