“Lots of death today,” she said, shaking her head.
I caught the tail-end of a whispered conversation between renowned psychic and medium Cari Roy and photographer Cheryl Gerber as I walked into the waiting room of Roy’s sleek CBD office and considered bolting in the other direction. But I’d promised to be open-minded and sit through it even if I was skeptical or scared of what she might tell me.
“No, that’s not about you!” she assured me, explaining that earlier in the day, in her capacity as a medium, she’d helped a parent communicate with her deceased child. (I was going to see her for a psychic reading, not as a medium, but Roy has done both professionally for more than 20 years.) She would later tell me that her job gets “heavy” at times.
“Some people come to me for fun; some people come to me because they’re in a kind of crisis situation. I connect with grief and loss and people’s anxieties and vulnerabilities. But I think it’s an honor to be able to do that. I connect with people deeply,” she says.
Her sixth-floor office is minimalist (not a crystal ball in sight), and the lights cast a soothing, pink glow. We faced each other while seated, and she placed her hands on top of mine.
Had it been with any other person I’d just met, I might have felt uncomfortable with this exercise – sitting across from a perfect stranger, touching hands, no distractions or iPhone to play with during those awkward moments of stillness that are hard to handle in this day and age.
But Roy, who describes herself as a healer, exudes a disarming sincerity and genuine empathy, and it made me feel like I could handle whatever it is she had to tell me.
At times, she was specific. She told me about options that would present themselves, and encouraged outlets and activities that would mitigate complacency or boredom.
We talked about travel and past lives (she believes I’m an old soul who’s been around since Druid times) and she was spot-on regarding many of my relationships and family dynamics. Halfway through our session, I burst into tears (uncharacteristically, I might add) and after I pulled it together and finished the session, a rainstorm opened up as I left the building, feeling a little tingly. When we spoke the next day for a follow-up interview, she said that the deluge was the sign of a blessing.
How did you get into this profession?
My mother was a psychic medium, so I was born into this and had an understanding. I realized it was what I was supposed to do because of different events that happened that were both serendipitous and synchronistic. I studied things in school like philosophy, anthropology, history, psychology – I wanted to be well-rounded. I wanted to learn about every single aspect that could be with connected with a spiritual business. I go to conferences and do things that are like continuing education. It’s more self-created. Independent study, I guess they’d call it.
What are your favorite aspects about being a psychic and medium?
People trust me enough to be vulnerable and create a sacred space for them so that they can be “real” – they can be open to the possibilities that exist for them to lead more positive lives. I feel very honored – it’s an honor for me to be able to do what I do, which is connecting with people very deeply and being able to give them hope. I give people a higher perspective that enables them to move forward in more positive ways. And I meet a lot of fabulous people!
What are the challenges of this career?
I deal with heavy things. I’m connecting with grief and loss a lot. Again, though, I think it’s an honor to do that. I take a look at things that most people would rather avoid. But the benefits so far outweigh that. People are always like, “This doesn’t drain you?” It doesn’t, really. The things I talk about are heavier subjects, and I’ve got a tissue box in my office for that reason. Sometimes we go over what people can consider heavier issues. That’s one of the reasons I’m on the planet.
Can you shut off your abilities? Like, if you were to walk into a bar right now to grab a drink with a friend, would you just be automatically “reading” all the people in there and picking up on their energy?
I know how to shut it off. If you’re a professional, you need to shut it off or else you’d waste your energy. One part of honing my craft is knowing when it’s appropriate to use it and when it’s not. I am extremely sensitive – I feel a lot of stuff, but when I’m going into a bar I really just try to go into a bar and have a cocktail like a regular person. I think one of the keys to being able to do this well and stay grounded for other people as that channel and vessel, is that I’ve learned how to direct that.
Is there anything else you think people should know about you?
I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world with what I do. I love what I do. I’ve lived in New York, I’ve lived in Europe – Switzerland, England – but this is home. I’m so lucky to be here doing what I do being from New Orleans and doing what I do in New Orleans. … It’s perfect.