We challenged our reporter Nick Charity to do something he’d never dream of doing. So, he went to see a psychic - and not even the psychic saw that coming.
Janette Hilton is a psychic clairvoyant. That doesn’t mean she can talk to ghosts (actually, she claims she is still developing her mediumistic abilities) but she believes there are different kinds of energy that guide our lives, and by attuning her mind to the vibrations she hopes she can help others understand their own energies.
I step inside her “office” - she hates it when I call it that, but it’s a little bit like seeing a shrink - or a dentist. She takes me to the top of her Derbyshire house, and sits me down in a waiting room.
“You’ll just have to let me... prepare the room,” she says.
She goes next door, into a spiritual cocoon where she can get comfortable and set the mood for your reading. Through the wall you hear a chiming of bells - she is settling the vibrations, cleansing the room of her previous client’s energy to make her reading more clear, and protecting herself from negative energies.
She calls me in - the small red-haired Derbyshire woman wearing a muslin tunic and crystal beads looks every part the psychic, surrounded by her fantastically dressed sanctuary with oddities and a library of spiritual tomes. She sits behind a soft table-top littered with crystals, and starts a card reading - it’s like Tarot, but taps into the plain of animal spirits.
The deck of cards splits, a lucky 13 are laid out in total and she starts to get very excited when not one, but two, owl cards appear.
Owls are very significant, she says, symbolising the very ethos of listening to the signs from the universe, says Janette - so a sign from an owl is a big deal.
The rest of the cards show a variety of animals – mainly wild ones, which I’m quite happy with. There’s a meerkat, gorilla, zebra – and a theme emerges with three different felines across the table - the helpless kitten, the cheetah, the tiger - quite a yarn is forming in front of me.
This is partly the point, because psychics tells stories, and you can spot the charlatans when they try to tell your life story back to you. All the loaded question about departed loved ones, certain figures - these are designed to make you spill the beans yourself so they can take the credit. That’s not what Janette’s about: “I only want to help people,” she says. In fact the stigma caused by your everyday mystics is an issue, she tells, and it’s distressing how quickly people dismiss any form of spirituality these days.
She adds: “Society as a whole is geared towards technology, science, and this sort of thing is seen as primitive and the opposite of what we know. But we use the vibrations in crystals every day, in radios, in watches... It’s just perception. It comes into the left brain/right brain argument, and being spiritual is just about using more of your left brain.”
But there is an incredible shift in perceptions at the moment, she says, signified in the huge variety of mental health treatments available now, and the fact that medical practitioners are looking to more left-field therapies for different afflictions.
Acupuncture and homeopathy are available on the NHS, and holistic therapy is no longer a gimmick like getting your palm read, but can offer a spiritual insight into things going on in life - it’s about mindfulness, but also soulfulness.
“It shows in the fact the medical professions are actually recommending Hopi ear candles in some cases for migraines, tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, sinusitis, and even depression – and things like Reiki are being used in cancer wards,” says Janette, who offers readings, crystal healing, Indian head massages and other holistic treatments.
But does she just think telling her clients this is enough to help them?
“I’d never say we can replace psychiatry... of course we can’t, but I’m excited to see a coming together of the two areas. Like CBT, mindfulness training, this is a more pro-active way of conquering the triggers which make you anxious or depressed, and my treatments can similarly help people to just look at the things which are troubling them. When I do a card reading I’m offering people a similar sort of perspective. I’m talking about mindfulness techniques without actually calling it that. You just have a spiritual hat on instead of a medical one.”
And curiously spiritual healing - like medicine - is modernising all the time. For one thing, Janette has recently started giving readings on video-chat.
“I once gave a reading on Skype to a lady in Scotland. It was quite powerful, but I didn’t like the delay. In the end I said I wouldn’t charge because she was doing me a favour, I wanted to see how it would go...”
She gets distracted. There’s an owl on a branch outside. Coincidentally, before meeting we had spoken about owls, and after two came up in my cards she can hardly contain her glee that I must have an owl guide.
“It’s a very spiritual bird, a bird of knowledge,” she says. “I know people who are into all this stuff who would kill to have an owl spirit guide.
“If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.”
The card-carrying clairvoyant
Janette isn’t strictly religious, herself, but does believe in Spirit and follows the principles of Reiki.
She comes from a background in teaching and used to lecture at Chesterfield College. She became interested in holistic therapies after giving tarot readings for her friends since her 20s, and then a difficult time in her life pushed her towards a more spiritual existence.
“It was around the time I lost my mum to cancer in 2010,” she says. “I had already lost my dad, so it was a real shock. I was also depressed for a while after getting in a car accident with a drunk driver, so it was a very dark time.”
So she was seeking something spiritual and after seeing a medium, who she believes channelled her parents, she felt she was being guided towards something – and finding herself at a crossroads, she turned to the cards for advice.
“I was seeing a lot of spiders everywhere - they symbolise writing your own story, spinning your own web.”
As a believer in Spirit, Janette sees all things as connected – hence the “holistic” in holistic therapy. She works with clients around Derbyshire including Matlock, Buxton and Chesterfield as well as Nottingham and Mansfield.