HOW INTUITIVE COUNSELORS LIKE TONY LEROY FIGURE OUT WHAT THEY ARE
Kiera Coffee: Were you psychic as a kid?
Tony Leroy: I was born intuitive, like I think most people are. Everyone has a very interesting birth story, you know? My mom had a lot of miscarriages before me, and there was another boy born, I don’t know if he was a stillbirth, or he lasted a week, they don’t ever talk about it. So whatever hormones, fear; there was a level of sensitivity imbued in me. I didn’t have a terrible childhood but there were layers, mini traumas, agitations that created a pearl. As a kid, I walked around feeling and sensing all of these things. I thought everyone else did as well.
KC: Did you talk about it with anyone?
TL: I remember saying to my mother, ‘Hey, Grandma was here.’ I knew it was the spirit of my mom’s mom. In my mother’s culture, the way was to kind of laugh, and tease.
KC: So the message was…
TL: Don’t say anything. A lot of intuitives learn early on, to turn off. They switch it off. I did not have that moment. Maybe it wasn’t stressful enough, maybe it wasn’t scary enough, maybe I needed it. I don’t know; I just didn’t turn it off.
KC: So then you get a little older.
TL: At fourteen, fifteen, hormones really intensified things. That’s when the empathy really took over.
KC: You mean being an empath?
TL: I felt everybody’s stuff; I was feeling other teenagers, dealing with issues of sexuality, anger, their family stuff, cutting. I would say, ‘How’s your mom?’ and they would go, ‘How did you know!’ I would feel this pain in my shoulder, and I knew it was about their mom. If I said, ‘How’s it going with money and your apartment?’ They would say, ‘It’s funny you brought that up.’
KC: Were you asking them in order to see if you were right?
TL: No, no. I didn’t want to feel the pain in my shoulder anymore—or whatever it was. I was taking it from them, I didn’t know what else to do with it. They would leave feeling better and I would leave still holding it. Eventually I learned to… when they felt better, I felt better, right? But if you think about it, that’s codependence.
TL: So it continued to take over, because now I need to make sure you’re okay. If you’re a mean person or a nice person, if I’m feeling it, I’m going to talk to you. I believed everyone did this, but just kept it quiet.
KC: That’s funny to me.
TL: I stopped going to school for a long time. But then I got busted. My mother took me to the doctor, she said, ‘He’s never done this before.’ This doctor said, ‘Well he’s never been fifteen before.’ Even though my mom didn’t hear that, I heard it. That was important.
KC: It was a kind thing to say.
TL: It gave me permission to be okay. After that, I gave myself permission to feel all this stuff.
KC: By then had you talked to your mom about your psychic ability?
TL: The conversation never came up. Even to this day.
TL: She’s read articles about me, watched me on Dr. Oz, but she still thinks I’m a massage therapist. I got my Reiki degree when I was twenty-something, and maybe I said it was like massage therapy.
KC: But if she watched you on Dr. Oz – you don’t do Reiki on the show, right? You are there as an intuitive.
TL: I’m not touching anyone!
TL: So college happened. This great teacher said, ‘Why don’t you read this book.’ It was, A Separate Reality by Carlos Castaneda. I was like, ‘Oh there’s other stuff going on!’
KC: Those books are full of other worldly things.
TL: All of it fit into place. And I had friends with some of the same stuff going on.
KC: So the timing was right.
TL: Remember that metaphysical bookstore on 4th avenue? In that bookstore, books would fall and hit me. The first book that fell and hit me, was an Edgar Casey book, Many Mansions. I read that, and it explained the whole past life thing.
KC: It literally fell and hit you?
TL: And other books. Or I’d walk by, and a book would fall out.
KC: What do you attribute that to?
TL: I’m not the only person who had that experience, a lot of people have books fall out. It’s a thing. It’s like, when the student’s ready, the teacher shows up. Also around that time I turned on UHF and saw a woman, Chava Golden – this gorgeous black woman with big hair, gorgeousness, and she was shuffling tarot cards, talking about how she was connected to the Akashic records.
KC: Which Edgar Casey wrote about.
TL: Right. But I heard the word Akashic before his book hit me. I heard it internally.
KC: No one said it to you in conversation?
TL: Right. And how Casey accessed his information was, he went to the Akashic records. I thought ‘Oh, that might be how I know stuff!’
KC: Did it take a minute to figure out how to position your sense of self in the midst of this? You were a young person with a large gift!
TL: It didn’t feel like that.
KC: You didn’t think, I am amazing!
TL: No, no, I never felt that. I’m plagued with an incredible amount of insecurity.
KC: When did you start giving readings?
TL: Early on, I saw Chava on this television show. I called her from my mom’s phone, for like 99cents a minute, or whatever it was. It was expensive.
KC: Was she the first person you,…
TL: …talked to! First person, tutor, first session! I said, ‘I go into people’s heads. I’m really uncomfortable about this.’ She said, ‘You’re not going into people’s heads. Honey, you’re psychic.’
KC: You were still putting it all together.
TL: It was impossible for me to label myself like that. I didn’t feel like I was psychic; you know some people know everything, they say, ‘Your underwear right now is black!’ I see things and know things, and if I really, really wanted to do the psychic test (with the star and everything) I’m sure I’d pass. But it’s not my focus.
KC: So Chava put a name to it.
TL: She was another great teacher. The thing I learned from her is that there are lots of layers of intuition. And some people are just really good con artists. She was a really good con artist.
TL: Chava decided to create her own telephone call-in thing, and I auditioned for it. It was the first time I did a reading for anyone besides this one friend. I was shaking, I was holding onto these cards.
KC: Tarot cards?
TL: The prerequisite was you had to be a tarot reader. I had a crash course in reading tarot, and I did this audition. I called myself a healer then, because of the Reiki. And I was an empath.
KC: If your focus was not on seeing the color of someone’s underwear, what was it on?
TL: I hold up a mirror and say, this is what’s going on. Based on the path you’re on, this is going to be the outcome. Then I access choices you can make to have a better outcome.
KC: What is the difference between your goal when you first started, and your goal now?
TL: I don’t have a goal. Honestly I don’t. It’s a problem.
KC: What did you feel was the point of this work back then?
TL: I can’t tell you what I thought the point of it was then. Now, it’s the evolution of my soul. I have had a sense of it since I was eight, I perceived it as light, knowing I was meant to do something. But I didn’t know what it was.
KC: How did your Dr. Oz appearance come about?
TL: What I learned (and it’s funny how terrified I am to do that again) was to take that internal light, and put it in front of me. To let that be the thing people see. If I was supposed to be doing whatever this light feeling was, I had not been achieving it. So, what if I put that out there, and let that do the work.
KC: Did it change things?
TL: Yeah, especially that year. The Dr. Oz thing was great. It was amazing. But it also kicked my ass.
KC: Your work life exploded?
TL: The exposure, the two-year waiting list for people to come for readings. We had thousands of emails to answer. I had four assistants but there was only one Tony.
KC: You were really in the spotlight then.
TL: When I do get out of the way, glorious stuff happens.
KC: I think everyone gets in their own way.
TL: Yes, through expectations, and ego, belief systems. You can train yourself to be incompetent.
KC: That’s sobering.
KC: Can you read yourself?
TL: Answers come to me in meditation. I can go in with a question, and I get answers. Getting balanced enough, when I am in an anxiety state, takes work. And not being attached to the outcome, takes work. If I do it with attachment to an outcome, I’m screwed. So I’ve just stopped asking.
KC: And do you go to other psychics?
TL: I don’t get psychic readings. I don’t feel like I need to know. And if I do, it’s going to come.
KC: What makes a day at work good, or bad, for you?
TL: A bad day would be a day of closed-minded, fear-based people I just can’t get through to. But a great day is….I mean, I always feel like I learn something.
photo credit: Hugo Kemmel