Two words whose meanings have been muddied by pop culture and a reduction of spiritual senses to parlor tricks, psychic and medium are similar but not-at-all-interchangeable terms used to describe two types of extrasensory users. Both psychics and mediums rely upon a higher plane of understanding and a use of unusual, even supernatural abilities. However, much of the similarity stops here.
While both psychics and mediums differ from magicians and provide services far beyond parlor tricks, they cannot be considered the same profession, and in fact offer almost none of the same services. In the broadest sense, psychics are concerned with the living, while mediums are concerned with the dead.
A psychic uses their abilities to discover information about a person, place or thing that is not otherwise available. All psychics are concerned with events, either past, present, or future. Some of the most important work done by psychics is in discerning concurrent events, that is, things occurring in the same time frame as the psychic reading.
Often police psychics will be asked to use their abilities to reach into the present and find the location of a killer, or a body. Psychics do readings wherein they obtain this special information and then impart it upon those who have sought their services. This information might be obtained through spiritual vibrations that the psychic is able to interpret, or through their direct access of a higher plane.
It is up for debate even between psychics just what the origin of their mystic knowledge is. There are also many types of psychics including clairvoyants, who see these events, and clairempaths, who “feel” the emotional experience. Clairempaths are often concerned with auras and spirit profiles. There are many more specialized types of psychics as well such as clairgustants, who can taste their way through the nature of a subject.
All mediums are psychics, but not all psychics are mediums. The primary service of a medium is the evocation of a spirit, usually a departed friend or loved one. The medium both calls forth the spirit, and acts a vessel for it to communicate. Mediums do no bring the dead back to life, which is the dastardly work of a necromancer, a type of dark magician.
Similarly, mediums do not conjure a spirit up as a psychical manifestation or a “ghost,” which is the work of a summoner or other magician. Mediums are not magicians but rather a specialized type of psychic who uses their psychic ability and knowledge to reach the Other Side rather than a plane of understanding. Those who believe in spiritual vibrations believe that evocation is simply another technique to interpret said vibrations.
Mediums do not talk to the dead themselves but act as the dead, saying their words and acting their motions for the duration of the evocation. People who wish to communicate with the departed will hire the services of a medium, who is essentially not present themselves during the communication, being replaced with the evoked spirit.
Psychic services are almost entirely forms of readings: tarot card reading, palm reading, aural reading, crystal ball reading, etc. Psychics may also sell remedies and potions, charms, herbs, incense, candles, and other items used to perform rituals and for spiritual healing. Some psychics may also offer spiritual healing themselves, the lifting of curses, psychic advice, charms, spells, and many other services all based around betterment of an individual.
Mediums provide no such services, often limited simply to channeling. However, channeling is a vastly more difficult and energy-consuming task, and some mediums even put themselves in danger to evoke particularly powerful spirits, sometimes even demons.
The breadth of a mediums abilities and the services they offer vary greatly from medium to medium and from belief to belief, but in general you will find mediums are much sparse with services offered, and often tailor specifically what they do from client to client. For instance, a medium might see one client as a family group in their regular chambers, intending to contact grandpa and have a heartfelt exchange.
The same medium might be asked to come to a place that is being tormented by a spirit or a haunting, and is therefore flooded with negative energy, and the medium might be asked to pull forth that spirit.
While psychics and mediums both provide and invaluable service for those seeking answers, their abilities greatly differ as well as what they can offer. A psychic is concerned with bettering the living and answering their questions, while a medium is concerned with evoking the dead and giving them a chance to speak for themselves.