. . . Mystics of all kinds . . . are today hearing voices, receiving guidance, and obeying impulses, which they claim come from God . . . Some of these groups are working intelligently and are sometimes correct in their surmises and endeavors, but the bulk of them are incorrect . . .
— Alice A. Bailey, Ponder on This
The future remains uncertain, and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires. Thus always the human condition faces a beautifully empty canvas. We possess only this moment in which to dedicate ourselves continuously to the sacred presence which we share and create.
— Frank Herbert, Children of Dune
always the more beautiful answer who asks the more beautiful question.
— e.e. cummings
Ira is, from all outward appearances, a typical hanger-on in a small college town. He lives alone, sees a few friends regularly, wonders if he’ll ever find his niche in the universe.
When a friend tells him about the psychic who’s giving “life readings,” he’s skeptical. He imagines a gypsy in a scarf and big earrings. But when he hears what the psychic told his friend — about past lives, the future, his health and his relationships — he’s intrigued. Twenty dollars, he muses, is a lot to pay to hear about past lives when you’re not even sure you believe in reincarnation — but he pays that much for an ounce of pot. He calls for an appointment.
When the day comes, he’s unexpectedly nervous. The psychic’s manner is friendly, but formal, almost grave. He tells Ira he uses his ability only to help others grow spiritually. Ira nods. The psychic asks him to hold out his hands. Ira is embarrassed; his palms are sweaty. The psychic studies them, then closes his eyes, appearing to go into trance. After a minute, he opens them and looks directly at Ira. “All right,” he says, “what would you like to know?”
An hour later, Ira is on his way home, shaking slightly, on the verge of tears, but smiling. He’s been told he was a judge in Atlantis, a friend of Jesus Christ, a leather worker in Renaissance Italy; that his aura is green; that his father, with whom he’d never gotten along, had persecuted him in other lifetimes, once as his wife; that he and his mother were bound by love time and again through the centuries; that within six months he’ll find a job as a teacher and within a year meet the woman he’ll marry.
Something in him knows this is true; the psychic’s “feat” seems no more implausible than taking someone’s temperature. Another part of him is dubious; he wonders how much he’s been taken in by the psychic’s showmanship. One thing is certain: never has he been in the presence of such a mysterious, compelling being.
The popularity of psychic readings [one Charlotte psychic gave more than 600 readings in North Carolina last year; at the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham, several hundred have had readings in recent months] is part of a wider “spiritual” renaissance. But there’s nothing new about man ignoring his ability to find answers within himself, creating instead a marketplace of ready guidance: in ancient days, shamans, soothsayers, and oracles; more recently, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and psychics.
Is a psychic reading worthwhile? That’s probably as debatable as whether therapy is worthwhile, or Dear Abby. One man’s reality is another’s hallucination. Someone who sees the universe as absurd and unpredictable, and denies as real what cannot be perceived with the senses, is likely to think Ira threw his money away. Someone, on the other hand, who sees the universe as fundamentally interconnected, and understands how seemingly separate objects and events are features of one event, will more readily acknowledge a psychic’s access to normally unknowable information. (Of course, the manner in which Walter Cronkite gets his information is unfathomable to many.) To them, a psychic’s ability to give spiritual guidance, contact the dead, predict the future, give reincarnational histories, or describe current relationships may seem perfectly natural — open doors in an open universe.
Julia Hardy, managing editor of Theta, (published by the Psychical Research Foundation) calls psychic readings “a reliable way for ordinary people dealing with personal problems to learn about themselves and become more aware of their personal capabilities. I’d also recommend this kind of counselling for those who’ve had psychic experiences and haven’t learned to cope with them.” Yet a recent PRF study of readings given by one psychic was unable to show any correlation between the psychic’s predictions and actual events since, according to Ms. Hardy, “when we started to listen to the tapes we realized that not much came under the category of material that could be verified, since much of it could have been prompted from cues. Also, the future can be changed. If the psychic predicts you’ll be injured in an auto accident you still have the choice of whether or not it will happen. Do you want to have that experience or not? This makes it difficult to verify such predictions in the traditional sense.”
