Outdated meets new as psychics, tarot readers thrive on TikTok, social media

Money coming your way? Does your ex come back to you? Can you get that promotion?

Scroll through TikTok and you’re guaranteed to get at least one version of upcoming events.

The rise of the pandemic has brought an influx of tarot card readings on social media platforms like TikTok.

The trend is called “TarotTok”.

University of Queensland social psychology professor Jolanda Jetten examines how people react to disasters and how COVID-19 is changing people’s behaviour.

“A deep sense of insecurity and loss of control has led people to seek anything that might help them take control of the future and regain that control,” she said.

She said a rise in mental health problems and an overwhelmed system could lead people to seek help through alternative channels.

But can the same psychic experience be achieved with an app that millions of people around the world can see at the same time?

expert experience

Charmaine Wilson is an acclaimed Queensland medium.

Before COVID-19, she toured nationally and internationally.

But when the pandemic struck, Ms Wilson had to find a way to adapt.

Charmaine Wilson is known as “the Australian medium”.(Included in delivery: Charmaine Wilson)

Like a number of psychics, mediums and fortune tellers, she began spreading her message via TikTok and doing online shows via video teleconferencing.

On TikTok, Charmaine Wilson has more than 90,000 followers and 440,000 likes.

“I started TikTok to spread my word about surviving grief and how mind works and all those things,” she said.

“I lost a huge audience that I was basically teaching about spirits as a winner in Australia, so I was able to win that audience back through TikTok.”

Ms. Wilson does not predict the future or use tarot cards; She believes her purpose in life lies in her gift of “connecting with the spirit world and guiding people through the grieving process.”

However, she advises against providing readings via the app.

“I refuse to read anything on social media because I don’t see how it’s achievable,” she said.

Reach a global audience

According to Ms. Wilson, people from all over the world have approached her for private readings.

Some of their customers want to connect with those who have died due to COVID-19.

Women sit in front of laptops, on the screen of which people can be seen via video. Ms. Wilson offers private readings via video conference call. (Included in delivery: Charmaine Wilson)

“Working with different people abroad in different countries has proved to be a bit difficult,” she said.

“I actually had to research other nationalities to understand their family unit and how it works.”

Over the past two years, Ms. Wilson has been able to replace her in-person shows with a smaller audience on Zoom.

“It worked out better than I thought … I just had to see who I’m primarily attracted to on both of my screens and then just go ahead and read them,” she said.

Image of a crowd seated in an auditorium. Ms Wilson said she misses the feedback, like the clap, you get from an in-person show. (Included in delivery: Charmaine Wilson)

We’ve been promised a better 2022…so where is it?

Lisa Stewart has been a Medium and Reiki Master in Mackay, North Queensland for almost twenty years.

Ms. Stewart uses angel and tarot cards to send messages to clients who come to her for help and guidance.

“We’ve had a lot more people coming into the store for advice, looking at crystals, exploring different ways of dealing with what’s happening,” she said.

“[COVID] has brought in a lot of anxiety and it has also brought in a lot of relationship, health and work challenges.”

tarot cards on table with candle light and hands shuffling deck. Lisa Stewart says business is busier than ever. (Delivered: Lisa Stewart)

Lisa Stewart said she uses her intuition to understand what someone might be going through and then offers techniques to help.

“I look and see what’s going on in your emotional field, we talk about it and then I put you on a table and do a healing and give you some tools on how to deal with it and how to heal,” she said.

“It’s meditation, it’s color therapy, it’s about what type of crystal you need, what essential oil you need to work with, what thought pattern or mantra you need.”

Reach for some control

Professor Jolanda Jetten sees a parallel between the trend and the popularity of conspiracy theories.

“People embrace conspiracy theories because at least they have the illusion that there’s some kind of explanation for why this is all happening,” she said.

Headshot of a smiling woman. Jolanda Jetten says it’s not surprising that people turn to those who claim to know something about the future. (Delivered: Jolanda Jetten)

While Ms. Jetten is skeptical of readings that give a false sense of security, she said she has no problem with tools like breathing exercises or meditation that help people relax and get through difficult times.

“I think the phenomenon is pretty harmless unless it gets very close to people who believe these practitioners have all the answers to the current crisis,” she said.

“I think it’s a direct consequence of facing a particular crisis and worrying about it.”

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