March 12, 2010

Psychics feel effects of market forces


— By . KIM

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Staff Photo by Derek Davis: Kevin Emery, a spiritual catalyst, talks about his business at Psychic Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the Clarion Hotel in Portland.

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Staff Photo by Derek Davis: Wendy Smith of Windham, left, visits the booth of Kate Holly-Clark, an artist, herbalist and storyteller from Barntead, N.H., during Psychic Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the Clarion Hotel in Portland.

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Some are wondering about love and others are seeking assurance about loved ones both living and departed. But the economy is clearly weighing on the minds of other people who seek assistance from psychics.

Those concerns haven't been translating into requests for predictions about housing prices or the stock market. But John Bryson said he's noticed a lot of questions about what people should do with their lives.

''Do they still want to be in the job they're in? Are they following their path? A lot of people are asking and wondering,'' said Bryson, the organizer of Psychic Sunday, an event held every couple of weeks at the Clarion Hotel during winter and spring.

Kevin Emery said his practice has never been busier. Emery, who says he uses his psychic abilities primarily for spiritual counseling, said the shake-up of the housing market, the crisis in the economy and the loss of faith in government have led to increased interest in what he calls ''inner landscaping work'' to help give people inner strength.

''I think part of it is the economy. I think part of it is the shift'' -- that is, the one from dreaminess to practicality that accompanied the movement of Pluto into the Sign of Capricorn, said Emery.

Emery, who has offices in Portland and Haverhill, Mass., disdains the fortune-telling type of psychic, which he said is, unfortunately, an active group.

''The future's not in granite,'' he said. ''I personally think it's a travesty when people do pre-determination crap.''

For him, psychic ability is more about having access to information beyond the usual senses. Everyone has that sort of intuition, he said, but like with any other skill, some individuals are more gifted than others.

In answer to skeptics, Emery said there are all kinds of skills that aren't universally valued.

''People hate what they fear. They hate what they don't understand,'' he said.

Seven participants were set up in a hotel conference room this Psychic Sunday. Bryson said the event usually draws between five and 10 participants. None had a fortuneteller's ambience, although there were occasional embellishments, such as crystals and candles in the room.

Tarot card and numerology readings were among the offerings. So were CDs with electromagnetic recordings of planets, which Christopher Jordan -- a Portland musician and engineer rather than a psychic -- said could be used for various purposes, such as aiding in meditation and relaxation.

Dotti Nickerson, a medical underwriter from Saco, was among the trickle of attendees Sunday. She received a tarot card reading as a gift from a friend and said she considered the experience as ''just for fun.''

She said she kept an open mind and was surprised when Joyce Halliburton hit on an issue Nickerson said must have been at the back of her mind.

''I think a lot of it is just being very intuitive. I think a lot of us are very intuitive, but we choose to block it,'' Nickerson said.

Kate Holly-Clark of Barnstead, N.H., was selling jewelry and reading runes, symbols on stones with meanings she would interpret. The runes, she said, provide a kind of snapshot of a person's situation. A symbol of a woman landing upside-down on the board in the area representing the past, for example, indicates a problematic woman in the person's history.

Holly-Clark also has noticed how the economy has influenced people's thinking. People are looking for reassurance, she said, and many have been asking about jobs.

Holly-Clark is uncomfortable being described as a psychic, preferring to keep the emphasis on what she does -- rune reading -- rather than what she might be. She concedes to being ''moderately'' psychic when asked.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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