As intriguing as prophecy are the reincarnational stories psychics tell. The significance of these past-life dramas is open to wide interpretation. Who can tell, for example, where intuition leaves off and imagination takes over — if, indeed, there’s any difference? Then there is the question of what to do with the information:
Those of you who believe in reincarnation in more or less conventional terms can make the error of using or blaming “past” lives, organizing them through your current beliefs. It is bad enough to believe you are at the mercy of one past, but to consider yourself helpless before innumerable previous errors from other lives puts you in an impossible situation; the conscious will is robbed of its power to act. Such lives exist simultaneously. They are other expressions of yourself, interacting, but with each conscious self possessing the point of power in its own present.
Why does someone call himself a psychic and begin charging for his services? The motivation is surely as complex as in seeking a psychic’s help. Perhaps it will one day seem no more unusual to go for a reading than for a physical exam at a doctor’s office; but as there are good and bad doctors, there are psychics of every description.
America is without any doubt fertile ground ready for the teachings. And because America is so fertile, seeking spirituality, it is possible for America to inspire charlatans . . . so we see charlatans in the role of student . . . as well as in the role of guru . . .
Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Charlatans are not the only danger. Psychic abilities may be abused in many ways — psychics, after all, are people, too, with the same ambitions and desires. The desire may be as benign as wanting to appear wise, or merely dramatic. Yet if this results — as it did in the case of one young Chapel Hill woman — in being told she was likely to be raped and that her first child would be retarded, one naturally wonders about the value of such “guidance.”
Guidance can come . . . from all kinds and types of incarnate or disincarnate men, ranging in character from very good to very bad. They include the help offered by real initiates and adepts through their working disciples and aspirants, to the mental and astral activities of ordinary intelligent men and women, including the emotionally and selfishly oriented person. It should be remembered that no true initiate or disciple ever seeks to control any person, nor will indicate to him in the form of positive command any action which he should take.
Alice A. Bailey, Ponder on This
There are those who believe that true spiritual teachers, or people of pure motivation, do not ask for money. Others liken psychics to doctors or performing artists. Whatever their other motives for doing what they do — and they are surely mixed — one of them may legitimately be to make a living. Here, too, the issue is not what the psychic charges for his service, but what we make of it.
There are several psychics in the Chapel Hill area who give readings, and others who visit here regularly. The Psychical Research Foundation in Durham (2015 Erwin Road) is probably the best source of information. The foundation was set up to study the question of survival after bodily death and, along with J.B. Rhine’s Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, also in Durham, conducts research on many parapsychological phenomena.
But the surest measure of the value of psychic readings are the experiences of those who have had them. What follows is probably as balanced an assessment as the subject allows.
Why did you go to a psychic?
■ My friends were doing it, and I imagined it would make me understand better. ■ A relative had become very interested and it was a crucial time in my life. ■ Probably because it was the thing to do. We knew people who had had readings. We were intrigued, especially with past lives and we were hoping we could get hints from her we couldn’t get from our own souls. ■ I went because people I trusted were involved, not with just any psychic, but this psychic. And I’d been to (this psychic’s) lectures, and had experiences with (P.) on a public level.
With what sort of expectation did you go into the reading?
■ Curiosity, doubt, and on a gut level, a real expectation that (the psychic) would synergize some of the thoughts and feelings I’d had. ■ I didn’t expect someone to tell me my future. I went in objectively. I was interested in how perceptive they (the psychics) were. I went in as an observer of the phenomena of intuition, of how it related to me personally. ■ I didn’t know what to expect. I went in with a little bit of glamorous interest in psychic ability, in psychism, like “It’s neat because it’s psychic,” sort of thing. ■ I was a little anxious. I thought (the psychic) could really see into me, I was afraid of what (the psychic) would see. A lot of anticipation of what it’d be like. I wrote down a lot of things to ask. ■ Almost a blank mind for both. I was expecting some of it to be correct, and some not. About 50-50. And that’s how it came out. ■ Alternately skeptical, and hopeful of revelation. Nervous. Smug.
