Kelly Lee Owens On Tarot, Astrology & Connecting With Spirits

Kelly Lee Owens was drawn to mediumship and mysticism from an early age. She tells Rob Hakimian how learning to read tarot and natal charts has helped her to look harder at her own life

Portrait by Kim Hiorthøy, all other photographs by Kelly Lee Owens

"I’ve always had a sense of spirituality, which is connected to nature and coming from Wales. I was always looking for something more, and other ways to connect more deeply to that side of myself.

"I was a latecomer to the world of tarot. Wales is a spiritual place in the history of magic and things, but I think it’s only in the last few decades the spirituality thing has been on the rise. When I was growing up, there wasn’t actually that much access to these mystical places; there was maybe one shop in Chester, which is England, and I grew up close to the border, so I would pop into a little crystal shop there.

"But piquing my interest in tarot was Manchester; when I moved there in 2007 or 2008, that was the beginning of my landing in that world, I guess. I found myself in these kind of – what people call ‘weirdo shops’ – and I was slightly intimidated, even though everyone behind the counters was very nice and helpful. I would buy crystals and sometimes little trinkets, but for some reason tarot kind of intimidated me. So it took me just a little bit longer, until I moved to London, before I got into it."

A tarot deck should find you

"People say that they have to find you; somehow you have to be given a pack a tarot cards, or just come across some randomly, which sounds kind of odd.

"I found my first deck in a charity shop. They’d never been opened, and I think they honestly cost me two pounds or something. They’re not fancy, they don’t look beautiful, but they’re very clear and very direct. That’s still the deck that I personally work with today. I love them and everyone that has a reading from me loves them, because they’re so used to the opposite – like this floweriness – and I think sometimes that can be off-putting. I’m kind of scared to get a new deck. If I come across one and I need to buy it and work with it, I will know. Again it comes back to an intuition."

Connection to the mystical sides of life is passed down through generations

"My great grandmother, Gwen Owens, used to read tea leaves, and people would come to her for psychic readings. It was quite common, but she hid it from most of her family for a long time, especially from her husband. So when her husband went out to work, local women would come over and have their tea leaves read.

"I never met her unfortunately, she passed before I was born. When I started going to mediums, from the age of 16, the name Gwen would always come through; she has a very strong presence on the other side. And I actually didn’t know about her properly until I was about 17 or 18, when I could start asking my family, ‘Who is Gwen?’

"I think my dad noticed from an early age that I had certain senses and intuitions, and things that I would dream would predict things. He then started to open up about Gwen and her history with that stuff. So yeah, I was even discovering my own family history via psychic mediums, which is kind of weird. But I feel like she’s a guide, in a way."

Going to a medium is just a thing you do in Wales

"I’ve been to many different mediums. There’s an amazing one called Helen Parry Jones, in Wales, that my mum and I used to go to, and I mean, the accuracy is kind of unbelievable. Of course, she talked about things that already happened, very specific things, which helps the trust process, because, like with anything, there are always phoney people out there, no matter what kind of thing you’re connecting to. People do have to go in with very specific things in order to connect well, and she was very good. And then there was this old guy called Mr. Edwards. He was in his 80s when I saw him, and I think he’s passed now, but he’d been doing it his whole life. My mum had been going to him for ages, I think she was 19 was the first time she saw him.

"Then I’ve just gone to random ones, like in Brighton on the street. I’ve been quite lucky because the ones that I’ve connected to have, for the most part, been super scarily accurate and precise. I think that’s really important; if anyone’s going to have a reading, you shouldn’t be doing talking and you shouldn’t be giving anything away. They should just communicate purely with you."

Sometimes the best results can come from a spur of the moment decision to be read

"That day I saw the reader in Brighton, I was on the high street and pottering around. I could see three people on these little tables in the middle of street, and the one that I chose, she was somewhere else. She was looking off into the distance while she was talking to someone and reading them. She was kind of plugged in, seemingly, to something else – somewhere else. And I was like, ‘Yeah, she’s my woman.’

