I’m about a psychic as a house brick

This is a guest post by Alison Cross from TABI Tarot.

I’m about a psychic as a house brick’ I tell people. I’m really not psychic, honestly. I’ve spent years assuring other people – and myself – that I’ve not got a psychic bone in my body. But I’ve never really explored what the word ‘psychic’ means. A quick search on Wikipedia yielded this:


A psychic – from the Greek ψυχικός psychikos—”of the soul, mental”, also called sensitive[1]) is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception, or is said by others to have such abilities.

It is also used to describe theatrical performers who use techniques such as prestidigitation, cold reading, and hot reading to produce the appearance of such abilities. It can also denote an ability of the mind to influence the world physically and to the telekinetic powers professed by those such as Uri Geller.

That’s quite an interesting definition because it seems to accept that stage performers who use techniques to read people’s responses ARE entitled to be called psychic – even though, generally, people would expect the term to be applied only to folk who ‘perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception.’

Leaving that anomaly aside for the time being, how does this information affect my own perception of the word ‘psychic’?

The phrase ‘of the soul, mental’ is really strange because I do not equate the soul with anything cerebral. Instead, the soul is, in my opinion, much greater than our meagre human mental capacities can comprehend.

However, the portion of the definition that a psychic is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses makes much more sense to me.

I’m a Tarotist and although I trained using an established system of traditional meanings, there comes a point when you can leap off those meanings and work intuitively with the cards.

I believe that intuition is the ability to perceive ‘hidden information’. This is not a special gift, but a level of comprehension that arises from a combination of training and ‘sensitivity’ of the other senses. This ‘comprehension’ to my mind, fits the Wiki definition much better than ‘mental’.

In my opinion, this heightened sensitivity can be obtained through the regular and continual practise of reading Tarot cards – and is available to all.

Just as British chef Heston Blumenthal is famous for his snail ice-cream and other apparently baffling food combinations, he learned to make omlettes, just like everyone else makes them. Once he had mastered his basic skills, he was free to pull them apart and rework them to his heart’s content.

I think that’s what I do when I work intuitively with the Tarot: I worked hard to master basic meanings (and continue to expand upon those meanings with every reading!) and this gives me the freedom to look at a card, the symbols therein and get intuitive flashes as to what I need to say to my sitter.

If pressed, I could back up every intuitive statement that I made to a sitter on how I arrived at that conclusion by referring to the card content, my own experience and how that all merges together in my head to form an impression. It would be quite long-winded, but I could do it!

Mercifully, I don’t have to – but if I was still in training, I would need to be able to justify what I’ve said to my trainer so that they can see where I am coming from.

So, how do you use the Tarot as a trigger for intuitive thought?

On the TABI blog, I’ve chronicled a couple of instances where I’ve recently consulted the Tarot for lost items of jewellery. Go to TABI Tarot so that you can see what I happened.

You will note that using the Tarot in this capacity did not require any great in-depth Tarot knowledge. I do believe, however, that for good intuitive Tarot readings you DO need a set of traditional meanings to get you started.

Anyway, that aside, this means that YOU can use Tarot as a tool for stretching your intuitive muscle and therefore, increasing your psychic awareness.

To start working with your Tarot cards and intuition, make yourself very comfortable in a place where you will not be disturbed and set yourself a question. Make it a question that you CAN find out the answer, but one that you do not currently know the answer.

In the TABI Tarot blog my questions were, where is the ring? Where is the pendant? The answers to these are factual. They either ARE in a place or they aren’t. So this is the sort of question that I want you to set yourself. This is so that you can’t fudge the answer!

I’d also recommend a symbolism-rich deck like the Original Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, at least to begin with.

Once you have your question, repeat it over and over as you shuffle the cards. Ask for a card that is going to help you establish the answer to the question….draw the card….and then get cracking!

Don’t let your logical brain put you off. Get a stream of intuitive babbling underway – you might want to record yourself or start scribbling down your impressions. Don’t over-think things.

When you have exhausted your intuitive flow, pull yourself back to the present moment and start trying to apply your impressions from the card to the question.

At first it might seem tricky, but you’ll soon get into it. You won’t yield a correct answer every time, but you will get that intuitive function working. And once you are giving it a regular work out and are quite used to ‘getting impressions’ by using the cards, you might find that this spills over into other areas of your life. You may find that you become much more sensitive to atmospheres and people’s body language.

These days, when people ask me if I’m psychic, I’ve got a different answer for them. Sure, I still believe that I haven’t got a psychic bone in my body, but now, I truly believe that I have a psychic muscle instead. That muscle is called ‘intuition’ and we’re ALL blessed with it.

So use the Tarot to give your own psychic muscles a great work out!

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Comments and Discussion

Be sure to add your own comment, feedback, opinion and/or suggestion :).

  1. I agree with Alison, but I would expand her thoughts – not just tarot, but most of popular divination systems do help in developing psychic abilities. Personally I’m a runecaster, I use runes to give readings and I have to admit that after months of such practise my capability of giving pure psychic readings based only on psychic impressions have develop further than ever.

    by Nathan / March 23rd 2010

  2. Hi Nathan – You can use anything as an oracle really. Lon Milo DuQuette wrote a great book called The Book of Ordinary Oracles that shows you can even use the instructions on your boiler as an Oracle!

    I only mentioned Tarot because that’s my own area of expertise ;-)

    Ali x

    by Alison Cross / March 23rd 2010

  3. Great advice to not over-think things. I can talk myself out of impressions so easily. The only way I avoid it is to record everything and do it fast! If I take my time reading, I have time to change what I “intuit.”

    by autumnforest / March 23rd 2010