Forecasting the Future!! Psychics!! Fortune-Telling!! Psychic Hot-Lines!! It’s everywhere these days – the lure of the psychic and the pursuit of the otherworldly. 900 lines hawk their wares, albeit in somewhat garish fashion: promises to change your life, find that right person, win the lottery!

“The Answer to your Dreams!” “The Answers to all your Questions!” “The Solutions to your Problems!” Etc., etc.

Is there any truth behind all this hype? What is all this business about intuition? Is it “out there” and beyond the pale? Or is it a misunderstood – and very normal – part of life?

Let me start off by sharing three things with you: The first is that I am an intuitive consultant. The second is that I never saw myself as such. And the third is that:

You are probably intuitive yourself – more so than you may realize.

Does this seem to be a startling revelation? Is this another gimmicky come-on?

Before you start to turn the page, please bear with me.

I have learned that what we call intuition is a very complex – and misunderstood – phenomenon, and that we all, myself included, have had some misperceptions about it.

So let’s start off by defining our terms. The word “intuition” is the noun form of the verb “to intuit,” which comes from Latin, meaning “to look in” or “to look on.”

Intuition is defined by Webster’s as “the immediate knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; instantaneous apprehension.”

A lot of times we tend to use the word “intuitive” interchangeably with “psychic.” I don’t use the term “psychic” to refer to myself because of all the negative and strange connotations associated with the term – several of them coming from associations with 900 lines and fortune-telling. However, for the sake of being thorough, let’s look at the meaning of “psychic.”

The term “psychic” is an adjective form of the noun “psyche” which comes from the Greek and refers to the human soul or mind.

The word “psychic” can thus refer to matters of the soul or mind, but it can further be used to mean, again according to Webster’s, “beyond natural or known physical processes” or “apparently sensitive to forces beyond the physical world.”

When we start talking about “forces beyond the physical world,” some people may run for the nearest exit! (Of course, I tend to think of it as “beyond the known physical world,” remembering that the possibility of a microscopic world was scoffed at before the microscope was invented. But that’s a topic for a whole other article!) So, for the sake of simplicity (and following the path of least resistance), we’ll use the term “intuition.”

Intuition is simply a form of knowing things without using our left-brain analytical reasoning faculties. Period. It is really not that arcane or esoteric, at least to me – and, I’m sure, to you as well, once you’ve delved into it more.

So, let’s delve into it more. Allow me to take you by the hand and share some fascinating things with you about intuition.

First of all, intuition is real. It is not fantasy. It is not necessarily spooky and otherworldly. It is quite real and exists in our normal everyday reality.

Intuition is simply a mental faculty, another form of intelligence. It’s another way of knowing things. For anyone who enjoys using his or her mind and mental abilities, learning to use your intuition is de rigueur. If we have only developed our left-brain intelligence, we are incomplete in knowing and intelligence capabilities. We may not be as “smart” and cognitively developed as we could be. In order to be truly high-functioning, we must be incorporating all our possible faculties, including the intuitive.

Let me also say that you don’t have to choose between being logical and intuitive. These faculties can work together (and quite nicely, thank you), rather than being “either/or” modes. Indeed, some of the truly high-functioning minds among us are those that are whole-brain (logical, creative, and intuitive), including some of our greatest historical geniuses: inventors, scientists, thinkers, etc.

You also don’t have to be “wowy-zowy” or “out there” or wear a turban on your head to be intuitive – or even necessarily see yourself as a “psychic.” As I mentioned, I never saw myself as an intuitive or “psychic.” I had a very normal upbringing (as normal as any of us had in the 50’s!). I had a rigorous academic background, including graduate work. So my left brain was strongly developed. I also had a strong spiritual orientation as far back as I can remember. I pursued acting and singing as well, as two ongoing loves, so I was also incorporating a form of creativity into my life. And I had an abiding interest in metaphysics, ESP (“extra-sensory perception”), and “psychic phenomena,” and read everything I could get my hands on on these subjects. And yet I still never saw myself as “psychic.” I was, instead, a fairly normal, if well-rounded and also somewhat independent, product of growing up in the 50’s.

