Rich Powers was sitting on a folding chair with his eyes tightly shut when something brought him to full attention.
“Hey, Ray,” he said, “there’s a little bit of stuck energy behind you. It’s a rust orange color, maybe some family energy. As the translucent blue comes in, though, it’s cleaning out the rust.”
Sitting opposite him, Ray seemed to immediately understand. “It has to do with the growth period I’m in,” he explained later. “It’s something I’ve been working on for a while — making decisions for myself without letting other people’s energies interfere.”
Such is the tenor of conversation on almost any day at Anaheim’s Southern California Psychic Institute, where people let their colors show. In fact, said Joel Hipps, who co-directs the place with his wife, Barbara, checking auras is a daily routine.
“There are no secrets in a psychic institute,” said the former civil engineer-turned-clairvoyant, whose humor sometimes masks the essential seriousness of his endeavor. “We teach people how to manage their lives.”
In fact, managing lives has been a major theme for the couple since at least 1995, when they arrived in Southern California to spread psychic techniques learned at a similar center in Berkeley.
Aided by 10 teachers, they now instruct as many as 100 people a month at nonprofit psychic centers in Santa Monica, Costa Mesa and a business suite in Anaheim.
“Most people don’t come here to be psychic,” Hipps said, “but because it makes everything work. As spirit, you have instincts and abilities that people call psychic. You already have the ability. What we teach you is how to use it more effectively.”
For starters, he said, students, who range in age from 18 to 85 and come from every walk of life, enroll in a series of six-week courses covering such topics as basic meditation, healing and women’s intuition. Those with more serious intentions, Hipps said, then pay $175 a month for a two-year training program to become certified clairvoyants.
“Psychic ability is like a muscle,” teacher Pam Danzig said. “The more you use it, the more defined it becomes.”
Lots of psychic lifting seemed to be taking place in Anaheim on a recent Monday night, a time when students gather regularly to massage each other’s auras. While some appeared to be directing invisible orchestras in the sky (actually, Hipps explained, “feeling” the edges of human energy fields), others sat in chairs doing psychic readings between noisy yawns symptomatic, he said, of the extraordinary energy being released.
“It looks like your third layer is a light but solid green,” Powers told Ray. “Looks like you’ve raised your vibrations (and are) updating some old healing agreements. I’m saying hello to this green and that pink color that’s not really yours, but you’re stuck on.”
Powers, a graduate of the institute’s clairvoyance program, said the training has changed his life.
“I’m much more able to cope with my energy,” said the 35-year-old substitute teacher from Long Beach. In fact, he said, his recently unleashed psychic powers have, among other things, enabled him to publish a book he’d been working on for 10 years, become a more effective teacher and finally move out of his parents’ house at age 30.
“I see this place as a catalyst to my moving out,” he said.
In a slight reversal of Powers’ story, Ray, a 32-year-old investor who declined to give his last name, said his training at the psychic institute had empowered him to pressure his parents and sister to move out of his house. “Now I’m completely on my own,” he said. “I’m much more in my space.”
Patty Shen, 28, of Torrance said she was finally able to purchase a new car after five years of contemplating it.
“I love it,” she said of her 2003 PT Cruiser, whose shiny finish gives no indication of its aura.
Christine Lenz, 55, of the Los Angeles community of Woodland Hills said she recently quit her job as a real estate agent to write poetry. How does she support herself now? Well, she said, “a lot of miracles happen in my life. Money just seems to come in for what I need.”
For some, being psychic has a spiritual aspect. At least once a month, Hipps said, the institute, which he also calls the Church of the Rose, holds a religious service for students and certified clairvoyants. “We’re a nondenominational Christian psychic church,” he said. “We see Jesus as a psychic, and basically we’re trying to learn to perform all the miracles he did.”
A few miracles already have been mastered, Hipps said.
During the recent wild fires, for instance, he said, several church members managed to save their homes by surrounding them with protective fields of psychic energy. He said he contributed to the Anaheim Angels’ World Series win by sending good vibrations to some of the players on TV. And one of his favorite feats, Hipps said, is to improve the weather.
“The easiest way to do it,” he explained, “is to move away the clouds. You just go somewhere where there is excessive earth energy and direct it toward the sky.”