When I was sixteen years old, I received my first psychic reading. It was a gift from my mom, who had been visiting the very same psychic since she was sixteen. In my weird Addams-like family, the passing down of a psychic was akin to an heirloom or a sacred totem. You had to be a certain age to know of its existence, and you were warned to be careful with it, but it was yours if you wanted it.
In lieu of a traditional pearl necklace was Eleanor, an octogenarian sprite of a woman dressed in bubblegum pink paper crepe dresses that she made herself. She performed her readings in the kitchen of her modest Toronto bungalow on a small card table using only a deck of playing cards and a pink teacup.
My memory of my first reading is hazy, but I remember her telling me that I was destined for big things in the entertainment industry, that I would marry a dark-haired man who was also a creative, and that I would live somewhere with the initial “E.”
“Maybe it’s Europe,” said Eleanor, gazing into the teacup at my tea leaves. “Or maybe it’s the East Coast.”
I also remember leaving her house feeling immensely hopeful and excited about my future; an addicting feeling that would cause me to visit Eleanor again and again for the next fifteen years. Admittedly, I wasn’t always the happiest camper when I saw her; I was often uncertain of my direction in life and myself, a feeling of which I’m sure is the bread and butter for most psychic’s livelihood. I mean, they’re called “soothsayers” for a reason. And who really seeks advice and guidance from a soothsayer when they’re feeling confident and enlightened? Julius Caesar sure didn’t.
“You’ll get fired,” she said to me during a particularly crisis-filled time in my mid-twenties. “But you’ll get a new job writing for a magazine.” (She was right.)
“You’ll have to move out from your apartment,” she said. “But I see you living in a home and being happy.” (She was actually seeing my parents’ house, but, still, she was right.)
Eleanor’s readings were helpful, but mostly they provided me with the feeling that I was so desperately craving: that all was well with the world, and that all was well with me.
Over the years, Eleanor would often repeat herself, seeing the same things in her teacup that she had seen years before, but which hadn’t yet manifested for me.
“I still see that dark-haired man. You’ll work with him. You’ll also marry him,” she told me during one of our last visits before she passed away last fall. “And I see you living somewhere with an ‘E.’ Maybe it’s England? Europe? But maybe it’s the East Coast.”
Maybe that’s why when Angel Morgan, an Ontario-based psychic, said to me back in April that I should take a trip to the East Coast, I couldn’t help but sit up straight, my posture matching the hairs on the back of my neck and arms.
After Eleanor’s passing, I thought I was done with psychics. I’d had readings done by – in my humble opinion – one of the best. Also, I was no longer a confused teenager or twenty-something who was in desperate need of something, or someone, to cling onto like a North Star; however, I had received an email about Angel Morgan from a PR contact of mine. She was holding media readings at the Spoke Club in Toronto – did I want to go? As a youth who spent her weekends in the local occult shop and had her psychic on speed dial, dangling a free psychic reading in front of me is like dangling a Snickers in front of sugar addict. I will snatch it up and devour that shit.
I didn’t really know what to expect from my reading with Angel. At the time I was in a minor career slump. I was longing for some quality alone time so I could finally write the screenplay I was talking about, but doing little actual writing about. My laptop was bunny-eared with tons of tabs about writing retreats, some in Ireland, a few on the East Coast, one in PEI, basically anywhere near a large body of water. (My rising sign is Pisces – I am naturally drawn to water.)
“Water is good for you,” Angel said to me basically as soon as I sat down across from her. “I hadn’t said a word to her at this point, but I immediately liked her.
Angel got me. There was an instant rapport established between us, and I trusted her. Over the course of my reading, she proved herself to be legit. She described perfectly one of the dogs that my mom dog sits. She knew that I had just returned from a vacation near water (York, Maine) and she knew I shouldn’t give up on my writing projects – without me saying a single word about anything. Finally I said, “I’m thinking of going away for a writer’s retreat. Where would you recommend I go?”
“Anywhere near water is good for you. The East Coast, definitely.”
I don’t believe in coincidences. I think coincidences are just little magical messages from the universe, tugging at us, trying to get our attention. Usually, they’re signposts that come up to confirm that we are on the right path and that all systems are a-go for us to proceed and investigate. When I recognize a “coincidence,” I never shrug it off.
So I didn’t shrug off the fact that both Angel and Eleanor had “seen” the East Coast for me. The idea of venturing to the East Coast had been nudging me over the last few months. I was imaging myself living near water, in a smaller city, having a simpler, slower life. But the more I thought about this image, the more it felt like something I had to explore. Suffice to say, Angel’s reading was enough for me to go home later that day and book a cottage in Charlottetown for the month of August.
Skeptics will probably think that Eleanor or Angel, or both, planted the idea of travelling to PEI for me. That it was the power of suggestion that drove me to pay x-amount of dollars for a month-long writer’s retreat. That of course their premonitions come true if I am doing the work for them!
Maybe. But I also think that we seek the insight of psychics because we already know what we want. We already know, on a gut-level, the truth of a situation or the action we want to take, but we’re too scared to take that step by ourselves. We’re scared of following through on something based only on our intangible instinct. And as humans, we need validation, a safety net, someone to tell us, “Do this!” or “Don’t do this.” Most times, we fear our own power. I knew, instinctually, that needed to venture to Charlottetown – I just needed a kick in the ass to do it.
Despite my numerous psychic readings, I do live my life on my terms. I don’t do something or date someone because my psychic said I would. Sometimes I find myself fulfilling Eleanor’s prophecies; most of the time, I don’t pay attention to it, and I just live my life.
I have always been more of a Mulder than a Scully; I do believe. And I believe that I am meant to go to P.E.I. and experience something I’ve never experienced before. And who knows? Maybe my dark-haired man is there, too.