By Melanie Harris
For a world-renowned psychic and spiritual medium, John Holland is very down to earth. He likes the simple things—playing with his dog Koda, going to the beach, practicing his drawing. He might spend his day communicating through the veil with a legion of spirits whose bodies are long dead, and then later that night, take in a movie with a group of friends. He hosts a weekly radio show, “Spirit Connections,” and goes to the gym “to stay grounded.” He’s been featured on CBS’s “Unsolved Mysteries,” but we thought we’d take a crack at it. We didn’t figure him out, but we did find out a lot of really intriguing stuff, about him and also about his latest creation, the Psychic Tarot (Hay House, January 2009). Here, John talks to us about elevators, cruel kids, TV people, and the secrets of psychic development.
Tarot Reflections: When did you first discover your psychic abilities?
John Holland: They were always there, even in childhood. And as a kid, I would see spirit people in my bedroom. I would know things before they happened. Out of four siblings, I was always the ‘different’ one. My mom used to say, ‘Oh, he’s the sensitive one.’ Little did she know how sensitive! So it wasn’t like I discovered my psychic abilities; they were always there. But you know how kids are, they can be mean, they would call me names at school, so I pushed down these abilities, I suppressed them. But about sixteen or seventeen years ago, I was in an auto accident, and that reawakened my psychic abilities, and they came back stronger. I believe that some things are meant to happen, and when someone has a tragedy in their life – it’s up to them how they handle it. That is the freewill part. That accident, believe it or not, was a life-changing experience for me, and set me on the path that I’m on now.
TR: So, how did you get involved with the Tarot?
JH: After the auto accident, all my friends said, ‘John, you should do readings.’ I was not ready for that yet. I felt it would bring up the memories of being teased as a child. There is a huge responsibility when you do readings for people. Their life – is in your hands. Finally, I slowly started to do readings. But first I read any book I could get my hands on, books that I remembered from childhood, any reference I could find on psychic ability, and I studied with different metaphysical teachers any chance I could get. I threw myself into heavy research and studying the mechanics of how psychic ability works. I wanted to look at the subject scientifically as well as metaphysically.
I have always been fascinated by the Tarot, and when I started to do more and more readings, I was drawn to use the cards as a tool. So I purchased my first deck.
TR: Now your latest creation, the Psychic Tarot—tell me about this.
JH: I’m very excited about it. When I first started doing readings, in an aromatherapy shop in L.A., I was drawn to all sorts of cards. I was noticing the colors of the cards, the images, and the symbols on the cards. The deck was somehow talking to me, giving me much more information than what came in the manual. For instance, I was doing a reading for a woman, and the image on one of the cards that I was using was a woman that had a red cloth wrapped around her neck. And I said to the woman I was doing a reading for, ‘How long have you had throat problems?’ And she was like, ‘How did you know that?’ There’s not a ‘sore throat card,’ it just stood out to me, I was noticing the colors and the symbols. When I brought out this deck, the Psychic Tarot, I wanted people to use the cards like I use the cards, to begin to notice and use the numbers, colors, shapes, images, and the symbols that they see in the spread. Basically I want people to open up to everything about the cards and not just to what is in the manual. There’s a Tarot reading, and then there’s a psychic Tarot reading. I designed this deck specifically to open up those intuitive faculties.
TR: Tell me about the structure of this deck. I understand it’s more like a Tarot than an oracle.
JH: In my deck there are 22 Major Arcana cards, just like in a traditional deck, which are guideposts that show where we are right now. Then there are four suits, four sets of nine cards each, which I like to call direction cards. Instead of the pentacles, cups, swords, and rods, I have as the four suits physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Each of these cards is surrounded by the color corresponding to that suit. I want people to notice the colors, the symbols, the words, and the numerology. Every card is meant to be positive, and with good advice attached to it. For instance, the Three of Swords, generally considered a sort of negative card, in my deck it is the ‘Heartache and Loss’ card, and in the manual it says: ‘The painful experiences in life are just as valuable as the joyous ones.’ and ‘Have faith and know you will get through this.’ So it’s a positive meaning. I wanted to base the cards on the traditional Tarot, but have the cards have more advice. There are also seven chakra cards. If one of the chakra cards is drawn, it’s a reminder to be aware of that energy center, the qualities it represents, and apply it accordingly to the reading of the cards or spread. You may well want to ask yourself, ‘Is this chakra (energy center) being affected by what’s going on in my life?’
TR: Did you play a big role in the design of the card images?
JH: I helped design each one. The artist did a wonderful job. I told him this is what this card represents, and he would do the drawings.
TR: Do you think that any Tarot can open psychic faculties? What makes your deck better for this purpose?
JH: You can basically use any cards to open psychic ability, but the Psychic Tarot cards are very colorful, and I used little hidden things in the images that people might notice or focus on. My cards are specifically designed with the different aspects of psychic ability in mind. In the manual which comes with the deck, I describe these aspects, and teach specific techniques for opening psychic ability.
TR: What are some of the techniques you use to strengthen your own psychic sense?
JH: Well, it’s like a muscle, you use it every day and it gets stronger. What I do is I like playing little games. Like when you get a phone call, you can see if you know who it is calling, or when you go to check your email, see if you can guess how many emails you have, or when you’re waiting for an elevator, see if you know which elevator door will open first. And then meditating of course, which is so important and so hard to do in our noisy world.
TR: I know you’re also a spiritual medium. Can you describe the difference between being a ‘psychic’ and being a ‘spiritual medium’?
JH: Psychic is picking up energy of the person right in front of you, from their aura, sensing their past, present, and potential future. In mediumship, you are getting the information directly from someone on the other side. It is said, ‘Every medium is psychic – but not every psychic is a medium.’
TR: What are you working on right now? Are there more books in the works?
JH: I’m working on my fifth book right now. It takes off where Born Knowing left off, that book is an autobiography. So this book goes back and tells the rest of my story. I have included stories that I have heard, the paranormal events I personally witnessed, and also what happened to me when I did a few TV specials—the reader will find out what the ‘TV people’ didn’t show. Also I felt it was important to give advice to parents who may have their own sensitive or psychic child. There’s so much in this book, and I’m having a good time writing it. I imagine it will be out in 2010.
TR: Sounds intriguing, especially the ‘TV people’ stories. Do you feel that when you are featured on TV, that your abilities are sensationalized at all?
JH: Yeah, it’s TV and it’s very visual, but I try to get the producers to show my abilities as accurately as they can – but television oftentimes can make things bigger than life.
TR: So, what can a person do to make their Tarot readings more ‘psychic’?
JH: I recommend they take a psychic development class, and learn to meditate. The quieter the mind, the better psychic information can be picked up. Plus, as I said before, begin to notice everything about the cards that are in front of you. Colors, symbols, words, numbers, images—when you begin to notice and act on them, then you will see how your Tarot readings will be improved.