Graphic by Lillie Busch
Hattiesburg psychic April Moonsage is happily married, takes care of her golden retriever mix, studied history and is an avid writer. In addition to her seemingly normal life, Moonsage works as a psychic and tarot card reader. She has traveled to events, has networked with colleagues and has built a good reputation after a number of years.
Moonsage offers tarot readings for a dollar per minute at the Red Jasper in Hattiesburg on Saturdays. From Hattiesburg to Denmark, clients reach out to her for not only readings but her vivacious spirit and wisdom, and Moonsage prides herself on creating great experiences with her clients.
“Other [tarot readers] treats it as a hobby, which is fine, but for me it is what I love,” Moonsage said.
Despite her reputation, local residents and students are often put off by the idea of approaching a psychic or spiritual reader due to stereotypes that continue to overshadow the reality.
“I think of the stereotypical image. You got the crystal ball, they got piercings all over their face and a little shawl over their head. I think of a woman with dark makeup—kind of spooky,” freshman history major Taylor Pitts said.
Psychics are often depicted negatively as schemers, villains or simply unreliable thieves. Moonsage says the stereotypical image of the psychic can date back as far as Greek Antiquity and the Bible the forms of prophets like Noah. Narrow views dominating the specific surroundings can also affect interpretations.
“I think it has something to do with where we live. I am from in Mississippi, which is in the Bible Belt. When you start talking about magical stuff, they automatically think that’s not right,” Pitts said.
Senior forensic science major Maya Caradine said she pictures psychics as normal people.
“ I have friends who are psychics and most of them are normal,” Caradine said. “It’s weird. Sometimes I don’t believe in things that they say, and sometimes I do.”
Moonsage said she tries to tear down the expectations against psychics and spiritual readers. According to her, being a tarot reader in Hattiesburg is a highly positive and accepting experience because of the area’s liberal-minded and urban lifestyle.
A diverse range of people go to her to seek answers about their dream partners, careers, infidelity and other family issues. Though people come to her with a wide range of questions, Moonsage said the majority of her clients are lonely.
“They are people who want to be heard. Sometimes people just want validation for their intuition,” Moonsage said.
Moonsage disagreed with the idea that psychics and tarot readers are born with a gift.
“Can you learn philosophy? Then you can learn tarot readings,” Moonsage said.
She said tarot readings are simply listening to intuition, energies and body language, which requires practice. Tarot cards are the most iconic and the most personal to tarot readers. Moonsage has multiple tarot decks, each with its own personality and meaning.
“I let the cards guide me,” Moonsage said. “The more you practice the more you get better, similar as acquiring any skill.”
Though many clients are truly seeking guidance for their futures, others simply want to know what the process is like.
“Honestly, I would do it just for the experience,” Pitts said. “I would want to know if going to have a good future and am I on the right track.”
Others might find searching for answers of the future terrifying.
“I don’t see the worth of knowing the outcome,” Caradine said, “Even if you know, there’s no way of preventing it from happening.”
Moonsage wanted to make it clear that psychics are not miracle workers. She said that not all psychics can contact deceased relatives, and they certainly don’t predict lottery tickets. She said she encourages others to practice common sense when contacting psychics and mediums.
“If a medium asks for $1000 to talk to your deceased mom, do not do it,” Moonsage said. She admitted that there are con artists who prey on people who are vulnerable which angers her intensely.
“Tarot readings help find patterns in your life and how to address them head-on,” Moonsage said. “It’s cheaper than therapy.”