Celebrities are an integral part of the modern world. They exist in practically every form of society, from actors and musicians, right across the board to chefs, businessmen and sports personalities. In addition, there are celebrity psychics. People such as Sally Morgan, Derek Acorah and Uri Geller have achieved formidable public profiles and commanded substantial sums of money to appear on television. In addition, their profile ensures that any public theatre performances they may give are well attended. However, by using their gifts through media, such as TV and radio, some feel they are ‘selling out’. Is there any truth in this?
A Return to the days of Yore?
The phenomenon of psychic celebrities is not a new one. Even in Victorian times, there were famous psychics, such as Henry Slade and Florence Cook. Psychics such as these could be booked for private functions or would offer their gifts to the public in the form of theatre shows. Much later, newspapers would realise the potential for using astrologers to predict the future for their readership, on a general level, and magazines were swift to follow, transforming the traditional ‘Agony Aunt’ columns into psychic problem pages. As a result, more celebrity psychics came to the public attention, such as Mystic Meg and Russell Grant. In turn, they were able to form lucrative careers in both their psychic and celebrity capacities.
Some might argue that the rise of celebrity psychics is simply a return to the days of yore; that the demand for services of this nature is such that certain personalities will rise to prominence by default and, after all, everyone has to make a living somehow. However, there is another side to the argument. There are those that believe that by touting your psychic wares on television and through the media, you are devaluing what is a very special gift. Working as a professional is one thing, but playing to the masses may well be another.
A Ritual as Entertainment
A young Polish psychic, Wojciech Usarzewicz, has no public profile and has chosen to use his gifts professionally, through the Internet. As well as being a Reiki practitioner; he has created a number of eBooks, online tutorials and written numerous articles on the subject of psychic phenomena. However, when it comes to the notion of using television to achieve a broader platform, he says that; “My teacher told me a story. He was approached by a man who wanted to perform a ‘de-Christianisation’ – remove the energetic imprints of Christian rituals. Everything was already set up, but the man said to my teacher ‘One more thing - I would like to invite the TV.’ When my teacher heard that, he said ‘No.’ Just like that. The man in question has found another person to perform the ritual. My teacher didn’t want to make the whole ritual into an entertainment show.”
Herein lays the fundaments of the argument - what are psychic gifts for? Most practitioners affirm that they are a way to help others through their own psychic and spiritual journeys. Whether through prediction, Tarot, clairvoyance or runes, this journey is personal to the seeker and can include sensitive information and revelations that will help them on their path to spiritual harmony. Those that use the TV to gain greater exposure could be accused of using them in a performance environment, rather than a psychic one, and that they are now entertainers rather than psychics.
In turn, this could be seen to cheapen the psychic process. Wojciech believes that there are other factors to be considered: “Psychic work is not a show for your entertainment. It’s a way to work with your mind, soul and physical body. And sometimes it’s dangerous, or at least problematic, for people who receive psychic help.” It seems that celebrity can work on two levels. While it may help a psychic gain credence with the public, it can also help them to lose it within psychic circles.
A Bigger and more Sinister Machine
The TV and media industries are viewed by many with suspicion and distrust. They are often seen as tools through which hidden agendas can be enforced; that they are tools for manipulation as much as they are for entertainment. Indeed, entertainment itself is seen by some as a way to manipulate the masses and keep them distracted from the bigger issues at play in their lives.
Many psychics believe that those who choose to appear on television are selling out and, knowingly or not, becoming part of a bigger and more sinister machine. While it may be true that they have psychic gifts, the intimacy and personal sensitivity that are part and parcel of the process are lost, in favour of sensational and sometimes controversial acts.
Wojciech also makes an interesting point about accuracy: “No psychic is 100% accurate. Psychics get things wrong from time to time. It’s all based on your experience, knowledge, skills and interpretation abilities. But you might be wrong. Celebrity psychics aren’t different. The problem is that some of them might make this “100% accurate” their slogan; a marketing tool. And when they will be wrong at last, it will lead to problems.”
Again, TV is a clever medium. Mistakes and accidents can be edited out of a show, and the public are often shown only what the programme controllers want them to be shown, which can lead to a degree of misrepresentation about psychics in general. Honesty is cited as one of the most vital parts to any psychic process, yet, if there is some ‘smoke and mirrors’ involved in turning it into entertainment, then hasn’t the psychic sold out before he’s begun?
Without doubt, there is nothing wring with being a popular psychic, just as there is nothing wring with being a professional psychic – as long as there is honesty between you and your public – whether that is a person seeking a one-to-one consultation or a six-figure viewership watching you from the comfort of their own homes. As long as the psychic retains their integrity, their gifts can be just as valuable, even broadcast through TV. However, as TV and fame often prove, everyone has their price.