Early Psychics

Psychic traditions have existed since the beginning of recorded history and were present in one way or another in ancient cultures throughout the world. The royalty of many cultures used divination to seek guidance in war and to forecast natural disasters such as drought and floods. Ancient Chinese diviners cast bones and yarrow sticks and interpreted the way they fell. The prosperity and lifestyle for many of the diviners to the court greatly depended on the success of their predictions.

In the ancient Middle East, the psychic powers were practiced by the prophets, as described in the Old Testament of the Bible. In Africa, the ancient peoples used trance states, achieved through the use of hallucinogenic plants as well as dancing, singing, and chanting, to contact the spirit world. The Egyptians communicated with their dead, forecast future events, and aligned their pyramids with star formations. Aristotle discovered the Egyptian technique of palmistry, which is still practiced today.

The Greeks used oracles at sacred locations to give prophecies of the future. The Romans sacrificed animals and studied their entrails for events yet to come. They also looked to the stars for messages from beyond.

Native American Psychics

Early American psychic practices have also been documented. The Aztecs in Mexico used astrology and oracles, while the Incas in Peru received their information from patterns they saw in grains of corn and coca leaves. Native Americans from what is now the United States and Canada followed many practices similar to those of the Africans, including singing, dancing, chanting, and using hallucinogenic substances to connect with the Great Spirit. When males reached puberty, they would enter the wilderness to meet the Great Spirit, who would be there at the end of their lives to help them move on to the next world.

Shamans, priests, priestesses, and medicine men, as well as others trained in their culture's mystical traditions, set out through their minds on sacred journeys to other realms in order to retrieve revealing information for the future. The key to these journeys was the ability of the travelers to be induced into a deep trance state.


Nostradamus was the best-known psychic of the Middle Ages. He wrote almost a thousand prophetic verses in combinations of several different languages, including French and Latin, in a verse form known as quatrain, with each stanza consisting of four lines that rhyme alternately. The real key to the writings of Nostradamus may never be totally understood.

Nostradamus was a French physician (1502–1566). His work, The Centuries, was published in 1555 and brought him fame as well as an appointment to Catherine de Medici's court as her personal astrologer. Centuries is still analyzed today by scholars looking for references to the world's future.

  1. Home
  2. Psychic
  3. What Is Psychic Ability?
  4. Early Psychics
Visit other About.com sites: