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Understanding Fortune Tellers, Tarot Readers, Astrologers, and Psychics

Some people aren’t going to like how I open this, and that’s fine: anyone who thinks I’m a huge giant dick for this should probably take a step back to consider why they do.

Now, before I get into this, you have to understand that those of us who do this sort of work for money are entertainers. It doesn’t matter what kind of guru label somebody puts on themselves or how highly they may view their own talents and intuition: we are still entertainers.

There is a reason, that in most places, by law, we are required to disclaimer things like this:

This service is for entertainment purposes only.

Far from viewing this as some kind of brush off, or being offended by this disclaimer: I wholeheartedly endorse and approve of it. This is for the protection of the consumer against unsubstantiated claims.

Anything any one of us do is unsubstantiated. In Reconstuctionalist Heathenry, there’s a term for that. MUS. You’ll see me use this term a lot. It stands for Made Up Shit.

What is made up shit? Pretty much every spirituality, religion, and otherwise known to man. That’s the truth of it- someone, somewhere made this up. Maybe it happened so far back in history it’s been around for generations, maybe it started in the 70’s: but somewhere, someone made it up.

Am I saying it wasn’t inspired by God, Gods or Goddesses?
Nope. I don’t know. Neither do you. None of us do.

Am I saying that I give crappy advice or that anyone gives crappy advice?

Am I saying that there is no such thing as psychics, mediums, or that any of this is not valuable on some level?
Absolutely not.

You may see “made up shit” as a negative, but I don’t. It just means that until it’s validated- and that may be your experience, it may be another client’s experience, it may be something I’ve caught on camera (In cases of paranormal stuff.): it’s just something that I, or someone else has experienced that requires  certain amount of belief or faith. There is nothing wrong with that. I think faith is a beautiful thing- but one of the reasons it is, is because of what it is. I am not a Christian, but the Biblical definition of faith has always resonated:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)

Having said all of that, when you approach this sort of thing, you will find people with a lot of labels. These are simply the most common, and of course, there are others involving clairvoyance, and “shaman” is as nuanced as the cultures in which someone in that capacity appears. Spoiler alert: pretty much every culture has their own variant. Another spoiler alert: you won’t find them babbling about it on the ‘net very much.

n. noun

1. A person apparently responsive to psychic forces.

adj. adjective

1. Of, relating to, affecting, or influenced by the human mind or psyche; mental. psychic trauma; psychic energy.
2. Capable of extraordinary mental processes, such as extrasensory perception and mental telepathy.
3. Of or relating to such mental processes.



Now, the dictionary definition of medium is appropriate to what a medium is in this capacity, too. It reads:
n. noun

1. Something, such as an intermediate course of action, that occupies a position or represents a condition midway between extremes.

2. An intervening substance through which something else is transmitted or carried on.
3. An agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred. The train was the usual medium of transportation in those days.

adj. adjective
1. Occurring or being between two degrees, amounts, or quantities; intermediate. ordered a medium coffee.

A medium in this context, is someone who communicates with the spirit world- now, whatever element of the spirit world said medium may be communicating with, that’s down to them. But you get the idea.


A sensitive is someone who may or may not communicate, but is open to the energies present on a spiritual level.



I really dislike this one, and will frequently crack jokes. Seeing these advertised and white washed really makes me want to blow chunks. A shaman is actually:

n. noun


A member of certain traditional societies, especially of northern Asia and of North and South America, who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events.

Though technically speaking, “shaman” has become a culturally appropriated buzzword. Unfortunately, being as it is the one most are familiar with, it is the one used.


Fortune Teller

This term actually came about in 1590, as far as anyone knows. When we think of fortune tellers, we think of Madam Whateverhertits with the headband scarf, the crystal ball. I don’t hate fortune tellers at all- they are entertaining and many of them truly do put on a fantastic show. However, it’s important to understand that the connotation here is that of someone putting on a show.


A person who works with astrology. I am only going to briefly touch on this one- because the differences are fairly significant, but, this is already a long assed blog. There are several different types of astrology, more than I will list here, but these are the ones most are familiar with:

  • Western Astrology: Based on Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblios, a horoscope is divined by way of the person’s date of birth, time of birth, and place of birth. The horoscopes you see in your newspaper or otherwise are actually sun sign horoscopes- and as a result, may be vaguer and more generalized, lacking that full information. Those actually began to circulate in 1930. The Oxford Astrologer has a fantastic piece on this.Western astrology typically uses the Tropical zodiac.
  • Hindu Astrology, Jyotisha, or Vedic Astrology: Though similar to Western Astrology in that it was actually formed based on Hellenistic influences- this is not the same as what those of us in the West are used to. This uses the Sidreal zodiac.

