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Kia Hellman Photo submitted

My hour with a medium

Reporter's Notebook

The Northwest Corner was in full autumnal regalia and still decked out for Halloween when I arrived at the home of Kia Hellman, self-described “psychic medium/intuitive advisor,” for my first session, so it’s possible that my feeling of the house’s peaceful, understated witchiness came entirely from my imagination.

Hellman, a native of the Northwest Corner, has a warm, limpid face. We sat in her sunlit office, a comfortable, easy space painted sky blue. Cloudy white sheepskins and macramé instead of the psychic-of-your-imagination red velvet curtains; a clean white desk instead of a round, draped table dedicated to a shadowy crystal ball.

Of course we all have guides and the spirits of those who have passed on, she said, naming the entities that many psychics and mediums choose to channel. 

“But I prefer to go straight to source — I find it’s just clearer that way,” she said.

Hellman explained that she meditates on her clients before each of her sessions, and even though she knows only their names, images will arrive from which she can often start the conversation.

She described three prompting images for me: a strict, taskmaster-type older woman with a stick; a child (me?) rolling joyfully down a grassy hill; and friends chattering over candlelight — all of which felt surprisingly resonant, and provided ample structure for our wandering conversation.

In many ways my hour with Hellman felt more like a warm and supportive life-coaching session — a sort of spiritual talk therapy — than what I’d imagined a session with a psychic would be like.

At first I was annoyed by the persistent occurrence of what appeared to be non sequiturs, such as a shift from our discussion of my book project to the necessity of engaging in more embodied creative practice, for instance: “When you dance, you push away the hard, enforcer energy that gets in the way of your expression,” she said.

It was these moments, when she offered unprompted suggestions, that I found most woo-woo (dancing is the path to writing more freely?).

Feeling like she was just filling the silence, I’d interrupt, injecting pointed questions about my most pressing anxieties: my new job and my love life — it will be about ten months before I’m able to verify either of Hellman’s predictions on these fronts.

It was only afterwards that I realized that the meandering streams of thought she’d been navigating in those unprompted spaces were among the most resonant and precise of our interview — only my roommate knows anything about the joy I derive from dancing in our kitchen. Should I return, I intend to stay quieter, and listen with more open ears to the answers for which I didn’t know to look.

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