Did you give the psychic any background information on yourself before he or she began the reading?
■ I don’t recall being especially talkative about my past although I was aware of the leading nature of some of the early questions. If I took the most doubtful view, I would suggest the psychic was looking for cues. And if I took the least doubtful, I’d suggest the psychic was merely feeling around for what I most needed to hear. ■ No, except an astrology chart. ■ I think I did. (The psychic) asked me in my first reading exactly what I wanted to know. I can’t remember about the other psychic at all. In my second reading, I told (the psychic) exactly what I wanted to know, basic information. ■ I didn’t go in there with the idea to test (the psychic) or to prove anything, but when I think back on this, some of it was so obvious. She asked me where I worked (the Psychical Research Foundation) and then (the psychic) looked at my palms and said, “You’re so psychic.” At the end, I was feeling badly because (the psychic) had not mentioned photography and so I asked about it, and (the psychic) said, “Oh yes, you discovered some form of nonharmful photographic chemicals in Atlantis.” ■ No background information at all with (one psychic); the other knew my profession so maybe he had an edge. ■ (The psychic) asked me my birth date, that’s all.
Do you think your responses to what the psychic was saying in any way affected what he or she said next?
■ I tried not to give cues, but when I listened to my tape I realized that by expressing an interest in a certain thing, for example with (one psychic) who’d ask, “you are interested in . . . , are you not?” And if I answered affirmatively, (the psychic) would go into it. I wasn’t trying to deliberately fox (the psychic) but by virtue of my having mentioned certain things, (the psychic) threw out a lot of information due to a few obvious cues I gave. I noticed (the psychic) continually said, “Ask me questions,” and by defining your questions you are giving cues. I think with a little ballyhoo and confidence I could give psychic readings. I generally believe there is a certain amount of intuition we all have. In some ways you are more accessible intuitively to a stranger. It’s part of the framework of the reading that allows information to flow, where the two of you agree to let it happen.
I had a reading with (a psychic) two years ago, and it was much more personal. More recently I had one and it had an organized, structured approach that dealt less with who I was and more with me as a child of light; there were more spiritual platitudes and coffee cake. ■ Yes, I was very positive towards her. ■ No. I just grunted every now and then. ■ No. I was being negatively accepting. I asked (the psychic) to clarify several times. A lot of times when I’d go back and say what I thought (the psychic) had said, (the psychic) would restate it to clarify my interpretation. I was mis-understanding a lot, and putting into it what I wanted to. ■ Definitely. That in and of itself is no measure . . . whether (the psychic) was coming out of psychological shrewdness or psychic clarity. Whatever is happening in the present is going to affect what happens next.
What sort of information had the most impact on you, regardless of whether it was pleasant or unpleasant?
■ (The psychic’s) idea of how, in my former lives, I’d been a writer, and a champion of the people, and often jailed for that reason, affected me most deeply. Even after I strip away the obvious glamour of that kind of reincarnational melodrama, there’s something about it I can’t shake. ■ Things (the psychic) was saying about my relationships, the way I dealt with people. But since then, when I listen to the tape, I hear other things that have become important, that I never heard before in the tape. ■ (The psychic) predicted rather drastic changes in my future, some of which have come true. I’ve started a completely new life. And (another psychic) predicted a great financial transaction in the spring of 1975 and (the psychic) hit right on the nail with that even though I’d thought (the psychic) meant one thing, when it was another. ■ When (the psychic) looked through my photographs, (the psychic) said (my friend) would die a violent death. She hasn’t yet. Things (the psychic) said about my marriage. The thing about (my friend) really affected me, it was confusing. Some of the other information came true; (the psychic) said I’d leave my job to have a child within two years, and that was right. ■ I showed (the psychic) a picture of my grandfather, and (the psychic) told me about his life and what he represented to me. It brought to my attention part of my guidance. He’s very important to me. ■ I was most taken with both (psychic 1) and (psychic 2), and their access to my personal history in this lifetime. They both described my relationships with family and women, and particularly pinpointed an emotional crisis and described the other person involved, very accurately. And I had been particularly careful not to cue them. That really amazed me that they both zeroed right in on this. They both tapped right in on my immediate life. ■ The fact that (the psychic) could reiterate, make specific, definite statements about my past that (the psychic) couldn’t have known about. And she made predictions about my tendencies that were correct, and this had an impact on me. (The psychic) could tell me about the accident I’d been in.
