A remote reading? With demand up in Chicago, psychics say they’re adapting to client’s needs

Christine Bridger buys, flips and rents out vacation properties, so she’s sensitive to the ups and downs of the volatile travel industry. To stay calm, the Evanston businesswoman practices positive manifesting, takes daily “gratification walks” with her husband — and consults a psychic.

She’s relied on psychics for about a decade to expand her thinking about her business, or, as she puts it, “collaborate on what I might not be envisioning.”

Alexis Angelilli, a Mariano’s department manager who lives in Edison Park, consults her psychic for more personal reasons.

“I just talk to her about life stuff, about stuff that I don’t feel asking a specific person or something that I’m unsure of that I need clarity about,” said Angelilli.

She said she was sold during her first tele-reading when her psychic correctly pointed out she was wearing red shoes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the tedium of lockdown have Americans stressed and seeking relief in all sorts of ways. One popular outlet has become astrology, long practiced by psychics and mediums who say they are enjoying more cachet than at any time since the 1970s.

Add broad economic and global uncertainty, and faltering faith in institutions — for psychics, that has meant a mini-surge of new clients. There’s no hard evidence tracking what Chicago spends on psychic healing, but local practitioners say the pandemic brought on business growth of 30% to 40% — a spike that has eased since the start of COVID-19 but left an imprint on the industry. Psychics have scrambled to meet demand by adding tele-readings, opening satellite locations in co-working spaces, expanding hours and “professionalizing” their environment.

None of this is new, per se. The city’s ethnic enclaves have nurtured their own economies for decades, from traditional medicine shops in Chinatown to botánica shops that line 26th Street in Little Village. Beyond that, dozens of professional psychics and mediums in Chicago have been mainstays in Chicago neighborhoods for years, advertising services that range from tarot-card readings to crystal healing.

But the practice has changed, too, reflecting the world around it.

Pandora Pappas

“My goal is to help people feel better so that they have the tools to continue to live their lives and not need me,” said Pandora Pappas, a psychic and medium based in Lake View. “I see myself as a temporary assistant rather than lifelong, you-need-me-once-a-month.”

Pandora Pappas works out of a shared Lake View office. She prefers that to “a witchy environment.” Her work includes mediumship sessions with people and animals who have died ($300-$700) and sound healing with a variety of instruments, including the flute, on which she is classically trained (​​$75-$265).

With clients worldwide, she offers her service in-person and remotely and expanded her hours during the pandemic to meet demand.

“My goal is to help people feel better so that they have the tools to continue to live their lives and not need me,” she said. “I see myself as a temporary assistant rather than lifelong, you-need-me-once-a-month.”

Carolyn Miller, a psychic who owns Astrology Boutiques in Skokie, Gold Coast and Wicker Park, compares herself to a life coach but stresses she is not a therapist. She still has clients come in off the street out of curiosity or just for fun, but the breakdown of thrill-seekers to repeat customers is now 3-2.

Like Pappas, she said she recognizes the limitations of her ability to help people in specific situations beyond her expertise and has referred clients to outside counseling.

“Maybe you need some spiritual guidance or help, but if I feel like there’s a problem — like a psychological problem … I would definitely refer them,” she said. “I tell my clients when they come in, ‘Go with your gut, go with your feeling.’”

Pandora Pappas holds a quartz sculpture.

Lake View-based psychic and medium Pandora Pappas, holding a piece of sculpted quartz.

Miller said her work is “based on energy, your aura and what I feel” and that she sees five to 10 people a day. Her prices are $40 for a palm reading, $70 for tarot and a “full and complete reading” for $125 that combines psychic reading and tarot.

The flexibility of the field has attracted career changers.Val “Mrs. V.” Patton now does business as a psychic medium in Auburn Gresham after leaving a job as a medical assistant five years ago due to health issues. Her career change allows her to make good money, she said, and set her own hours.

Patton said she started picking up people’s energies as a 5-year-old and had premonitions while dreaming of her father’s hospitalization and death. She made the leap after seeing a shift in society’s collective consciousness, something she says has been aided by social media and a decade of calamities.

“It kind of awakens the consciousness, allows us to kind of question things a little bit more, to see things a little bit differently and not be so rigid,” she said.

Bridger, the travel company owner, acknowledges some judgment when she brings up her psychic consultations — that some people think she’s strange or falling for a scam — but she doesn’t care.

She said her relationship with her psychic comes down to one thing: hope.

“In that moment, if you might be stressed about something — there’s bigger things ahead of you that you can’t even envision.”

Aaron Gettinger is a freelance writer for WBEZ.

Source : https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/9/12/23344288/chicago-psychic-medium-online-zoom-remote-reading

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