"And my god, she told me things that had already happened – and the things that I was presently experiencing – in a lot of detail. She started there first, which again is a great sign for me, and then she spoke about my future. She did actually speak about being on stage performing, but at that point, I was maybe 18 or something, and I’d never been in a band, never really written a song or anything like that. And then she was telling me about my kind of trajectory with music. It’s obviously something I’d always hoped for, but I was just like, little Kelly Owens, that kind of naive kid who wants to do music but has no idea where to start. And she kind of mapped out a lot of things that have since happened to me in quite a bit of detail. She was great. I never saw her again though, it was a one off. A good one off."

Cards are just one way of connecting to spirits

"People like Helen Parry Jones and Mr. Edwards, they were just purely mediums, so they didn’t use any tarot, it was just simply them channelling messages. There’s clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience; so people either hear things, they feel things, they receive the visuals in their minds, or hear words in their minds.

"The lady in Brighton, for example, and psychics I’ve been to in London have also used tarot initially, to get a grounded basic reading of where things are at, and then they start to channel around the cards. And I think that’s kind of what I do. I’m not a medium in terms of channelling, I’m not able to receive messages so directly, just from spirit, but I use tarot myself personally to tap into my own psyche and subconscious and to deliver messages. It’s hard to explain sometimes, but I’m trying my best."

Natal charts are a doorway to understanding oneself

"I like to look at natal charts, I’ve come to feel like it’s an interesting way of knowing oneself; it’s kind of like the energetic blueprints of the soul. It maps where the stars were the moment you took your first breath. It sounds very poetic, but my god I’ve been called out by my natal birth chart.

"I read my natal chart at least once a month because it’s something about it tells you about the places where you need to probably improve; like some of the blind spots perhaps that you have and some of the difficult energetic aspects that surround your chart. So I refer back to it, it’s been a good companion for me. It’s been good to keep coming back to, to see if I’m growing in those areas that I connect with. It’s a process, that’s why I keep going back. Initially like when it calls me out on all these things, I’m like, ‘No, I’m not. I’m not like that. That’s nothing to do with me!’ Then a few months later, I go back to it and I’m like, ‘Oh, I see that now. Okay, cool.’ It’s a constant type of collaboration, in a sense, to work with it and stay open to it.

"I think it’s an interesting thing for anyone to be able to do, and I’ve sent many musicians their birth chart. I’m that classic person that’s like, ‘Have you ever had your birth chart read? I can do that. Do you know what time you were born?’

"It talks about the intricacies of the energy that you are born with, and, in a sense, what your soul is working with. And so it is an intimate thing. It’s kind of like almost like sending stems to someone – which kind of sounds like a crazy thing to relate it to – but it’s kind of like the individual stems of your character, in a sense, and how that makes up the whole song. So I’ve only done it with good friends or collaborators and people that trust me to do it."

Trust is key to receiving meaningful guidance

"It’s often about trust, because a lot of people – and I’m sure they will even reading this article – rubbish this stuff, and to a degree I can kind of see why. What it takes is a deep trust, and there’s a vulnerability in trust, and this is why I still only practice with people I know. It’s important for me, as a woman especially, to connect to those parts of myself and deeply trust myself. The more I do it, the clearer the messages come through, and that allows me to trust deeper.

"I think that ability to trust myself and my intuitions is something I practice in writing and producing music all the time. That connection of ultimate trust with myself means that when I have an idea, or something that needs to come through, I’m acting like a conduit for my sound – I’m receiving things. And I know this all sounds kind of pretentious, but that’s what it is for me – this is my experience and no one can invalidate my own experience to me. I just think it’s important for me to again just say that to protect myself in a sense, because this is how I create my art and it’s all interconnected.

"With this second record, I was honouring the ideas fully first, and allowing them to flow through, because I’ve been practicing that in myself for the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the technicality of the production, the nudges and the dipping of volumes and the kind of automation stuff, I’m obsessed with that, but that came later this time round. That’s part of honouring the idea fully for me, just to have the sacredness of the original thought coming through; trusting that and seeing that through to the end has been amazing – and really, really freeing as well.

"If you’re thinking of starting tarot, practice trusting in yourself. Because a lot of us don’t, fundamentally, in anything we do, and I think that’s a shame. It’s not to be arrogant, it’s not based on ego, it’s something else that I’m talking about; just to fundamentally trust and have patience."

