by Jessica Lanyadoo
It wasn’t until about 8 months after my reading with Jessica Lanyadoo that I realized just how precise it had actually been. As I flipped through a recently-filled moleskin, all packed up for its trip to the notebook graveyard that is my bookshelf, I came across my notes from my meeting with Ms. Lanyadoo. During our session I had been earnestly shocked that her questions and comments were so specific to my life (for instance, she abruptly interrupted our conversation at one point to ask me to be honest about something I had totally concealed, which really got the ball rolling in a amazingly helpful direction) and I left feeling much more capable of dealing with the end of the bizarre anxiety-fest that is one’s Saturn Return. Yet, as time wore on, and being who I am, I didn’t bother looking through my notes much. Instead I just functioned off the big take-away from one of the most therapeutic and insightful conversations of my life: pick a path, work for it, stand your ground and, most importantly, don’t sweat the cosmically small stuff. Now, before you go saying that those ideas, however beneficial and true, apply to everyone, I’d like to say that when I went over my notes, it appeared that Jessica had given me not only a timeline, but a fortune-telling. A life itinerary with pitfalls and accomplishments scheduled down to the month. A new job, a breakup, harsh and not-so-harsh realities, replete with a timetable and a compass to direct me towards what has happily unfolded as my life today. Anyway, I’m a believer. And if you need to do some psychic dusting, I suggest booking an appointment. As dedicated to your belief systems or skepticism as you may be, Jessica’s sessions are a restorative, thoughtful and curative tonic. I asked Jessica a few questions about her work as a psychic here in San Francisco because what, I ask you, is cooler than being a psychic? Jen Snyder for YesYesYes: One thing that I think about when I think about your practice is that, in a sense, your calling found you. That’s really lucky, no? I read that you had always been interested in astrology, that you devoured a book you were given at a young age, but there’s more to being an intuitive, physic guide or a medium than just being interested in it… right? I mean, I’m into astrology, but I don’t have any ability past what I learn. How did this form? How did you realize this wasn’t just an interest, that it was actually something you were “destined” for? Maybe that’s what drew you to astrology in the first place?
Jessica Lanyadoo: That’s an excellent question… I have always felt called to do the work I’m doing. I remember when I was 7 or 8 years old telling people all about their astrological signs; I don’t know how accurate I was, but people listened. I always had an interest in the topic, even before I had access to information about it. I’m super lucky in that I have never wondered what to do with my life–by the time I was old enough to think about such things I was already in love with astrology. I moved to the golden shores of San Francisco when I was 19 years old with a plan that I was too young to know was unrealistic; I set out to master basic astrology, and by the time I was 30 I intended to harness a mastery of medical astrology, and that’s what I did. Along the way other things developed–like my psychic abilities and gift of communicating with the dead and with animals–that I never would have dreamed of, but it feels to me now like it couldn’t be any other way. I feel clearly destined to do the work I do, and looking back I can see how things have progressed organically for me in many ways, which I think often happens when we’re pursuing our calling. YYY: If you were going to be something else, what would you be? Are you ever like, Man, I really love tennis. If I wasn’t blessed with this pesky ability to see into the future and netherworlds, I would totally have been a pro tennis player. JL: Lolz. I have a secret desire to be a singer that I can’t tell you about because it wouldn’t be secret anymore. But if I hadn’t found my gifts in the healing arts I think would have taken a path in social work or I would be a shrink. I can’t imagine a life lived without having intense conversations with people about their deepest shit. I love it for reals.
YYY: What schools of thought do you follow in regards to being and tarot reader, astrologer and medium? Do you follow religious, scientific or spiritual doctrines? JL: I don’t follow any particular school of thought, as I tend to be a little allergic to doctrines and am a distinctly non-religious person. I’m formally untrained with everything I do; I’ve never studied mediumship or taken a tarot class. I did take a couple astrology classes in the ‘90s and they were invaluable to me, but none of them included any particular belief system or worldview. People often think that astrology is a belief system, but it’s not. It’s a divination tool that facilitates understanding, but there is nothing you have to believe other than that the planets impact humanity. You can be any religion or have any spiritual worldview and filter that into how you interpret what you see in the stars. I’m a very spiritual person, but in a ‘boots on the ground’ sort of way. I tend to be guided by my values and personal beliefs, which I don’t hold separate from my spiritual values and beliefs. I highly prize compassion, a harm reductionist approach to problems, and good ole fashioned straight talk. I believe in never asking a question that you’re not willing to hear any answer to, and I believe that kindness and being ‘nice’ are not always the same thing. I believe that having smart boundaries is essential to being a healthy, happy, human in the world, and I value good health, good sex and fun. Ultimately I believe in supporting others’ individuality, and that means I respect peoples right to use their free will as poorly or wisely as they choose.
