Photograph by Mike Defilippo
Julia Gordon-Bramer was 16 when she bought her first deck. Back then, she used books to interpret how the cards fell. Then, about 10 years ago, she threw the books away, using her instincts instead. "I've always known I'm intuitive," says the 45-year-old mother of two and editor of Night Times, an online music zine. "But I never really took it seriously until grad school." While writing her thesis (on the mysticism of Sylvia Plath), she decided to do it professionally. Now she reads cards at parties, conferences, trade shows, over the phone— even for pets. "I just want to love people and connect with them," she says, "and this is a great way to do that."
In Her Words ...
• I'm what they call an empath. I get very connected to people; I can get in the same emotional place.
• No, it's not evil. I'm not conjuring spirits. The psychologist Carl Jung used it. These are archetypes that have been around since early civilization.
• I put those cards down, and there are 78 of them. Depending on which direction they fall, they mean one of two things ... My connection with the person will decipher it. But as far as explaining how the right cards fall into place, that's the magic of it.
• There are always gonna be some people who have a lot of blocks and don't wanna be vulnerable at all. But I can get through to nine out of 10.
• Love questions are No. 1. People are always wanting me to tell them this person who's been horrible to them is the one ... It's not easy to be the bearer of bad news, but I think they'd know if I'm BSing them.
• I'm not really telling you anything more than you already know on a deep, subconscious level.
• If you don't like something that I show is coming up in the future, you can change it. Nothing is sealed in stone.
• Most people want to be known and understood. That's why I touch people. That's why they cry.
• There are three aspects: past, present, and future. The past and present is just proving myself to them, in a way, so with the future they can say, "Well, that's how it is."