New York Times: When Jeffrey Moran needs advice about his daily commute into Manhattan or his next business trip, he does not plug his destination into HopStop or consult a travel Web site.
Mr. Moran craves more ethereal guidance, and that is where Linda Lauren, a psychic medium, comes in.
“I have a relationship with her, just like you would a counselor or a therapist,” said Mr. Moran, 44, a public relations chief for a wine and spirits company. “You can have the best travel agent and the best assistant and the best travel planner in the world, but if something is not right, it’s not right.”
Under the category of not right is traveling during a full moon (one will rise on Thursday) or when Mercury is in retrograde. More auspicious factors include certain dates, like Nov. 11 (or 11/11/11), which falls on Friday.
“It means angelic protection,” Ms. Lauren said. “It means alignment. It’s all about embracing a new vibration. Travel will be better.”
But what happens if a full moon coincides with a good date, as it might on Friday?
That’s fine, Ms. Lauren explained. A full moon creates an abundance of energy, so people tend to rush more; a full moon on 11/11/11 just requires a traveler to manage or harness the excess energy, she said.
The topic of travel has become more prevalent among clairvoyants, according to Rosemary the Celtic Lady, the founder of the American Association of Psychics. She said she counseled clients to exhale negative energy from travel stress “out of their body.” A psychic Web site also advertises a specific $45 reading for travel, saying that whether the client is “traveling on business or vacation, this reading will help you be better prepared.”
The types of queries that Ms. Lauren receives speak to larger anxieties. Commuters who are heading to the office encounter service cuts on bus and train lines. Travelers tolerate grueling business trips that they feel they cannot turn down because they fear losing their jobs.
“People are looking for any way to get control,” said Dale Thompson, a psychologist who flies about 150 times each year. “Now it’s a grand enterprise to fly anywhere. It’s just become so much more of a hassle.”
Psychologists say more patients are talking to them about travel stress. Bonnie Jacobson, a clinical psychologist, said that, in the current economy, her patients felt pressure to pack as much into a business trip as possible and never to tell their bosses the toll that endless travel had taken on their personal lives.
Mr. Moran identifies with these issues. He first consulted with Ms. Lauren in 2007 about whether to buy a condominium and started meeting with her regularly to talk about meditation. During one meeting in 2008, Ms. Lauren said, he seemed run-down; he was fighting off a sinus infection he had developed because he had been traveling for three straight weeks. They started talking about his travel schedule and have not stopped since.
Ms. Lauren, a fourth-generation psychic medium who said she took counseling classes in college, said that a quarter of her time in sessions was now spent on travel issues.
She typically scours travel itineraries for her clients to make sure they are choosing the best numerological times to travel, and she reads through a special deck of cards when they ask her about attending conventions.
On Wednesday, Mr. Moran traveled to Ms. Lauren’s office in Mountainside, N.J., as he does once every two months. Over the faint sound of chimes and the delicate scent of candles, Mr. Moran ran through some of his concerns: should he spend more time at his company’s Westchester County office, and are Mondays good travel days to head up there?
Ms. Lauren, who charges $100 for a half-hour session, consulted a calendar on her iPad and advised him to put off that decision because of all the planetary activity ahead.
Mr. Moran asked whether it was all right to drive with his partner to Florida on Jan. 13, a Friday.
Ms. Lauren said any fears about Friday the 13th were what her mother would call “stupid-stitions.” She then consulted her calendar and cards.
“I’m feeling you can go early on the 13th,” she said, adding that he might want to give himself two days to recuperate after the trip.
Sometimes, Ms. Lauren’s clients just need help with handling their daily commutes. Craig Rogers, the fitness and sales director for Gravity Fitness and Spa at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, said he originally consulted Ms. Lauren to help him communicate with his dead sister, who was profoundly mentally retarded. But he soon found himself talking with her about his 50-minute daily commute from Plainfield, N.J., to his job in Midtown.
Mr. Rogers has followed Ms. Lauren’s advice to meditate during his commute, using downloaded images from her Web site as visual aids.
“I see people just standing on a platform, just flipping out,” Mr. Rogers said. “You think people are going to be late for something magically wild. To me, you know, it’s just a delay.”
Not every psychic has seen a sharp increase in travel-related issues, however. Stephen Robinson, the executive director and founder of the Holistic Studies Institute of New York, said travel questions made up only about 10 percent of his readings.
“What they are particularly concerned about is safety with travel,” Mr. Robinson said. “They always ask the question, ‘Is the plane going to crash?’ I’ve never seen a person’s plane crash, and I’ve been right every time. What I see are mostly inconveniences.”