I overheard some psychic development students at lunchtime discussing the difference between good and great clairvoyant readings that they have received. Accuracy was considered important but I believe that precision is only one ingredient in a powerful reading.

The particular readings I remember receiving were unique in what went wrong. In one reading I received from what a friend described as ‘Australia’s leading medium and clairvoyant,’ I arrived early, filled with excitement and anticipation at the possibilities. I took the stairs of the old rickety terrace house two at a time, arriving at the top wide awake and out of breath. The receptionist pointed to a row of chairs where I sat fidgeting as I tried to remember some questions. Hopes and fears wrestled for my attention as I wiped my sweaty palms on my cotton jacket.

I hope that she tells me I’ll be rich or that I’ll travel the world and end my days in a small cottage in England. What if, instead, I’m told that I’ll have six kids and struggle to support them all, dying early from an undiagnosed heart condition? From lottery wins to being discovered in the wreckage of a plane, I spanned many possibilities in the prolonged ten minutes I sat waiting impatiently for the present to reach the future. The sun illuminated one small patch of floor, revealing honey coloured wide boards that were covered in dust. The gaps between each board had been filled with putty which was a few shades lighter that the wood.

Finally the door opened and a woman trudged out and approached the receptionist to pay for her session. I was told to go in. I almost tripped over myself in my haste to make the most of my allotted time. However my enthusiasm rapidly dissipated when I sat before an elderly woman who seemed jaded, weary and disinterested. She reclined behind an old desk, cluttered with papers, books and a pair of empty teacups on saucers. Coal dust filled the fireplace and the hearth rug had to be an heirloom; there seemed no other reason to keep the threadbare relic. She adjusted her thick glasses, gazing out the window as if she needed a rope ladder to escape into the sunny day outside.

I couldn’t decide if she was bored with me or was simply tired of life and her job as she scrutinised me with cold, clinical grey eyes and sighed, as though it was going to be a struggle to make anything interesting of my future. I immediately felt alarmed, imagining that she had seen disaster ahead and didn’t know how to tell me tactfully that I only had weeks to live. That particular reading was in 1988 and I haven’t had another reading since.

Another reader had previously mentioned in passing, my current career which has spanned 35 years with “You’ll become a reader yourself some day, as you’re interested in this stuff.” His dismissive approach did not include a single word about the ten books, CDs and DVDs that I have successfully published. At the time (1977) I suspected that he said that to all of his clients to make them feel special. At that point I didn’t believe I’d pursue this direction as my interest in palmistry had only recently surfaced. I was motivated to consult him out of fear. A good friend had received a reading from him during which he had told her he saw a young man jumping out of a plane with a parachute and breaking both his legs. It seemed such a specific prediction and since I was the only person she knew who had recently taken up parachuting, when she told me, I deemed it prudent to have a reading too. He never mentioned skydiving in my reading but to be safe, I gave up parachuting soon afterwards.

In the mid 1980’s I worked next to a reader who only felt as though she had reached her clients when they were in tears. Her office, situated in a busy central-city arcade, had three glass walls, so I often looked up from a reading to see well-dressed businessmen in expensive suits, sobbing uncontrollably into their silk handkerchiefs. One quiet afternoon she offered me a free reading which I hastily declined. I’d sooner be sent to the headmaster’s office thank you. I spent the next few hours contemplating what I’d rather do that have a reading from her and the list included

  • Having my teeth filed down.
  • Playing cricket for five consecutive days in the blazing sun.
  • Counting the individual threads in a large rug.
  • Watching a surgical procedure at close range.
  • Dissecting a frog with a knife and fork.

How a reader presents news is as important as the information itself, especially when a client is going to leave a job, a relationship or even her country of birth to enjoy better opportunities elsewhere. To avoid startling clients I usually remind them that they have free-will with all predictions. In fact, these days my clients sign a form that states that they have free will to determine their own future and that anything predicted is only a likely future from where they stand that day.

Sometimes I find myself telling clients about a life they’ll enjoy in a decade or two and they argue that they’d hate the life I’ve described. Many of those clients have returned for readings and recently one woman mentioned “You never said it would be this good.”

“Did too!” I felt like saying but instead I predicted more events, which she was equally certain that she didn’t want. It’s great when life surprises you.

Sometimes we find ourselves in strange situations without any clue as to how we ended up where we are. An experienced reader can show a client the decisions made and actions taken that have steered them to current life circumstances.

When Nicola described her hounding boss, I immediately saw an image of her bullying father, ranting and shouting to bulldoze any opposition. Instead of telling her what I saw, I simply asked “Who was the first significant bully in your life?” She paused for a moment and replied, “My dad.” Pondering her early life for a moment, she realised that she was simply repeating her childhood home environment in her workplace.

Then came the delicate part, when I calmly asked her an important question. “How will you ensure that your next job doesn’t replicate your early family life?” While she contemplated the question, I asked inwardly how she might ensure a different, less stressful work environment in the future. The answer I received was that Nicola needed to trust her instincts and enrol in a course that was likely to lead her away from her current employment and into working with children, a career she had dreamed of for years.

Experienced readers usually speak with confidence when describing future events, despite the fact that clients are able to make decisions that might take them in different directions from those predicted. This is not an issue, especially when the client doesn’t want the predicted outcome and seeks a more rewarding destination. If a reader predicts mass retrenchments in the coming months, clients are free to find new jobs and move on or simply wait for the axe to fall.

From a client’s point of view, sometimes bad news can still be positive. If a reader says that you’re unlikely to buy your desired home at auction, you can ask about another, less expensive and more suitable home and perhaps hear your next home described in detail.

Before all Pure Clairvoyance readings I meditate to ensure that I’m centred and to ask what I need to tell the client. In a recent meditation I was told that my next client desperately needed to hear some good news, as she had endured a difficult life.

When she arrived she phoned me from the top of the drive to ask if I’d walk her down as she felt nervous about the steep descent. I strode up the drive, expecting to meet a little old lady in her eighties but she was in her late thirties. I knew that the reading had commenced from the moment we said hello at the entrance, as she sized me up with each descending step we took. Later when giving the reading I was surprised at what she considered to be good news. In passing I mentioned that she was unlikely to live to the same age as her mother and she said “That’s the best news I’ve heard so far. I don’t want to grow old, frail and dependent on others for support. My mother is 81 and a shorter life suits me fine.”

When people become extremely attached to a particular outcome, I remind myself that essentially all inquiries are questions about happiness. If a client asks about a new home, in his or her mind, that residence is a step towards a happier life. If the question is about securing a place in the right school for young Jason, the outcome of spinal surgery, how effective the new diet will be or if a recent love interest will email soon, they are fundamentally asking if they’ll be happy.

Sometimes, from a reader’s perspective, it’s difficult to clearly convey to clients that happiness is a choice and eventually a state of mind, instead of a destination. I usually remind them anyway, if only to hear the words and jog my own memory.

To summarise, a great psychic reading includes some or all of the following:

  • Clearly detailed, accurate information, delivered with honesty and compassion.
  • A reader who explains the process at the beginning. He or she might say “This reading will last 55 minutes and I’ll begin with a general reading, after which you can ask up to five specific questions. I can help you to word your questions if you need help.”
  • A reader who regularly asks if what has been said makes sense to you.
  • Someone who briefly describes the past to give the present and future some context.
  • A person who encourages clients to participate in the process instead of having them sit passively and listen.
  • A reading that inspires action; helps the client to make an important decision or see life from a new perspective.
  • A session that encourages a person to take responsibility for present circumstances and for a desired future.

It’s sometimes necessary to remind a client that as a reader, I don’t control the future. I simply glimpse it. Occasionally the preview is brimming with details whereas at other times it is ephemeral. When particulars are sketchy and images are momentary, it may be because I’m glimpsing a path that is only a possibility and not likely to be pursued by the client. The client’s decisions in the coming months will determine if that particular direction becomes more or less likely.

It is important to remember that every minute of every day we are shaping our future prospects with personal actions and decisions in the present moment. The future is not some distant, far off place where happiness or despair resides. It is arriving one moment at a time, in the present. Instead of asking “What does the future hold?” a more effective question might be “What am I prepared to do right now to shape my future?”

© 2014 Paul Fenton-Smith.

Paul offers personal readings in Epping NSW and Telephone and Skype sessions.