Sometimes the cards will tell you something you’re not ready to hear

"I did a reading for myself once when I was in a very difficult relationship. The devil card came up, then the death card came up, then the 10 of Swords, which is like the ending of a relationship. It was like one, two, three – there was no fucking about. And that was with my deck – that’s one thing I really love about them, they’re very direct. Sometimes what you need is for things to call you out and to be very clear, and I’ve had that quite a few times. That was one where it was like ‘Whoa, okay. Yeah. Alright, I’m listening.’

"Some friends I read for are like ‘I don’t want to hear that.’ That’s what we’re all like, isn’t it? We want to know the good stuff, like, ‘Who am I going to fall in love with? Is this gonna work?’ I’ve read for friends, and the cards have shown me ‘This relationship is not working’ and people definitely get annoyed. They don’t want to hear it. But I always ask them to take a picture of the cards and to write down a general thing that they got from it so that they can refer back to it. Because, like anything, it’s something that doesn’t always make sense in the moment; if you’re not open to hearing these things then you perhaps won’t take it in. So I think taking pictures or recording the reading in audio form is important thing for mediumship."

The Death card should not be feared

"Working in a cancer hospital when I was 18-19, and before that in nursing home when I was 17, it’s been a constant from a young age that I’ve been exposed to death on many different levels. So there’s possibly no surprise, but I don’t mind the Death card, which is something that people are the most fearful of seeing in readings. It’s what the rebirth offers after the death of something, that’s what I’m interested in. That’s what I really enjoy guiding people through as well. I think part of my path is to highlight that we don’t need to be so fearful of death itself, that we need more conversation around it, and just work with it and through it and open up to it.

"It can be a sign of liberation, something needing to die off. It’s the ending of something, [it doesn’t mean] literal death in terms of the body. I mean it can be that, don’t get me wrong, because look, we’re all gonna die. I’m stating the obvious here, but we tend to try to run away from that, right. But within life, and within all relationships, we’re cyclical beings. Right now we’re going into autumn, we’re in a dying phase, in a cyclical sense, but we hope for spring. So far, it’s come every year – I mean, climate change, who knows? But our nature is that of a cyclical one. And so to be unafraid of that and to work towards that rebirth is empowering, I think."

2020 is the dismantling of structures – and hopefully the beginning of something better

"At the beginning of the year, I asked for feelers to the energy of 2020, and I did know that astrologically, Pluto, which is the planet of destruction and death, was connecting with Saturn in Capricorn. Saturn is the ruling of structures and governments and Pluto is the destroyer. They connected with each other in January, and so all astrologers worldwide knew that 2020 was the beginning of the dismantling of structures that we’ve known for millennia.

"I channelled some stuff, and the words ‘the end is nigh’ came up. I looked into what that meant, and then the word ‘apocalypse’ came up, and then the original Greek word ‘apokalypsis’ came up, and that means the unveiling of something – revelation of things that could not previously be seen. I wrote down things like stock markets will crash, collective deaths, family will be core again – as in we will understand how much we need each other.

"So I was channelling this stuff, and I wrote it down and sent it to my friends who would understand, and then it’s unfolded as it’s unfolded. So, I don’t know about sharing some of this stuff, because it is vulnerable to me. But as far as what it’s about, it’s hard, because I’m talking from the privileged white woman position, but I always try to look for the silver linings. And perhaps one will be the breaking down of structures that do not serve the masses. We have been able to pause long enough; the virus has unveiled to us that these systems don’t work, and they don’t protect us, and we are vulnerable, and we do need each other. And so I think that’s the beginning of something that could be good.

"Not to brush over how difficult it is or has been for people on so many levels. I’m looking into how I can donate and help charities; I’m really, really concerned about food stability and poverty in the UK right now. So I’m working with Welsh Government and looking into charities and organisations that I can work with to deal with things like this. There’s really serious issues that are going on everywhere that this virus has only highlighted. In a sense, it’s showing us where the cracks are, and hopefully, that means eventually we can mend and create better systems that actually support people properly."

Inner Song by Kelly Lee Owens is out now on Smalltown Supersound

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