Updated: Sep 23
In late 2019, my ability of psychic mediumship unexpectedly opened up.
It began out of the blue, when I started having predictive dreams and daytime visions. Then, my husband unexpectedly passed away three months later, and from that night, he began speaking to me through mental messages, sounds, smells, visions, and signs.
Within a month of communicating with my husband in the Afterlife, other spirits began coming to me as well: A friend’s partner who passed away suddenly, but whom I’d never met. Another friend’s grandfather who died years ago, also a stranger to me. My mother’s distant relatives who crossed over before I got to know them.
The messages the people in Spirit shared with me were clear and specific. They’d show me memories shared with their person in the living, and would allow me to feel intimate, emotional moments they had enjoyed together. The spirits would also share with me very specific details from when they were in the living, such as a car they used to drive, a shirt they used to wear, a piece of jewelry they gave to their loved one, or what occurred at their passing or funeral.
None of these details I would have ever known on my own—especially given that I’d never met any of these spirits while they were physically alive. What’s more, when I shared the messages with the people for whom they were intended, the details were confirmed as relevant and valid every time.
Within a year of my abilities opening up, I realized that the visits from people in Spirit weren’t letting up. In fact, they were only growing stronger and more frequent.
And so, I asked my husband on the Other Side to guide me.
“What do I do with this?!” I asked him. “Show me what to do.”
Thankfully, he did.
Through twists and turns, he led me to a handful of well-known, reputable psychic mediums in the US and UK. I began training with them, taking regular classes, attending weekly practice groups called “development circles,” and logging in to deep-dive workshops online. All of this was in an effort to develop my abilities, and to understand why they had opened up in the first place.
Although I’ve just scratched the surface of the ins-and-outs of Spirit (this is a lifelong journey!), here are some of the key takeaways I’ve garnered after receiving communications from the Spirit world, an ability which unexpectedly opened up when my husband passed away.
#1) Psychics and mediums are not the same.
Although the terms “psychic” and “medium” are often used interchangeably, there are important distinctions between the two, which shape the kinds of messages (and healing) each type of practitioner may provide.
A psychic is someone who uses their intuitive ability to connect to the energy and soul of another living human being. In doing so, psychics connect to the past, present, and future, as well as essence and energy, of that other living, human person.
A medium, on the other hand, also has the ability to connect to other living human beings. However, mediums can also connect to people who have crossed over to the Spirit world—i.e., so-called “dead” people. Mediums who work as both a psychic and a medium often refer to themselves as “psychic mediums,” thus doing both areas of intuitive work.
In a nutshell, we can say that all mediums are psychics, but not all psychics are mediums.
The distinction between psychics and mediums is important for both people seeking guidance from them (i.e., “clients” or “sitters”), as well as for psychic mediums ourselves.
For instance, if you as a sitter want to connect to your loved ones on the Other Side, you would pursue a mediumship reading. However, if you’re looking to gain insight on your own life, love, finances, and the like, you’d sign up with a psychic. If you’re looking for both, you would look for psychic mediums who offer combination psychic/mediumship readings.
In a nutshell, we can say that all mediums are psychics, but not all psychics are mediums.
For practicing psychic mediums, the distinction between the two domains is also important to recognize. When reading for sitters, we must be able to determine from where our information is coming. Messages coming from a client’s own soul (psychic work) carries different meaning and weight than information shared from grandma, one’s husband, or another loved one in Spirit (mediumship).
#2) Psychic mediums don’t technically predict the future.
One of the greatest skepticisms around psychics and mediums is that they predict the future, and with that, the writing’s on the wall for the rest of the sitter’s life.
This assumption (and fear) deserves a bit more discussion.
While it’s true that psychics can often feel into or even foresee events that may affect the course of someone’s life, this does not necessarily mean that the events, or the way we react to them, are set in stone.
First off, every human has something called “free will.” This means that even if a trajectory is underway, we still have the power to change its direction—or at least adjust how we react to it.