Do you feel this information that had the most impact on you has been useful, in retrospect?
■ I think about the reading a lot. One of the realities I force myself to look at is whether I’m leading myself into certain futures because of (the psychic’s) predictions or whether (the psychic) is leading me. Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? ■ I tended not to look at the future stuff very seriously. Some of it came true, maybe because I thought about them. I may have helped create them. I think readings are a little dangerous because anytime you energize with thoughts, with thinking about something, it will become a reality on a mental level or physical one. If you’re really suggestible, you can tend to take your problems to a psychic reader and have them do your thinking for you. ■ I don’t think it was useful particularly, no. The stuff about other people, and past lives was not helpful. In a way, I just didn’t know what to ask (the psychic), so I just kept shoving these pictures of people and (the psychic) would elucidate . . . ■ (The psychic) told me specifically to be very cautious in birth control because if I wasn’t I’d become pregnant, and if I did, I’d have an abortion. At that time, I was thinking I’d never have an abortion, I’d have the child. But I became pregnant, and I had the abortion. ■ It was useful to the extent that I’ve understood it as one of many ways of understanding who I am. It probably has no more or less validity than seeing myself as a psychological or astrological or political creature.
How comfortable did you feel with future predictions?
■ There were few . . . none that stand out. I didn’t encourage them because I don’t believe in their usefulness. ■ I was curious and interested. (The psychic) told me I should never go back to the place where I was born, the entire state. I went two weeks ago to the state, and that was strongly a consideration. I went anyway, but nowhere near my birthplace. ■ It was nothing alarming, all good stuff I felt confident with. It all fit in with what I thought I might like to do. They were real secure things, like “I can’t see you and (your mate) apart.” Stuff like that. But some things could be alarming, and then a seed is planted; I’ve turned that over in my mind. ■ They made me look forward to certain things. I really accepted them. I was really receptive to (the psychic), which may be one reason I got so much out of it. I almost accepted without questioning, which is almost bad. ■ (One psychic) said I’d have one main obstacle before I’d be a transformed being; (the psychic) said I’d be thrown right into the jaws of death, and (the psychic) told me to remember I’d never go that low again; after that, it’d be an upward swing. I put it out of my mind. About a year later, I had a bad bike accident. I could have been killed really easily; I was thrown under a moving car, but I wasn’t hurt at all. The question is, did I throw myself into this in some fashion, was I looking for fulfillment of the prophecy? The fact that I did remember those words for a year and a half is significant. ■ I felt very comfortable. They didn’t hem me in and (the psychic) didn’t allow them to hem me in. What (the psychic) said was purely an indication of what (the psychic) was feeling right then and what I was feeling. A lot of the things mentioned have happened, but they happened naturally. I can follow my own . . . develop my fullest potential by doing what feels best, although in the beginning I was worried about the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect.
How much of the guidance and information the psychic gave you was totally new to you, something you had not thought of before?
