We all have our own connotations of psychics. Maybe you imagine crystal balls and beaded curtains, incense so thick you can barely breathe. Maybe that’s a comforting idea too, sitting down with someone who can provide the clarity so many of us desperately want. Maybe it’s just something you sneer at.
Regardless of our figment, there is a concrete reality of people who make a living in the field of insight. David Zarza, psychic medium: “All psychics are different, just like two chefs are different.” There’s no one rule in the field – only what a psychic and client can reveal to each other. One reading will vary from the next; some psychics are sincere and amazing, while some fit the seedy cartoon. Such is life, such are humans.
“The reason I like to do it is because, internally, I experience a connection, like the person sitting there, and you say what you see, and they feel seen and heard, and it’s a really nice connection. And I’m a psychic school, I love teaching people that they can do it also,” explains Madeline Hartman, director of Psychic Awakenings based in Queen Anne. We sat down in this little office in an old Victorian, red velvet curtains dividing the entry hall from the checkered tile kitchen. Not exactly what you’d picture, it’s something much warmer.
She came into the field after a series of intuitive experiences, “One weekend, my cousin and I… we were staying in somebody’s house who we didn’t know. And I came down for breakfast one day, and my cousin was sitting at the table. And I could feel that the lady was angry, because my cousin didn’t ask to help. So, silly me, I sat down without asking how I could help. And less than a minute later, the lady said, ‘Don’t you girls ever help at home?’”
Zarza reports similar that, “as a kid, I had a childhood friend that would answer questions, and she was right more often than the adults in my life, and I grew to trust her more and more, and as I grew up, that developed more into just what I would call my intuition.”
At the crux of it, their work tries to distill autonomy in the client’s hands. “We don’t predict the future. The future is not written in concrete yet. So, instead, we try to educate people that they really do have a lot to do with their future. What they’re putting out is what comes back to them.” Expanding on popular misconceptions, Hartman commented, “Some people think we know everything, and we don’t, we just read what we see. Another misconception is that psychics are crazy, that it doesn’t really exist, that we’re just out to make a quick buck.”
“Am I gonna be okay?” seems to be a common question. To Zarza, everyone should have an intuitive person in their life. “I try to mitigate skepticism by knowing as little as possible going into a reading.” He describes his internal experience during a reading as “looking into a lake, as its sprinkling and sometimes droplets form ripples, patterns. It is my job to comprehend the patterns.”
There is something internal that every psychic must arrive at. True or not, they must reckon with themselves in order to be a person which people turn to for clarity. For some of the sincere, there must be a point where they realize they cannot do anything else, and that they must trust what they experience. “There are no coincidences,“ as Hartman states.
Glancing around the room, eyes grazing salt lamps and buddha figurines, she goes on to describe some of the struggles of coming into your own as an intuitive person, “I struggled with my own insecurities that I wasn’t good enough. That still lights up once in a while, especially because I’m a more quiet kind of a reader…but I have my own style.”
Psychics are all the more human, confronted with themselves as they operate. “The people who come in are our mirrors and what we need to be working on is what we will see in somebody else… By learning to read and stay neutral, we get to heal ourselves. Like, oh, this person reminds me and myself, I’ve done that, and become aware of it and release it.”
The bottomline for the majority revolves around doubt – the actual virility of the practice, but perhaps that’s irrelevant. It is an experience, as Hartman puts it – we become each other’s mirrors. During a good reading, I imagine something is being moved into the light. It’s hard to find fault in people seeking solace; we claw for it in so many ways. Even the godless end up worshiping something.
Victoria Winter is trying to prove that nothing human is alien to us. On paper, she is a second year student at Seattle Central College, potentially majoring in anthropology and philosophy. In reality, she is fascinated by using the mediums of photojournalism and writing to explore subcultures - the fringes, the limelight, and everything in between. She is in love with humans. Her only firm beliefs are that everything should be explored and most things are easier at night.