Julianna Whitlow goes by possibly the most badass job title ever: Death Priestess.
But despite regularly giving readings and helpful spiritual advice to her 12,000-plus TikTok followers and working as a medium and spiritual mentor to her clients, Whitlow was not someone who was psychic or spiritually attuned all her life. Up until a couple of years ago, she considered herself a typical businesswoman and a mother of two.
But Virginia-based Whitlow, 37, made some dramatic changes over the last few years and today runs A Clair Mindset, a lifestyle brand that helps people connect to their natural psychic abilities.
Whitlow recently talked with Fortune about her journey and how she now works to support others in discovering their psychic senses.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
So what exactly is a death priestess?
I am a medium and I work a lot with those who have crossed over. Sometimes they have unfinished business. Sometimes they just want some energetic support, some healing.
As I was working with clients, I noticed a trend. I absolutely love tarot cards and oracle cards, and there’s a death card in tarot cards. It can mean something is coming to an end so that something new can be reborn. It could indicate a divorce, a breakup, moving on to a new job, or even a physical death.
But I started noticing that when I work with people, I energetically cause these death moments. Even if it’s not intentional, something with my energy merges with theirs and puts them right where they need to be.
So the title has many layers to it. Yes, I work with the deceased. But the name also came about from my work with tarot and from the death card. When anyone asks what’s it like to work with me, I say expect the death card.
It sounds like you have a variety of talents. How else do you work with clients?
I’m also a soul seer. I can really look into a person’s soul and see what their gifts are, what their purpose is. I merge that with the Death Priestess role and the role of a spiritual mentor for clients.
In my role as spiritual mentor or spiritual self discovery guide, I help people understand who they are on a spiritual level—really connect with their soul and understand what role they play in this lifetime.
One of my big things is allowing people to discover it on their own, just guiding them to it but not telling them the answers and everything. It’s more powerful when you experience it yourself, versus having someone else tell you what it is. That, to me, puts the power in your hands to really take that and live the life that you want to live.
How did you get into this type of job?
Before this, I was in the medical field. I was in patient operations, where I worked in about 13 different health centers and covered four states. It was a very big job.
Yet, I’ve dealt with terrible depression and anxiety my whole life. I went to therapy, I took medication—nothing really helped. In 2020, I was working in Florida and living in Virginia, so I was going back and forth when the pandemic hit and put a stop to that.
So I was at home and a family pet passed away. I was holding the animal when it passed away. And I felt everything. It was one of those moments where you look back and you’re like, that was the moment that everything changed. But after that, I couldn’t get out of bed for about two weeks. And I thought to myself, this isn’t normal for me.
You’re probably familiar with the term, empath. We all have psychic abilities, also referred to as clairs. Clairs are our intuitive senses (energetic senses) that allow us to connect with the energy all around us.
I’m clairsentient, which means I feel other people energetically. I can physically, emotionally, and energetically feel what they feel. That was a life changing realization for me. I realized all my anxiety, my depression, all of that—I was actually feeling other people’s feelings and emotions and energies around me. Once I learned what it was, I learned how to work with it, how to shield myself and it subsided dramatically.
That really changed my life and that’s what made me get into this. I want to help others understand the power that they really have.
When did you start looking to help other people and turn this into your career?
I started on TikTok doing meetings, exploring being live. I started helping people there and then people started asking how they could work with me. So I went into it in 2021 as sort of a side hustle and then in 2022, I really just said this is my business. Last year, I brought in $40,000 and I put it completely back into the business.
What was it like shifting into this as a full-time job?
Terrifying. One of my biggest fears is being seen. When you’re doing it full time, you have to be seen, you have to put yourself out there for people. I’m still working through that. I truly believe that the universe provides as long as you answer the call.
I really thought I was going to be this business woman in the medical field. And the universe was like, nope. We’re going to put big, massive roadblocks where I had no choice.
How are you monetizing this? Are you making enough to live on at this point?
My husband is the breadwinner. That’s going to change this year. I launched everything in 2022, so my goal for 2023 is to be equal to his income, which is around $100,000. We both own businesses—so self-employed all around. I am mainly on TikTok. I do have Facebook groups where people can come and interact with me a little bit more.
Twice a year I also do two big events called summits. I get other experts to come, and we spend anywhere from 10 to 20 days doing live interviews and sessions. People can register for these events. There is one coming up at the end of April that is a 10-day challenge to remember who you are.
I also do free workshops every month. I have private coaching clients and group coaching clients, so those are different ways that people can come and actually work with me. [Editor’s note: Whitlow’s site offers a two-hour spiritual self-discovery session that starts at $333]
I typically work with individuals for a while. My work is definitely meant more for people that are in the market for that long term change. The shortest track I have available is six weeks, the longest is a year. The work that we do can be very life-changing, life-altering work, and I just want to make sure that clients really have the support and the guidance and everything that they need.
How is the work you do different from traditional types of therapy and how is it similar?
My dad is a licensed social worker, so I’ve always had this in my life. It’s a spiritual twist on therapy. I’m a Reiki practitioner, level two, and I’m also a breathwork facilitator. There’s a lot of energy or even a spiritual aspect that I put into it, versus just in the mindset.
What’s the typical day look like?
It depends on what I’m working on—I’m always working on a project. Some days it’s that I’m working on a quiz where people can discover their strongest psychic ability. Some nights, I have group sessions. I love working with people and doing group sessions.
My biggest part of the job is still social media, so with that, you do want to make sure that your audience is online when you’re uploading and going live. Sometimes I will go live at 11 o’clock at night. And that might not be normal for the typical person who works nine to five.
One of the things I do love about it is the flexibility with my schedule. I have two children. I love being able to be fully involved in their lives—to take them where they need to go and participate. I didn’t have that before, so that’s definitely one of the things I love about what I do.
What are people’s reactions when they find out what you do?
When I meet people, I usually lead with spiritual self discovery coach or spiritual coach. I ease them in. But family members and friends and those who are close to me—they hear death priestess and they’re just like, like, What? Excuse me? They don’t fully understand. It took a few years for my husband to finally get used it— and he’s still not totally used to it.
For anyone in the spiritual community, when you start explaining the death card their reaction is usually: That makes a lot of sense.
The people on the internet? I try to stay focused on the people that are for me. We have people that are for us, those people that are not meant for us, they’re meant to go a separate way. Just let them go that separate way, don’t try and convince them.
Do you see yourself doing this long-term?
I see myself really doing this the rest of my life—possibly a different version of it because it definitely changes. And I’m very go-with-the-flow. I go as I’m inspired. But I don’t see myself going back to a typical job.