■ Maybe about 5%. Growth patterns for the future are included in that. As it turns out, I’ve gotten into some of them. Generally, (the psychic) encapsulated my own perceptions and self but there was a new perspective in looking at my total self. Maybe I was looking for a new map to myself. ■ It was all stuff I’d thought about. ■ About half of the information was totally new. About past lives, karmic relationships with other people. ■ Maybe 10%. Probably the stuff about past lives. ■ All the reincarnational dramas were new. And as compelling as any good novel. Some of the information about this life was right, and as much of it was wrong, or what seemed to me to be plain old guesswork.
If there was discussion of past lives, in what way do you consider this useful information?
■ The three instances (the psychic) gave of my relationship to Jesus, and my dealings with witchcraft, and my relationship with my father, these three instances were important. It was an easy out for why things were so tense with my father. Knowing I had actually dealt with the darker powers makes me less afraid to confront them now on a different level. It helps me understand where the powers come from. ■ I don’t see that it helps one particle. What’s done is done. ■ Not really. Maybe a little interesting. I can’t see that it helped elucidate my life. ■ It was interesting, and useful to the extent that it helped out my curiosity, satiated it. It made me aware of how relationships do go on, karmically. ■ I tended to look at their stories of past lives as fairy tales, but both psychics told me the same stories, and the readings were several months apart. There were several incidences in which they both mentioned particular places I’d lived in in past lives. It was entertaining, like watching cartoons. Except it’s everybody’s favorite subject — yourself. ■ I’m still thinking about that. Sometimes I consider . . . fantasies are very real to me. I fantasize a lot. Past lives can be incorporated into a very real part of me. It makes sense. The information about past lives shows tendencies I feel are there.
If there was mention of spirit guides, was this one you easily embraced?
■ Yes. ■ No, it seemed foreign to me. ■ Yes, they are very important to me. ■ Yes, that was interesting. (The psychic) said I had a spirit guide named Elizabeth, and I was named Elizabeth at birth but my parents changed my name. I don’t give much thought to spirit guides, but it is an aspect of my life that isn’t open now. I don’t have any conscious communication with spirit guides. ■ No.
Do you think it is important to recognize spirit guides as separate beings from yourself? (Are you more comfortable processing your guidance as coming from inside or outside of yourself?)
■ When I’m feeling most enlightened, I understand that all experience is guidance, and that everyone is my spiritual guide. ■ No. I think if you have guidance, you have it whether you are aware of it or not. ■ Yes. ■ I sense the guidance coming from a whole huge circle of energy that’s built by many individual sources of energy. I can see it’s inseparable, in that the energy and spiritual guidance from my guides is inseparable from the love that is everywhere. I fit in by having my own source of spirituality but it’s hard to say where mine stops and the other starts.
Do you believe in a spiritual hierarchy or “masters’ plane”?
■ I’m not sure. I believe in a general growth in this life or the next towards achieving spiritual openness, using resources to channel and direct towards others. ■ I don’t believe in hierarchies. They don’t fulfill a need I have, of any parade of costumed heroes and helpers helping us out. I can’t take it literally; it’s like Greek mythology. ■ I don’t know, it makes sense to me in one way, and in another, I see it as just another model. Sometimes I use all that stuff when I need an eclectic philosophy. I just don’t like to become attached to that, though it can be useful. ■ Sometimes the hierarchy seems to me like the ultimate conspiracy. It’s another one of those distinctions that can be useful or not. Most often, talk about the hierarchy doesn’t sound very convincing to me perhaps because of my prejudice that those who know do not speak.
How deeply do you trust the information given you in your reading?
■ I trust it to the extent that it’s true for me rather than for the psychic, which is to say I trust that portion of it that can be lived and not just diddled with. ■ I don’t trust it at all, but am very interested in it. ■ I trust it as much as I don’t trust it. ■ I am skeptical at times but some of what (the psychic) said was really right on. (This psychic) does have the ability, like to look at a picture, and know that person had died. Part of me believes a lot of what was said. ■ To the extent that someone else is interpreting information for me so there can be a margin of error, and to the extent that things can change. It may be 100% correct at a particular time, but a month or a year later, it may have changed completely. ■ As deeply as I trust the information that comes from anywhere else. It’s just a question of how it measures up over time. ■ I generally trust the information. I accepted most of it. Parts of it I didn’t accept. But what I didn’t accept didn’t tint the rest for me. (This psychic) didn’t force that information on me.