When I attended Duke University as an undergraduate, I went to Dr. Rhine’s lab one day. (Dr. J. B. Rhine was a pioneer in this country in researching “extra-sensory perception” and his research lab had been associated with Duke for years, before it was disassociated from the university.) When I stopped in to visit one day out of both curiosity and my long-standing interest in metaphysics, the staff there were very nice and showed me around. One person also insisted on informally testing me, which I resisted because I thought it would be a waste of time.

I did well.

And I also considered it a fluke.

At no time in my life did I consider myself psychic. At no time did I aspire to be “psychic.” Nothing could have been farther from my mind.

And yet here I am now, an intuitive consultant.

So, what happened?

Quite simply, I developed my latent abilities and figured out how my intuition worked. And I accepted that I really was intuitive.

And you can, too. If you are so inclined.

One of the first steps toward developing your intuition is simply to acknowledge to yourself that the ability is there and that you can develop it. Until you make that acknowledgment to yourself, you will find yourself stymied. Our own self-doubt gets in the way of our accomplishing things. Self-doubt booby-traps us.

When I first started doing intuitive sessions for others, my doubting that I could really do what I was doing kept interfering with my doing the best job I could. I had to work on developing my intuition and then I had to work on accepting that I was intuitive.

So, let me say that you are more likely than not quite intuitive.

If you think about it, you’ve probably had a spontaneous intuitive experience. For example, you think of someone you haven’t seen in a long time and then you hear from or run into this person. Or you think of a song and turn on the radio and it’s playing. Most people have had experiences like this and thought nothing of them. They are, however, spontaneous expressions of intuition – very common, ordinary occurrences that we give no second thought to. Intuitive occurrences.

For some of us, intuition may be more readily accessible or closer to the surface than for others. I’ve always felt that there was a strong link between intuitive ability and creative/artistic ability – and also between creativity and spirituality (even if it’s repressed).

So the more creative and spiritual among us may also be more consciously intuitive or more easily intuitive.

Those of us who are most intuition-accessible and creative may be more “thin-boundaried.” The theory of thin and thick boundaries has been formulated by Dr. Ernest Hartmann, a psychiatrist and sleep researcher at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, in the context of his research into sleep and nightmares, and the boundaries referred to represent boundaries between the conscious and unconscious mind, as well as between us and others (thin-boundaried people being more empathic). I would also extend this idea to a boundary between our normal three-dimensional reality and other, more spiritual realms. The thin-boundary theory feels like a correlate to or another way of expressing my sense of a connection between and among intuitive ability, creativity/artistic ability, and spirituality. (And, again, there is no antithesis or mutual exclusivity between being creative/intuitive and logical or analytical!)

So, some people may be more easily prone to accessing intuition. These people may be more open and less closed-down or rigid than others. However, I’m a firm believer that, just as some empathic people can learn to develop better psychological boundaries between themselves and others, so too can rigid types learn to relax and open up.

People who are more naturally intuitive may also just pay more attention to subtleties. They may be more attuned to information coming in to them.

And this brings us to one lesser-known attribute of intuition, and that is that intuition is receptive. In other words, it is a receptive mode by which we receive information. It is in stark contrast to our left-brain logical and analytical mode which is active and seeks and probes. The active left-brain mode is the mental mode that we are normally in in our culture; it is the mode that we are trained to use and that is encouraged.

Intuition, however, operates differently. When I have taught people how to access their intuition, they will often engage in left-brain guessing games as they’re initially trying to use their intuition, because they’re not used to being in a receptive mental mode. (Indeed many were trained out of being in this mode and were, instead, accused of “day-dreaming,” etc.)

