Every year millions reach out to those who seem to have the divine on speed-dial. Over the years I’ve been to dozens of people who fall under the umbrella term “psychic.” Usually I contact these folks when I’m in a time of confusion or pain or need, and feel I’ve lost the forest for the trees. The idea is not necessarily to know what’s going to happen next Tuesday or when I’m going to get married, but rather to re-find the path that feels like the one I was born to follow.

Though some religious traditions, including Christianity and Judaism, advise against seeking prophecy of any kind, I see it as another way to glean wisdom and insight into myself or a situation. It’s another tool in my self-healing, spiritually-seeking toolbag that has often helped me move through seemingly immovable situations.

Here are some things you might want to know before going that way yourself.

1) Drop the Word ‘Psychic.’ The word has become so loaded and debased by psychic hotlines and storefront psychics that it has virtually lost its meaning. Most people who authentically have “sight” call them selves “intuitives” or “spiritual coaches.” And this is because , a good intuitive is a guide–rather than just dropping information bombs on you, she will ask plenty of questions and then suggest possibilities you may not have considered, much like a therapist does.

2) Choose Wisely. Also like choosing a therapist, when selecting an intuitive go on referrals from people you trust. I can pretty safely say never call a psychic hotline or go to a $20 storefront tarot reader. There is plenty of room for disreputable characters in the field who can take advantage of your pain, openness, and need for hope–not mention the fact of selling information that isn’t instantly verifiable. Make sure you feel comfortable in this person’s presence and that what she’s saying resonates with you. Like a therapist, the person should be honest about not knowing all, have a loving, compassionate presence, and leave you feeling better when you leave. They will not dole out bits of information and try to “upsell” you for more. The fee will be agreed upon upfront.

I had one session in which I called a medical intuitive, she said a few sentences that were supposed to summarize my situation and then asked if it “rang any bells” for me. I honestly said no, that I felt like she was talking about someone else. She told me that there are some people she just can’t read, said she’d refund my money and wished me well. I was shocked and disappointed, but admired her honesty.  

3) Don’t Expect a Prediction or an Easy Way Out. The best intuitives will always give a caveat that they don’t see all. No one can really know what will happen, even those with better-trained deeper vision than the rest of us. If anyone ever tells you an absolute, or what you what you should do, run. True professionals will help you find the truth that’s inside you and offer perspective. They will also not be handing you easy answers. Chances are you’ll leave the session somewhat sated but also with internal “homework,” things to think about and work on that may or may not have occurred to you before. It’s not a quick fix–and in fact, the point should be to learn to seek and rely on your intuition and inner wisdom. It also helps to set an intention before entering a session–to identify your most pressing question or issue and how you would like this person to help address it.

4)  There Are Many Ways to See. A common question about intuitives is “How are they getting their information?” The answer can vary widely. Some talk to guides or angels, others “channel” certain guides (meaning they kind of “check out” or step aside while an entity speaks through them), others “tune in” to your energy body, some read auras, palms, faces, or the tenor of your voice. Some read minds, others use tools like tarot cards, the I-Ching, or runes. But essentially they are all going to the same source–into the mystery. It’s what some call God or gods, or the Universe. It’s the spiritual realm that’s just out of reach for those of us who aren’t trained in or born into the art of deep seeing.

5) Many Have Come Before You. Christianity sees divination as going against the Bible’s mandate not to seek “soothsayers,” because that would be expressing a lack of faith in God as omnipotent and all-knowing. Yet many other of the world’s religions and cultures have woven it into their fiber–Hinduism uses Vedic astrology to match marriage partners; in Chinese culture, an expert is consulted on the most mundane to crucial life matters–from when to get married to where to live. Wanting to know what will happen is not just a result of our modern brains grasping for control and answers; it’s been the human condition for millennia, people have been seeking propehcies since Greeks took often long journeys to consult the Oracle at Delphi.

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