JOAN Miller has always been different. Her mother often told her as a child that she just wasn't like her siblings.
And at 70 years of age, she would have to agree.
Afterall, communicating with the spirits of the dead and seeing into the future are not common traits.
Joan says she first became aware of her psychic abilities in her mid-thirties, and after further investigation she realised that the reason she just “knew things” was to do with the communication coming from above.
“My first husband suffered from severe depression.
“Not knowing what else to do one day I simply cried out for help,” she said.
“You can imagine the shock I had when I felt it come through me.”
But it was way before this time that Joan said she felt she had some kind of “psychic ability”.
“I had written spiritual poetry as a child and knew things at school without ever having learnt it,” she said.
“I was the dux of my school at 14 as nothing was an effort - but I didn't understand how I knew everything - not until much later.”
It was after healing her husband that Joan attended a spiritual church with a friend in Brisbane in 1977, she went on to be ordained minister of the church some 15 years ago.
“This is when I really learnt of my psychic abilities,” she said. “I also attended meditation classes and met well-known clairvoyant Doris Stokes. I asked Doris for some guidance as I was having trouble cutting off from people's thoughts. Psychic people are super-sensitive and I needed to learn how to tune out.”
Joan said she was advised to indulge in creative pursuits - art, music, gardening, cooking - whatever appealed.
“I am self-taught on the piano and can play all the classics and I love to paint which I do often,” she said.
“I also decorate special occasion cakes and sew clothes as well as work in the garden - I love to create things of beauty.
“Along with all this, reading futures and communicating with spirits has been part of my life for more than 30 years.”
Joan, who has five children and 15 grandchildren, lived at Mt Burrell from 1979 to 2007 when she made the move into Murwillumbah.
While living at Mount Burrell, driving bobcats as a business with her husband, Joan also ran a weekend seminar centre where she taught psychic development, inner peace and spring cleaning your mind.
“I see our life energy as our living god - if you focus on the past you deplete that energy. While ever you're hanging on to past garbage you can not totally focus on the now,” she said.
“Everyone needs to live in the now and count your blessings.”
Joan said it took a little while to adjust to living in town but now she really loved it.
“I'm lucky I have my health and I thrive on achievement. I love creative stuff.
“I also ran the spiritual church in Murwillumbah from 2001 until last year and now Reverend Judy Jackson runs it.”
However it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Joan who says life can be tough for people with a gift.
“There's a lot of prejudice against people like me,” she said. “They say you can't be Christian and a clairvoyant - but very much you can as it's a gift from god like any other.”
“I work as a spiritual counsellor, hypnotherapist, clairvoyant, medium and spiritaul celebrant, and also do psychometry and palmistry.”
Joan received her diploma in clinical hypnotherapy in 1991 and said the benefits of hypnotherapy were many including: anxiety, depression, loss of weight, studies, sports motivation, nicotine addiction and more.
“When you learn to tap into your own psychic abilities nothing is a problem - you can tap into the higher dimension and learn to do anything,” she said.
“And I love to help people in whatever way I can.”
Joan said her psychic abilities could have come from her maternal grandmother who spent many years in a mental institution because of her gift.
“In those days people could have you locked up and that's what happened to my grandmother for many years,” she said.
“I think people are afraid of things they don't fully understand.
“A lot of my motivation these days is to help people understand their god-given gifts. And I hope my gift is more accepted these days.
Joan said television shows dealing with spirits and mediums had also helped to make it more acceptable in the mainstream.
“I've worked with police on a few murder cases - they have not been local cases and it's not something I'm able to speak freely about. But I think this proves it is becoming more open and acceptable.”
According to Joan there are “only two things in life that are totally impossible - a woman can't get a man pregnant and a man can't give birth to a baby. Anything else you can have a damn good crack at - and that's how I live my life.”
Joan said with clairvoyant readings about 80 per cent of what is said is fixed and there's a 20 per cent element of free will that allows a person to change their path.
“I strive to be as accurate as I can. Sometimes the time factor of when things may occur is difficult to predict,” she said.
“I can usually pick up between two to three years of what's in store for a person but can also have long-shots of something that is happening a long way off.
“Tarot cards are extremely accurate - it's all in the combination of cards - they dictate the story. I use tarot cards in readings to begin as they are like my road map.”
“I have a lot of people come to me as a medium - people who have lost loved ones. I have to tune into the person and put myself in a detached meditative state. It takes a lot out of me.
“At times it gets heavy going but it is rewarding to help people.
“The most important thing in life is to believe in yourself, live in the now and count your blessings.”