There are other attributes of intuition that are helpful to be aware of. True intuition is clear and not colored by our emotional needs and wants or fears, or by our preconceived mind-sets. This is why it is so important for practicing intuitives or “psychics” to have worked on clearing their own personal emotional issues and mental prejudices – or at least to bypass them in their work – so that the information they get for others will be clear and true information, and not coming from their own fears or ego needs. (This is why some “spiritual” leaders, for example, will set themselves up as gurus, to be worshipped – because they may not have worked on their own ego needs.)

One thing I’ve striven to do in my intuitive work is to get clear information. It is for this reason that I “tune in” to get information, going to a deeper level of consciousness so as to receive pure information uncontaminated by any of my own “stuff.” Different intuitives may have different ways of working to get clear information, and anyone wishing to develop and work with his or her intuition will also want to do this.

Although there is a link (I feel) between strong intuitive ability and spirituality, in some people their spirituality may be repressed. In other words, some people who are intuitive or psychic may not necessarily be empathetic, altruistic, or ethical. We have all heard stories – which unfortunately many times are true – of psychics (often a “Sister this or that” or “Madame somebody or other” or “Lady thingamabob”) who prey on their customers’ vulnerability by telling them that they have a “curse” on them that can be removed for $1000. We’ve all heard stories like this, right? (Just remember: if it sounds like a scam, it probably is a scam!) Then there are the stories of the spiritual leaders (often male) gifted in psychic abilities, who continually seduce their female followers, again by preying on their vulnerability and convincing them that such sexual contact is necessary for their spiritual advancement.(!) Just because we’ve developed our intuitive ability does not mean that we have suddenly become a spiritual adept, or guru!

One fascinating thing that I’ve learned about intuition is that there are so many different forms and types of it. I always used to feel that if a person was “psychic,” he or she always did the same thing, got information in the same way, and it was usually the same type or genre of information. I continued to labor under this misconception even after I started working as an intuitive. I kept trying to put myself into a preconceived mold, trying to be the “psychic” I thought I was supposed to be or that others expected me to be.

Well, I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t so!

If you’re psychic, you get sudden flashes of information and usually about the future, right?

Wrong!! It ain’t necessarily so!

Intuition can be so variable from one intuitive to another that I’m reminded of Baskin-Robbins: intuition can come in many different flavors. And these variations can come both in the form of intuition and in the type of information received.

Some intuitives do get strong, sudden flashes. Some people get impressions. Some people just have a knowing. Some people get images or see things, including those who have visions; others hear things. Some people are voice-sensitive. Some people are mediums and communicate with those who have passed on. Others “channel” or receive information directly from spirit guides or disembodied entities. Some people specialize in psychometry, a method of receiving impressions or information from holding objects. Psychometrists often do police work, working with the personal objects of victims (or perpetrators). Some people receive information in dreams. Some people can actually see inside others’ bodies. Some people are gifted in psychokinesis, using their mental abilities to affect objects (spoon-bending, for example). Some people see and read auras (energy fields around people, animals, etc.) The list can go on and on.

Although I do sometimes get flashes, when I am “tuning in” in a session most of my information comes in the form of impressions or senses of things. If only it were strong and easy! (This is another factor in working with intuitive information: if the information we get is not straight-forward or self-explanatory, then we need to interpret it. This can be somewhat tricky, but, like anything else, improves with practice.)

In developing your own intuition, you might find that it naturally comes in one form more than others – or it can also come in more than one form. Although I usually get a sense of things, at times I also get images or words or even colors, for example.

The type of information that we get can also vary. The traditional “psychic” that usually comes to mind when we think of a “psychic” usually focuses on events, what will happen – a wedding, an accident, a pregnancy, “coming into money,” etc. This is what we consider traditional “fortune-telling.” Some people mainly receive dramatic (and, at times, somewhat lurid) information about plane crashes, assassinations, natural disasters, etc. Some intuitives specialize in finding lost objects. Others specialize in health issues, working as medical intuitives. Some people have spiritual knowing, awareness of spiritual matters. Just as some intuitives focus on the mundane, others may focus more on the esoteric and spiritual.