Did the reading meet, exceed, or fall short of your expectations?
■ I can’t put it in those terms. Because I don’t know what my expectations were. I got a lot I didn’t expect. There are lots of gaps in my spirituality, but that’s up to me, not a psychic reading. ■ In my first reading, my expectations were met. In the later ones, they were exceeded. ■ I think at the time it met my expectations, or maybe fell a little short. Now I don’t think it would meet my expectations. I think I was a real jerk to show (the psychic) all those photographs of other people. ■ The first one exceeded it. (The first psychic) surprised me. And (the second one) did too because I was very skeptical. (The second one) placed my personality very well. ■ All three. I was shaking and crying when I left. An hour later, I’d forgotten most of what I’d heard. Two years later, I still remember more of it than seems likely. But I can’t put any more of a label on it than I can on any other ambiguous, mysterious everyday encounter.
After your first reading, did you get another? Why?
■ No. ■ Yes, I was interested in one with (another psychic). ■ The second one was with a second psychic, and the third was a second reading with (the second psychic). I went the second and third times because I was at a crossroads. I don’t have an active interest in having another. ■ Yes. I felt after the first one, I didn’t know enough to understand what I was doing. I felt like I left out the most important questions; it was sort of wasted because I took a lot of pictures, to show (the psychic).
To what degree do you feel your experience with the psychic led you into a greater understanding of yourself and your life?
■ It had a significant effect on my putting into operational terms part of me I hadn’t before. ■ It helped me explore a lot of fundamental questions, and provided an edge for me to explore; it was a catalyst. ■ To a great degree. ■ None with the psychic reading, but some of what was introduced to me through (this psychic’s) lectures; but the reading didn’t. ■ I think (the psychic) pointed out some of my faults, things I ought to work on. She made me realize my own responsibility for my own decisions, the futures she predicted were not going to come about automatically. I had some greater understanding of my life, but not a whole lot. ■ Zero greater understanding at the time of the reading, but three years later it has become relevant. I listen to it and hear truth about myself. I’m exploring and discovering a lot through it.
What do you think is the source of the information the psychic receives? Do you equate psychic ability with a “divine” connection?
■ The source is the same source for all our information. And the words I often hear used to define different aspects of that source confuse more than they enlighten. What a psychic might call spirit voices, and an artist might call the muse, someone else might merely call a good idea. And really none of them understand very much more than the other about the root of that perception. God whispers in many languages. ■ I think everyone has a divine connection. It’s a matter of opening one’s self to it. ■ I don’t think the source is a divine thing at all. I think it’s an extrasensory perception-type thing. ■ I think a lot of what (the psychic) probably does is mind reading. In fact, I think (the psychic) even describes some of it that way, reading your aura. There are too many answers for what the source could be: akashic records, a split personality . . . ■ Those psychics who do not have a divine connection have some other interest in doing the readings, for publicity; for some reason they aren’t totally giving themselves to you whereas the person who does give totally of themselves to you in a reading is in service to you for you; they are using their powers to help you receive the information that you need to have. ■ Divine connection is the kind of language that has grown up around this, and is a way of jargon, a special language that doesn’t describe what’s going on, but substitutes catch-all slang terms that everyone thinks they understand, but I don’t understand them. What does divine connection mean? I don’t see that any one person is any more divinely connected than another; or that psychic ability indicates any more of a divine connection than an artist or musician is divinely connected. I look at extrasensory perception as a heightened form of communication. ■ Yes, I believe that one psychic has divine connections and another does not. One is centered in love, and the other in power.
Did your reading leave you in awe of psychic powers, or did you leave feeling that you had a greater understanding of how everyone is, to some degree, psychic?
