Ask a Psychic

by Elizabeth Baxa

Pat Bruckmann is a professional clairvoyant in Tucson, Arizona whose client list includes celebrities and other psychics. When I met her, I couldn’t resist getting a reading, and as someone whose prior experience with psychics consisted solely of $10 readings in dingy storefronts, I must say that the experience was pretty great. Pam told me specific things about my personality that were right on the money. She predicted a few events, one of which has already happened. She advised me to get a Twitter account.

Pat’s office is neat and nondescript. Aside from one small pink crystal on the bookshelf, there are almost no clues as to what goes on inside. Pat spent a couple of decades as a corporate manager in New Jersey before “coming out of the psychic closet” seven years ago. She still exudes the casual earnestness of a librarian; she records her sessions and sends every client home with a CD. When I asked if she’d consider an interview, she instantly said yes.

When did you first realize you were psychic?

My parents knew before I did. They were very comfortable with it, particularly my dad. They’re the ones who told me there was something different, or unique. As I got a little bit older, I became aware of it based on people’s reactions. I would say things that they hadn’t told me, and I would see the looks on their faces, and that’s really when I thought, “Oh, that’s kinda weird.” When I was younger, people thought I was precocious; when I got older it was creepy. I became self-conscious about it.

Was it a gradual realization that you had this extra knowledge, or an instant one?

There wasn’t any lightning bolt moment. It’s kind of always been this separate sort of feeling that gradually became very profound. Maybe I ended up working in management because I was helping people and had insight into them.

But I think there was a lot of me that just wanted to be like everybody else.

In terms of forecasting, with what level of specificity do you see future events? Do you see, like, a disturbance in energy, or do you see a certain event really happening?

There are a few different ways that I get information. I can see, feel, hear, or know. When I do future events, I can see a timeline. I then focus in on that timeline, and the information comes through like a language, a form of communication between the nonphysical and the physical, and the process is very symbolic. When I’m working with someone in their soul work, it will sometimes be a form of channeling, which is outside that realm. There I just receive information that flows through without any of what I call “intellectual hit.”

When it comes to my personal future, I’ll see it like it’s a movie, or have a dream. For example, when I lived in New Jersey, I once saw myself driving up this driveway and meeting a stranger. Later, I drove up that driveway in real life and actually met that person, and we dated and stuff.

When I’m working with other people, there’s a little bit of a filter. I really believe in free will, so I try to help people live their lives and not follow exactly what I’m saying. If I say, “Oh, this is gonna happen,” do I want you to be looking for that? No. I want you to naturally fall into it. I want you to be experiencing life, and then you’ll know what to do when that situation comes up. Do you follow?

I think I do. You mentioned choice and free will. Do you think the timeline you see can be altered?

Yes! Free will and choice affect everything. I think that’s the beauty of life. A person can forget what I say to them or choose to ignore it; it might make their life more complicated, but I think that rejecting the advice will then be a part of their lesson.

So when people ask why psychics don’t all just win the lottery…

[laughs] Who’s to say I haven’t tried?! That’s one of my biggest pet peeves: why don’t they give me the lottery numbers? Why don’t they make my life a little bit easier? I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve concluded that if I won the lottery I’d be sittin’ at the beach. So then I start bargaining: “Just give me a little cushion, and I’ll still do this work!” I don’t know. You wonder whether people who win the lottery are getting numbers from someplace. I mean, who knows.

You’re at the mercy of what the universe chooses to give you during a reading.

Absolutely, and who decides that? I don’t know.

Have you ever made a forecast or had a feeling in your own life that turned out to be completely wrong?

I’m very good with predictions. It’s never 100%, but I’m very good with them. Maybe once or twice a year I’ll sit down and do a formal reading for myself, and when I do things like predictions, they usually play out. You talk about the lottery… I actually have gotten stock tips. I don’t normally dabble in the stock market, but there were two stocks that I thought would be interesting to buy, and then they exploded like six months later.

I’m pretty sensitive about things. I’ll start to kind of not feel right about somebody, I’ll be upset about someone I haven’t seen [in awhile] and not know why it’s bugging me. I’ll know that, in a couple of days, something’s going to come out. I’ll have a sense of that stuff ahead of time. I see it as an opportunity to say, “OK, there it is,” and not engage in it.

I’m very careful about where my energy is spent. I don’t intentionally do world events unless someone asks me, but sometimes things will just come out in a session. I saw the Occupy Wall Street thing a year before all that started. I was with a client and I said, “It’s gonna be like the ’60s again. Things are gonna start playing out, and the world’s shifting.” In 2008, I had someone ask me, almost as a second thought, about Hillary Clinton. Hillary was, like, it at the time, and [my client] was assuming that she was gonna get the nomination. I said, “You know, I hate to tell you this, but I don’t think so.” I put my hand up against my head, and I said, “It’s going to be someone with very close-cropped hair.”

