Aislinn Kerchaert can be found at her regular post behind her old typewriter at Astoria Sunday Market.
She greets people who approach her with a smile and instructs them to tell her a word, phrase or theme. Then she begins to type a poem inspired by the possibilities of the request.
After a couple of minutes, she faces her patron and offers to give a dramatic reading of the poem.
Kerchaert moved to Astoria from New Orleans. Her background is in writing and performing arts, but she now primarily works as an energy healing practitioner and teaches classes at local businesses, including Designing Health and Yoga Gypsy Sally.
Kerchaert was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up on the East Coast. She attended DePaul University’s theater school in Chicago and began acting in storefront theaters.
After seeing that many plays are written by men, with roles for women that she considers sexist or misogynistic, she wrote her own one-woman show called “10 Cent Whore.”
Kerchaert said the show was tongue-in-cheek. She said she was receiving callbacks for auditions in film and television, but she was consistently typecast as a call girl, mistress or young girl.
Her one-woman show was about a personal shamanic healing journey through the lens of a call girl from the 1920s who could travel through space and time for the sake of uncovering her roots as a priestess.
“It was really fun and wild and wacky and I even got a grant from the city of Chicago to produce it,” Kerchaert said. “And then it was like this total fork in the road moment where I reached this point where I had actualized this dream and goal I had set for myself of writing and performing in a one-person show.
“And it was kind of this breaking point where if I stayed I think things would have taken off in my career as an actor, yet my heart wanted something else. And that was the path of a healer.”
Kerchaert decided to move to New Orleans and devote herself to energy healing, which felt like a terrifying leap into the unknown.
After moving, her acupuncturist became a mentor and teacher and encouraged Kerchaert to embrace her intuitive nature, telling her that was her gift.
Her acupuncturist facilitated Access Consciousness and Access Bars, which is intended to deeply relax the body by lightly touching 32 points on the head, allowing the recipient to deepen their level of consciousness. This practice helped Kerchaert in her own healing process, and eventually, she learned how to facilitate it for others.
Kerchaert then began to explore tarot cards and practiced giving herself a full reading every day.
In the evenings, Kerchaert worked as a haunted ghost tour guide in the French Quarter giving live storytelling performances.
She then mustered up the courage to offer readings on her tours and eventually began reading tarot cards for an entertainment company and at a historic shop in the French Quarter called Bottom of the Cup.
Tea leaf, tarot and palm readings at Bottom of the Cup became the training ground for her to practice deepening her intuition. She eventually stopped doing tours and became a full-time intuitive psychic reader.
“It’s more about what’s available now in this space that’s presented to us,” Kerchaert said. “It’s kind of when you get out of your own way and you’re the most relaxed, those awarenesses come through.
“Like the ability to think of a friend and then they call and then you acknowledge it — that’s you flexing the muscle of your awareness or your ability to receive. And the more you practice that, the stronger it gets. And that’s just you building the bridge to your own intuitive nature.”
New Orleans also became Kerchaert’s base to travel throughout Europe, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.
She and her boyfriend decided to move to the Pacific Northwest and were drawn to Astoria.
Her goal as an energy healer is to help people move through their transitions and forks in the road by helping them deepen their awareness of themselves and discover their gifts.
“I think the core of what I’m about is helping people move through that phase into becoming more of who they are,” Kerchaert said. “And especially women ... it’s kind of like being in the business of empowering other women.”