Does the term psychic draw you in or push you away?

What’s in a name?

Benebell Wen, author of Holistic Tarot, put together an article for Buzzfeed about an up-and-coming generation of tarot readers. She illustrates a handful of prominent tarot professionals who do not identify as psychic.

Around the beginning of this year, I had the honor of meeting another reader who identifies herself not unlike the women presented in Wen’s article. Theresa Pridemore is the creator of The Portland Tarot.

Myself and Theresa Pridemore in early 2015. We are holding The City card from her Portland Tarot.
Myself and Theresa Pridemore in early 2015. We are holding The City card from her Portland Tarot.

I keep an ear open to insights from sources like Fiona Benjamin‘s Divination Radio, where she and guests embrace the word psychic and take back its power. I respect such practitioners and anticipate my own feelings reforming over time.

Around the time I met Pridemore, a conversation on the term psychic emerged over my Facebook and Twitter. A Twitter friend agreed with my hesitation to use the word psychic to describe myself:

: I feel you! I prefer the label intuitive or empath. Even spiritual advisor … the term psychic comes with a lot of weight — others’ expectations and then some burdens from
seeing the future.

From Portland Tarot creator Theresa Pridemore

At my request that I blog on the topic, Theresa kindly wrote to me on how she felt about the labels we give ourselves as tarot readers. Here’s the entirety of her email, emphases mine:

“I call myself an intuitive, primarily, or rather, intuitive and Tarot reader. People I know also use the term empath, and I will say that I am an empath, but less as a title and more as an alternate description. I feel like calling that out is important, in one way or another… It’s one thing to memorize the meanings on the cards, it’s another to be open on a wavelength that allows you to see more dynamic associations on the cards.

“I’ve had the cards act as conduits for the energy of other people (living or passed) that I could sense very strongly in a reading, for past life information, for energy blocks, and the like. It’s kind of trippy when they happen, it’s never consistent. Some people are just more open than others, and because I am tuned in, I can see more if they are ready for more.

I don’t think all readers are intuitives, though, but I can’t say that it means they have less useful readings. The Tarot will work however a person shows up, in my belief, so it will give cards according to how they are able to see the information. That’s why I believe Tarot can still work well for beginners, even if they are just looking things up in a book. You don’t have to know everything to get value out of the tool. The tool will show up in a way you are ready to see. Your understanding of a card may evolve, and the Tarot will deliver the cards appropriate to your evolving understanding. But that’s another subject…”
You can read about how Theresa created her cards at her blog -- this post goes into the concept of intuition and The High Priestess:
You can read about how Theresa created her cards at her blog.

“Anyhow, I also call myself a mystic, but because it feels less grounded than the other terms, I use it less. In my view, it gives the impression that I am starry-eyed… Which of course is magical and fun, but because most of the work I do with people is often grounded in issues with business, work, and life passion, I like people to feel like they are getting an experience that’s both magical and pragmatic.

I never call myself a psychic because I really don’t have a gift of predicting any future events that stem from specific decisions or actions (though my grandmother did, and my friend does, if given permission to look).  I think people assume if you are psychic you can do this, or hear their thoughts. All I can do is read energy and story threads, and give an overall sense of likely outcomes, but not in any specific way. If I used psychic, I think people would expect a level of precision that I can’t deliver.”

Gift vs Scam

Theresa’s email closes with a paragraph that I feel sums up the opinion of many:
“I do think some people are psychic, though. To me, that’s a level up… That’s someone with a more fine-tuned gift. And of course, it also happens to be a term oft-used by charlatans, sadly.”
Everyone at some time wishes for counsel. That’s what psychics and readers provide.
Theresa Pridemore goes into depth about creating her Portland Tarot, including her multi-faceted High Priestess card, seen above, at her blog — the High Priestess post says more about her concept of intuition.

5 thoughts on “Does the term psychic draw you in or push you away?

  1. A very insightful and thought-provoking post. Coming from the more analytic end of things, I tend to be distrustful of any reader who claims the label psychic, but I feel the same wariness with people who advertise themselves as intuitive, empathic, etc. It’s not that I necessarily expect those people to be charlatans, but anyone who adopts one of those labels is liable to be so wildly different from my approach to Tarot that I prefer to stay away.

  2. Hi. As a 30 year “reader-non psychic but intuitive empath” I’m finding new doors opening and it was because of some exercises I did that challenged me to do what I “didn’t do”…read the future.