For example, some of the early visions that I experienced after my husband died were that I would write a book about his death (he died by unexpected suicide), and his experiences with childhood trauma that contributed to it.
Over the last two years, tens of psychic mediums—without knowing me, my husband, or our story—have predicted the same: I will write a game-changing book about working with my husband in Spirit, to explain, disclose, and heal his abuse and suicide.
I’ve learned that with a caring and empathetic psychic medium, the messages imparted are always in love and light, and have our highest intention at heart.
While I indeed am heeding what my soul and my husband in Spirit have guided me towards, there are days that I don’t have it in me to write. There have also been moments where I question whether I’ll finish this book at all. In my heart of hearts, I know I will; however, if I decided not to write the book, that would be my free will in action.
I often hear from sitters that they’re nervous or even scared to “learn their future” from a psychic medium, and are afraid they won't be able to "take it back." To be honest, that’s how I felt in the beginning of my journey, too!
However, I’ve learned that with a caring and empathetic psychic medium, the messages imparted are always in love and light, and have our highest intention at heart. In seeing psychic mediums myself, and in developing my own intuitive skills, I’ve gleaned information that has empowered me on my path forward. Yes, there have been some hard truths (for example, hearing from my husband that he wants me to move forward when the time is right). Yet all in all, I’ve gained insight on my healing path and purpose in life.
There are two caveats worth mentioning: First, a “successful” reading is contingent upon the psychic medium’s delivery and style (just like therapy, coaching, or counseling would be). So if you’re seeking out a psychic medium, do a bit of research on their approach and read their client reviews. Second, listen to your body and gut. Be open, get curious—but if your intuition is saying it’s not the time to see a psychic medium, then it’s not.
#3) Some readings are more fluid than others.
I’ve sat for psychic mediums who were unable to connect to my people in the Spirit world, and I’ve also had a few readings where the connection just wasn’t there.
In talking to my mentors about why this happens, as well as checking with my own soul and self, I’ve come to a few different reasons why some readings fly, while others flop.
First of all, readings are a three-way conversation between the psychic medium, the sitter, and the Spirit world. To this end, there are three points at which the communication may drop.
On the psychic medium’s side, they might be new or just developing, or may misinterpret some of the information shared. They might be having an “off” day; for instance, if they’re tired, run down, or in an environment that interrupts the energy and flow (hello, construction outside!).
The drop may come from the sitter’s side as well. Sometimes it’s just not the right time in their journey for the sitter to see a psychic medium. The sitter may be too overwhelmed in their process, or perhaps still too close to trauma or grief. When it’s not the right time, the Spirit world will let me know. Other times, the Spirit world suggests alternatives, such as sending the person healing energy. I’ve learned to go with the flow and heed what my intuitive self and connection to Spirit suggest.
Other times, the sitter may have a closed perception of what will happen during a reading, which in turn shifts the energy and limits the connection. For example, the sitter may only be open to hearing certain information (such as a specific phrase from their person). In situations like this, the sitter may unknowingly block the flow of energy. They may also miss other key pieces of evidence that show that their person is still with them. I must say, I’m a bit of a hypocrite here: I was incredibly closed, tight-lipped, and hyper-critical with the first medium I saw! Yet as I relaxed into the energy and opened up to the language of Spirit, the connection started to gel, and the evidence flowed in.
Blockages can also come from the spirit person’s side, particularly in mediumship readings. Spirit communicates in a language that is different from ours; it's simple yet complex. They have their own unique methods to communicate with us, which they learn over time. Newly crossed-over spirits in particular are learning how to communicate with us in the physical world, and are trying out their skills.
The sitter may only be open to hearing certain information (such as a specific phrase from their person). In situations like this, the sitter may unknowingly block the flow of energy. They may also miss other key pieces of evidence that show that their person is still with them.
What’s more, certain spirits are more adept at communicating than others. Some spirits can give the medium a serious run for their money!
