Modern Mysticism: A Conversation With Brooklyn Tarot Reader Calley Nelson 🔮🃏🐈

New York is a place of magic, more than most realize. The tables and neon signs advertising psychic readings are beacons of spiritually gifted individuals working to heal and connect others. 

I had the chance to sit down with Calley Nelson, who has previously chatted with iheartradio about celebrity psychic predictions, read more about the Brooklyn witch below. 

How long have you known you were gifted? How did you start?

I started reading tarot when I was really young, probably around 11 or 12, and I taught myself mostly by looking at the cards and recognizing how they applied to my real life. I started with the Hanson Roberts Tarot which corresponds very closely to the Rider Waite Smith, a deck that was created with images that anyone who studied them could derive meaning from.

Before tarot, I remember reading playing cards on the bus for my friends and giving them psychic readings even though I had no clue that that’s what I was doing at the time.

What is a normal day like for you?

There is hardly a “normal” day, especially since I do a lot of parties and events. Sometimes it feels like I never stop working because this business is so personal to me. Meditating is part of my work. Therapy is part of my work. Exercise is part of my work. And really they should be a part of everyone’s work I think, but it is part of mine because I know it makes me a better tarot reader. I’m essentially “on call” as a full-time reader. 

When there’s a job, I’ll take it. When someone wants a reading, I’m there. My business has grown by word of mouth, tabling at events and surrounding myself with people who are doing interesting work as event organizers and I expect that trend to continue.

Day to day, I’m doing the self-care stuff, but I’m also on social media much more than I’ll admit (mostly on Instagram and Reddit), writing emails, tracking my finances and the business end of things, taking readings and lessons over the phone and video chat, getting ready for parties, studying tarot with my mentor, cooking a good meal or two, playing video games with my boyfriend, snuggling with my cat, meeting with private clients in various locations around NYC and Brooklyn.

Sometimes I travel for events, too. Last year I went to San Francisco and Boston for the first time and visited Chicago several times. I also did a music festival last summer in upstate New York and camped out in a beautiful state park for a couple of days. There was also a psychic retreat that I did with a small group. I love where my work takes me and I can’t wait to see what opportunities arise this year.

Witchiest thing that’s ever happened to you?

Oh, this is a hard one. It’s difficult to talk about but long story short, I started doing readings for myself, poking for ways to develop my intuition and what I needed to do, if anything, to become a better reader. 

I was engaging in personal spell work and sexual healing for a couple months and then I had a wild dream that totally rocked me. And then I had several full body experiences where I remembered being touched inappropriately by a family member when I was three. 

You have to face these things eventually if you want to really hone your intuition and feel empowered as a person in general and once I confronted that I felt much more confident. I contribute my tarot practice as one of the main tools that’s helped me come to terms with my story, my intuition, and my agency.

Favorite Tarot Deck? Favorite Tarot?

It’s difficult to choose just one! I read mostly with contemporary variations of the Rider Waite Smith. I would recommend Mystic Mondays, The Spoila Tarot or the Mesquite Tarot, all of which have been created in the past couple years and function as great beginner decks.

Are there other gifted people you admire or follow?

Right now, I’m studying under Ferol Humphrey who’s been reading tarot in Manhattan for decades. It’s amazing to have someone in your corner to nurture your ideas and nerd out with.

How would someone know if they are gifted?

Even if you aren’t outwardly concerned with your intuition, it’s something we all use every single day in order to better our lives. A big part of my practice is helping people figure out in which ways they are gifted and how to apply it, using an approach I call “Gamify Your Life”.

What do you love about New York? Brooklyn? Are you connected to other spiritual people?

I love that New York and Brooklyn exist as places where everyone is welcome. That’s the ethos, and you can argue that yes, it’s expensive, but it’s not that much more expensive than other cities (if you’re living in Brooklyn at least, I don’t have much of a desire to live in Manhattan, personally) but the convenience that living here provides is totally worth it if you are a creative who thrives in being around people. 

Parties and special events here are so numerous so there’s always work for me here and there will always be work as more and more people continue to reject materialism and embrace experiences. Most of my NYC friends are spiritual to varying degrees or have their own magical creative processes going on.

Favorite place in New York?

I honestly don’t know if I’ve been living in New York long enough to say that I have a favorite place in New York yet. I’ve been here a little over a year now and it feels like I still have so much to explore! I’ve hardly had the same day twice here.

Grab a chance to get a donation based reading from Calley at AUGMENTED April 25 at 7 PM, get your tickets here

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