Move over therapy

Backstage, Dior SS17
The Sunday Times, 

Just as I finally stopped saying “My therapist says”, I have now become a person who says “My psychic says”. Be glad I haven’t yet turned into my friend who earnestly starts sentences with “My shaman says”.

It began when my friend Pip told me about his experiences with a psychic life coach called Linda. He went to her when he was feeling despondent about dating and she told him he’d meet a great love, that this man was out there somewhere unknowingly preparing to meet him. Five and a half months later he met someone who had all the qualities he had always dreamt of in a partner. They’ve been together for a year and a half.

I know I’ve already lost some of you, but I’ll carry on anyway.

I saw Linda a year ago out of curiosity and found the experience to be enormously therapeutic and spookily accurate. She is the opposite of spooky — glamorous in a faux-fur collar, chatty, with an infectious giggly laugh and a voice as comforting and Cockney as pie, mash and parsley liquor.

We meet for a second time at the same spot, a hotel overlooking the Thames, where she buys me a glass of white wine. We talk about Brexit.

"She just cannot let the bit out of her mouth,"

“She has that Margaret Thatcher stubbornness,” I agree.

“Another Libran!” she declares, vindicated.

“What’s Trump’s sign?”

“Gemini,” she says with an eye-roll.

She shuffles the angel cards and turns them over. She reads correctly that I’m very excited about one work project, frustrated with another. She gives me advice on how to move forward with both. Individual cards pop out of the pack as she shuffles and she lets them fall before turning them over and saying things like: “Interesting”, “Yes, thank you”, “OK, but how?” before she pauses, nods and then tells me what she’s inferred. I like to think she’s speaking to some invisible spirit compadres rather than talking to herself, but this is not explicit.

She correctly guesses the star signs and temperaments of the last two men I dated, their compatibilities and incompatibilities with me. We move on to a more general reading and discussion about what is in my future and, more important, what I want to be in my future.

I leave feeling reassured, with new questions to answer and new theories to contemplate until I find an answer. I haven’t changed anything specific off the back of her predictions. That, I think, is the wrong use of a psychic reading and can only lead to madness. Last time I saw her, she told me my next love interest would have problems with their ears, and I spent every subsequent date subtly trying to deduce men’s aural medical history. I am a control freak at heart, and my anxious disposition doesn’t need another misguided way of thinking I can control an uncontrollable world. Instead, I like to think of the readings as space that I leave for the mystical and magical to occupy, a time when I can be reassured that my life is moving in some sort of direction, taking some sort of shape, even if I don’t know exactly what it is as it’s happening.

In all honesty, I’m not sure if I believe any of it. I think psychics could just be people who have hyper-sharp people-reading skills. But I will always defend the unique value of visiting a psychic and the time it gives you to reflect on your hopes and desires. It’s an opportunity to say out loud exactly what it is you want from life. Linda was the first person I said it to. Once I vocalised it, it was as if I was giving myself permission to be happy. I’m not going to tell you what it is, obviously. That would be tempting fate. Listen to me! (Maybe there is something in it, you know.