Here’s a prediction: Say the word “tarot” in Hollywood, and chances are, the name Angie Banicki will soon follow. A former publicist to the stars, she now performs readings for the likes of Usher, Nikki Reed, Sophia Bush and Ellen Pompeo, as well as for politicians, entertainment industry executives, and CEOs of major corporations. We spent an afternoon at Banicki’s home soaking up her down-to-earth perspective on everything from energy and spirituality to ramen recipes and travel. This is what she had to say.
What’s one practice, goal, or purpose that helps get you out of bed each day?
You know, I’d have to say getting the dog out. I have a little white poodle named Betty White; I call her my “helper” because she always sits with me in readings. While I don’t have any kind of typical morning routine - all my days are different - I do always try to connect with nature. Sometimes, it’s watering my plants and sometimes it’s taking a path up through the Hollywood Hills. It feels a little crazy that centering could come from such easy things. But even when I was working intense hours in PR, I’ve found that to be true.
Do you have any daily rituals you especially love?
I actually have a bunch that I play with and draw on as needed. The common thread is that they help me get into that flow state where you just lose yourself and melt into the moment. I have tuning forks for sound healing - I’ll hit them so they vibrate and run them over my body, which helps me to relax and breathe deeply. I also love using candles (Tory Burch makes some great ones), flower essences (Flora Luna is my favorite brand), tinctures and oils. Lastly, music is really important to me. I have a Spotify mix of 1080 songs (though I often find my way back to "Breathe Me" by Sia, and "Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam). A lot of these things come to play when I have a client. I’ll try to light a candle to fit the session, and I’ll hit shuffle on Spotify, and the way the music fits into things can help me know more about the person.
Tell us about how your readings fit into your life.
Starting out, I wasn’t a believer; I really began doing tarot cards for fun. But as time went on, I noticed I was having dreams of certain people who would show up that day - and other things, too. I remember once sitting with friends over dinner trying to choose between two parties, each far from the other. When I asked the cards, they said that someone my friend wanted to see would be at one party. He was supposed to be at the other, but we decided to follow the cards and sure enough, he showed up. More and more events like this stacked up, and eventually, the work took over. I blended into it. These days, when I get down to the nitty-gritty of it, it’s like any job. Some weeks, you’re working so hard and yet you can still be so excited and thrive. And other weeks you feel drained. I will say that doing tarot has connected me much more to my intentions. For example, I had a rough day yesterday, but knowing that I had a client coming and that I wanted to do everything I could to help that person enabled me to shed everything else and be present. I think doing something you feel is meaningful is a powerful way of being in the flow. When I think about this work, it’s not the predictions as much as it is about holding space for someone else, about getting to support them as they explore themselves.
What do you eat to feel healthy?
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 16. In cooking, I really like exploring different vegetables (right now it's a lot of mushrooms and garlic). My big thing is ramen [see recipe below]. The older I get, the more I try not to waste anything, and ramen is something you can cook up and really make last. That being said, I also really love sweets, and since I’m pregnant, I’ve been taking the opportunity to eat a lot of cookies (I especially like the Ginger Zingers from Tates).
What about exercise?
I like having an intense yoga experience, and lately, I’ve been doing a lot of modo yoga. It’s done at higher temperatures and is more intense than what you might imagine pregnancy yoga being, but my doctor says that as long as I keep listening to the cues the baby gives me, I’ll be fine. I also recently went to India (also, pregnant) for teacher training in Raja yoga, which is focused on breath. Breathing has been a constant theme for me, especially through pregnancy. I’ve had two times where hormones have been rough, and the breath work has been what’s really saved me. At the retreat, we learned that chanting “om” eight times in meditation pose with deep breaths throughout cleans and clears your entire aura. Any negative buildup around your energy field is wiped and you really do feel lighter afterward. Try it!
Whose advice have you taken recently? What was it?
I wake up every morning and I read. Right now I’m reading an older book my friend Light Watkins recommended called The 99th Monkey by Eliezer Sobel. The author tried all these spiritual paths, and while he got something from each, the message of the book is that we - not any single guru or practice - are responsible for weaving the meaning of it all. The thing that I love about this is that we all know ourselves best. We’re all experts on ourselves. That means that deep down, we each have the answers to the questions we’re asking. I take that mind frame to my readings - my goal is to help people connect with themselves so they’re in a place where they don’t need me. I think it’s easy to doubt ourselves, especially when we’ve had one of those “how did I not know this before” revelations, but those are actually signs that we’re getting wiser.
Between your PR career and this, you wrote a book about travel. Any advice would-be for globetrotters?
A simple but important one is if something didn’t make it into the suitcase, it wasn’t supposed to make the trip. But in terms of the bigger picture, once I’ve chosen my destination, I crowdsource recommendation from friends who've been there. On the surface, this gives you a lot of useful information, but it does a lot more than that. It turns travel into a shared experience. When you’re visiting a spot that has significance for a friend, it transfers that importance to you. It makes you pay more attention and appreciate the place more deeply. In that way, the whole trip becomes more meaningful.
Do you have an object that inspires you?
Without question, the tarot cards. I’m not someone who pull cards for myself every morning or anything, but I do always have a deck on hand, and whenever I feel like something’s different, it’s nice to have something to turn over and observe “OK, this is the message showing up for me in this moment. What can I take from this and how does it help me understand my situation?” The practice helps me connect the dots - or sometimes, it helps me stop staring at those dots.
For someone who wants to give tarot a try, what’s a good starting point?
Start by getting a deck (just the regular Rider-Waite deck is great) and pulling a card each day. If you really want to commit, do it in the morning, look at it - and then put it under your pillow. Look at it again before you go to sleep, and think about what kinds of clarity you got from the card that day.
AB'S VEGAN RAMEN
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 onion
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 cloves garlic or more
- 2 cup mushrooms, slice thick
- 11/2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tsp chili bean paste
- 1 Tbsp miso paste
- 1 package fresh vegan ramen noodles
- 1/2 package extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/4" thick squares
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, julienned
- 1/2 cup corn
- 1/2 cup baby bok choy
- 1 carrot, in peelings
- 2 green onions, thin sliced
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
In a medium saucepan, heat sesame over medium heat. Add sliced onion, ginger and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms, sesame seeds and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender. Add soy sauce, miso and chili paste cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Slowly add 2 cups vegetable broth. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, while you prep the ramen toppings.
Cook the fresh noodles in a separate sauce pan. Bring water to boil then add noodles. Cook for 3 min and strain, set aside.
Once toppings are baked, steamed or fried to your liking place broth to your favorite soup bowl, add noodles and topping. Enjoy!