I have twenty years experience giving psychic Tarot readings, I’ve worked as an Occult Consultant for paranormal investigations, I moonlight as a Spirit Medium, and I seek to serve my community as an Oracle, but I will be the first to tell you that not everything us so-called “psychics” tell you are true. In the game of predictions there is a wide margin of error, hence why fortune-telling is more of a novelty and not taken so seriously. It is always up to the seeker (you) to decide what to believe in. I have read the destinies of many people, some have taken what I said to a degree where they allow it to direct their lives into an unhealthy direction, and some have done what they’re supposed to do with their fortunes; they took what I told them as a guide, they made a choice, they took control of their lives, and perhaps look back at what I said as an interesting story to talk about at a dinner party.
Being a guide, that’s what an Oracle is, she’s not your personal doom seer, not someone to fear and expect death sentences from. If you don’t want to know the possibilities of whether or not you’ll be with your boyfriend forever, don’t ask the Oracle. If you really want to know when you’ll die, go ahead and ask, you’ll get a number, but it might not happen at the age predicted. Or maybe a kind of death will happen at the age pin-pointed. I was once told I’d have a baby at age 24, and then die at age 39, but both those ages came and went without those events! However, at the time I was engaged… if I had kept the choice to stay in that relationship, who knows, it could have happened.
Beyond fortune-telling, there is another game, that of psuedo-spiritual advice, and a psychic can do it without a degree, they don’t have to be an ordained minister, and most just jump into it without a lick of experience dealing with the public. All you have to be is pleasant and approachable. But to make money at it, you have to have “game” just like any person out to make a connection with another — a gimmick, a look, some kind of unique talent that catches the imagination of others and leaves them wanting more. I knew about this game when I started making a living at it in the mid-90′s attending psychic fairs, and pandering on the street while homeless during the early 2000′s. The game was highly competitive, like a boot camp for crystal-baring New Age-rs and other metaphysical nerds, and I was never completely keen on the idea of taking money from people who were all-too-eager to buy everything I told them as Bible Truth. In the beginning, I was taught to always add, “Just be aware, no matter what the outcome, you always have the power of Choice”, but the message never quite gets through to people, especially when a querent is desperate for messages from the Powers-That-Be. When I was homeless, I was the one desperate to survive, and I knew how to play a part — I was an actor, I did all my own marketing, and I had a following — performing at festivals, at local cafes, anywhere for anyone, applying the tricks of the trade I saw other psychics use to scrupulous measure. I put Cold Reading to the test, and I must say it worked every time, but it was still very stressful to do because I never knew when I’d mess up. Needless to say, my “performance era” was short-lived, but it was fun being something akin to a gypsy.
Always think for yourself. Question everything you are told. A psychic, just like any good therapist, only shows you your possibilities… and alternatives as you make your choices on life’s path. But when you’re like me, when your life’s path is that of an Oracle — a person who uses trance, and many other means, to connect to the spiritual world according to her religious beliefs and/or cultural, spiritual, and magico-religious practices, to procure messages from the gods to give to seekers — the role of playing fortune-teller twists away from the game of psychic counseling to something altogether different. I have much responsibility and integrity to uphold. It feels dangerous. It’s like playing with people’s’ lives, but only if they swallow the message whole, or use it to further their cause.
In the ancient world it was also the same, I believe, because it’s evident in the hero’s epics — Oracles warn heroes that if they pick a certain path it will lead to doom, but if they pick a more domestic path, one without adventure (and therefore without valor or renown), they can live a long life with their families — yet heroes always pick, despite the Oracle’s counsel, the hopeless cause. Just like in the movie The Matrix, the Oracle seems to know everything that is going to happen, and she recognizes who-is-Who, yet events happen outside of the reach of her knowing, choices change the direction of things, even though the same result is reached, just not the way we all think it’s going to turn out. Oracles are not know-it-alls! If we were, we wouldn’t be poor. We’d live like the famous psychics that pop up now and then, selling their series of books and wares, appearing on television series, and what all. And if we were perfect, we’d all not have any mental or emotional pain.
Some people really want to have the abilities that psychics, mediums, and oracles seem to have because it gives them a thrill, they truly want to help other people, and they just want to know more about the spiritual world. But I’m here to tell you it’s not all beds of roses with ghosts in them giving you back massages and whispering secrets about your friends in your ears. Scary experiences will haunt you, and if you’re not strong, you’re in for several breakdowns. Natural ability or not, it’s not easy to figure out what to do, or who to go to for your own counseling on how to deal with “talking to dead people” because there are very real, very serious disorders that can debunk all that. I have questioned myself a lot, but I also cannot deny that, after so many years of practice, training, and testing, clients come back to me to testify I was “right” (whether or not I remember what I told them).
I want to write for you a small question/answer list of what to look out for when you go out for a psychic reading. Want to know what to look for in a reader? Who can you trust? Who is shady? What is all entertainment only, and real spiritual counseling? And how can I avoid misinterpreting the results of a reading? Much of it is common sense, really. Read on and see if you agree with me.
