Courtesy of Rachel Kirkland
While the idea of connecting with the supernatural realm might conjure images of gypsies and crystal balls, those stereotypes don’t hold true to the modern psychic. Nor do the “reality” shows involving ghost-hunting clairvoyants or sobbing celebrities communicating with dead people. Although skeptics are quick to debunk psychic abilities as pseudoscience, firm believers may go so far as to replace their therapists with frequent (even daily) psychic readings.
To get a glimpse of the reality of a working psychic, I spoke to Rachel Kirkland, a San Antonio-based “modern shaman” the Paranormal World Society named “Best Female Medium” in 2016.
Since Kirkland calls herself a “modern shaman,” I asked her to define that term. Although associated with healers who interact with spirits, shamanism encompasses more than one might realize.
“By modern, I just mean in our current day, how does that translate?” Kirkland said. “We need that form of navigation from the nonphysical realm to this one. It shows up in our everyday life [in terms] of how we connect to nonphysical energy … I love this understanding of a shaman that deals with a bridge to the non-physical world and all that entails … So as a shaman, I could utilize a sense of connection to the non-physical world going to that realm, whether it’s talked about in inter-dimensional spaces or past lives or just energy and feeling spirits and connecting with those that have crossed over.”
One of the aspects that I found refreshing in Kirkland’s unpretentious approach is her belief that everyone possesses psychic abilities, but might not know how to harness them. “I’m a firm believer that everybody is ‘psychic’ and has a connection to the nonphysical realm,” she said. “It’s just like developing a muscle or validating it, trusting it, learning how to have that form of connection, and strengthening it.”
When asked about her background, Kirkland admitted that she doesn’t necessarily feel “unique” but that her formative experiences were decidedly out of the ordinary.
“As a child, I used to get premonitions all the time, and that’s how my internal world worked. I would see something normal like my dad mowing the lawn or my mom washing dishes or something, and then it would happen five seconds later. It’s kind of like this constant state of déjà vu or awareness where you would get this quick mental flash.”
Rather than ignoring these occurrences or accepting them as “normal,” Kirkland opened up to her parents about what she was experiencing.
“There was a time when my brother was in a car accident, and I knew who was in the accident with him and all of these things and details,” she said. “That was the first time I shared them with my parents, and they were like, ‘OK, I think something is really going on, there is more to these premonitions.’ That was a big shift when I was a teenager to move more into a proactive sense of developing this more.”
Throughout her career, Kirkland has encountered her fair share of skeptics as she’s built a list of clients around the world.
“I don’t have a desire from an ego standpoint to prove to people that this is real,” she said. “If it’s not relevant to them, it’s fine. I can always be at peace with them because if someone’s a skeptic, I don’t have a desire to try to prove them wrong. I can just say what I see, and it is what it is.”
Making a comparison of biblical proportions, she said, “If you go back to biblical miracles with Jesus, there were people that literally were like, ‘Yeah, you turned the Red Sea red but maybe that was a chemical reaction.’”
Outside of skepticism, the fear of receiving bad news from the beyond is enough to scare certain individuals away from the psychic realm. Kirkland presents that possibility as an opportunity for people to change their paths. “I believe in free will,” she said. “I don’t believe that what I see is set in stone in a way that it’s unchangeable. So I let people know that what I see is based on the energy of this moment, but we can change the energy you’re projecting and creating forward from here.”
Whether it’s illness or relationships, Kirkland sees these factors as moldable. “Even if it’s disease or a checkout time, there are some ways to change this trajectory and focus on ways to heal the body,” she said. “Like if we see cancer cells or a relationship that’s going sour, there are ways to bring about a sense of reconciliation. If they don’t want to create what we see, there are ways to create what they do want.”
With love being one of the biggest uncertainties in life, Kirkland is no stranger to relationship readings. “I get the most requests to read relationships,” she said. “If they’re alone, I’ll help them because the most common thing that we work on develops around spiritual experiences as well as how to handle relational experiences and past relational trauma. How to clear ourselves of that, how to let go of certain issues so we don’t create the same cycles, insight into that from spiritual perspectives like past lives connected with it.”
Ever wonder what psychics see when they channel the other side? According to Kirkland, it depends on how the spirit wants to be seen. “Sometimes they project themselves very physically and want to show themselves in a certain way. It’s not always what they actually look like — sometimes they show themselves in military uniforms or really young and handsome. It’s not that they weren’t that way, but maybe they died of old age but want to show themselves like that because they want to communicate with the person that I’m doing the mediumship with. It’s always relevant to that person I’m connecting with. They can look like their little, childlike self, running up and jumping in the lap of their parents even if they passed away when they were in their 30s.”
Although born in California, Kirkland now calls San Antonio home and loves the energy here. “It’s very open, transparent, and honest,” she said. “I feel that the people’s hearts here, and even the energy within the land, has a certain sense of sincerity and a lot of openness to it that brings in a lot of connection.”
But her practice also involves traveling for readings and workshops covering everything from basic terminology to complex practices such as energy melding.
The last topic I asked Kirkland about was “clairaudience” — the power to hear nonphysical voices. As Kirkland explains, sometimes the clairaudient may be unaware that what they hear isn’t ordinary. For example, she said, “If they are clairaudient and have a grandmother who passed away but she was a very dominant figure in their life, they still have conversations with her all the time in their head. That’s a psychic sense of clairaudience, yet they’d never say that they are psychic. They would just say that they still talk to their grandmother. There’s an ease because it’s already part of our existence.”
Above all, Kirkland feels that she’s using her own gift to help others any way she can.
“I’m continually blown away because I don’t feel like what I do comes from me – I feel like it comes through me,” she said. “And so a lot of times there’s a sense [that I’m] just watching it happen and I feel like I’m just in awe, like that’s crazy… Even though I’m channeling the information, there’s a part of me that realizes in a human way what a big stretch it is to believe.”
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