One thing, which you will see ALL OVER THE PLACE is that some astrologers have a tendency to promote themselves in some really disturbing ways. I need to make this distinction- because, from my perspective as an occultist, I find it really damaging.

Many astrologers use other tools to carry out divination. However, what I have seen in the last couple decades of doing this? Those that combine these things and then slap a big “impressive” label on themselves are usually full of shit. There are a lot of warning signs of full of shit, but, they don’t all hold true. For instance, well, if you have an occultist, she may actually know this stuff. *whistles* Doesn’t mean I am awesome, or ethical. I mean, I am, but, knowledgeable people can be assholes, too. Rule of thumb is this: if whoever you talk to in ANY way shits all over free will: scare tactics, etc?

They’re probably full of shit. If they aren’t doing all that they can to help you live independent of them or are fostering dependency: full of shit.

I know this is harsh, but here’s the thing: I’m working through ISAR coursework and the AFA. I used to believe that certifications were just bullshit and most of them are. These? They’re no joke and more than just stretching myself really, REALLY thin: I am starting to recognize that quite a few people I really used to respect aren’t respectable. I am starting to see a lot of cracks in a lot of halos. It kinda sucks, but, it’s also been amazing.

Tarot Reader

A person who reads tarot cards.

Now, I mention these things because often, you will have someone who goes to an astrologer seeking something of the other talents- but if someone is only an astrologer, you can’t really expect them to channel your dear dead Auntie Mildred. If someone is a medium, but not an astrologer- you can’t really expect them to be able to draw up your natal chart and figure out just why it is you seem to continually encounter certain situations. While many of those who profess to be psychics also practice astrology or use other forms of divination- everyone’s going to be different and you’ve really got to pay attention to what they are offering. To assume that an astrologer is a psychic or vice versa- well, it may result in a big let down.

Cold Reading and Fishing

Let me first say this: cold reading is a talent. To do it well, you have to be very observant, and you have to know how to “read” people. It does not, however, mean you are psychic or otherwise gifted in that way. It just means you know your shit when it comes to how to ferret out information. Fishing works along those same principals, but, is generally a bit more obvious.

Being very frank with you, most of the psychics you see plastered everywhere are cold readers. Whether or not they actually have any psychic talents- well, I couldn’t tell you that. I can tell you that I’ve watched a number of these shows and though entertaining- couldn’t help noticing that messages from the spirit realm seemed to be tugged gently right on out of the audience. I cannot tell you if those people are really and truly psychic or mediums or whatever. What I can say is, while I dislike marketing lies: the fact remains that this is a product that people want.

While I am generally very much on team “don’t be a dick to people” there are some for whom I have quite a bit of contempt- those who damage others with their unsubstantiated claims. There IS an ethical way to do this without being a total douche. It’s just a little harder, requires more effort and transparency. People tell me that’s not marketable, but I disagree. I think it’s the next level, and I think it’s a worthwhile thing to encourage.

Now, the reason I broach this subject is because this industry is pretty much over run with people who have some serious ethics problems. As in, they don’t have any. It’s not unethical to charge for these services- matter of fact, historically speaking, it’s tradition to do so. Anyone who works with people on a personal level like this can tell you- whether it’s some sort of psychic energy being tapped on or not: working with people is draining and it is an effort. I don’t say that in a bad way, because personally, it’s an effort I happen to enjoy and find satisfying. It’s also something that I feel should be worth what you pay for.

For me, it has always been important to be up front. I am an entertainer who can give you some great advice. I am intuitive and yes, there is a huuuuuge bunch of MUS about me that I rarely actually talk about. I don’t, because, well, when I do talk about it, I talk with others who know more than I do- or, well, actually, I just listen a lot. I do not, however, need my MUS validated by way of attention seeking and I don’t expect anybody to pay for it.  Beyond that, it goes into my personal belief systems, which I do try to keep far from my divination services. I will occasionally go into that, but, for the most part, my personal beliefs are strictly that: personal.

There is no such thing as “the truth” when it comes to the paranormal

And well, anyone that tells you there is, is talking out their ass or trying to sell you something. If you enjoy the advice, if you enjoy the show- there is nothing wrong with you. If you are skeptical of it, also, nothing wrong with you. The thing of it is?

Until somebody trots out some evidence that renders all of these arguments academic?

Be very careful of anyone who insists they know.

Not knowing is pretty bad ass, and mysteries will always be pretty attractive- so, keep seeking the truth, keep being awesome to one another, and enjoying yourselves.

Disclaimer before anyone gets too ate up by it: you can still be an entertainer and a healer. You can still be an entertainer and give a shit about people. However, if you are doing divination for pay: you are legally an entertainer. Own it! It doesn’t suck.

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