YYY: How did you discover you could talk to the dead? JL: It happened slowly over the course of many years, there wasn’t a single defining moment. The first time that I consciously communicated with a dead person was when an astrology client asked me if I could connect with his dead mother. I explained to him that I couldn’t do that sort of thing but he insisted that I try, so I did. I just… ‘looked’, and I’ll never forget the image that bloomed in my mind’s eye. It was a table in a light-filled room, with a vase of bright yellow daffodils on it. That’s it. I thought it was pretty anti-climatic. So I told him this and he explained to me that this was his mother’s favorite flower and that emboldened me to keep trying. I was able to pass on a message that day between this man and his dead mother, but it was years before I really believed that it was happening. It was easier for me to tell myself that it was a fluke and that I was just a good guesser, or that people heard what they wanted to hear. Eventually, though, I had so many varied experiences, with so many different kinds of people, that were accurate and in which I heard and said things that were tangibly verifiable, that I eventually had to believe I had these crazy gifts. Now it’s just a mundane part of my life. The thing about psychic perception and talking to the dead is it’s not like it was for Whoopi Goldberg in that movie Ghost. I’m not surrounded by dead people that I can see with my corneas, and hear with my eardrums. It’s happening on another plane, and it’s a subtle one. So when I ‘talk’ to the dead we’re not actually talking. We’re communicating for sure, but it’s not like we’re verbalizing or using psychic sign language or something. They present to me in various ways and often what’ll happen is that they jump in my body so I feel what they want me to know. That’ll often be pain, and often people will share their feelings from the very end of their life, but it can be just about anything. Sometimes I hear them, see them, or I’ll just have an inner sense of knowing. It’s been through practice, and an ability to put my mental chatter to the side, and to trust what I perceive that my medium abilities have developed and are still growing. YYY: I know you can’t disclose personal information about your clients, but is there a running theme within our city (or farther) that you see recurring? Any common threads that we all tow? JL: Yes, tons of them! We are made up only of common thread, really. Every person’s chart has the same twelve signs and the same ten planets in it. We are made up of the same parts and have so much in common with each other. It’s all in the weaving of our threads that we are so deeply, and often complexly, different. That being said, of course love is heavy in the mix. I am forever talking to people about how to find love and how to fix, decode or recover from it. Here’s a secret that I’ll tell anyone who wants to know: We all say we want to be happy and that we want love and good health and success, but the truth is that most of us don’t. Our actions betray our true intentions toward ourselves, and there are a million ways that we prove my little theory here all the time. Scratching underneath the surface to understand what’s motivating you to do what you do will help to uncover why love and intimacy stinks (when it does, and it invariably does at least sometimes).
YYY: Your profession absolutely deals with alternative healing concepts, and asks your audience to be open to concepts that, for some, run contrary to what is possible here on planet Earth. How do you reconcile with those who don’t see the significance of your work? JL: I’m happy to say that I don’t really care about whether people think what I do is important or even real, as long as they’re respectful in how they talk to me. I’m from Montreal and whenever I go home and tell someone what I do for a living they laugh–‘cause they think I’m joking. I come from a town of sarcastic and jaded naysayers and that’s alright by me. I don’t need or want anyone to believe in me; I’m happy if people use what works and put the rest on the shelf or in the trash. If someone has different beliefs, finds the healing arts a bore, or thinks I’m tops it’s all equal to me (I of course prefer the latter, but broadly speaking it’s all equal). YYY: Are there certain people, books, sources that you pull your inspiration from with your work? Or do you kind of just use that well within? JL: I have been working with an energy healer once weekly for more than ten years now, and she is an endless source of stimulation and insight who helps me to strive toward my best self. The work I do with her allows me to stay clear and to continue growing. I have an ever-shifting relationship with my guides who keep me on my toes, and I have countless tarot decks that I use to aid me. I always try to be open to the wisdom I can find from anything, from fortune cookies to YA fiction, people who bug me to my friends. I’m a big believer that the best way to keep it real is by staying hooked in to my reality. YYY: Will you please fix me? THANKS. JL: You don’t need fixing- you’re a gem!
Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature. - Saint Augustine. YesYesYes, reminding you that at one point, everyone agreed that the world was flat. No one may ever know for sure what's going on. That's why you just sit back and enjoy the wonder that is life.