But I don’t know, at this point in my life, that my role is in that sphere. That might be just for attention, maybe a little more attention than I would prefer.

Have you ever sat down to do a reading with someone and just not been able to get any information on them for whatever reason?

The way I see it is that if someone comes in, they are inviting me into their energy and their space, so I’m able to get information about them. But that doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to hear it. Do people challenge or test me? Absolutely, but I don’t take it personally; I just give them the information. I’m not a mind reader — I think I’d be a lot wealthier if I was! When I work, I work with your guides. I don’t, like, tell you your favorite color and things like that. Sometimes, people will say, “How come you didn’t tell me I have three kids?” That’s not what I do.

Would you be able to see that information if you wanted to?

Yeah, but I’m taking my focus and putting it in the direction that’s going to better serve you.

You mentioned a person’s guides. Do you mean people they knew who have passed on?

My concept of what I connect to is pure and unconditional light and love, energy and consciousness. I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I believe death is like when we go to sleep, when we wake up in the morning and go, “Oh, I’m in my bed, I’ve got to get to work.” I believe that’s what happens when we pass, when we leave the physical. It’s like, “Oh, I’m in the nonphysical, I need to get to work.” That’s what it feels like to me, and when I connect to people who have passed, I connect to the whole of that energy.

So I believe that, no matter who we are in life, we move into that pure and unconditional light and love, and there’s no negativity in it. There’s no human ego or evil; it’s all love. I see it as tapping into the whole. But we as people need to hear that it’s Grandma. We need to hear that it’s an angel or a saint because we need to give that energy some structure. We have no concept or idea of what’s going on outside of ourselves or in the nonphysical, so we need to shape it and form it. My personal perspective is that it’s consciousness, and it’s energy, and it’s love.

If someone gives me the name of a person who has passed, the image that I’ve been given is that person coming out of the whole and standing there, and it’s sort of like they’re looking in a mirror at their lifetime. They’re saying, “That’s who I was, those are my characteristics and my personality and how I see things and what I want for [the living person] and how I’m working with them.”

That’s pretty amazing.

Well, it’s very different. But that’s kind of who I am. I like to encourage people to figure out what makes sense to them and to follow that. You don’t need me to Pied Piper; you can find your own method and connection.

So we should all be looking to connect with the universe as much as we can?

Yes. We’re both body and spirit. Just because I happen to have a more concentrated awareness of it doesn’t mean a person can’t develop that, use that muscle.

Can we all increase our intuition by simply being more open to it?

I think it’s about practice, about paying attention to it, giving it some energy. Not over-blowing it, just staying grounded with it. Not everything is symbolic. If I get some insight into something, I might say, “OK, is this wishful thinking, or is there more to this?”

I know you do pet readings for people. Do you feel like you can connect to any animal? Anything with a consciousness?

What do you mean by any animal? I can connect with pets that are alive or have passed.

Right, but if you saw a rat on the sidewalk, for example, could you connect with it?

Oh, you mean like that. Do I try to connect with that energetically? Yeah. There’s no proof for me, of course, that I’m doing it, but I look for results. If I worked my energy fields, for example, I could walk by a bunny without it moving.


I do have an awareness and a connection with animals. I’m very much an animal person. I’m a vegetarian/vegan.

I was going to ask you whether the connection you have to animals has affected the choices you’ve made in life.

Absolutely. The more conscious I become of energy and all that, the more it affects everything I do.

So when you’re connecting with an animal, it’s not as if it’s speaking to you, is it?

I mean, if I’m connecting with an animal I don’t hear, “Woof woof.” I have this 25 lb dog. I usually have big dogs, so I’m used to just putting my hand down to give them a treat. I started doing that with the little dog, but he wouldn’t take the treat. I started to kind of accidentally put my energy into wondering why, and then I heard, “My neck hurts.” So I started putting my hand down farther to help him.

Pat, we’ve been on the phone for an hour! I’m so sorry to have just told you half.

That’s OK, I knew it was going to be an hour. I planned for an hour.

Haha, right right.

I hope I gave you some insight. Not everybody agrees with me; not everybody has the same perspective. I think that sometimes it rattles people’s belief systems. But this is my perspective. I never want to force my opinions or ideas on anybody.

Even though I do this, even though I sit across from strangers and do this, I try not to think about it too much because if I do I get really weirded out. I don’t take myself too seriously. I think that’s key to any exploration in this. People call it a power, but it’s not a power! It’s not even necessarily a gift. It’s a part of our experience. It’s natural.

When you see a storefront psychic, do you kind of write her off?

No! Absolutely not. Those can be very interesting. People who do this in the way I can relate to come in all different forms. It could be in a storefront, on the phone, on television… it just depends on how they work in the world or how the world opens up to them, as it is with anyone else. We’re just as human as anybody else; we’re just as messed up as anybody else!

Elizabeth Baxa lives and works in New York. You can’t follow her on Twitter, but she knows she should change that and will get on it… soon.