    The exercise was as follows….draw a card and look for what pops out first….and say (to yourself, first, because it is, after all a training exercise), “In the next few hours/days, you will see this thing.” I found out it works 9 times out of 10. Sometimes it’s obscure….once, it was the Chariot, and I saw a foreign entity in someone’s body or vehicle driving it away in a careening, out of control fashion, while someone (probably the body or car’s owner) looking on. So I said, in the next few hours/days, you will see this. That night, there it was…..on “Supernatural”….a being had possessed one of the brothers, and leapt into the impala and sped away, while the other brother looked on, left behind.

    Another time it was simpler….I drew the Ace of cups….”you will see a golden vessel”. That afternoon I saw not only a golden-glazed pitcher in the floral department of the store where I worked, but it had the exact same patterns that the Ace of Cups has on it in the Gilded Tarot (which is the deck I had used.) I bought that pitcher, and now it’s part of my abundance/prosperity altar.

    How do I use this? In a reading, I mean. I will draw a card at the end to “give the querant a sign” to look for…so that they may know they are NEARING their heart’s desire. So the item has a divinatory meaning, but not an “interpretive” one….the cup (for example) doesn’t stand for the heart, or the “three sticks” don’t mean what the 3 of wands normally stands for…it just gives the querant a sense of expectation….something to look for that means she/he is on the right path. I don’t say it will mean “this is The One” but “you are getting close”. And you know what? It works. I draw that card with the intention of “an omen” and read it in that fashion. It’s definately prognostication, and somewhat psychic….I was limiting myself by believing it couldn’t be done…at least by me. This causes ME to trust ME more in a role of “how is this accomplished? This can’t be done….I don’t have this skill….”…it allows myself to see myself in a new light, and to start seeing my relationship to the cards, the querant and the universe more.

    I have a friend who is one of those people who gets called: “We can’t find the body….” “You are looking too far upriver… need to look 14 miles downstream….” And it works. And she doesn’t use tarot cards. And “she sees dead people” who come and tell her things….but try to see your future? She can’t do it. And she really (by her own admission) is NOT a good card reader. But I would definately call THOSE skills psychic.

    Me? Not so much, but I’m starting to see possibilities that are new.

    And heck if you give a sitter “an omen” to look for, and they find it, how cool is that? It’s downright…. psychic. Looks great as a card reader if you can do this. Try it. I bet you can.

  3. I claim the label “psychic,” but it took me YEARS to do so. I started reading cards in 1991, and it wasn’t until 2014 that I started feeling comfortable calling myself a psychic. Then I just said screw it, went all out, and changed my business name to Psychic as F*ck. Because if you’re going for it, you might as well go all in.

    It does, however, create a definite boundary line of who will work with me and who won’t, and who will share my posts and who won’t. I’ve had coaches tell me that the word “psychic” makes people hesitate, and I’m okay with that. It’s polarizing, but my clients know I’m the real deal. I really can, and frequently do, predict the future, I really can read minds (it’s awkward and not easy).

    There are a LOT of expectations around being psychic, and it’s taken me over 20 years to feel confident enough to claim that label because of those expectations.

  4. I call myself either a tarot reader or a professional tarot reader and leave words like ituitive or psychic out of the equation. I like Ms Wen’s idea of tarot practitioner also, but I’m a purist I guess and prefer the old term.

    I think when querents request a reading they already assume the reader has either psychic or intuitive tendencies.

  5. As a professional reader who does “not” use the term psychic in my outreach or style I wish to clarify what that means. It does not mean that I lessen or demean anyone who does use the word psychic as a label for their work. It does not mean that I wish to create a division, or ‘one up man ship’ between myself and those who do. It simply means that I find intuitive, insightful, or even clairvoyant as a better definition to what happens in sessions with me when I do read for others. The word ‘psychic’ has unfair and even perhaps unclear use of terms inherent in the label and my wish is to clearly communicate what I do as much as possible while eliminating as much as possible any associations which are inaccurate to me. Associations largely inherited by popular culture and the general public that do not feel or seem to accurately represent what I do and how I do it. If anything, I believe we are going through a cultural shift around our general understanding of extra sensory perception and intuition and I welcome it, I believe that greater clarity for all involved and a consensus on language only benefits all involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s