One of the appeals of going to a fortune teller, a psychic, or a medium is the magic of being told things a stranger shouldn't know. I think that's a legitimate bit of entertainment. When people talk about their experiences with getting readings, the tone is often so casual and like, "Whatever." Even when recounting accurate, spot on readings where the reader did indeed tell the client private things and predictions that came true, the one telling the story usually ends it with, "Yeah, but who knows?" There are always a good mix of good psychic and bad psychic stories which only partly accounts for the cautionary attitudes. Of course we need to be wary of people who deliver bullshit and take your money for it. But I find it fascinating when people who have experienced a genuine psychic reading still appear to shrug it off. So few are confident enough to say, "I know there are a bunch of sham readers out there, but the one I saw was legit." Why is that?
I think it stems from embarrassment or an unwillingness to be seen as someone who believes in "that stuff." It's like we're so scared to admit there's more to this life, our experience of it, than what we can see. We feel nudges, hunches, and odd feelings all the time. We make synchronistic associations all the time. We see signs and we dream and make connections. But we feel awkward admitting it and accepting this other input as valid. Even as a tarot reader, I still experience the same feelings. There are some days when I am sure I am spewing nonsense, just pulling random things out of my underwear. (Funny how, on those days, my readings are better.)
We are grounded to this earth in these physical bodies, so we like to be able to touch, see, and measure things. We want to know for sure and hold it in our hands before we believe. That is entirely valid and I don't think we should dismiss the need for substantive validation. Science has it's place and yet I don't think science should be the only thing we rely on. Look at how scientific discoveries change our realities, not always for the better. The USDA nutrition guidelines are a good example. For years we've been told our diet should look like this:
And then we got fat. And heart disease. And diabetes.
Now the USDA's latest recommended diet looks like this:
Half our diet should be fruits and veggies, more veggies than fruit. The other half grains (and at least half of those should be whole grains), and protein. A little bit of dairy. We learned certain oils can be good for us, dark chocolate is healthy, and maybe eating all that white flour and rice wasn't working so well.
So why did we believe the USDA back in the pyramid days? Well, when it was created, there is some speculation that it was not scientifically designed but politically designed with certain industries lobbying for a better place on the pyramid. So we can't always depend on "scientific research" so we must conduct our own. Eat like the food pyramid for a while and see what happens. For some people who live very active lives and burn off all those carbs, it's probably fine. Our bodies will respond differently depending on who we are, our genetic predisposition, our current health, our activity level, our income (healthier food choices tend to cost more), etc.
And that is my point: we must validate what we experience in our own lives. If you went to a psychic and you were amazed because the information was deeply personal, exactly what you needed to hear, connected to your life and your immediate concerns, then it is as valid as anything else real in your experience.
As my colleague, James Wells, recently blogged in his post "Tarot and Thinking are Friends" --
Intuition is simply one more sense in the panoply of human perceptions. It is neither less nor more important than sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, thinking, or proprioception. Too many people mistake impulse for intuition, thereby making less-then-helpful decisions. Impulse carries emotional attachment whereas intuition simply provides information.I also wrote about that in my post Intuition Needs Your Input only James gets right to the point. Intuition, yours or someone else's, should be used in tandem with other discoveries and information. In fact, our balanced life should look a lot like the USDA's "My Plate." Rational logic, Swords could be one section. Emotional experience and feelings, Cups, should be another section. The third section would be Pentacles, our physical experience and knowledge. And another section should be our motivation, energy, and passion, Wands. That circle off to the side? Psychic knowing. It's all part of the information we need to live and make decisions. That rational, logical stuff that our society seems to think is the only information we should need, over and above anything we feel emotionally or experience physically or intuitively, is like the bottom-heavy grains in the old food pyramid. It just doesn't work for most of us.
I'd like us to be less ashamed of speaking about what works for us if it's not of the socially approved norm. I'd like us to go ahead and be awed and amazed when a stranger tells you something they shouldn't know. The more we accept these sources of information for what they are, we will become much better at utilizing them and know their place in our lives.