‘It turned the end what most people want is the possibility to unload for an hour.’ Photograph: Fiorella Macor/Getty Images
‘It turned the end what most civilization want is the opportunity to unload because that an hour.’ Photograph: Fiorella Macor/Getty Images
Customers marvelled in ~ my psychic abilities but was that really what was going on once I told their fortune?


The man was agitated, v red-rimmed eyes and also clammy skin.

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“Help me,” that said. “I’m under a curse.”

At an initial it was just flickering lights, that said. And then a figure, at the sheet of his vision. Currently something grabbed his fingers or stroked his arm. Over there was more – and it to be happening an ext frequently.

“I witnessed a Catholic priest,” claimed the man. “But he can not help. Can you?”

Yes, yes i could. I knew specifically what he essential to do.

I to be a happiness teller. Every Sunday, ns climbed the stairs of an old terrace residence in Sydney’s historic Rocks district, come sit in the attic and also divine the future. Ns would check out Tarot cards or translate horoscopes.

As a teenager, I’d devoured a publication called hopeful Magic. one instruction hand-operated for witches, its main idea was the if you want something, and also you had great intentions, you just told the universe and also magic would certainly happen. Although naught I wanted (fame, money, warm boyfriend) in reality arrived, one thing resulted in another and I teach myself to check out Tarot cards. At the moment I to be a scientific research student, and also just thought about it a fun game at parties.

That readjusted after ns took my cards to mine part-time job and also read them for a colleague throughout the break. She picked the map for pregnancy, which us laughed about, because she want her tube tied.

A week later on she said, “Guess what the doctor told me this morning?”

She to be pregnant, and I was officially psychic.

Deciding to build my gift, ns enrolled in a psychic class, wherein I learned come say the an initial thing that popped right into my head. “Your very first thoughts room the most psychic ones, before your reasonable mind interferes,” claimed the teacher.

I likewise learned that all things room connected, and everything is a price of something else. Suddenly, I observed signs and also omens everywhere.


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‘The range of problems faced by human being who have the right to afford $50 because that fortune telling turned the end to it is in limited: troubles through romance, problem at work, trouble mustering the courage for a much-needed change.’ Photograph: Busà Photography/Getty ImagesTo test my new skills, ns volunteered to be a clairvoyant in ~ the spiritualist church. Congregants would ar a flower top top the table, and also the clairvoyants would choose one and “read” it in ~ the microphone. Nervous, the first thing I grabbed was a packet of silver- foil. The increased inside had actually been pack so tightly, the petals were crushed. I didn’t acquire a solitary vibe native it, so ns just defined the symbolism.

“You space feeling battered and bruised,” i said.

Afterwards, a mrs approached and said she was a victim of residential violence, and what have to she do?

I was just 19 and also had no idea, yet my psychic reputation soared. The attention was intoxicating.

Then the universe told me ns wasn’t cut out because that science, by sending me my second-year results. Ns dropped the end to go after theatre and also signed up for a one-year food at the Sydney Astrology Centre, a cavernous commercial building in a seedy component of town.

The course started with the interpretations of the zodiac, indigenous Aries come Aquarius. Then the luminaries; the sunlight (what you will certainly become), the moon (what you lugged into this life) and also planets. After ~ that, just how to calculation planetary positions and also cast horoscopes.

Although astrologers use Nasa data for your calculations, horoscopes no a true map the the heavens. The Babylonians who invented astrology thought the sunlight rotated round the Earth; contemporary astrologers still usage Earth-centred charts, together if Copernicus had never existed. That’s just the start of the scientific problems.


The astrological interpretations themselves have from a principle referred to as sympathetic magic, where things that watch alike are connected together. Mars look at red, therefore it rule red things favor blood. How do you obtain blood? friend cut, for this reason Mars rule surgery and also war.

You projection by combining interpretations with planetary movements. Say Saturn, world of restrictions, is about to transit the very first House of me – your life will contract! you going come get an ext responsibilities 보다 usual. Or probably you’ll be refuse the chance to take on much more responsibilities. Or perhaps a cold, vital person will certainly come into your life. Yet anyway, the a an excellent time to walk on a diet.

Astrology is one large word combination game.

