First and foremost, I’m still hockin for votes and donations (only $500 left to go!) for the Black Weblog Awards, more details at bottom.

So I’m sure everyone has heard of stuff like The Psychic Friends Network, Miss Cleo and other pseudo-psychics. They’re funny for me to look at because they’re so full of crap but I wonder (and worry a little) for the people who really buy into them and call asking about their love lives, careers, so on and so forth. I feel bad for those people because they’re being fleeced and lied to at the same time – kinda like paying taxes.

I was watching The Bernie Mac Show one night and the Psychic Friends Network commercial came on. It was some lady that looked like – or actually was – Vivica A. Fox and a bunch of bright-eyed nobodies that were overly enthused by their “personal psychic”. You can call, text or email them day or night, whenever you feel (at a hefty fee, of course) and get the skinny on your life and your future. And you’re even going to get “world famous” psychics too! Ooo! Aaaaah!

Get real. Firstly, this thing is just a load of crap, you can tell by how the commercial is being conducted to sound larger than life and your only once-in-a-lifetime chance to get a lead in your own future with your own “personal” psychic. It’s like being a queen or a king with a loyal and powerful druid at your side. C’mon now, I’m a real psychic and I think even I have said in my very first post that I would set down ground rules about being called around the clock over some simple nonsense that most certainly can wait until I wake up and at least brush my teeth, go to work/school, have something to eat and perhaps look at something entertaining first. There is no psychic that I personally know that would like to have a doctor’s on-call schedule. We never would get any sleep, especially with the “right here, right now” consumer culture that dominates the Western world.

Since the psychic is your “friend,” I wonder if they would get a day to vent. That for a 30% per half-hour discount, you can hear about the psychic’s day and worries whenever they need to talk. Just because we can see into the future don’t mean things are any better. Hmmm, I see…a bill…from AT&T…it’s-it’s my cell phone bill and …and it’s gonna be hefty as usual, can I call up my non-psychic friend and whine about that? They’re already whining to me about their problems, why can’t I do the same? Oh wait, I do. I have real friends, the people these folks are talking to are just doing a job. No true interest except to keep the lights on.

I’ve never paid for a reading a day in my life. As a matter of fact, I never bothered with divination of any sort until I got into myself.  I noticed the Ms. Cleo commercials when I was younger and man was that chick off. I could tell myself and I didn’t know anything about tarot cards then! The meanings were super vague; she guessed her way through readings and still sounded correct. Shame on Ms. Cleo for running game on a fool but shame on that fool for getting ran on so easily.

If you’re getting a reading, the reader should be on point about what’s going on, not talking like a Sphinx or over-generalizing like “You will experience a downfall after much greatness.” They should also be able to talk about things that don’t have anything to do with money, love or career and not sound wishy-washy. This is not what is supposed to be coming out of their mouths: “Oh! You have a mysterious lover! He’s handsome, rich and famous!” or “There is this beautiful woman. She’s charming, mysterious and will subject to your every whim.” That sounds like a jip already because they’re playing to your (faulty) wants. Be realistic. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

While it is a special pastime of mine to poke fun at phone psychics, parlor psychics and mall psychics, some of these guys are real psychics who just want to pay the bills somehow while the others are just conning hard to get you to pay more. Then there are those who are good at what they do but simply became greedy.

One of my friends, Ro we’ll call him, got bit pretty bad by the economy. He was fired from his previous job at a nice metaphysical shop because the boss became jealous and petty, his fiancée was working at a job that didn’t pay enough to foot the bills and both were fresh college graduates. When Ro told me he decided to be a phone psychic, I laughed because I thought he was joking. They’re the very people we make fun of because they make real diviners look bad, he’s got to be kidding. Apparently he wasn’t, gotta pay the bills somehow and happy thoughts don’t count for currency. He didn’t like the job either because it was a bit sketchy, even in pay, but money’s gotta come from somewhere and it’s not coming from the sky anytime soon. That part I understood so while I didn’t get any nicer about phone psychics as a whole, I did respect and understand Ro’s choice to do what he could to make ends meet. He’s a great psychic; I relied on him when I needed some insight I couldn’t give myself so I knew he’d do fine. Ro came to me about the job because he needed references, just like any other job and he figured that I would be a good pick because I’m honest. I simply told him that this is fine, just keep it temporary and until he can find better work.

It wasn’t long before drama was happening with the new boss. Ro was a serious diviner and casted stones as his main way of divination, geomancy. My friend is always on point and this paid off well in the calls he got but pay was a little weird. There was competition and he wanted out because the people who would call him were pretty annoying. Thankfully this lasted about a half year to a year before he found something better, a stable paying and normal job to help himself and his fiancée with the bills and a better place to live. He too thought the phone psychic business was a scam but it also was the only paying thing so he went with it till something better came along.

I have to say, if you want to get a reading so bad, hang out at a metaphysics shop, form a friendship with a diviner and get a reading from a friend you trust. Oooooor you can teach yourself this stuff. I did and I’ve been doing pretty well. When looking at parlors and mall psychics, avoid anything that seems too overdone and stereotypically “magical”. Drapes with moons and stars on them, crystal balls (I still haven’t a single clue how to scry, especially in those things) and older women who got the aura of a desperate car salesman. Next time I’ll post my “Faker Faker: How to Spot a Con” that I wrote for my university’s Pagan Student Union. For me, I don’t mind doing spreads for friends, artistic favorites/people I admire or anyone who asks nicely (i.e., gives me an okonomiyaki) because it’s better than having them go to some con like a poor friend of mine did. I like helping people whenever I can and this is one way how I do it.

