How to Tell When Your Premonitions Are Real

Many people get premonitions, from the ordinary to the life changing. A week before the World Trade Towers were hit, I dreamed I was in one of the towers rushing about looking for an escape. There was a hole in the side and a dizzying drop below. People were rushing about trying to find a way down in the vast building. The dream was vivid, a quality I’ve come to associate with prophetic dreams.

Some premonitions are more ordinary and less emotion-infused. Yesterday morning  I was making coffee when  a client popped into my mind, someone I haven’t spoken to in years. This thought tells me she is thinking about me and will probably contact me, and sure enough, I get an email today. It tells me that we are receiving thoughts from people long before they actually contact us.  I have to wonder if I’m sending something to them too, like healing or a warm embrace.

Everyone including you, is hardwired with the ability to sense the future.  So even if you aren’t aware it, you have probably have had intuitive signals coming to you that get mixed in with your other thoughts. The more you become aware of the possibility of having premonitions, the more you will notice them happening to you.

Premonitions are part of our evolutionary advantage. Cornell professor Daryl Bem, one of the most respected social scientists of his generation, has been studying psychic ability in ordinary people for 20 years. His studies show that the average person does in fact sense the future before it happens. He noticed that men are especially adept at sensing future sexual opportunities and women at sensing future danger.   He calls this capacity an evolutionary advantage that has enabled our species to survive. In other words, we might not have made it as a species these 200,000 years without men’s exceptional  ability to sense reproductive advantage  or women’s ability to sense danger to themselves and their young.

The Difference between true premonitions and anxiety.  As security specialist Gavin DeBekker pointed out in his book, the Gift of Fear, when you are really in danger, there is a powerful knowing that fills you and directs you.  Signs of resonance will arise in your nervous system, like goosebumps,  hairs standing on end, or chills. You will become hyper alert, and you may feel that someone is guiding you through the danger.

The rest of the time, what you are feeling might be unnecessary worry, neurotic fears, or just plain anxiety.  Anxiety is energy in your body that has nowhere to go. You’re like a horse in the starting gate. It is not necessarily psychic.  More likely it’s an over reaction to something that originated in a trauma years before.

How can you increase your chance of having premonitions? Intuition happens when we are not distracted.  If you want to receive those signals more, then work on quieting your mind.  You do this by unplugging from the day to day stress.  Go into meditation where you are focusing more on your senses.  Take a walk or go for a jog or a swim.  Try closing your eyes and taking a nice breath right now. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel whatever your hands are touching; feel your feet on the ground;  and notice your breath going in and out.   You are now listening, via your body’s senses, to the energies of consciousness around you.  You now have a heightened awareness of the energies around you.

Your senses are like antenna to the world. The more you practice these moments of presence, the more intuitive you will become.  I get the strongest visions when I’ve been on a meditation retreat for several days, or when I sit in meditation before bed.  I use meditation to get visions of the future. But this is not the same as premonitions. Reading the future is a conscious process where you focus on a target, i.e., your country at a certain point in time.

Premonitions happen to you. You don’t just create them by meditating on the future.  When I get premonitions,  I try to react to them with wisdom and perspective. For that I need to be present and calm. Otherwise, I when I feel energies on the horizon, I may react to them fearfully which is not productive. In other words, if I don’t unplug and breathe, then the intuitions I get, will fly through my mind which will then take off like a runaway train.

Symbols that come in visions. Ever since I first started meditating for visions 35 years ago, I noticed that many came in symbols and metaphors.  Over time I began to understand the symbols. For example, I see a cactus as a symbol for drought. Last year I was returning to Massachusetts from Europe when  I noticed upon waking that I was seeing the cactus.  I thought, Mass in having drought. It turned out to be  true. I also see fire, rain, stock market graphs going up and down, tears (for public grieving), hearts, and square root signs for market corrections.  I also have a set of symbols for reading an individual’s personal future.  Carl Jung wrote about the symbols we get in Man and His Symbols. He suggested that we have universal symbols that we all get, cultural symbols particular to our culture, and personal symbols.

If you begin meditating for visions of the future, you are likely to also get a set of symbols.  Notice what thoughts you get when the symbols appear, and write it down.  You will learn an alphabet of consciousness.

Some people don’t see visions when they meditate on the future. Instead they hear words, or get a thought.  Whatever comes into your mind, write it down!

Dreams:  I know when I’m having a prophetic dream because it is particularly vivid and doesn’t seem to apply to my life. For example, in April I had a horrible dream of a woman being killed in a terrorist attack.  Just the one woman, no one else. I saw her vividly on the ground, with others trying to come to her aid. It was jarring, the vision was ghastly, but I didn’t feel fear for myself.  I posted it on my website and a few weeks later a British member of Parliament was viciously murdered in the street.  My hope is that I unconsciously sent healing to her in her terrible moment.  Perhaps others also felt the event before it happened and also sent soothing thoughts to her. But the reason for my seeing her tragedy is a mystery.  We are all connected, so her pain is everyone’s pain.

When we are dreaming, our intuition is not drowned out by everyday noise of people’s thoughts. When we are awake, there is a non stop ticker tape of thinking flowing through our heads, most of it is just junk we expose ourselves to in books, the Internet, and the media.

Most of the dreams we have are about our own lives. When it’s a prophetic dream about the world, it may feel different. You may feel like an observer. But this distinction is tricky since you are part of the world, and even when a dream is just about you, you can experience yourself as an observer.   The best way to tell the difference is to keep a dream diary and start checking it over time for accuracy.

I welcome your thoughts on this topic.



About the Author:

Jeanne Mayell is a professional intuitive and author who gives private life readings and offers tools to help people develop their psychic abilities. In 2015, Mayell was named by Coast to Coast AM radio as one of America’s most gifted Tarot readers. Holding Master Degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University, and published in The Atlantic and other national journals, she is not only a gifted intuitive, but brings an academic and intellectual perspective to the world of psychic readings and intuition training. Sensing that an era of profound and accelerated change is upon us, Mayell has been teaching people to expand the intuitive gifts we are all born with. In this way, we will be able to navigate the coming changes for ourselves, our families and others. She teaches classes in Tarot, Prophecy, Positive Psychology, and mindfulness — all ways to find inner guidance. Mayell has also worked as a health writer (Atlantic Monthly, American Health Magazine, and EastWest Journal), and was the Massachusetts Medicaid Director, a policy analyst for the City of New York’s health and welfare programs, and a research consultant on national health and welfare programs. She has co-authored two books on health and welfare and is currently writing a book on intuition and the Tarot.


  1. Marcel McGuire 01/09/2019 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I seem to have dreams that in some ways predict things that will eventually happen in the future and just had one two months ago that came true and possibly one just recently that could also be a precognitive dream as well, but I am not sure and need clarification as to wether or not it was another premonition.

    Long story short, me and my lady friend of seven months had a bad falling out two months ago to a point to where she was very cold towards me and wanted nothing to do with me. This went on for three weeks until I had a dream about her sending me a message through text with the word “Likely”. Two other dreams of us reconnecting also followed as well. Then after a month of her blowing me off, we started talking again finally settled our differences. It turned out that the dream I had may have been a precognitive and premonition dream.

    Faster forward to a month later. Me and my lady friend become at odds with each other again a week before Christmas due to her being stressed out from her job and Christmas shopping. She began taking her problems out on me with having a nasty attitude and not caring how I felt about It and we fell out over it. Then on Christmas eve I thought it would be a good idea if I dropped off her Christmas gift at her sisters, she was there at her sisters house unexpectedly. So I have her Christmas gift to her directly then went about my business. Two hours later she messaged me telling me how rude and uncomfortable it was by me doing that and to never talk to her again. I was upset over that for two weeks I beg and pleaded with her through text message over the situation and she still would not budge. It then became more intense to where we both shared harsh words and said hateful things towards each other. She then threaten me with the cops and a restraining order and then I left her alone.

    Several days after our last conversation, I had a dream of me and her both hanging out as friends a again and she had finally met some of my family. We were both in good spirits and we’re happy to be hanging out again. Also in the dream, me and her both had to climb a ladder to get to the upstairs of a house of one of my family members. We made to the upstairs and then became intimate with each other. It was a random dream and I am trying figure out if it was another precognitive dream or another premonition dream like I had before. I need some help and input ???

    • Jeanne Mayell 01/09/2019 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing. It could be a dream of what will happen or it could be a dream of what you wish will happen.

      • Marcel McGuire 01/10/2019 at 7:32 am - Reply

        I never wished for it to happen it was just a random dream. At this point I don’t think there is any chance of reconciliation but I could be wrong.

        • Marcel McGuire 01/10/2019 at 7:13 pm - Reply

          What do you think about the significance of the dream I had ?

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