Interview With a Tarot Master: Mary McIllwain

Describe how you first found out about your psychic abilities.

I think my first experience that I remember happened when I was 8. I blinked, and when my eyes were closed, I saw a clear imprint of an image, like an after-image when you look at something for too long. It was a figure holding a stick, reaching up to a basketball goal. Only I had no idea where I had seen it before. I didn’t think anything of it until a couple of days later when I saw it happen. It was nothing very significant, just a friend holding a stick, but it was exactly the same image. It still happens to me sometimes, about once every three months or so. I have a clear vision or just a single image, and later it happens exactly as I saw it.

After that first experience, I became very interested in psychic abilities and metaphysics. I read everything I could about it and tried to pick out which images it would be that I saw next. I spoke to my maternal grandmother about it once, and it turned out that she and my mother have very similar gifts, though mostly relegated to dreams. She also said that her grandmother was the same way, so I definitely think there is a family aptitude.


Quick Facts

Reading Types: Tarot Cards
Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
Professional Since: 2009
Language Spoken: English
Country of Residence: United States


What have you done to develop your abilities?

I have had no formal training with either my innate abilities or with my tarot cards. All of it has come naturally, and I base my expertise on countless hours of practice and study. I have practiced meditation to find inner focus, which has made my readings clearer and clearer as time passes.

Describe your skills.

As a teenager, I got my first deck of tarot cards. I started out by reading the instructions and going by the books, but something in the images spoke to me. I knew the books’ descriptions were not what the deck was trying to say. I began to build a relationship with my deck unlike any relationship I have ever had, and in turn, the deck has never steered me from the truth.

When I read for someone, I ask my deck for truth. I shuffle in a specific way, and try to align myself with the deck. The cards all have nuances of meaning that resonate with my already visual psychic abilities. The cards present me with a narrative that I then have to decipher to discover the truth. I can pull several layers of narrative and nuanced meaning from one draw by pulling new cards, which all work together to craft a path forward.

Are you able to turn your psychic abilities ‘on’ or ‘off’ when you want to?

My visions come whenever they decide to, as do the events that fulfill them. My tarot cards are the channel I use the most to connect with them in a conscious way. Of course, the visions and the, shall we say, deja vu, can be disturbing, simply because I’m always so floored by them. I never get accustomed to the future, but in terms of daily life, no, my abilities do not affect me very much. My visions are almost always of something inconsequential.

The tarot cards essentially work in the opposite direction of my visions: I am provided with the physical, immediate image first, and must find where it connects to the stream of time. The cards work like a lens, focusing my natural ability into practical application.

What is life like living with these abilities?

I really don’t talk about my abilities much because it tends to lower people’s opinion of me. I mostly keep it to myself except for with a few very close friends. In grade school, I once had everyone convinced that I was a witch… the wicked kind, not the legitimate kind. I actually experience a lot of cognitive dissonance about my abilities. Everything I trust in science and the world around me says it’s not possible for me to have these abilities, but I know what I’ve experienced, and I have experienced it enough times to be sure. Being gifted in this way does mean that supernatural phenomena are less frightening to me, though, if for no other reason than because I am more accustomed to things that don’t make sense.

Do you think anyone can develop psychic skills?

I don’t know. I know it runs in my family, so that suggests it might be hereditary, but it could also be environmental. Perhaps it’s brought on by certain life experiences, perhaps it’s a thing that anyone can cultivate. I don’t think there has been enough serious scientific study to know for sure. I think the best way to cultivate any ability is to practice good mental health through things like meditation and self-care.

What do you like best about working with PsychicNetworkers?

We are in a new age. The days of psychics in tents and on street corners are largely gone, especially in places like Arkansas, where I hail from. The internet is the future of so many aspects of our lives and it allows us to reach out to each other in ways never before possible. I am in constant awe of the internet. I like this method of video chatting because I can be hundreds of miles away from a client and still sit in a room with them. It provides the intimacy required for a psychic reading with the grace and accessibility of technology.

Do you get readings for yourself?

I almost always read for myself. I have never had a reading from another psychic. I’ve taught my friends how the cards work before, and they’ve tried, but I find I always get the best results from myself because I am always honest with myself. There is no barrier of words having to be spoken out loud and no problems of miscommunication. Reading for myself is also how I build a stronger relationship with my deck, learning the intricacies of the images and their meanings.

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