{Giveaway} A 30-minute conversation with a renowned psychic

Win a 30-minute conversation with world-renowned psychic, FOF Echo Bodine, plus win The Gift, her bestseller about understanding and developing your pyschic abilities, and A Small, Still Voice, her book about intuition. To enter, comment below and answer: Have you ever had a psychic reading?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

When we first discovered FOF Echo Bodine, a world-renowned psychic, we were surprised how “un-psychic-like” she was. “I don’t dress the way people expect me too. My house is just a normal house — it’s not full of cats,” says Echo. “Many of my students and clients tell me that they chose me because I look normal and I don’t scare them.”

Echo has been a practicing psychic for over thirty years. She’s written 11 books on the subject, many published by New World Library (the publishing powerhouse behind spiritual blockbusters such as The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle). She’s also made numerous TV appearances including on The View and NBC’s Later Today. Here, she sets us straight on some of the misconceptions about psychics and offers a few predictions for the year to come….

Is Echo your real name?

What made you realize you had psychic abilities?
At the age of 17, I was with my family at the dinner table. My brother, who was 14 years old at the time, was in the basement practicing his drums. He was just learning how to play and sounded pretty rough. Then suddenly, the drumming sounded really nice. My brother flew up the stairs–hysterical. He said that a white figure that floated up to him, and its hands came down on top of his and played the music. My mom consulted a psychic who told her that my brother had met his guardian angel. She said, ‘you have some very gifted children and I’d like to see you and your oldest daughter for a psychic reading.’

[Watch a YouTube video where Echo Bodine describes in more detail how she discovered her psychic abilities.]

Did you go for a reading?
Yes. She said I was born with all four of the psychic abilities and the gift of healing.

Did you believe her?
No. I said to her, ‘I don’t have any of this stuff, and I don’t want any of this stuff. I just want a nice, normal life.’ I had already been accepted to the University of Minnesota to become a social worker.

So, what ended up happening?
I ignored it and went on to college for three years. I was going to live my life the way I wanted to live it. But, my psychic abilities kept getting stronger and stronger. It took baby steps for me to accept these abilities and find a way of having a normal life.

What are the four psychic abilities?
There’s clairvoyance, which is the gift of seeing – visions or pictures. There’s clairaudience–the gift of hearing, which is like mental telepathy. For instance, you think about someone and then he or she calls you on the phone. Another ability is clairsentience, the gift of sensing, where you can pick up the energy in a room. A lot of us have this ability. The last is called clairgustance, the gift of smell. It sounds pretty goofy, but it’s real. It works the best when a deceased loved one comes to visit us. When my dad comes to visit, I get one of two smells–cigarette smoke (he was a smoker) or Old Spice cologne.

A person can have some psychic abilities but not others?
That’s correct.

Can you learn to be psychic or do you have to have an innate ability?
We can learn to develop the psychic abilities we already have. In my classes, I teach people how to use their abilities to help them through their lives. I would say that 90 percent of my students don’t want to become professional psychics. A lot of nurses and realtors take my classes. The nurses want to use their abilities to work with their patients. The realtors want to use their abilities to match the right houses with the right clients.

What’s the difference between being spiritual and psychic? Do you have to be spiritual to be psychic?
No, you don’t. Being psychic is an ability. We all have different abilities, such as musical ability. For me, being spiritual is having my own relationship with God, not necessarily based on religion. There are two common misconceptions about psychics and religion. One is that people think all psychics are evil or work for Satan. The other is that all psychics are on a spiritual path. Not all psychics are on a spiritual path.

What do you say to people who are skeptical of psychics?
I’m glad people have a healthy skepticism. If someone’s on the fence, I’ll say, ” If it’s interesting to you, why don’t you explore it? Read some books about it rather than just accepting that it’s not real.”

Do you think maybe it’s hard for people who haven’t experienced it to believe it?
I do. Even people who are very close to me say, ‘Echo, I don’t know what you are talking about. This doesn’t make sense to me.’ It’s tough, especially for people who are very intellectual or logical. A dear friend of mine, for example, says ‘I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t believe it. It boggles my mind that you’ve been doing it for forty years.’

Do you think people get more or less skeptical with age?
Less. When we’re younger, we think we know it all. When we get older–50 and up–we realize we don’t have all the answers and go on a quest to find the real answers.

Are there good psychics and bad psychics?
The bummer is that there are psychics out there who take advantage of people. Someone once came up to my dad at a football game and said she saw several dark clouds around him and could get rid of them for $5,000. That kind of stuff really irritates me.

