pyschic reality


by Jessica lanyadoo

Originally published in the bold italic on Jul 08, 2011

I am a pretty typical Mission lady, aside from the whole I-talk-to-dead-people thing. I prefer to think of myself as a “mystic hipster” rather than a hippie. It is so much more fashion-forward. 

There is no gentle way to tell someone that I’m a psychic medium. The most common responses are laughter, fear, or some combination of the two. I’ve been working as a professional astrologer since 1995, and since the mid-2000s I’ve been a professional psychic in addition to talking to dead people. Astrology is the study of how the planets affect the human condition and it relies on the accurate interpretation of a bunch of math.

Being a medium means that I am able to hear, see, or speak to people and animals that are dead. They sometimes talk to me from what feels like a great distance, and sometimes they pop right inside my body (not what I consider a job perk).

For me, being psychic means that I can “know” things that I have no reason to know, and that I intuitively get information about people, animals, and places through my senses that I “shouldn’t” know.

Psychic ability doesn’t run in my family. I’ve never had a near-death experience, and I didn’t know from a young age that I had “the gift.” I grew up with a stronger than average interest in the occult, and by the age of 18 I had formally studied astrology at the alternative CEGEP I went to (it’s a Canadian thing – google it, Americans). I started having some psychic experiences in my late teens but chalked it up to the benefits of recreational drug use and didn’t give it much credence.  

In 1994, I moved to the Mission District to make a career of my passion for astrology. I started out by giving two-to-three hour-long readings in exchange for baked organic lasagna or plants for my garden. I called it a self-appointed apprenticeship, and with it I built a rock-solid understanding of astrology.   

I became self-employed full time in 2000, and the communities that I have since worked with have expanded dramatically. I read for all ages, from teenagers to folks in their 80s, by phone and in person.

I didn’t believe that I was even remotely psychic until I started indulging clients’ request to answer their questions intuitively or to speak to their dead relatives. By the mid-2000s, it had become common fare in my work.  
When I tell people that I talk to the dead, they seem to automatically assume that it’s depressing work, but for me it’s not. Working with clients who are suffering through the pain of bereavement can be very intense, of course, but the actual communication isn’t a downer for me, though it can be physically exhausting. I love being able to connect with the “other side” and am continuously surprised by what happens when I do. 

I was dating someone once who had lost a close friend, “Sarah,” in an accident some years before we had met. Sarah kept coming around me, wanting to connect with my date. When we checked in with the spirit of this friend, the first thing Sarah said, with much enthusiasm, was how epic her own ass was! This young lady waxed poetic about the virtues of her derriere from the spirit world, and the eyes of my friend glistened with tears. When Sarah was alive, she often bragged about her backside, as it was her pride and joy.   
My communications with the dead aren’t always fun and light. I’ve spoken with many religious and conservative spirits who have told me flat out that they didn’t like me or the work I do, but they were willing to talk through me to get to their loved one. At times I get stuck with the pains of the dead that I connect with, which can be scary. Being a medium requires that I live a balanced and healthy life so that I can release other energies that don’t belong with me – a messy house is harder to maintain than a tidy one!  
Sarah was very at peace with her death, and was able to present herself to me in a way that was rich with life and humor. It seems to me that we take the attitudes and issues we die with to our next life.   
One of my earlier experiences of medium work was with a woman convinced that her great-grandmother was trying to communicate with her. I checked it out and it was true. Her great-grandmother had an urgent message from the beyond: “Stockpile your husband’s money!” This wasn’t because she knew of some impending financial problems. The great-grandmother had been screwed over by her own husband, who lost all their money to a gambling habit while she was alive. She had taken her suspicions of men with her beyond the grave. In death, as in life, we get to be as dense or wise as we choose. 

Just because I’m psychic for a living doesn’t mean that when I clock out I get to leave my intuition at the office. I was enjoying a drink with a dear friend not long ago at the Eagle (R.I.P., sweet bird) and had listened to him go on about how long it had been since he had gotten any. As my Malibu and pineapple kicked in (drink of champions), I started getting all these intuitive flashes of information. My pal had in fact gotten laid very recently – and not only once! Four times, to be exact, and with a very recent ex. Needless to say, he switched to buying me Shirley Temples for the rest of the night. 

(Alcohol decreases my ability to have healthy boundaries.) I apologized for unwittingly prying on his private life.

It’s super important to me to respect people’s privacy, and I put a huge amount of effort into not looking into their heads. This is true professionally and in my personal life. I’m lucky that the psychic part of my brain is very selective, so when I run into folks that I've read for, I don’t remember what I saw or said when I was working with them. Almost as awesome is that the psychic recognition comes back as soon as I’m sitting with someone in my office again. 


Being psychic isn’t the same as being a fortune-teller. I won’t read your thoughts or palms, I don’t have the power of mind control, and I can’t see your future like a movie with a beginning, middle, and end. Life is full of choices, and some things aren’t predestined.   
Often folks will expect me to just know things, as though our lives are neatly written screenplays and everything is preordained. Some things are fated, but even those situations bring opportunities for us to use our free will in any brilliant or stupid ways we please.   
Understanding what we want from life and why our actions do or don’t reflect those desires is a good reason to visit with an intuitive like myself. I feel that telling someone what will or won’t happen to them strips them of their free will, and no good comes from that.  
When I get psychic insights, it’s often just like having a subtle yet perfectly clear thought. It doesn’t arrive in ancient Latin or in the voice of Morgan Freeman, it’s just a regular enough mental perception. I have to stay really grounded in order to accurately hear that voice.   
Having psychic insight is similar to having access to the Internet. You can see lots of data, but you need the knowledge to make sense of it all. Getting overloaded with useless information is easy, but with practice and patience you can home in on the gold. 


Being psychic doesn’t make a person a good communicator, kind, or honest. So when looking to meet with any kind of professional intuitive, make sure that they are not only powerful, but have integrity. Choose someone as you would when looking to put your trust in any other kind of practitioner. A person with bad vibes can get anyone down, but a negative vibes psychic can make you feel terrible.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with me, please be patient! I have a six-month wait and my cancellations go to my returning clients only.

 There’s an easy-to-use scheduling form on my website at, where you can also hear podcasts and read my free weekly horoscope.  
It’s always a good idea to record your reading. You can bring a recording device if you have one (most phones these days record audio), and I have a microphone that plugs into most iPods. You can come prepared with questions written down (I love answering specific questions!) or simply bring ideas about what you want to address.

If you want to develop your psychic skills, I have some very basic advice for you: eat enough food, drink enough water, and sleep enough to be healthy in your body. So simple! The more grounded you are, the better equipped you will be to reading or hearing signs as they are presented to you.