Seventy-Eight Close Friends


She carefully unfolds items wrapped in a dark piece of velvet. One by one she methodically places each article on the table. First is a deck of Tarot cards. The back of every card is black; their edges frayed and bent from years of use. “My seventy-eight friends who travel everywhere with me,” she grins. Next is a black and red stone, the word ‘magic’ carved in gold on it. “To remember there is magic,” she quietly informs me. There is a piece of beach glass from Salem, Massachusetts, a blue-green Labradorite gemstone and a large Amethyst always kept with the deck, “It burns negative energy.” The final object is a small silver dolphin leaping in an arc from the sea. “This is important to me, I swam with the dolphins in Key Largo. They are huge, very gentle creatures,” her eyes become soft when she talks of the dolphins. Meet Prudence Theriault, known simply as Prudence, Tarot Master, Hypnotist and much more.

Prudence was born in Minneapolis, but moved east with her family when she was three. She had an interest in theatre, at thirteen months she crawled on stage at her mother’s dance recital and refused to leave. Later when she told her parents she wanted to study theatre in college they said no, telling her security was important. So Prudence got an associates degree in business. Although business wasn’t her choice she did what she thought she was supposed to do and with reservation entered the corporate world, “What a company stood for was important to me.”

She tried but didn’t fit in this world, “I never liked doing what everybody else does.” Still she persisted, bouncing around from one company to another, even married a big business type guy with disastrous consequences. Eventually she divorced and moved to Columbia County.

She went back to the corporate world only to have the rug pulled out from under her once again. Finally she’d had enough. “I needed to do something meaningful, not what I thought I was supposed to do. I had a need for independence to be involved in healing and helping people,” so she changed her life.

She studied and became a certified Hypnotherapist, then took courses in psychic awareness. She joined the American Tarot Association and soon gained the confidence to begin giving Tarot card readings.

“How did you know you could do it?”

“Trust, intuitiveness, the dramatic change and turbulence that brought me to Tarot. I was always psychic.” She tells me of being in the woods behind her house as a child, “I had a feeling something very bad was going to happen.” The phone rang. Her father ran to answer it and learned his father had just died.

Prudence has been giving readings for seven years, working with Tarot, Psychometry and Hypnotherapy. She loves helping others through her work, “Tarot is a form of therapeutic session. People who come to me are curious, have serious issues and are seeking guidance. Tarot can operate on many levels depending what you want out of it. I also get to meet fascinating people from all walks of life.” In one week she read for a man concerned about returning to Greece, where he feared he might be assassinated, and an unwed teen mother worried about getting her GED. Health and medical questions are the only ones she will not answer.

Prudence is a very busy woman. She teaches at Columbia-Greene, reads Tarot professionally three days a week at a health resort in the Berkshires, occasionally at the Blue-White Rainbow Booksellers in Albany and offers readings privately by appointment.

Using Hypnotherapy, she helps people overcome fears and phobias, helps them to stop smoking, lose weight or conquer fears such as public speaking. She once helped a gardener overcome a fear of insects. She also offers sessions in past life regression.

“I use Hypnosis to help people make changes in their lives, to help them be what they want to be. A trance is nothing more than a deep state of relaxation. I can’t take control over people and make them do silly things like in movies. I won’t make you cluck like a chicken,” she laughs.

Theatre is still a part of her multifaceted life; she often takes on an acting role with the Columbia Civic Players in Ghent. Prudence has discovered what she loves and needs to do with her life. Gone are the, “what I’m supposed to do” years. “The mind is a powerful tool. Focus on what you want to happen, not what you don’t want to happen.”

I quote my friend Julia Cameron, “Leap and the net will appear.”

Prudence smiles and digs through the deck of black-backed Tarot cards. She turns over one card, The Fool. Depicted in the card’s illustration is a man about to step off a cliff. “The Fool represents new adventure, life’s lessons learned, and trust. If you don’t just do it, you never will.”

We’ll talk next time From The Road.

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