So how do you know if someone is good?
I ask my intuition. When I was younger I went to a lot of different psychics. I learned a lot from what I call the ‘half-developed psychics.’ Some people see pictures in their head and think they’re ready to go, ready to read people’s futures. I went to college, I had other careers and I practiced for 12 years before I really truly, felt I could do this as a full-time career.

What do women over fifty ask you about the most?
They want to know about improving their health, their spirituality, second careers and some are asking about second marriages. The word that comes to me is freedom. It’s no longer about what they can do for others, it’s about what they can do for themselves.

What services do you provide?
I teach online psychic development classes and in-person psychic development classes. I’ve written 11 books about healing, intuition and psychic abilities. I also have a Healing Penpals Program. We match healers with people in need. We’ve done absentee healings on over 7,000 people for free. We get letters from all over the world saying things such as, “My stage 4 cancer is gone. My doctor wants to know what you did.”

Any predictions for the coming year?
The rest of 2011 and 2012 are going to continue to be intense. For many years people have been fulfilling their emptiness with material things. The blessing of this economy is that people’s buttons are going to get pushed so they are going to look at their values and priorities differently and find their spirituality. What concerns me for 2012 is the weather–it will be calm one day and erratic the next. We need to check in with our intuition before making any outdoor plans.

Enter to win a 30-minute phone conversation with Echo plus her books, The Gift and A Small, Still Voice. One FOF will win a phone reading plus Echo’s books. Two runners up will win Echo’s books. To enter, comment below and answer: Have you ever had a psychic reading?

(See all our past winners. See official rules. One winner is chosen at random from all those who ask a question. Contest closes July 14, 2011.)

{Poll} Are these FOF celebs acting spiritual or silly?

Bless their souls for their unwavering devotion… or should we say a prayer for these FOF celebs? Read about their religious practices, then decide, are these stars “acting” spiritual or just plain silly?

PLAYBOY: Sounds like you have all the answers. Where do we go when we die?
Kirstie Alley: We just pick another body. We go to the nearest hospital where women are giving birth, find some good-looking parents and jump in.

-Excerpt from an interview with Playboy on her beliefs rooted in Scientology, 2008.

Scientology may have saved Kirstie Alley’s soul… but has Kirstie sold her soul to them? In 1979, the FOF actress attended a Scientology-supported rehab program which she says saved her from a serious cocaine addiction. “I thought, O.K., this is either the world’s biggest scam or it’s fabulous,” she said in a Time Magazine article. “I stopped working, quit my job, and I drove my car to California to be a Scientologist.” In 2000, Kirstie Alley bought a $1.5 million mansion in Clearwater, FL, Scientology’s spiritual headquarters. In 2007, she gifted $5 million to the Church of Scientology and appeared in this preachy pamphlet in which she gives the religion rave reviews. In addition to saving her from a drug addiction, Kirstie Alley credits Scientology – along with Jenny Craig – for helping her lose weight, says CBS News. “Without Scientology, I’d be dead,” Kirstie Alley said, according to Gawker.

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Is Madonna practicing Kabbalah in good faith? On her Re-Invention World Tour in 2004, Madonna rocked a “Kabbalists Do It Better” t-shirt. In 1997 she threw a Kabbalah cocktail party. “Since Madonna first started singing Kabbalah’s praises six years ago — literally, on her 1998 album Ray of Light— she has arguably become the practice’s most prominent advocate,” according to a USA Today article from 2004. She may be the most prominent advocate, but Madonna’s showy acts of spirituality have upset some Rabbis and scholars who say she’s “preaching a practice whose ties to traditional, ancient Kabbalah are tenuous at best and treacherous at worst,” according to the same USA Today article. “Watchdog types say the Kabbalah Center is more about merchandising — ’empowered’ stones, soul-cleansing water, those $26 strings — than enlightenment.” According to a BBC article, Madonna defended her practice of Kabbalah, saying, “it would be less controversial if I joined the Nazi Party,” and it’s “not hurting anybody.”

