A FORMER businesswoman from Hampshire has turned her back on her high-powered London publishing career to become a psychic.

And Neshla Avey from Locks Heath is hoping to encourage others to explore and expand their psychic intuition by launching a simple set of tarot cards, aimed at beginners.

Neshla, 56, worked in publishing until four years ago, when she decided to leave the commute to the capital and the rat race and focus on developing and sharing her psychic side.

"I have always been psychic, ever since I was young," says the mother of two who runs the Mind, Body and Spirit Fair in Warsash.

"I knew if people were going to phone before they rang and could sense if people were not well or were not telling the truth.

"I never saw ghosts but I felt presences and could tune into them."

Neshla's family did not believe in psychic abilities.

"I was told that I had an over-active imagination," she says.

"I wanted to fit in so I pushed it down and tried not to think about it.

"Then when I was on maternity leave with my first child, I had some more time, and started to explore it again, playing round with tarot cards and doing readings for friends."

Over time, Neshla did more and more readings, and what started off as a sideline became her full-time work.

"I like helping people," she says of the appeal of working as a psychic reader and healer.

"I enjoyed my old job but I didn't realise how stressful it was until I left."

Neshla was giving people tarot card readings and found she was increasingly being asked if she taught tarot, so designed a course, and then her own set of tarot cards for beginners.

"I got images of how the cards should look in my head and thought 'why not make it simple?'" she says.

"In school you learn to read with basic books like Peter and Jane or Biff and Chip and I thought it made sense to do the same with the cards. If you start with a basic pack, you can go on to use any pack once you have learnt.

"I wanted first-time learners to concentrate on the meaning of the card, to use their intuition and not get bogged down with the intricate detail many of the other beautiful tarot cards have.

"By learning the basic meanings of all 78 cards, the learner can work with these until they feel confident enough to start using a more comprehensive deck.

"These cards are like no others as they are simple and easy to follow. Students are amazed at what they can pick up with a simple picture.

"I've had a wonderful response so far."

Neshla says that she relies on her intuition when giving a reading, and believes that this is something that everyone can develop.

"I've only had a couple of people that I haven't been able to read," she says.

"If people are open, you can read them. The majority of people I see what help and people must be happy as many of them come back.

"When I do a reading, I have a gut feeling. Sometimes I see pictures in my head. It just seems to come out of me and I tell it to them. Afterwards, I forget what I said.

"The reason I had the tarot cards made is that I believe everyone has some intuition, but people don't develop it.

"It's like a muscle. If you go to the gym and exercise it, it's going to get stronger. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

"People can learn to trust their intuition. It doesn't need to be too complicated."

Neshla says that her change of career has helped people to see psychics in a different light.

"When I left work, I think that people were shocked, but because I was 'normal' and they knew me as a business woman, they thought that there must be something in it.

"My family mostly still think I'm bonkers though, but my children are proud of me. They see that I enjoy what I'm doing."

* Neshla will be launching the cards at Whiteley Community Centre tomorrow, Wednesday, November 14, from 6 to 9pm.