I’ve had chatty Cathy spirits come to me, and then I’ve had some who share almost nothing. They just stand there and stare—sometimes with their arms crossed over their chest! What’s interesting is the spirits who say or share very little are giving a glimpse into who they were in the living; oftentimes, these spirits were very quiet, or had difficulty expressing their emotions, while they were in the physical world.
The three-way communication between the sitter, Spirit, and the psychic medium is complex. All in all, the more open we are to the process (meaning, the more relaxed and curious), the more fluid the connection is.
#4) Loss and trauma may cause your intuitive gifts to open up.
After my husband passed and my psychic abilities opened up, I was hungry to understand the messages I was receiving. I devoured book after book by famous psychics and mediums. However, one thing kept coming up that frustrated me, and made me doubt myself and my abilities: All the mediums discussed being aware of their gifts from a very young age.
Looking back earlier on in life, there were moments where I was in touch with (or at least aware of) the Spirit world. However, I never saw apparitions when I was younger, and spirits didn’t come to me as a child.
For me, whose gifts spontaneously opened up at age thirty-six when my husband died, I was at a loss.
“What’s happening to me doesn’t look like everyone else’s experiences,” I thought. “So, it must not be mediumship.”
How wrong I was!
Although I didn’t see my awakening on the pages of the books I read, my abilities were strikingly similar to those the authors described. It wasn’t until I began training as a psychic medium that I met tens of other people whose gifts also awoke with the death of a loved one. Over the last year-plus, I've crossed paths with other widows and widowers who’ve lost their husbands and wives; mothers and fathers whose children of various ages had passed; siblings; adult grandchildren; and even best friends who have lost their person.
All of us had lost someone very close to us (someone like a soulmate), and as soon as that person passed, we found ourselves able to communicate with them—and with other spirits.
What’s more, I’ve also met people over the last two years whose gifts opened up from other types of trauma, not only the death of a loved one. These include people whose gifts awoke after they survived an acute illness, lived through a brain injury, and even while going through therapy as an adult for abuse endured as a child.
My take on spontaneous awakenings of our intuitive gifts is this: Any kind of trauma has the ability to tear us wide open. In this process, our guard is down, and everything that has made sense to us in the past is stripped away. It is at this point that the veil is particularly thin, and we are open to receiving and shifting our way of thinking and existing in the world. Further, it’s in such moments of vulnerability that we are most likely to touch and be touched by the guiding energies that we can’t normally see or feel—our higher selves, our spirit guides, and source energy, if you will.
Moral of the story here: If your gifts opened up later on in life, and you’re wondering if you’re nuts, the answer is, you’re not!
Trust yourself and get curious. Your gifts have opened up for a reason.
It wasn’t until I began training as a psychic medium, that I met tens of other people, whose gifts also awoke with the death of a loved one. All of us had lost someone very close to us (someone like a soulmate), and as soon as that person passed, we found ourselves able to communicate with them—and with other spirits.
#5) Being a medium doesn’t preclude us from experiencing pain and grief.
One of the greatest ironies of stepping into my skin as a psychic medium is realizing that although I’m able to communicate with “super-human” energies, this ability does not keep me from living the day-to-day harsh realities of the human world.
I still feel pain. I still feel grief. I still miss my husband—even though I can see him, talk with him, and even get so close to him that I feel his embrace.
The reality is, we come back to earth to learn lessons, expand, and impact the environment around us—hopefully for the better. Part of this growth is experiencing the very painful realities of human life. We hurt, we heal. We hurt others, and we heal from that, too.
Being a medium doesn’t preclude us from going through these pains.
However, as I've found, it does ease the pain in two distinct ways.
First, it gives me faith and knowing that this isn’t all there is. I know, because I experience it in my work every day, that life continues, and that our time on earth is just a blink of an eye—a smidge in the grand scheme of our souls’ existence. Our people are waiting for us on the other side, and if we’re open to it, are eager to build ongoing, dynamic relationships with us while we’re still here.
