Americans spend about $55 billion on psychiatric therapy and medication each year. When darkness plagues our souls, when friends and family can't help, we reach out to professionals. Which is why I went to a psychic.
The sign said $10 for a psychic consultation. Could this be the counsel my poor, battered soul sought? I had a single, burning question. I wrestled with my problem in wretched solitude. I needed help from the universe, I needed solace from the divine.
Her door on
"Hi," I said. "I came to your shop. Shouldn't you have known I was coming?"
She sighed "I'm not psychic. Are you close by?"
I was having coffee at the Reading Terminal Market.
The salon was attractive, decorated with colorful chakra and palm reading charts, globular crystals, pictures of angels and multi-limbed deities. I sat on the couch, and through a door I could see into the living room, where a woman ironed and watched a soap opera. Buddhas and porcelain seraphs smiled, promising end to the darkness.
A curvy, petit woman with thick black hair came in and sat facing me on the couch, offering her hand. "I'm Gina," she said. She looked Latino of maybe
She rolled her eyes. "I'm not clairvoyant," she said. "I'm a spiritual advisor."
She sighed. "The women in my family have the gift going back many generations. I can't, like, see the future. But I can tell you a lot of things." Her Philly accent was so strong, it was almost
"Can you, like, see my aura?"
She nodded. "I can see you are a special girl, strong and happy. But right now your aura is weak. You are worn out, honey. I know you love traveling, but you're overdoin' it. You gotta settle down, take some rest. Put down some roots for a while."
I'd just moved back to Philly after living in
"So, what's the problem?"
"Well," I began. "So, I've been dating this guy for two and a half years."
She nodded. "Mmmm-hmmm."
"Right, so, you see, he got a scholarship to study in
She stared at me for a full thirty seconds. "Neither."
"Really. How old are you?"
She nodded, sagely. "About right for a love triangle. Look. Give one of them three months, the other one a year. Your soul mate I can see," she closed her eyes. "He's got olive skin. He's Mediterranean, Italian or Greek. He's got light eyes. Not blue," she opened her eyes and nodded. "Green eyes." Her eyes closed. "He's not your age. He's more mature than you. No, wait." She paused. "He's the same maturity as you. You aren't the same age, though." Her eyes snapped open. "But watch out for another man who will take you on a journey." She shook her head. Was that a shudder? "He's bad news. I hope you never even meet this man. There will be another woman involved." This was starting to get really interesting.
"So, should I break up with my boyfriend?"
"Look, honey. You know shit, right? You know what shit is? Well, don't matter how high the pedestal is, or how much you try to buff that shit. Shit don't shine, okay? These guys, they aren't worth it. Shit....Don't...Shine. Give me your hand." She gazed into my palm. "You got double lines of destiny. You are going to have two houses. You'll be successful. I can see you're going to have a really good marriage, and the companion, the best friend, that you want. So don't worry!"
Tears welled. "Really?"
"Really! Don't worry about this stuff. But I am a little concerned about something else."
"I can see you have a spirit attached to you. A suicide. They probably died and were attracted to your bright aura. They've been with you for years. You know that negative voice inside your head, that doubting voice? That ain't you, girl. You got what it takes for greatness. But this spirit is holding on to you."
"What should I do?"
"We need to have a ceremony, in the church. We have to prepare some salts for you, and do a full aura cleansing."
"How much is that?"
She looked down. "Three hundred dollars."
Alarm. "Uh, well, I don't have that kind of money," for some crock voodoo exorcism. Damn.
"Okay. You just think about it. In the meantime, you can light some candles, and take a bath with seven different colored flowers. That will help start to detach the spirit from you. But be warned. It's been with you for years. It's been growing with you all this time, and it thinks that your life," dramatic pause, "is its life."
"Um. Yeah. Sure, I'll think about it. But. Well, thanks for your help. Anyway. How much do I owe you?"
"For the advising and the palm reading, thirty bucks."
I paid the lady and walked out, a little poorer, a little wiser. And you, dear reader, may take me for a fool, but you know what? I felt better than I had in days.
But in the end I took a pass on the exorcism.