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There’s a real, live witch hunt going on in Hollywood, with FOF singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks in question for her involvement in Wicca. Known for her mystical fashion  — billowing chiffon skirts, shawls and layers of lace — it’s no mystery where the rumors of witchcraft surfaced. “Some rather credulous people believe her lyrics in songs such as Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman and even the recent Sorcerer reference a demi-monde of white magic and wiccan ritual,” writes Guy Blackman in a 2006 article for The Age. Furthermore, her music is copyrighted under the name Welsh Witch Music. When confronted about the rumors Stevie says it’s all a bunch of hocus-pocus. “I have no idea what precipitated those rumors… I am not a witch. Get a life!” she said in a Yahoo chat in 1998. “I spent thousands of dollars on beautiful black clothes and had to stop wearing them for a long time because a lot of people scared me. And that’s really unfair to me, I think, for people – other people – to conjure up their ideas of what I am or what I believe in,” Nicks said in a 1983 Entertainment Tonight interview.

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Academy Award winning English actress and FOF Judi Dench was first attracted to the Quaker faith because she loved the school uniforms, according to an article on the Hampshire Quakers website. But, her devotion to the religion has become much more than a fashion statement.  Raised Methodist, she converted to Quakerism after attending The Mount School, a Quaker public secondary school in York, England. “It’s essential to my life and work,” she said of her faith to a reporter for The Guardian. But it seems, she still has a sense of humor about her faith. “When we were doing Arbuzov’s The Promise,” she recalls, “I said to Ian McKellen we should keep three seats empty and imagine we were playing to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Ian rather wittily said, ‘Surely we’ll only need one seat rather than three?'”

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A hot debate has surfaced over FOF actress Trudie Styler and rock star hubby, Sting’s sex life. The couple have long been rumored to practice tantric sex “in which they use yoga to achieve prolonged states of ecstasy,” according to a New York Post article. “Sadomasochism is the new Tantra,” Trudie once said according to a Huffington Post article. Tantra is “Hindu or Buddhist scriptures dealing especially with techniques and rituals including meditative and sexual practices,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Still, Hindu leaders are not amused by the couple’s loose interpretation of tantra as a sex practice. “Hindus welcomed Hollywood and other celebrities to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and not just flirting with its terminology and concepts and using it as a fashion statement,” Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism said according to TheIndian.com.

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Images via Zimbio: Kirstie Alley, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Judi Dench, Trudie Styler

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{Reading} 6 Spiritual Books That Changed Their Lives

“A good book has no ending,” said author R.D. Cumming. The best books provoke, inspire and stay with us long after the last page. Here, FOFs share 6 life-changing spiritual books and the lessons they learned from them. Has a book profoundly impacted your life?

1. FOF Rosanne Henrickson: Be All That You Can Be by John C. Maxwell

“This book is about how to reach our potential and to help others. I’m on my fifth reading! We all have challenges on our journey toward our goals and dreams. This book has helped me to become a better person and to reach my God-given potential by helping me take positive action, have discipline, take risks, be committed, embrace challenges and help others pursue their goals and dreams.”

2. FOF Cheryl Savage: Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch

“Sometimes people are looking for a ‘sign’ from God. This book challenges that. It’s argues that communication with God can occur within yourself–your intuition. I am a very spiritual person. There is nobody else responsible for our journey in our life but us. My mother used to always say, ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps and you get back on that horse.’ Conversations With God talks a lot about that.”

3. FOF Mary Nedvins: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

“The book is about how to live life to the fullest and to pay attention to everything around you. Tolle would say, next time you wash your hands, pay attention to the way the soap and water feel on your skin. Don’t just wash your hands. It’s life-changing.”

4. FOF Jan Melk: The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

“This book teaches you to be aware of the present. It taught me not to spend a lot of time thinking about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow, but to be really aware of what’s happening NOW. With that awareness you feel in control, peace and grounding.”

5. FOF Sherry DeRosa: The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles by Bruce Lipton

“This book provides scientific evidence that our DNA is not determined at birth but instead, is determined by our belief system. In the past, I sought science as an alternative to accepting spiritual truths. The book revealed that life was not an issue of science OR spirituality, it was an amalgam of science AND spirituality.”

6. FOF Kathy Gheen: You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism by Brad Hirschfield

“This book is by an Orthodox Rabbi who was a fanatic as a young man and realized the peril of thinking that there is only one truth. Hirschfield shares his own personal insights regarding Judaism, Islamic and Christian perspectives and how we can learn to discuss our differences rather than clash over them. I believe his message that ‘conflict is an opportunity to learn and grow — and often to grow closer to one another’ can be life-changing and maybe one day world-changing. He has devoted his life to spreading the messages of inclusiveness, tolerance and peace.”