I used to run on a dream thread that’s now gone (And I should have saved! *sob*). That was my interpretation thread. You post your dream in and I would interpret it for you. You could have me PM you if possible because you’re afraid of having stuff put out there but  that’s what I did for about a year. It was really nice the people that I helped over that time and they appreciated having a diviner around that knew what they were doing. In addition, I would also answer questions about how the brain worked during sleep, the function of dreams and other non-dream interpretation related things. I was often asked of the “devil sitting on your chest”, which is just sleep paralysis usually because your brain shuts down a sector that controls movement so you don’t go running about in your sleep and you pretty much woke up before your body does, thus the paralysis. And I would often get the “I never dream, so there” people. They really are foolish because you have a couple hundred dreams a night, you only can remember the last three or four because of the stage of sleep your brain was in. There is a science behind sleeping, y’know. I like studying psychology and biology so it works out for me in helping people and not sounding like an utter quack. What people often didn’t know was that I sometimes needed various dream dictionaries because different backgrounds interpret the same thing differently. There’s a dream dictionary for girls, Jews, Blacks, an all-around dream dictionary, there’s many different ones. I would tell the folks in my thread the books I use so they could use it too and even bother me less.

I think what gets people to call these phone psychics and visit overdone psychic parlors or mall psychics is the mysticism that they perceive diviners have. That we have powers from the “other side” and we live in a world completely separate (but parallel) to that of normal people. I’ve had people look at me sideways when I would read for them because they wondered why I wasn’t in special clothes like a cloak or anything. As much as I would like to look like I jacked Captain EO’s cape and sputter complete and total nonsense, I don’t think it would benefit either of us. It would be a disservice to the person I’m reading for and a complete waste of my time, I can act like a fool later. When I’m home, I’m doing divination in my pajamas and over a soda on my bed, not in some special place. Not even my cat is doing anything but being a nuisance by deciding to kick some of the cards out of order and then sleep on them. I write out the interpretations while watching “Everybody Hates Chris” and type them up on my laptop as I peruse YouTube, any lolita fashion site, and my livejournal blog. Not very mysterious now is it? It generally ain’t. My divination book, the “book” itself is just a green, three-pronged folder with paper in it (and Saul Williams’ autograph on the back pages! It was all I had at the time and wanted him to sign something because he’s completely awesome. Now my divy book is awesomer than before!) It seems like the less fancier the diviner, the better the reading because at least it will be honest.

A good diviner is not trying to trick you into anything. They’re not trying to rob you blind or scare you witless (in effort to rob you blind) but simply give advice. That’s all it is, advice given based on your current situation, what the past has brought and what the future might bring. A good diviner helps people because it is right but also makes sure to the best of their abilities that you don’t have to keep coming back again and again. If you have to come back to me about five times for the same issue, there must be a bigger problem at hand or you’re thaaaaat dense. You, the person getting the reading, should feel confident that the diviner isn’t a sham by fishing for information so they can look legit or trying to string you along. The diviner should be able to explain their readings clearly and answer any question that you may have to the best of their abilities. It’s your reading so you should be clear on what’s going on since it’s your life that’s being affected. The diviner shouldn’t be trying to rack you up a nice and hefty bill to pay, that’s scamming, and they shouldn’t be trying to scare you into giving over your goods, that’s racketeering. Basically, the diviner should act like a level headed person, not one of the greatest wonders of the world or a total schizoid.

If you find a good diviner, stick with them and don’t forget to treat them like a person. I personally like being bribed with snacks to do natal charts, help people interpret their dreams over bubble tea and I prefer to know a person beyond what I’m reading them for unless it’s strictly business, such as me divining for an event. If you plan on going back to the same diviners again and again, I would recommend making friends with them. It would really ease the bond and they could help further. Plus it won’t seem so much like work for them rather than helping out a friend – if they don’t mind turning a business relationship into a friendship, that is.

Welp, that’s the column for this week! I just want to say thank you to everyone who has voted and to please spread the word about Black Witch so I can take home the Black Weblog Award in Faith. This BW post has all the details about voting and donating and there will be a new post about it all in the near future. Only $500 dollars is left needed to complete the goal to send me to L.A. for the first ever Black Weblog Awards Ceremony. Any donations is kind, whether big or small it doesn’t matter.

If you don’t feel like looking at the BW post or already know what to do, go on and vote or donate.

Next week is the first year anniversary for Black Witch. I will be making a post to celebrate that, it’ll be fun. I wanted to do giveaways and vcasts about it but I’m not sure if those will be possible given I have had such a lack in time and opportunity. That also means the pre-orders for Black Witch’s first book Black Witch: Life From the Black Pagan Perspective, vol. 1 will be delayed to July 9th so I can get everything together better.

After that are the installment posts, The Arts and Ask Black Witch. You know how to submit to ABW:

Submit, vote, donate and be happy.

Oh, and if you already voted on computer but have a smartphone or tablet, use your QR Reader (Here’s a list of them if you don’t, I use Neoreader) and vote there.

Use the QR Code to vote for Black Witch in the Faith Category

 Is there any issues with the code or voting on your phone? Lemme know in the comments.