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6 Types of Psychic Abilities and How They Work

Psychic abilities, also called “the clairs,” are different ways that mediums, psychics, and intuitives interact and interpret different planes of existence. All of the clairs are associated with a different sense - seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting, and knowing. Today, I’m going to go over the different types of clairs and how they work. Between Amy and I, I think we’ve experienced all of these abilities at one point or another, though we both have our own strengths. However, I feel that I should point out anyone can develop any of these abilities, and generally once you find the one that calls to you, you can begin to develop some or all of the other types of clairs.


  • Clear seeing

  • The ability to receive messages with the mind’s eye (or inner eye or third eye)

  • The ability to see visions of the past, present, or future

Probably the most commonly known psychic ability, clairvoyance is literally translated to “clear seeing.” Amy is certainly a powerful clairvoyant, and I have my own experiences with this ability. When someone is clairvoyant, they see things with their third eye, or inner eye, that others may not perceive. Clairvoyants don’t always see the future, either. While future-seeing is certainly a common trait among clairvoyants, these visions can be set in the past, present, or future. They also don’t have to be full-blown premonitions or visions either. Sometimes clairvoyant visions are subtle and you may not even know a person is having one unless they tell you.

Clairvoyance is the psychic ability to see messages and visions by using only the inner eye (also called the mind's eye or the third eye).

Generally, when it comes to clairvoyant visions, it’s similar to watching a movie or looking at a photograph in your head. If you’re a powerful clairvoyant, you may not even need to close your eyes to see anything. I remember when I first started getting clairvoyant visions, I needed to close my eyes and cover them with my hands so I could focus completely on the vision. Now, I can sometimes keep my eyes open while I receive a vision or message. When that happens, it reminds me of working with tracing paper. If my clairvoyant vision is tracing paper and my current plane of existence is a photograph under that tracing paper, I can adjust my focus to see either one more clearly as needed.


  • Clear feeling

  • The ability to receive messages from emotions, feelings, or physical sensations

  • Empathy is a type of clairsentience

Also called empathy, clairsentience is translated to “clear feeling.” If you’ve ever talked with someone who was upset, ill, or otherwise had a negative energy and you felt that negative energy in your own body, chances are you have the gift of clairsentience. Basic clairsentience could simply make you feel drained or exhausted after being at school or working a customer service job if you interact with people who generally have a negative energy level. A person with a more powerful form of clairsentience could feel, in his or her own body, exactly where a person is feeling ill. People with the gift of clairsentience often become healers like doctors, therapists, or shamans because they can feel another person’s pain and often feel the need to help. They become incredibly in tune with another person’s emotions, energy levels, auras, and spirit.

Clairsentience, also called empathy, is the psychic ability to feel the emotions, feelings, and physical sensations of another being.

I’ve always had a bit of the clairsentience ability. I never liked being in the middle of an argument, working customer service jobs always drained me, and even going to the grocery store would make me anxious and jumpy. However, I’ve also been able to connect with humans, animals, and even plants more closely. When I’m around my friends, I can feel their love and their support for me. When I’m around my dogs, I can feel when they’re hungry or have to go to the bathroom without them trying to communicate it to me. It’s become a wonderful gift, and one that I hope to develop even further on my journey to become a healer.


  • Clear hearing

  • The ability to receive messages through hearing them

  • Messages are not heard through physical ears, but rather the mind’s ears

Clairaudience, translated as “clear hearing,” can sometimes be frightening if you’re not used to it. When the gift of clairaudience is given to you, you begin to hear messages - words, phrases, names, or anything else - in your head without the use of your physical ears. Sometimes it can sound like your own voice (such as when you’re reading to yourself) and other times it can sound like a stranger’s voice or a friend’s voice, depending on the message.

Clairaudience is the psychic ability to hear messages, sounds, voices, and noises with the mind's ear that are outside the normal range of hearing.

My clairaudience generally kicks in just as I’m about to fall asleep. Most of the time it sounds muffled, but I remember one distinct afternoon when I was taking a nap and I heard Amy’s voice in my head. Most of the words were unclear, but I heard my name very clearly. So I texted her and asked her if she had been talking about me. She called me back a few minutes later and said that she had been speaking to her husband about me regarding a message I had given her earlier that day. Clairaudience is certainly not my strongest psychic ability, but I’m slowly working on it.


  • Clear smelling

  • The ability to receive messages through scent

  • Scents experienced are not of this plane of existence

Clairalience, or “clear smelling,” is a very interesting psychic ability. Most commonly used by mediums, clairalience is the ability to smell things that are out of the normal range of the physical nose. This could be in the form of a perfume that a deceased loved one used to wear all the time. Most of the time, these scents are incredibly comforting, letting us know that our deceased loved ones are still with us and watching out for us.

Clairalience is the psychic ability to smell scents that are out of the normal range of the physical nose.

I remember a time when I was researching Egyptian mythology and smelled a unique perfume I’d never smelled before. I could pick up traces of myrrh, however, and decided to do a little more research. I came upon a site that talked about perfumes of Ancient Egypt and many of them had myrrh in them. It was certainly an interesting experience, and I hope I get to experience something similar again.


  • Clear tasting

  • The ability to receive messages through taste

  • Tastes experienced are not of this plane of existence

Clairgustance, or “clear tasting,” is the interesting ability to experience tastes without putting anything in your mouth. Similar to clairalience, clairgustance is sometimes used by mediums when doing a reading. For example, if the spirit the medium is contacting used to love eating peaches, the medium might taste peaches when speaking with the spirit.

Clairgustance is the psychic ability to taste things without putting them in your mouth.

So far, I’ve only had one experience with clairgustance. It was when I was trying to help figure out which tea would be best for a friend of mine who was having some aches and pains after moving furniture around. As I was going through different types of tea in my head, I suddenly began tasting curry. Or, more specifically, I was tasting the turmeric in the curry. I told my friend that she should make a cup of turmeric tea to help ease the aches in her body.


  • Clear knowing

  • The ability to simply know something; also called inner knowing

  • The ability to receive messages without knowing how they came to be

Claircognizance, or “clear knowing,” is my strongest psychic ability. It is the ability to simply know something. With claircognizance, you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s something small, such as which type of knife should be used - and why - to chop vegetables without ever taking a cooking class. Or, it can be something more profound such as a piece of advice given to a friend during a breakup or loss of a loved one that you’ve never heard, read, or spoken before. You don’t know where this knowledge comes from, but you suddenly have it.

Claircognizance is the psychic ability to simply know something without any facts or logic to back it up; it is also called an inner knowing.

There have been many times my claircognizance has come in handy. For example, when driving, I generally hit the gas as soon as the light turns green. One day, I knew I shouldn’t even though I didn’t know how I knew that. Luckily, I listened to that message because someone flew through the intersection, running the red light, and would have smashed right into me had I gone. I’ve given many messages to my friends with the help of claircognizance. Claircognizance can appear as thoughts randomly popping into your head or it can be brought on by doing a tarot reading or another type of intuitive reading for someone. If you ever clearly know something, even if you don’t know how you know it, listen to that message. It will most likely be incredibly important.


Do you have one or more of the the clair abilities? Let us know!

You can share it in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

With Flowing Essence, you can receive a deeper insight into your life.

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Cardinal Meehan is a healer, writer, and photographer who loves her three rescue dogs and taking nature walks to connect with the elements.

She is also dedicated to experiencing and learning various methods of healing so she can help spread light and love to the world.


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