It’s All in the Cards

Learn about your past, present, and future at Clairvoyant Monica.

By Noel Bartocci
Photography by Alexa Nahas Photography (

Monica Mitchell and her storefront – Clairvoyant Monica, located at 4388 Main Street – have been a mainstay in Manayunk for nearly two decades, but her family’s roots in the area run much deeper.
“I’ve had a store of my own in Manayunk, next summer makes 20 years,” she said. “My grandmother and my mother had a place of business here on Main Street also, for at least 24 years, I believe.”
She went on to note how her practicing of clairvoyance at a young age was a part of her family’s longer story in Philadelphia.
“I was around four or five when my grandmother showed me how to read the coffee grinds and playing cards,” she explained. “My mother guided me through the tarot cards just like I’ve guided my daughters – they are the fifth generation of clairvoyants in Philadelphia and Manayunk.”
Immediately fascinated by Monica’s story and process, I asked questions that may have seemed basic to her – but had always been in the back of my head. She graciously obliged. Right off the bat, I wanted to understand the differences in nomenclature; e.g. psychic, clairvoyant, medium, etc.
“A clairvoyant uses all of their intuition and gifts to help people past, present, and future by spiritually, physically, and emotionally coaching and guiding them,” she said, adding specifics such as, “Finding their soulmate, finding their true path, and discovering one’s capabilities.”
She elaborated about the subtle distinctions in title.
“A psychic uses tools such as tarot cards, chakra cards, angel cards, crystals, or palms to answer questions about love, relationships, business, career, decisions, choices, moves, etc. A medium connects with spirits that have passed on. Through spirits, angels, and also animals, a medium can see if they are in peace or to help them find peace and light,” she explained. “That’s not to say that a clairvoyant wouldn’t sense the presence of a spirit.”
I excitedly cut her off, like a kid in school who finally understood, “So, it’s really just a kind of communication, or the types of tools you would use to guide someone.” She validated my interjection with a nod and a grin, adding, “We all get lost sometimes and we need guidance to help us get back on track.”
On a foundational level, this is what she provides her community — just a little help when you feel like you’re wandering off course.
Not long into our conversation – somewhere between discussing the limitations of a palm reading and defining the seven different chakras – Monica asked me if I’ve ever had a reading.
“Not exactly,” I sheepishly replied. Being gifted a tarot deck a few years ago and learning how to use it didn’t feel like it counted. That’s like changing a few tires and then calling yourself a mechanic.
“Would you like one?” she asked. At that point, of course I did.
She suggested we use chakra cards. She explained to me that everyone has chakras, which are points of energy along your body, each connected to various organs and glands. I imagine that being able to sense and potentially measure the energy flowing through a person, not to mention where it’s flowing to and from, can shine understanding on what ails you, mentally and/or physically.
She instructed me to place my hands on the table, keep an open posture, and breathe deep. Her voice was nurturing, earnest, and soothing. She was in no rush and made sure I knew that with her patient tone. I’m asked to gently shuffle the deck. While shuffling, I’m encouraged to think of two things I wish to know about or better understand. Questions, concerns, points of interest, whatever they may be, keep them in front of mind. I shuffled until I decided the deck was ready.
What came next were three piles of seven cards each, which would eventually be laid out in progression like the story points of a novel — my novel.
The details of my reading really only mean something to me. However, I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a deep, meaningful conversation, prompted by 21 randomly shuffled, cosmically chosen cards. Good conversations like that don’t happen every day, so they should be cherished no matter where you find them. Additionally, interactions like this aren’t always about the revelations or lessons learned within, but simply how light and recharged you feel after. Some insight might be gained, but a reset is just as valuable.
Monica’s appointments are often by referral or word-of-mouth, which means that this portion of her clientele come to her mostly open and aware of what they’re seeking to discover – be it personal, physical, or spiritual.
“A walk-in is different,” she said. “They’ve maybe walked by and seen my sign before. They could be trying it for fun or might not even believe, but curiosity brings them in. Often, they wind up being wowed and becoming a client.”
She maintains walk-in hours the majority of the week, making herself available for the neighborhood’s sidewalk traffic. Some even come in just to enjoy the look of the store and share in the good energy. We ended our time together talking about the Philadelphia neighborhood she calls home.
“I really love Manayunk. I have seen this neighborhood go through so many transitions,” she said. “For my grandmother, it was a blue-collar town and with my mom it was all ‘Main Line.’ With myself, it was preppy, college-aged, but now I see it changing back to young families raising their kids. Professionals, beautiful homes, and a safe place to live and have fun. I love the people and the atmosphere here.”
Monica also hits on the theme of diversity when she talks about the community.
“It feels like a European village or a quaint town with all the different cultures, businesses, and restaurants. I think we have nearly every nationality represented,” she said with a smile. “It’s such a beautiful place to live, work, get your hair and nails done, shop, eat, have fun, bike around, or just people watch.”