The important thing to determine in developing your intuition (have I convinced you yet that it’s there?) is how your particular intuition expresses itself, what form it comes in, and what particular type of information you’re oriented toward.

It took me over four years to figure out what I was doing and how I was doing it. (Apparently I was a slow learner!) I thought I was supposed to do what I thought a “psychic” was supposed to do, just as some clients might have expected me to be a typical psychic. Boy, if someone had only clued me in earlier!

I finally came to realize that my orientation was really toward personal and spiritual growth issues. I was not – nor could ever be – a typical “psychic” or fortune-teller, because that was not my orientation. My spiritual orientation and a priori underlying assumption that we are here to learn and grow serve as a focal point for my work.

I learned that I am very sensitive to energy, most notably people’s energy (but other types of energy as well), and that I have a particular gift for reading people, who they really are in their essence and what is going on in them internally as a result of issues they’re dealing with. Reading people and their energy, including their relationships and other people in their lives (spouses, parents, children, etc.), including those who have passed on, is central to my work.

I also learned that, just as some might focus more on events and other more surface or external phenomena, my true orientation was toward meaning, the underlying meaning of events, relationships, etc., which again goes back to growth issues. In order to learn and grow, we have to have a sense and understanding of the significance of the things that happen to us in our lives. I finally came to realize that my orientation toward the meaning of things colored my work and also served as a focal point for it.

And I also came to acknowledge that the spiritual orientation that I’ve always had in my life was an intrinsic orientation in my work as well.

Once I figured out what I was doing and how I was doing it (reading people and receiving personal and spiritual growth information, as well as helping to provide a framework for meaning and insight), the picture became a lot clearer – and I also gained more confidence about what I was doing. So in developing and learning to work with your intuition, you should find over time that you’re gaining more and more of a clearer grasp of what it is that you’re doing and what your focus is on.

One fascinating thing about intuition is that we tend to take our particular intuitive gifts for granted. I have heard people say over and over again that they just assumed that everyone could do what they could (for example see people’s organs). So, what you may take for granted about yourself may be the particular gift you have. For instance, if you’ve always had a particular “feel” for people, that may be a key to your gift. Indeed that may be your gift.

Now I’m not a proponent of developing your intuition just for intuition’s sake. There really are benefits. Many the stories of accidents averted because someone had a “gut feeling” to take a different route or do something different from their normal custom. And, conversely, many have found that a “hunch” to do something has brought something unexpected and pleasant to their lives. However, there are other benefits, as well, to using our intuition.

As I have worked more and more with my intuitive abilities, I have also coincidingly gained more knowing about things in general – and understanding. And this has strengthened me as a person – another very nice side-effect of developing your intuition: developing your inner voice and knowing and strengthening within yourself. This, in and of itself, can give us more confidence and bring a greater sense of satisfaction to us in our lives.

So, are you interested in using more of your mental potential, being able to know more, feeling stronger in yourself and more knowing, and feeling more in command of yourself? Are you interested in having a sense of what the truth is, the real inner truth, rather than going by mere supposition or external appearances?

Then, again I ask you, how are you intuitive? What is your particular gift? How does your intuition express itself? You’ll notice I didn’t say, “Are you intuitive?!”

The question really isn’t “are you intuitive,” but “how are you intuitive?” What is your knowing?

Think about it….

Author's Bio: 

Diane Brandon is the Host of “Living Your Power” on the Health & Wellness Channel of, as well as an Intuition Teacher, Integrative Intuitive Counselor, and Speaker. She is the author of "Invisible Blueprints" and several articles on personal growth topics, as well as a contributing author to "Speaking Out" and "The Long Way Around: How 34 Women Found the Lives They Love." Her private work with individuals focuses on personal growth, working with dreams, and personal empowerment, and she has done corporate seminars on intuition, creativity, and listening skills. More information may be found on her websites, and She may be contacted at