Second, connecting to the Spirit world brings great joy and raises our vibration, which helps ease our suffering. As I’ve discussed in interviews, connecting to my and others’ loved ones in Spirit feels like a natural high of sorts.
Deep joy and unconditional love.
This is what connecting to Spirit feels like.
Of course, helping people and being of service delivers an altruistic boost. But working with Spirit goes a step further. There’s quite literally a vibration that one experiences when we connect to the Spirit world—including our own souls. This space feels lighter, more present, less dense, and just plain good.
The best part is that you don’t have to be a medium to experience this bliss. We all are psychic and intuitive, and we all can connect to this space of higher consciousness. It may take some practice, but the most effective way to do so is through meditation. In my experience, guided meditations that focus on connecting ourselves to our own soul, our intuition, spirit guides, and our loved ones in Spirit are the most impactful. (Peruse YouTube to find such meditations. There are many!)
We all are psychic and intuitive, and we all can connect to this space of higher consciousness. It may take some practice, but the most effective way to do so is through meditation.
#6) It’s all about being of service.
My approach to life is, “we all come back to the earth to leave it a little better off than how we encountered it.”
How we do that is up to us, and to our souls.
It’s my belief that our intuition always guides us to our higher good, and that for those of us with acute intuitive gifts like psychic mediumship, it’s imperative that these gifts be used for good, and to be of service to others.
For me, psychic mediumship is a vehicle through which I’m able to help other survivors of trauma and traumatic loss heal. My husband endured horrific child abuse, and ultimately took his life as an adult because of it. In the aftermath, I am now his widow as well as a survivor of suicide loss.
Before he died (and before my mediumship opened up), I was a researcher/practitioner from the field of Social Work with a specialization in evidence-based practice. I hold a doctorate in my field.
Looking back over my life, it’s no coincidence at all that I am where I am now. It now makes total sense why I was led to a path that blends social work and intuitive healing, spirit and science.
Although I’m proud of and motivated by my purpose—at the end of the day, it’s not about me. I know I’ve been given these skills and abilities, to be able to do the work for the greater good. While we humans love to feel good about ourselves, working towards a higher purpose requires us to check our egos at the door and surrender to where our path may lead us. Incidentally, it’s when we surrender that the path truly opens up and manifests.
#7) We never stop developing.
I’ve thrown myself into my training as a psychic medium, but there’s one thing that’s for sure: I’ll never stop learning, and my abilities will never stop shifting. Mentors of mine with decades of experience have shared that they still are learning new ways that Spirit communicates with them.
I’m constantly caught off guard by how quickly and profoundly communication with Spirit evolves. One week, I may be hearing clairaudient messages stronger than ever, receiving most communications via voice, music, and other sounds. The next week, I might be suddenly be connecting to animals in the Spirit world. And then another week, I may feel like my abilities have gone into hibernation, and my confidence is shot for a couple days.
It's all a part of the process of learning how to understand and work with our psychic abilities, as well as how to surrender to Spirit, which is constantly teaching us and helping us expand. Although I do my part to sharpen my skills, I know that I alone don’t control my development as a psychic medium. The Spirit world has a large hand in how I evolve and move forward. I’m not alone in my purpose and journey. (None of us are!)
When we show up, they (the Spirit world) know it. For me, showing up looks like attending development circles, taking classes, and putting myself out there to serve as best I can. Showing up also looks like meditating daily to connect to my higher self, as well as healing and living a life of meaning and purpose—whatever that looks like on a given day.
And at the same time, I recognize that I’m still a soul having a human experience, and I owe it to myself to go at my own pace.
I’m still a young widow. I’ve still survived the horrific loss of the love of my life. My body has still undergone incredible trauma.
With that, it’s a balance between expanding as an intuitive, and healing as a human being.
Lenore Matthew, Ph.D., MSW
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