Why I don’t call myself a psychic

While I’ve been practicing cartomancy since the age of 9, I’d never describe myself as a “psychic.” The word makes me twitch; I much prefer “seer” or “diviner,” the old-fashioned terms.

Why? “Psychic” comes from the Greek word for soul, psyche — a beautiful enough word with a lovely myth attached to it. One of the definitions, conveniently listed at dictionary.com, is “pertaining to the human soul or mind.” This may seem an odd pairing with the traditional image of the boardwalk psychic and her crystal ball, but bear with me.

“Psychic” implies that the sacred — in the form of insight, wisdom, knowledge, etc. — comes from the practitioner’s mind and/or soul. In other words, the power is innate, within the individual. There’s the barest hint of what I’ll call “awesome power” — an assumed superiority, a supernatural agency.

And this is where I disagree. I have one power and one power only: to get myself out of the way and let the words of the Gods (specifically Brighid) flow through me. I am merely a conduit, a channel (although I don’t like that word either…) — a medium in its sense as a singular form of “media.” It’s a passive art, a surrender.

“Seer,” on the other hand, essentially means “observer,” or one who sees. That seems to be a more accurate description of the divinatory process than “psychic”; you are simply seeing the patterns that are there, opening yourself to the vision. “Diviner” correlates directly with the name of the process: discerning the will of the divine, the Gods.

Seer and diviner are good old words. There’s a certain sepia tint to them, perhaps a remnant of the time when individual agency wasn’t so lauded or lusted after. Whatever wisdom comes from divination arrives through the grace of the spirits and the glory of the larger pattern — a pattern woven by our own lives and choices and those of others, and others still, human and non-human, seen and unseen.

There’s no certification for diviners, no master status for seers. It’s a dynamic process and the reader is only a small part — the part that scoots to the side and lets the sacred show itself. That’s something you can learn, but not something another human being can teach to you. Learning it is a matter of learning to see, and your eyes (inner and outer) don’t come with an instruction manual. That’s part of the beauty, part of the path.

So, that’s my rant of the morning. 😉


One thought on “Why I don’t call myself a psychic

  1. Thoughts on psychics:
    Everyone’s heard of the stories of how people felt that something was wrong and did not board the Titanic and that this ship had a lot of last minute cancellations before it departed. I believed these stories as a testiment to the abilities of a premonition. However, when the terrorost attack of September 11 came about, there was nothing being said at all about any premonition that something bad would happen soon. Psychics talking in the online community at the time were still talking about how the new millinium was usuring in an unpreceted jubilee of human harmony. The trend was that something amazingly GOOD was just around the corner. Just a few minutes AFTER the attack, psychics were stumbling all over each other-so to speak- to be among the first to shout out “I knew that!!” Now we have a treasure trove of retroactive lore about all the flight cancellations, ominous feelings of forboding, strange dreams, and all that. I think we in general don’t know how psychism and foretelling really works.

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