I was 17 when I got my first storefront psychic reading. It was Halloween and I was on my way to see a room in Alphabet City, planning a move from Long Island and feeling like the world was opening up for me. I felt free to explore an aspect of life I had never encountered before.
The woman told me things would never work out for me in life because my ex- and I were meant to be together and until I got him back, life would be hopeless. It was not the time to tell me such things because my ex- was back on Long Island and here I was, starting my new life in the city. The wound from that breakup had been healed and there was no hook for her manipulative antics to latch onto. I walked out chuckling to myself, grateful for having had an “adult” experience.
Unfortunately, 8 months later I’d be in another storefront psychic’s parlor after experiencing a string of bad luck while living with a woman who’d been teaching me magick before things got weird and she came to resent me while depending on me for company and rent money. The psychic told me – oh, I don’t remember – something about bathing with an egg and some nasty green fluid she sold me PLUS $5000 in cash that I would have to bring to her after sleeping with it under my pillow so she could remove the evil spells my roommate had put on me with the help of employees at the local occult store. Anything less than this amount might not remove the curse completely as it was equivalent to the curse’s magnitude. This time, I was desperate – desperate enough to hope a well-off friend would lend me the money. The psychic said she’d give it back once the curse was removed. What could go wrong?
Fast forward 8 years and I find myself making the trek with a housemate to Queens to retrieve the heirloom necklace given her by her late grandmother. Two kindly gentlemen claiming to belong to a spiritual brotherhood and speaking words of peace and love at an event had advised her to let them cleanse it because the sensed bad energy coming from it and wanted the highest good for her. She’d traveled with them to their home and met their mother who, upon performing an egg cleansing on her, had apparently produced blood and a lizard from the cracked egg and advised more spiritual work be done.
So how can you tell an honest psychic or spellcaster from a scam artist?
- Cold and canned readings – Learn to spot cold and canned readings and learn to spot the old “candle scam.”
- $5 specials – I’ve never met a psychic hawking $5 specials who didn’t give a canned reading. These are meant to lure you in with information applicable to anyone and hook you through charismatic tactics. Don’t take the bait.
- Scare tactics – If your psychic or spiritworker threatens you with a life of hopelessness or tells you that they are the only person who can help you, RUN – don’t walk – away. They are lying to you and trying to frighten you so that they can take your power (and your wallet).
- Online psychics and spellcasters without photos – It’s easy for a con artist to set up a sparkly website with key phrases they know will attract desperate people. Few of them post photos of themselves. It’s not a hard line issue, but it’s something to consider. No genuine spiritworker I know hides themselves.
- 24 Hour Love Returns & Reconciliations – Want to reconcile with a lover and not waste thousands of dollars? First, start by staying as far away from these “24 Hour Guarantee” people as possible. They are trying to scam you. Second, read this and this. Spiritual work involving mending relations between two or more people takes time, especially when hard feelings are still present. Honest spiritworkers who are gifted at reconciling lovers often have very specific conditions under which they will perform such work, provide their clients with a timeline for expected results, and sometimes even prescribe ritual acts for clients to perform.
- Guarantees – Can a lawyer guarantee she will win your case? Can a surgeon guarantee that their work will heal you? The best person in any field can still only the best they can. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but steps can be taken toward wholeness, greater wellbeing, and goal achievement. Anyone who tells you otherwise only intends to harm you.
- Most Powerful Spells / Self-Aggrandizement – It’s ok to feel confident in one’s abilities as a spiritual practitioner. Many folks have spent years counseling the public and helping remediate ills that other roles in Western society can’t, and some have had to undergo major trials to have such gifts. That being said, the person who says they’re the biggest and baddest mofo around probably isn’t. The most effective, clear, powerful spiritworkers I know are also deeply humble, knowing that unseen hands accompany their lives and their work and that their efficacy is at least partly an outgrowth of the relationship they have with the spiritworld. Seek out efficacy and deserved confidence, yes, but avoid…well…assholes.
- Claims to solve all your problems – It’s this one that amazes me most. No psychic, shaman, spellcaster, or “voodoo priest(ess)” can solve all your problems. None of them. Nada. Zilch. An effective spiritworker can, however, help you understand where blocks might be in your life and how you can overcome them. Many spiritworkers I know encourage their clients to perform spells and ritual acts on their own or alongside their work on their behalf so that they’re engaged in their own wellbeing because at the root of most curses, hexes, jinxes, and lost love issues is a very real experience of power and soul loss that needs to be both directly and indirectly retrieved.
So what should you look for if you want to hire a psychic, spellcaster, or spiritworker?
- Honesty & Integrity – Forget the men and women of mystery who are too big and bad to reveal who they are. Again, the most effective psychics and practitioners I know tell it plainly. Some of them may use pseudonyms or titles, especially in alignment with the tradition or culture their work is borne from, but they’re glad to express who they are because their work is an outgrowth of their very real lives and experiences.
- Empowerment – I’ve never seen a circumstance in my consultations in which there wasn’t vast opportunity to empower my client. In fact, no such circumstance in the Universe exists. If you walk away from a psychic reading feeling disempowered, firmly take your power back immediately and take a cleansing bath (or three). A light at the end of the tunnel can be conjured out of even the most crossed of conditions, and without you feeling the need to become entirely dependent on the practitioner who has read for you. Indeed, hiring a spiritworker’s help should feel empowering no matter what you’re hiring them for – not draining or terrifying. If it feels like the latter emotions, don’t work with them.
- A desire to educate – Blogs, podcasts, radio shows, teleseminars, Facebook groups – if they’re an online psychic, chances are they are sharing their thoughts, philosophies, and experiences with the world. They may even prefer an educated client over those who buy into Miss Cleo-style fantasies of what their work is about (I get some interesting requests some days). Not every effective spiritworker has access to the internet or the technological know-how, of course, but the desire for you to understand their work in at least some capacity should be evident.
- Clear communication guidelines – If you end up hiring a spiritworker, spellcaster, shaman, or other person to help remediate a circumstance or life condition, expect a timeline regarding when the work will start and end as well as what the communication expectations are. When would be a good time to check-in about the work? What methods of communication are most appropriate? How long should it take for you to get a response? Knowing the answers to these questions upfront will help you avoid a lot of frustration.
- Custom work – In a culture of convenient “Click to Buy!” buttons galore, it’s a given that many will sell their supposed “most powerful spells” via such means. Personally, I think it’s awesome to have effective products and tools available for purchase, but I always recommend a consultation if a client is not sure of what they need or is confused about what the issue they’re facing even is. The resolution to a money problem isn’t always a Money Drawing Spell and not every type of spiritual cleansing is appropriate for every kind of spiritual malady.
- Proof of work – Every spiritworker I know who’s worth their salt provides some evidence of the work they perform. This may be a photo of the ritual or candle lighting, or an audio recording narrating the practitioner’s trance journey on the client’s behalf. Don’t take someone’s word for it – specifically if you’ve never worked with them before.
- Willingness to refer – I take the “doctor” suffix of “rootdoctor” very seriously. If I can’t help you, I’ll tell you so – and I’ll use my divinatory tools to do my best to refer you to someone who can. The spiritworkers I admire and consider colleagues do the same.
My hope is resources such as these can go viral, especially during a time of year when people with corrupt hearts prey upon individuals and families in crisis.
Khi Armand is an NYC-based Intuitive Consultant and Shamanic Healer who provides transformative solutions for life and business. He is the proprietor of Conjure in the City and author of Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.