■ I had a greater understanding. It made psychism a spiritual, normal thing rather than an occult, spooky thing. ■ No, I felt like it raised questions that I wanted to pursue, particularly what gives a psychic the confidence to confront strangers as a “psychic.” My own experiences with psychic communication have come in ways totally unrelated to psychic readings. ■ After my first reading, I was in awe. I superficially realized that everybody is psychic, but now I can truly see that everybody is psychic. ■ I think I believed before I came in that everybody is psychic, although some are more so than others. ■ I’m not in great awe except of a few exceptional psychics I’ve never met. I think everyone has it, some more than others. ■ It inspired me to reach more into my own psychic ability. What awed me was (the psychic’s) technical ability with astrology. ■ Everybody is psychic. Everyone is the source of more creativity, power, and wonder than we can ever consciously acknowledge. To be “psychic,” in the usual sense of that word, is to be glimpsing just a little bit of that. One stands in awe, not of a “psychic,” but of the universe that a psychic helps us see.
Is there any type person you would not advise to go to a psychic?
■ I wouldn’t advise anybody to go anywhere. ■ I wouldn’t recommend a psychic reading to an insecure person looking for answers unless the psychic was a responsible person. ■ There are some people who are so close-minded, it’d be a waste of their time and the psychic’s. ■ No. ■ Someone who is so close minded, someone who absolutely will not believe psychic powers exist. It’d be a waste of time, serve to fire their disbelief. ■ People have to make their own decisions, take responsibility for themselves. I have some negative feelings about psychic readings. People could be influenced in ways . . . ■ I would not advise a person going purely out of curiosity, out of materialistic interest. Because I don’t think they could process any of the information, it’d merely magnify the myths that surround spirituality and psychism already.
If you had the opportunity to give the psychic any advice, anonymously, what would it be?
■ I recommend steering away from perpetuating the separating of me as a person from you as a psychic. ■ Always be sure you are coming from the right place. ■ Watch your tongue. Think twice about things you say, especially with “bad” information, something that’s definitely going to affect the person. ■ (The psychic) went into too much detail about the guides and reincarnational stories to hold my interest. ■ I don’t like (this psychic’s) money trip. I was in a workshop with (this psychic) for a full weekend and then had a reading and (this psychic) didn’t even recognize me. (The psychic) had a power; I am unsure where it came from. My mistrust of (this psychic) stemmed from perceiving him as a washed-out Anti-Christ figure. ■ In the first place, I wouldn’t feel the need to be anonymous. But one question in my mind is why the information is sold. It gives it a smelly aura.
If you had the same ability as the psychic you visited, do you think you would charge money for it?
■ I like to think not. ■ No, I certainly wouldn’t make a living off of it. I wouldn’t go commercial. ■ It’d depend on the circumstances. I wouldn’t charge anybody in modest circumstances, I don’t think. ■ No. ■ Probably. The way society is set up, I would. ■ No. ■ If I needed it.
Do you think what you paid was a reasonable amount?
■ It was reasonable but I’d like to have paid less (than $25). I felt like (the first psychic) was doing it to make money and so I didn’t feel good giving (the psychic) any money. I didn’t feel that with the other psychic; I’ve given more money to (the second psychic) since then. ■ Extremely reasonable. I paid $20 for my first two and $25 for the last one. ■ I paid $20, and at the time I thought it seemed ok, but now it seems like a lot. I can’t see paying that now. ■ Come to think of it, $25 is nice pay, for an hour’s work. If (the psychic) doesn’t do it all the time, it’d not be unreasonable, like if (the psychic) did only one a day, (the psychic) would need that much to live. ■ $25 an hour is a lot of money. I can’t see putting a monetary tag on something like that. I wouldn’t do it again. ■ I paid $20. In a world where people are starving, it’s preposterous to suggest that giving $20 to someone for spiritual guidance is either reasonable, unreasonable, or anything in between.