Psychic Talk! The Afterlife & Getting Focused

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Sorry, we're not sorry: We're totally into psychics and psychic mediums as a way to get more in tune with ourselves and the universe. Seeking answers, we sat down for an in-depth, one-on-one chat with Brooklyn's own "hipster psychic" Betsy Cohen. Of course, we just had to ask about life after death, becoming enlightened, and just how one gets into the psychic field in the first place. Ahead, our complete Q+A with one of the most in-tune chicks in NYC.

embed1PsychicBetsy_smoke1_1000x667Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Handler Photography.


Tell me how you got into being a psychic medium.
“I fell on my head. I was burnt out at my job, I was a social worker and I was brokenhearted living in south Williamsburg; my apartment had bed bugs and I was in a very dark place. This was in 2007. What happened was, I went to go to the top of the stairs so I could see the band, at which point I reached for the nonexistent railing. I fell from the top of the flight of stairs onto my head onto concrete. And, I don’t know how, but I didn’t break anything. But, when they were checking me out to see if I was okay, they did a cat scan and they found a hole in my spinal cord right near by C2 vertebrae, which is incredibly scary. All of your essential nerves come from your brain and control your whole body, so the prognosis was very scary. I could basically turn my head the wrong way and die or become a paraplegic or lose function of my limbs.”

So, that was a real eye-opening experience?
“In spiritual terms, we talk about getting present, so many times people in my position go through a dark night of the soul. It can’t get any worse. It’s your rock bottom. So, my rock bottom was leading up to that and then I fell on my head. And, that was my wake up call.... And, I started going to the spiritualist church of New York and really resonated with it. I’m a reverend there now. I am officially ordained. I went to seminary school. Basically, the spiritualist church is recognized all over the world. It’s the psychic medium church. They aim to prove life after death by communicating with spirits. So, I started going there and resonated with it. After I attended my first séance, which took me a lot of guts to actually build up the strength to go, I was kind of hooked.

I saw a flier for psychic development that said 'You are psychic' and I was like 'yeah right.' Then, I started to remember my precognitive dreams waking up immediately having the exact thing happen. You know, remembering when I was younger, knowing ahead of time that someone is going die. So, I thought maybe there is something to this. I did take classes. I feel like they took away the fear of the unknown because you can’t do this work if you’re fearful. Fear is opposite of relaxation and love. Now, I’m a teacher of intuitive development, so it’s come full circle.”

What are some lessons or basic principles that they teach you in those classes?
“Well, part of psychic development is awareness, being aware of what’s going on internally, in your internal body, because when I do my work, I don’t use tools, I don’t use cards or crystals. I don’t do anything except tune into my body. Every single one of us is psychic. I always tell people you know you’re psychic if you have a body. What happens is everyone is bombarded with the psychic impressions, but we’re told to put them away — that it doesn’t mean anything. We're all getting signs and symbols internally and externally. It’s like in the movies, when someone is on their knees saying ‘God help me, give me a sign’ and a truck rolls by and it says ‘We’re your guardian angels.’ That literally does happen. It teaches you about how to relax into your body, how to get present, how to become aware of the things happening inside your spiritual, mental and physical body.... If you see something in your mind’s eye, how do you feel about that? You can get a song stuck in your head, where does it come from? It’s your own soul or spirit talking to you. It’s not necessarily the meaning of the song, it’s how you feel about the song.”

How much control do we have over our own lives?
“That’s a great question. We have a great deal more control than we realize. What happens, in order to manifest something or make something happen in your life, you have to first come up with the idea, which I believe comes from the divine, where creativity and new ideas come from.... People don’t think they have control because what’s happening right now is not congruent with what they’re thinking. What’s happening now is congruent to what they were thinking three months ago. They expect their outside world to change instantly, but it takes time. I remember when I fell on my head I didn’t resonate with the people I was hanging out with anymore. It took me about four or six years to manifest people who were on my level, who like what I like, and who appreciate what I like because I had to figure out who I was first. It’s about concentrating those ideas, focusing on those ideas. You know, the people who are super focused who get things done at the drop of a hat.”

How do we shake our fears and anxieties so that we can bring ourselves more light?
“It’s really the super-focused people who are fearless, or more correctly, the people who know how to deal with their fear. It’s all feeling based.... So, how do you deal with your fears? The main thing is to recognize them. Most people don’t understand what belief systems they’re running on... When you’re fearful of something, the fear keeps you from being able to look at what you're fearful of. So, it’s really about finding courage. Most people won’t do that unless they’re forced to. I was forced to, I fell on my head. I don’t think there would be another life event that would get me to become a psychic medium. So, I do say one of the best things that ever happened to me was I fell on my head. It woke me up. You don’t need to get down on your knees, but you don’t know what you have until it might be gone.

“Gratitude is a really great way to do it, too. We need to be grateful for the lessons that we have because they do teach us. We think that staying in the same place will be safe, but it’s not. The world passes you by. The most unsafe thing you can do is not take risks. And, people are lacking faith. I’m not a Bible thumper or anything, but if you don’t believe there’s a life force out there that has been providing for you and giving you everything you need up to this point, if you don’t acknowledge that, there’s nothing that is going to be your safety net when you take that leap of faith. So, you’re not going to jump.

What do you say to nonbelievers?
You’re never going to be able to prove it, but what you do prove is that people who have faith [in this], are happier and healthier. I wanna be happier and healthier. It’s just as simple at that."
embed2New-Yor-City-Psychic-Betsy-CohenPhoto: Courtesy of Rebecca Handler Photography.
How do you deal with people you don’t connect with?
“In a private reading this happens very rarely, but, I have a policy: If in the first 15 minutes, you’re not understanding what I’m saying or it’s not resonating, you get a full refund. And, usually those are the type of people who can’t look inside and take ownership of their own actions. It happens really rarely, because let’s face it, I’m psychic. So, I’ll know ahead of time if this person’s going to resonate. I do turn people down, you know. My whole point is that I want my clients to walk away satisfied. If you’re going in with a closed mindset, I don’t want to book you for a reading, I don’t want you to walk away unsatisfied. I want you to feel uplifted, empowered. They’re used to psychics saying 'in three months you’re going to win the lottery' or 'in four months you and your boyfriend are going to break up'. But, that’s not necessarily the case. If you have between now and those four months, and I’m picking up on turmoil now, there are certain things you can do: You can take responsibility for your actions and then you can decide if this relationship is right for you or not. We can change, so we can have a better life."

Can you talk a little bit about the afterlife? Does everyone have one and what’s the transition like?
“The transition itself is very cliché. You do end up seeing the white light and you do have loved ones greeting you on the other side and it’s fascinating because there’s so much research out there about life-after-death experiences, of near-death experiences. They’re all the same and people who work in hospice and know if someone’s dying, it’s a very common occurrence that they’ll lift up their arms and say, ‘My mother’s here’ who’s been dead for 50 years. But, when you’re on the other side you are in infinite love.”

Is there consciousness?
“Yes. You’re connected to everyone, to everything, you can feel everything. And, sometimes people will be like, ‘Well, what does my mom think of this’ and they expect everyone to have the same personality. A spirit on the other side will come to me and identify themselves. They’ll say, 'I did this, I acted like this, I did this for a living.' And, let’s say they were sharp and nasty in this world, they might not be acting sharp and nasty on the other side. They will acknowledge this as a personality they had in life, but on the other side, they’re in love.”

So there’s no heaven and hell, it’s just one afterlife?
“Heaven and hell are states of being. They don’t exist outside of ourselves.... We know people living in hell. They say, "This is a living hell."And, that’s what it is. There is a place on the other side that is difficult that most people go to, but it’s not hell...it’s a learning experience."