Q: How do I know when a psychic is taking advantage of me?
A: Look for clues in what they offer. Their services are usually outrageous. If they charge you a lot of money for a cleansing, or to rid you of a curse. If they tell you in a reading that someone close to you is zapping you of energy, that your house has a demon in it, or that you have a spirit attached to you and that you need them to get rid of that, and only they have your cure, chances are they want to rip you off. Especially look out for them selling you even more expensive “cures” that are really cheap ingredients like a simple wax candle, “holy oil” that is just canola oil, and soap you can buy anywhere. The money charged is usually in amounts like $99.99. Psychics like that are not true advisers, they’re con-artists. Other fake psychics may actually have some talent, but are in it strictly for money. They really want to keep you as a client. Scare tactics work every time. Believing that something supernatural has it in for you is rather flattering, and thrilling, and these psychics will play you for your money’s worth, not to mention destroy relationships and mess with your mind.
Q: What should I look for in a good psychic reader?
A: “Good” readers are professional — they do not give you any outrageous claims, they are straight forward, don’t ask many questions, and present their impressions, opinions, and advice confidently. Their prices reflect their intentions, experience, and reputation. The more references they have, you can be assured they are doing right. Look for testimonials — real ones, not false advertisements — from clients who are also professionals. Also look for a solid history that is well documented. Even if a good reader does not have these, check out where they are doing their readings: have they been hired by a reputable business? Is their place of business somewhere comfortable, appropriate, or even if it’s campy and/or decorated according to a cultural standard, is it clean and the people there helpful? Do they make you feel welcome?
Q: How can I tell when a reader is telling the truth when they answer my questions?
A: You can’t. They will point out the truth as they see it. You may not agree with them at times, but it’s up to you to decide what is true. Every psychic is an individual and will have their own unique opinions that may, or may not, adhere well to your personal views. If you go to more than one psychic, you may get more than one answer. Some will tell you what you want to hear according to how many dollars you give them. Some will tell you only what they pick up, no matter what you pay. Answers always will vary and change according to your mood, worries, and the energy you are projecting. Psychics pick up more on what is going on with you right now, and what happened to you before, and when it comes to the future, well, the future is always changing based on what you are doing now. Instead of feeding you answers, nearly all good psychics will get you to ask more questions of yourself, and think for yourself.
What is your truth? If it doesn’t match what the oracle says, then investigate what it is about you at the moment of the reading that brought about that result. If you didn’t like what the oracle said, don’t pay attention to it. Why believe everything someone “psychic” tells you? Just because someone is dealing the Tarot cards, does not mean they know more about you than you do about yourself. Pay more attention to how you feel and what you think. Again, you are asking the questions. You are the seeker.
Q: What should I do to keep track of every psychic reading I get?
A: Bring a notebook and write down the results, record the reading using a voice activated device, or video tape your session. The value of documenting your reading is essential so you can go back to re-examine the results as they happened! If you want to guard against misinterpretation, having documentation to back up someone else’s claims, as well as aid you in any kind of paranormal research, is the smartest way to check the accuracy of a psychic.
Q: How can I find a “real” Oracle, or spirit medium?
A: In my honest opinion, the “real ones” are practitioners in a specific cultural or religious tradition, or have some affiliation within an organized spiritual institution. These are people who have trained and devoted their lives to the practice, and it is foremost the main service they give to their communities. Many of them do not make much money at it. Using myself, for example, I often do an exchange of services, or use a barter system, especially during times when money is scarce. Acting as an oracle is often part of the duties of priest/ess in many cultures. Major decisions are not made without consulting with this holy person. It is a very different way of thought and action than how it is in the average American Joe world. If you seek this kind of person for spiritual advice, you may have to petition them by offering them a favor or two in payment, or you may have to be a part of the religion they practice, depending upon how exclusive and secretive their tradition is. Oracles and mediums work with spirits, they do not command them to do things for people, so often times messages come from the spirits, and the spirits require offerings and favors. Again, not every oracle follows these rules, this is just a few examples added for flavor.
Q: What can a Spirit Medium do? Will they contact specific dead relatives for me? How do I know it’s real?
A: You’ll never quite know. Refer back to the top of the list and beware of the fake psychics who’ll take advantage of you while you’re vulnerable. Don’t seek a spirit medium while you are the most upset during mourning the loss of a loved one. However, sometimes when you do get a reading, miracles can happen. Who knows? It’s up to you to believe and let what needs to happen, happen.
Let me spell out for you what spirit mediums do, and what you can expect from them, with this list…
1. A Spirit Medium is Not a Ouija Board, or a Telephone! However sometimes we feel like we’re being used like a device by the spirits, we just can’t be used by people as if we are. It would be nice if it were exact, that would at least make the skeptics settle down.
2. Spirits Communicate Through the Medium, ‘They’ Decide if They’re Gonna ‘Talk’. There is no forcing or demanding spirits to do anything, unless you want a very unhappy, angry spirit on your hands.
