NEW YORK — At first sight, Lilith Dove looks nothing like the typical psychic friend. Wearing a black dress and patent leather boots, she cuts a rather chic figure at a recent performance of “What’s Your Karma,” her one-woman psychic performance. “I’m not one of those psychics with flouncy garments,” Dove attests. But her fashion sense has little to do with her sixth sense — there is no such thing as fashion karma, she confirms. (Thus, the endless repetition of those Seventies silhouettes will remain a mystery.)
At her show, Dove reads audience members’ past lives and informs them about how they can right their past wrongs in order to improve their everyday existence. The show recently finished its seven-month off-Broadway run at the Producer’s Club Theatre and is now held at venues such as Hué, a restaurant in the West Village.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Dove grew up in what she refers to as a haunted house in Essex, England. Her mother is clairvoyant, as are her three sisters and two brothers. “I grew up thinking [having paranormal experiences] was normal,” she explains. But later, she began to wonder if perhaps her family was different from others and she began to look into metaphysics.
After nearly a decade of study, new acquaintances entered into the dialogue: She started talking to the dead. But soon the conversations “were going beyond Aunt Sue and apple pie….The information was going in that direction [of karmic retribution] more than focusing in the direction of their loved ones.”
At the readings, audience members clutch numbered index cards while focusing on questions for which they’d like answers. Dove then picks from the collected cards at random, holds them tight with her eyes closed, and spews a steady stream of past lives. “It’s like watching a movie with subtitles,” she says, “words and images.” Her record is 55 readings in one sitting.
At a recent sitting, she tells cardholder number 39, who has a particular gift with her hands, that she designed iron crosses during the Crusades to encourage people to join the movement. Her karmic problem, however, lay in that she had no concern for where she retrieved the metal and even stole it from tombstones. So in order to rectify her life, Dove explains, she will work very hard for very little money for the next two years.
After the session, number 39 revealed herself to be a “hands-on healer” who’s having a difficult time finding clients. In an effort to drum up business, she’s designed a silver pendant necklace that symbolizes “divine love.”
It’s these kind of revelations that have moved Dove to produce a television pilot documenting the readings. Taped in a brightly lit nondescript room and offering little drama save for a few gentle tears, the show may not be quite ready to give “American Idol” a run for its money. Intended as a weekly show, the pilot is being pitched to HBO, The History Channel and Bravo.
But the show’s no-frills approach mimics Dove’s intention to steer away from the hype seen on other series that feature communicating with the dead, like John Edward’s (the psychic, not former presidential candidate, John Edwards) “Crossing Over.” In fact, she’d like to distance herself as much as possible from her sixth-sense peers. “I’m trying to separate myself from the clique of psychics in New York,” she says.
— Emily Holt