A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE? Psychic services found in Iowa Great Lakes
Can the future be revealed based on the arrangement of letters in a name, a date of birth or small creases in the palm of a hand?
Christel Adams thinks so, but she no doubt sees her share of skeptics at the brown Market Place building along Highway 71 near West Lake Okoboji. The psychic from Houston moved to Iowa about 20 years ago. She's been with her employer, Psychic Mystical Cottage, for about 10 years. She's been a professional psychic for 18 years.
About half of Christel's clients book appointments to solve problems and untangle the uncertainties of life. The other half come on a lark to see if crystal balls fog up or bookcases rattle -- those things don't happen, by the way.
"It's very insightful," she said. "It's a helpful situation. Some people get it confused with voodoo or witchcraft and all of this other kind of stuff. It's very holistic and healing. It's working through your energy -- giving you insight and guidance to move forward."
In the end, guests get to decide whether they've experienced a powerful premonition or some embellished entertainment.
"The more open-minded you are to energy, psychics -- this realm in general -- the better I can read you," she said. "If you're a close-minded person and you're coming in with an attitude, of 'I just want to see what she has to say' -- I still can read you, but I'm not going to be able to connect to you as well because you're putting up a border for me now. You're not being relaxed. Energy is all about relaxation, meditation and opening the vessels and channels in your mind in order for me to read you."
Christel seemed earnest enough as she talked about her line of work on a warm Wednesday afternoon. Chakra diagrams and tarot cards were within reach on a glass-topped table in her office.
Everyone is born with a psychic ability, she says. It may be stronger in some -- and not everyone chooses to develop the skill. Christel said her ability was so overpowering and strong, she had no choice but to put it to use.
"I was eight years old and I just started picking up everybody's energy," she said. "It was alarming, scary and interesting all at once. My parents had actually told me that my great-great grandmother had the same gift. They knew some of the things she went through and she had spoken about it to family members and other people. I was able to get some assistance and guidance."
Christel travels with meditative groups and goes to retreats with others who have psychic ability. She's willing to offer after-hours guidance closer to home as well.
"If I pass by someone who has a heavy aura or heavy energy, without wanting to, I can sometimes pick up on it," she said. "If they feel open to it, I will extend my services and offer to help them."
Some friends of doctors seek free medical advice, friends of attorneys seek free legal advice and, yes, Christel says friends of psychics look for input-on-the-cheap as well.
"I have a rule not to read anyone close to me," she said. "It's not as easy as you would think to pick up on people you are closer to. It's not always advised to read them because, when you're close to them, you know their energy and recognize their energy. If there is something that comes up that I can pick up on, I will most definitely tell them, but a lot of times, because you're so close to them, it eliminates some of the connection you have."
Christel said she begins a reading with a goal to help people with insightful information. She wants to help them along their path in life. The psychic says she sees an aura that represents energy coming into play. Sometimes she sees something more visual -- like a person signing paper, getting keys to new home, paying off a new deck or getting forgiveness from someone. "It depends," she added. "Every reading is different."
"Life is not a very easy thing to deal with from time to time," she said. "Sometimes people get faced with situations and circumstances that they don't know how to handle. They get overwhelmed with their particular situations and it makes it difficult for them to see the way out, to move forward. That's where I come in. I can see beyond what life has clouded for someone and help them see past that and move past that issue."
The psychic said local clients should have "full faith" in the advice she offers. "I haven't had any unsatisfied customers," she adds.
"I can only go by feedback that I've gotten from people that I've read," she said. "I haven't really ever 'gotten it wrong,' to be honest with you. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but I've never had an experience like that before."
There are frauds and scam artists in the industry, the psychic acknowledges. She has suggestions for weeding out the fakes.
"Don't give too much information to a person when you're giving a reading," she said. "Don't volunteer anything outside of your name and date of birth. Don't volunteer what you want to know, how you want to know it, when you want to know it. They should be able to establish that once they establish that connection with you -- with very minimum information."
Psychic Mystical Cottage is surrounded by food-and-drink establishments in Okoboji -- and the aura-reading business also has a menu of options to choose from. A palm reading tells you past, present and future, according to Christel.
"It is more of a characteristic reading. It tells us a lot about yourself and your direction," she says.
A tarot card reading reveals a client's past, present, future. In addition, they'll get insight on love, marriage and business. Unlike a palm reading, it can pick up on people surrounding you.
Psychic readings use a personal item to establish a connection to the person. The longer they've had the item and the older it is, the more energy it carries.
Complete life readings can offer insight to upcoming events. Psychics say it touches base on everything, including the status of your chakras -- where you're holding most your energies and how you can use that and generate it in areas that will be more beneficial to you. The complete life reading is a combination of the tarot cards and a personal items.
"If there is someone who is deceased, passed away -- or even animals that are no longer with us that you would like to contact -- we can establish that connection through a complete life reading," Christel said. "We would have you bring in a personal item of that person who has passed or a picture and we can establish a connection with that."
Old trinkets are OK, but Christel said clients shouldn't bring an old friend with them to a reading. The companion likely will be stranded in a waiting area.
"All of my readings have to be done separately," she said. "For example, if you had wanted a reading from me and came in with a close friend, or family member or spouse, it would have to be done separately because now I'm going to be picking up on your energy and theirs at the same time -- and maybe giving your information to them and their information to you."
The local psychic said she feels obligated to tell clients everything she sees -- good or bad. Christel said she can't control what she picks up. Clients, however, can control how their chakras are aligned.
"We hold our own happiness. We hold our own future -- all of us, each and every one of us," she said. "If we can just get in touch with ourselves to see those answers, we already hold the keys to everything for ourselves. But life clouds us, of course. Sometimes you need somebody to pull the curtains back to see clearly. That's what we do."