WHITEFIELD — Sticks. Stones. Trinkets. Bones.

Juss Stinson Finlay talks to her “client” during a recent session at her home in Whitefield. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Juss Stinson Finlay says she has 19 ways to read you.

Down a few backcountry roads, working mostly remotely from home, Finlay’s been a full-time divination practitioner for two years, with regular clients in the U.S., Ireland, England and Australia.

She gets right out of the way early that, yes, it’s weird. No, she’s not a medium or a psychic. And, just so you know, she takes a hard pass on anything too weighty.

Love, career, self-reflection? Sure.

“‘Should I foreclose on my home?’ Well, the cards say you need a lawyer,” said Finlay, 27.

Finlay grew up in New York, lived a little bit all over and five years ago settled in Maine, where her mom and grandparents are from.

At 13, a relative gave her an oracle deck for her birthday, a first introduction to divination.

“It was just one of those fluky gifts where they saw something weird in a holistic shop and thought I would love it, and I did,” she said.

Juss Stinson Finlay talks about her business, Puzzooks, at her home in Whitefield on Feb. 25, 2019. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

From there it was on to dream exploration and symbolism.

“It’s kind of cool to live in a world where everything means something, and sometimes we don’t explore that enough, so I got really addicted to it,” Finlay said.

She studied psychology and the subconscious, eventually getting certified in life coaching, hypnotherapy, Reiki and neurolinguistic programming, which she says is learning how to help someone communicate with their mind.

She started Puzzooks in 2017 — the business name is a play on puzzling looks —and has plans later this year to open the Puzzooks Peculiarity Micro-Museum and Divination Den next door.

Finlay has developed more than a dozen ways and counting to perform a reading: candle wax, cards, runes, dice, tea leaves, automatic painting.

“Almost anything can be read into, but I think it just takes someone really peculiar to twist things into different meanings that can connect with someone,” Finlay said.

She says she’s reading energy, interpreting symbols and exercising intuition. Different methods bring different insights.

“If you’re an electrician, you’re not going to use a soldering gun for everything you do,” she said.

Though she’s been hired for girls’ nights out and has done some events, most clients are remote, finding her through word of mouth and her YouTube channel, Juss Sayin’.

Remote clients provide their name, a preferred pronoun and, if they want, a topic or question they’d like insight into.

Finlay gets the house quiet. Her husband leaves with the kids. She burns a little incense. She focuses on the name, gets whatever divining means they’ve chosen onto the kitchen table, gets paper for copious notes, and gets to work.

To read a reporter, she cupped a pile of 50 tiny trinkets — think half the size of Monopoly charms — in her hands and blew on them. A few fell out between the cracks of her fingers.

Those she interprets as “non-participating pieces that I just believe don’t want to be read.”

The rest were dropped on a wooden casting mat with symbols every few inches. Everything that landed askew or away from a symbol was swept away. Those didn’t want to be read either, and we were down 14 trinkets.

The way stones land in a casting circle have specific meanings, according to Juss Stinson Finlay. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

She started with a sideways umbrella on a water symbol.

“Water’s a great thing for movement in life, but it also has a lot to do with communication,” Finlay said. “So with it being an umbrella and the way that it’s facing actually would be saying you’re someone that is very much able to turn the communication that you need on and off, when you need it.”

And a little chain saw sitting on the drawing of a skull? Hmm.

“It’s needing to physically remove things that are stagnant,” she said. “There might be a change you need to make where you’re doing the manual labor.”

A recent client with two job offers had her do readings on both jobs.

“One offered more expression, where they were going to feel a little bit lost because they were going to have to make the job their own without much structure,” Finlay said. “The other job was going to be very critical and it was going to be a job that was really teamwork-oriented.”

The client took the job with more expression and loved it.

“Sometimes you have to be the big, bad wolf and tell them, ‘Listen, you’re going to have to do (blank) and push yourself outward, even if you hate it,'” Finlay said. “A lot of people get lost and they very much look for someone to pull them out of the fog in order to maybe get a new perspective.”

After all of the pieces that did not land on a symbol have been removed, Juss Stinson Finlay begins to talk about what those remaining mean. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

Another client wanted to know about her love life with her current beau.

“She said that the communication for them was done,” Finlay said. “The cards just kept saying there was a snag because (the man’s) attention was almost completely elsewhere.”

Finlay told the woman it felt like she was being back-burnered. She begrudgingly admitted it made sense.

“He was married,” Finlay said. “She knew, she didn’t want to tell me. A lot of people are scared of judgment. I get quite a bit of judgment for what I do.”

She writes in her spare time, paranormal romance and horror, having self-published seven books. In 2016, Finlay was a Maine Literary Awards finalist for speculative fiction.

In her reading business, which she’s hoping to grow, she gets joy in helping others and in the oddity of it — to a degree, people scoffing is “kind of what makes it magical,” Finlay said.

Some of the props and collectibles Juss Stinson Finlay uses. (Sun Journal photo by Russ Dillingham)

“I’ve always been someone who really loves being the weird kid because I’ve always been the weird kid,” she said.

Weird Wicked Weird is a regular feature on the strange, intriguing and unexplained in Maine. Send ideas and photos to [email protected]

 

filed under: