Alexandra Chauran is professional psychic and owner of Earthshod.com. Her book, Crystal Ball Reading For Beginners, is being released by Llewellyn Worldwide in July. I had the opportunity to interview her through email.
Image: Closeup of Alexandra Chauran in front of tree leaves holding a crystal ball.
Masery: How did you end up a Harley riding, married woman, in Renton, Washington?
Alexandra: Those are a lot of questions, right off the bat! Well, first of all, Harley Davidson motorcycles are cool, and this is common knowledge. Though I was born in Canada, my parents moved to Washington state for work, where I met my wonderful husband that I married five years ago in a lovely handfasting ceremony attended by a Priest and Priestess in the mountains.
Masery: What type of Harley do you ride?
Alexandra: A 2005 883CC Sportster.
Alexandra: Masery: Do you ride barefoot?
Alexandra: No, nor do I ride without gloves and a full-face helmet.
Masery: The reason I ask is because you’re a proud member of the Society for Barefoot Living. Their site claims it isn’t illegal to be in any establishment without shoes, it doesn’t break health codes, and you can drive barefoot. I had no idea! So I can kick off my shoes on really long drives and not get in trouble?
Alexandra: Absolutely, you may!
Masery: How did you get involved with the Barefoot society? Are there special events you go to?
Alexandra: I joined online. There used to be a local barefoot hiking group, with which I enjoyed several hikes!
Masery: On October 11th, 2003, you received the Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Royal Life Saving Society due in part to your counseling work. That is an amazing achievement. Please share how you got involved with this organization and what the medal represents.
Alexandra: It isn’t as big a deal as it sounds, though I still am quite proud to have a medal and a miniature that I could technically wear around to important events. My father was a medal collector and involved with several medal societies. He contacted the board on my behalf, and I was surprised when it was awarded to me. He also helped a friend of mine be recognized for saving his cousin from drowning.
Masery: You mention in your Witchvox profile that you are the daughter of an Atheist and a “sort of Catholic Ceremonial Magicienne.” Am I correct in guessing that your father is atheist and your mother the more mystic one?
Masery: I haven’t heard of a Catholic Ceremonial Magicienne. This made me so very curious. What does it mean and what is it about your mother that brings this description to mind?
Alexandra: To me, it means that she is drawn towards the more Western Ceremonial Magic style practices. She converted to Catholicism at some point in her life, but does not attend church.
Masery: Since, you are a second generation professional fortune-teller. You and your mother are members of the American Tarot Association. Did she teach you about Tarot? If so, what is one of your favorite memories of having her teach you tarot?
Alexandra: She wasn’t really a tarot instructor, so much as a general guide to growing up as an intuitive person. My favorite memories are the times that I would be frightened by a dream or a psychic experience, and she would tell me calmly that it was normal.
Masery: You passed a Tarot Certification Board in-person exam to be certified as a Professional Tarot Reader. For readers who are interested in being Tarot certified, can you summarize what you were tested on and what the exam was like? Did you have to do a reading or explain various cards they presented?
Alexandra: Exactly that. A representative came out to meet with me in a public place, and then asked me to perform a reading for him. Afterwards, he critiqued the reading, and told me how I could improve as a reader. I found the process actually very helpful.
Masery: You practiced Paganism for several years before dedicating yourself in 1999. How did you find out about Paganism and why did you decide to follow that path?
Alexandra: In addition to books at the library, lucky for me I was growing up in the age of the Internet, and the Seattle area has been full of Pagans since I was a teenager. I felt at the time that it best represented what I already had come to believe through my own experiences with deity, and I immediately contacted local Pagans to get together with them and took distance learning courses, which at the time were still snail mail.
Masery: Alexandra, your essay “Pagan and Crazy” is such a moving and genuine story of how having schizophrenia made it difficult to find a coven. Being Bi-Polar, I’m familiar with the concerns and stereotypes people have. When someone acts really hyper and drives too fast or drinks too much or they get really angry one day people say, “They must be bi-polar.” It’s become a catch phrase for over the top behavior. Bi-polar disorder is really more nuanced then that. When were you diagnosed as schizophrenic and how has it effected your life? Would you like to address some of the misconceptions about schizophrenia?
Alexandra: I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2002. Schizophrenia is not “multiple personality disorder.” Schizophrenics are not more likely to be violent, and violent people are not more likely to be schizophrenic. It is not a rare disease, and actually affects one out of every hundred people you see around you every day. It is the second leading cause for disability in the United States, next to blindness. There is no cure, and it is often not easily managed, with some medication side-effects being worse than the disease.
Masery: You are an initiated High Priestess of the Kingstone path of British Traditional Wicca. Why did you choose that tradition?
Alexandra: I was guided that way to the Gods, rather than by choice. Though I did feel drawn to British Traditional Wiccan practice, I spent time training with Gardnerian and Blue Star covens before settling with the people who seemed to fit with me as much as I fit with them at this stage in my life.
Masery: Earthshod, your psychic business is registered with Washington state and you’re a member of the Renton Chamber of Commerce. I’ve never been to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and I’ve always wondered if they are a bit stuffy. Is Renton a fairly open community? What are some of the reactions you’ve gotten when you tell other member’s about your business?
Alexandra: Renton has an incredibly open and welcoming business community, though I’ve heard from other members that this is not the case with other Chambers. Reactions have always been respectful but interested, and I’ve gained several clients and helpful partners to my business through the organization.
Masery: I wanted to mention that the graphic of vines covering barefeet for the EarthShod website is really wonderful. It reflects your love of being barefoot. Is that one of the inspirations for the name Earthshod? What other influences prompted the name?
Alexandra: Yes, and I’m sure you noticed the play on the word SkyClad.
Masery: How would you describe your gifts? Such as clairvoyance, intuition, or do you speak with guides and spirits for information about someone you’re assisting?
Alexandra: All of the above. I think of them less as “gifts” than as particular skills or talents that I’ve developed either accidentally or through diligent practice.
Masery: Please share the steps of the practice that has helped you develop your psychic skills the most.
Alexandra: So much can I not do justice to answering that question in one email
that I’ve already written two books on the subject. Crystal Ball Reading For Beginners, which is being released by Llewellyn Worldwide in July, and So You Want To Be A Psychic, which has no release date
yet, but will be coming subsequently.
Masery: What are some of the more rewarding and the more challenging aspects of being a psychic?
Alexandra: It is an incredibly gratitude filled job. When I was a school teacher, now that is a thankless job. Being a mother? Also thankless. But being a psychic, I have clients thank me profusely directly after the reading and even years afterward. I’ve even had somebody’s child named after me and been invited to several weddings. Most challenging, I think, is simply trying to make ends meet. It is not a get rich quick scheme, and managing a business while disabled is difficult. I sometimes wish that I could succeed or be happy at a “normal” job, or that I could make more money with this one.
Masery: Please share anything else that comes to mind about yourself.
Alexandra: This blog post of mine may also be of interest.
You can read Alexandra Chauran’s essay “Pagan and Crazy” at the Staff of Asclepius. http://www.patheos.com/community/paganswithdisabilities/2011/01/21/pagan-and-crazy/