TAKE A QUICK GLANCE around the room and you might miss her. Yet, a second survey of the minimalist white tables at Georgetown’s Leopold’s Kafe yields unforeseen results.
There, seated among the murmuring European businessmen and the bespectacled grad student skimming his book, is Sari Calvert. While the 57-year-old’s feathery scarf, bursting with bright flecks of orange, pink and turquoise, may first capture one’s attention, it’s the cards she spreads across the table that keeps it. Well, that and what she’s telling the young woman sitting across from her: “I see a ring going on and off your finger. … You being married by age 29 or 30. … The man will have blond hair with hazel eyes. … You may have twins.”
Gulp. It’s good to know you can order a glass of Pinot.
For the last two years, the Cady’s Alley spot (3318 M St. NW; 202- 965-6005) has served as a chic- yet-cozy backdrop for the intuitive consultant’s in-person spiritual readings on Tuesdays from 2 to 8 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($65 for 30 minutes, $130 for 60). And, no, people don’t stare. “They’re so busy in their own worlds, they don’t pay attention. Or it could be I’m so used to being a freak, I don’t notice people paying attention,” she laughs.
Once Calvert has your attention, though, it’s another story. Leopold’s owner and EastBanc President Anthony Lanier can attest to that. The developer met her the same year he opened the eatery, in 2005. Coupling his lifelong intrigue with the superstitious with a desire to bring to D.C. an equivalent to the psychic in Manhattan’s Russian Tea Room, he offered Calvert a chance to “try her luck.”
This wasn’t a whim. “Every time I’ve sat down with her, she’s given me terrific news about how great things are and how great things will go,” Lanier says. Hearing this from the man who brought Georgetown the Ritz and is vying to build the Capitol Hill East property along the Anacostia says something.
Calvert’s not doling out business tips, though; it’s more of a nudge in the right direction. Besides, Lanier says, it’s fun to start a “meeting with, ‘According to my clairvoyant,’ to see what they think. They’ll probably say, ‘Oh, my god, I’m lending someone $100 million who thinks this is going to work because of his clairvoyant?!'”
Calvert, a Silver Spring resident, has finally found peace through her passion. After frightening her folks by performing unprompted readings for their pals at age 5, she was sent to St. Bernadette School in Silver Spring until she was 13. “After Catholic school, I just went back to who I was,” she says, “doing readings and reading spiritual books.”
Her adult life found her working as an administrative assistant for Montgomery County, while continuing her intuitive work on the side. But it was in 2001 that she decided to follow her calling full time.
Sitting across from her, there is no crystal ball, closed eyes or hand holding. Calvert delivers a reading (“It’s like watching movie scenes,” she says) as you nibble on macaroons or sip coffee.
Sure, there’s a Tarot card reading, but it usually reinforces previous points she’s already made. The less she knows the better, she says. Still, Calvert is surprisingly specific. What may seem risky makes her clients all that more loyal.
Jodi Robinson, a 38-year-old Baltimore dental hygienist, was skeptical when she was told she’d travel to Israel, and would later marry a man with children. “I was, like, ‘I’m not even going to date a man with kids,'” she recalls. Thousands of frequent flier miles — and a walk down the aisle later — Calvert was right. No wonder Robinson’s kept Calvert on call for seven years.
And in these times of economic uncertainty, it doesn’t hurt to have a little positive foresight on your side — even if you’re the president. “I did get the strong sense that Obama’s election was a divine intervention of some sort,” says Calvert. “He’s supposed to be there.”
Perhaps he can ask her about the future of his economic stimulus plan.
More insight into Sari Calvert
» Her client type: “It varies from twenties to sixty, seventy. It’s about 80 percent women and 20 percent men. I think men are more skeptical, more logical. But once a man has a reading with me, they stay with me. Like I have a neurosurgeon I’ve been reading for eight or nine years.”
» What first-timers should expect: “It really varies with each person. It’s what their guides and my guides tell me, or what they want or need to know. Sometimes for people it’s love. Sometimes it might be a work situation, or it might be health. It just depends on the person. … There’s always a thread of meaning in it.”
» Don’t be scared: “Usually I don’t get negative information. If they have a question that’s negative and they ask me, I’ll give them the information. But usually that’s not what my angel guides give. It’s usually very positive. It’s usually what you need to know. I’m not going to say, ‘Oh by the way, you’re going to be in an accident tomorrow.’ I don’t get that information.”
I did have one client who wanted to know if her boyfriend was cheating on her. I said, ‘Do you really want to know?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ So I told her and she confronted him … But usually I don’t do that, I don’t get that. I don’t go in for gloom, doom and fear. Life is hard enough.”
» While she’s specific, timing isn’t everything: “I would say it’s positive. When I see stuff it happens. Sometimes the timing can be off, sometimes I’m right on. I remember I told this one guy, this was about three years ago, that he would marry a woman with red hair and two children and that it would be the month of August. