“Spirit is directing my attention to you. Is there someone you want to talk to?” My lip trembles. I can’t speak, afraid the tears will start and never stop. With a calming grace that is one of her many calling cards, Willow Bradner, known as the Accidental Psychic, artfully diverts attention from me and dives into the planned content for this “develop your intuition” workshop. My sister died 33 days ago, and I’ve barely been out of the house since, but something guided (or forced) me here today.
Later, during a private reading at her home in Salida, Colorado, I am astounded by her gifts and how she uses them to provide the only bit of relief I’ve felt throughout my sister’s brave, but futile 10-month battle with cancer.
Bradner proudly owns her psychic abilities, but she certainly didn’t ask for them. Instead, they arrived late on her wedding night when she started channeling her grandfather. She chalked it up to copious drinks and went to bed. But, her gifts, and the responsibility she felt, didn’t disappear.
At first, Spirit only showed up when she drank or did hair. “I resisted and tucked this power away,” says Bradner, who was a successful hairstylist in Denver for years.” But, Bradner had a change of heart when she gave birth to her daughter. “I realized I had to be a role model … to show her how to follow her dreams.”
Bradner sought guidance from well-known psychics and mediums. “It took years and many teachers to learn that all I had to do was trust myself and create boundaries,” she shares, “which took therapy and clean-up of past misunderstandings and trauma.”
While honing her skills to successfully communicate with our Angels, Guides and loved ones, Bradner also discovered her own approach. “Humor is first above every other form of communication,” she says. By allowing her inner goofball to shine, Bradner can quickly shift a group’s energy and allow messages to be received even more deeply.
In a way that’s uniquely Bradner’s, she also brings reverence and big heart to her work. “When someone is grieving, I’m so sensitive to their need to hear from their person. I don’t want to misinterpret.” So, she takes extra precautions when delivering messages by asking a series of questions to validate she’s communicating with the right energy.
But, Bradner does much more than deliver messages. She focuses on illuminating a path forward. “I show you the light in the tunnel and hold your hand or throw you the rope,” she expresses. Of course, it’s up to each individual to act (or not). “I leave each reading with big hope and lots of prayers,” Bradner adds. “Hopefully, showing you the way helps break the cycle you’re stuck in, whether it’s grief or a shit job.” In this way, she helps people discover the courage needed to act.
Bradner’s ability to inspire us to be braver goes well beyond her teachings or readings. In 2021, after a year of fighting with doctors who ignored her intuition (which told her she was sick), she was diagnosed with cancer. “The bravest thing I’ve done is choosing to be here, knowing my family needed me and choosing to stay,” she says of picking the hard road of chemo and radiation.
“Death’s door is soooooo much closer than we realize,” she says. “If that isn’t message enough to get you off your butt and live fully, I’m not sure what it will take.”
Bradner admits she is scared often in what she does because she doesn’t want to “get it wrong.” So, where does she get the strength and confidence we see at her events or in private sessions? Bradner credits her 10-year-old daughter for inspiring her daily. “She has severe anxiety,” Bradner explains, “and when she overcomes a fear or bravely does something she wasn’t able to do before, I am so moved and inspired. My daughter reminds me every day to face my fears, trust in spirit and just surrender.”
Her advice for tapping into this bravery for yourself?
“Trust is the absence of control,” Bradner shares. “Control is the antithesis of trust. Can you be brave by simply trusting yourself? That’s the whole key.”
Learn more, book a private reading or a find a “Wine and Woo” event at willowbradner.com.
Photos by Elk Raven Photography.
Originally published in Winter + Spring 2022-23 issue.