3. Spirit Mediums Do Not Always ‘Hear’ Spirits Talk:
- Most of the time that “talking” is our interpretation of dream-like images flashed within the mind, and it’s up to us to decide whether or not they are actually messages from spirits
- Communicating with spirits is often flashing back to the spirits ideas in the shape of dream images, this going back and forth is a process that sometimes requires me to go into a trance-like state: I let go of my present consciousness and share consciousness with spirits, the spirits and I operate as “one” for a little while. (Not every medium does that, by the way)
- Spirits are disembodied beings of pure emotion, and rarely show themselves entirely in a medium’s mind, so most of the time they “talk” by projecting emotions and sensations through the physical body — it can feel like they are attacking you, especially when these sensations become painful (because sometimes a spirit is urgently trying to reach out)
- Spirits send “thoughts”, and that leaves a lot to the imagination! Not every medium is great at interpreting what’s shared.
4. Spirit Mediums Don’t Just Talk to Ghosts. There are a host of spirits out there. Depending upon the personal beliefs of the medium, they will react in many different ways towards spirits. Some are very afraid, some aren’t. You have to decide what you’re comfortable with.
5. The Success of a Spirit Medium Depends Upon the Querent. If you have an open attitude, the more chances the world will “open” up the possibilities of spirit contact for you. If you are nothing but skeptical and don’t really want anything to happen, everything will remain closed. Simple as that.
6. Shut Up! Stop Telling the Medium All About Yourself. We want to explore and find things out on our own. Feeding us information will spoil a reading. If you want us to validate true contact with the dead, it’s gotta happen naturally.
7. Mediums Always Make Mistaken Identities and Describe Inaccurate Details that Don’t Match Up. It’s hard to tell sometimes when it’s our own thoughts and dream imagery and not that of the spirit world because both go hand-in-hand. It seems like a risky guessing game, but actually it’s funny. Sometimes what I think is the wildest interpretation is the most accurate.
8. Even Spirit Mediums have Skeptical Minds. We question things we think, we wonder if we’re right or wrong, we research what we thought were vibes, and there’s a healthy amount of doubt no matter what. I don’t buy into everything I’m told, why should you?
9. Not Every Psychic, Spirit Medium, Oracle, or What-Have-You, is Spiritual or Religious, and they will be most insulted if you make the mistake thinking that they are. Many don’t believe in angels, demons, or even ghosts. So how can they do what they do? They are experimenting with energy, they use terms and techniques more on a scientific level, often in the name of research and detective work.
After writing this, I realize this all still seems confusing, and I may have convoluted it all with my personal testimony. So, dear reader, before I leave you to your thoughts, I will lastly differentiate all the types of mediumship in this world I slipped into I call Supra-Oracledom:
Valentina’s Guide on How to Read Psychic Readers
Part 2: Identifying Spirit Mediums & Psychic Senses
- Mental Mediumship: A practice where thoughts are exchanged with spirits as a form of communication. These thoughts are “heard” just like thinking to yourself, they are subtle, almost a type of whisper, and can be intermixed with the medium’s own thoughts. Messages come like dream interpretations — it can be tricky to make sense of what is real or delusion, hence why the margin of error.
- Trance Mediumship: Partial consciousness shared with spirits where communication takes place as an exchange of dream images or ideas. A variant of Trance is a deeper form where the medium is fully inducted into trance, letting a spirit(s) take over their consciousness in order to communicate with the living. Such individuals require assistance. The practice of Channeling is a variant of Trance — where a medium goes “out-of-body” temporarily to let an entity (such as an angel, or some one-thousand year old monk) take over their body to relay messages.
- Physical Mediumship: The medium is used by spirits as a sort of battery to plug into so they can manifest in the physical world, producing all sorts of noisy and possibly sudden, violent effects that are quite electrical-feeling. This is the rarest form of mediumship, and the most hoaxed.
The Senses & Abilities Psychics Claim to Have:
- Clairaudience: hearing the thought-like voices of spirits
- Clairvoyance: seeing spirits
- Clairsentinence: feeling the presence of spirits, taking on their ailments, sharing physical sensations
- Clairsentience: sensing the presence, or impression, of spirits
- Claircognizance: knowing something without being conscious of it
- Clairalience: smelling the presence of a spirit(s)
- Clairgustance: actually tasting the impression of a nearby spirit!
- Quick note: All the prefixes clair mean clear
As a parting message, I leave you with words from the great goddess Fortuna, or Fortune, whom I consider a patron goddess of fortune-tellers (for do we not participate in her games of chance and destiny?):
“I turn the cycles of life, and I am happy to bring down those on their high horse, and lift up those who are down on their luck. You’re welcome to step up and spin the wheel of fate! Provided that you remember everything is left to chance, and change. I am not changeable, I stay the same, it is life that changes with my touch. It is said I favor no one, except those who make their own luck, but I am not about luck. I am fate. You’ll never know me. I’ll only give you peeks. I was there at your birth and will be there at your death, and though you may blame me for the results of your choices, know that I owe you nothing save what I give everyone, my namesake: fortune.”