I loved it, though ns was losing interest in other mystical practices. Partially I didn’t have actually time, because I was now immersed in theatre while functioning as a temp typist at St Vincent’s, a Catholic hospital. Yet as i bounced from one room to another, my views changed. I’d construed organised faith to be something between an embarrassment and also an evil. Yet as Aids go its dreadful work – this was the 1990s – ns watched nuns offer compassionate care to the dying. Christian volunteers checked on derelict guys with vomit down their clothes. I came to be uncomfortably conscious that new Agers perform not develop hospitals or feed alcoholics – castle buy self-actualisation at the cash register.

Finally, i was accepted into a music degree and my job filled through classes, my nights with rehearsals. This resulted in a cash crisis, due to the fact that I could only perform office occupational during academic holidays. Once I experienced the advertisement for a luck teller, i pounced.

My credentials impressed the guy on the respond to (“My surname is Ron,” he said. “My spirit overview is Blue Star. He’s on the intergalactic committee”) and I was hired.

We fee A$50 one hour, a far-ranging sum at the time, and I want to market value. No fishing for clues from me – I printed a horoscope or set the cards and started interpreting immediately, intending to dazzle the customer v my insights.

Half the time, though, i couldn’t get a indigenous in. That turned out what most world want is the possibility to unload because that an hour.

The variety of problems faced by people who have the right to afford $50 because that fortune telling turned out to it is in limited: troubles v romance, troubles at work, problem mustering the courage for a much-needed change. I heard these story so frequently I might often assumption: v what the difficulty was the moment someone to walk in. Heartbroken young men, because that example, talk around it come psychics, because it’s much less risky than informing their friends. Occasionally I’d mischievously say, “Let she go. She’s not worth it,” as soon as one arrived. When I heard, “Oh my God, five my GOD!” as an amazed guy fell backwards under the stairs.

I additionally learned the intelligence and also education execute not protect versus superstition. Numerous customers to be stockbrokers, proclaiming executives or politicians, dealing with worries whose outcomes couldn’t be controlled. It’s hesitation that drives human being into woo, not stupidity, therefore I’m not surprised millennials are into astrology. They prospered up through Harry Potter and graduated into a precarious economy, making castle the ideal customers.


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‘Intelligence and education perform not protect against superstition.’ Photograph: AlamyWhat broke the spell for me was, oddly, human being swearing by mine gift. Part repeat customers declared I’d make very details predictions, the a type I never ever made. That dawned on me that my readings to be a co-creation – I would certainly weave a story and, later, the customer’s memory would certainly add brand-new elements. I got to check this concept after a friend raved about a analysis she’d had, complete of astonishingly exact predictions. She had actually a ice of the session, so i asked she to beat it.

The clairvoyant had actually said nobody of the things my friend claimed. No a single one. My friend’s imagination had done all the work.

Yet periodically I could be uncannily exact – wasn’t the proof i was psychic? One Sunday, ns went straight from work-related to a party, before I’d had actually time come shuck turn off my psychic persona. A college student there mentioned she wasn’t sure what to specialize in – photography, graphic architecture or maybe commercial design?

“Do photography,” ns said.

She looked in ~ me, wide-eyed. “How did friend know?” she said, explaining photography to be her genuine love, yet her parents didn’t approve.

I can not say, “because my third eye is open”, so ns reflected for a moment. Climate it struggle me. “You sound happier as soon as you said ‘photography’,” ns said. My psychic teacher was ideal – the signals we pick up before mindful awareness kicks in can be accurate and also valuable.


Well, possibly I no psychic, but it no matter. That was simply entertainment, after all, until the cursed guy came in. The one who’d watched the Catholic priest.

“Get come a doctor,” i told him. “Now.”

That an extremely week, I’d typed letter for a neurologist who specialized in mind diseases. Some of those letters had documented strikingly comparable symptoms come this man.

“Are girlfriend saying ns crazy?” that said, his hand balled.

“No,” i reassured him. “But Catholic priests know what they’re doing. If he can not help, this no a curse.”

That make the guy angrier.

“You’re a fraud!” he shouted, and also stormed below to demand his money back.

The conference shook me, badly. Shortly afterwards, ns packed my astrology books and Tarot cards away for good.

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I can still make the strange forecast, though. This is one: the venture resources pouring into astrology apps will create a luck telling device that works, because humans space predictable. As human being follow the advice, the apps’ predictive powers will certainly increase, developing an ever-tighter electronic leash. But they’ll it is in hugely popular – due to the fact that if friend sprinkle magic ~ above top, you have the right to sell civilization anything.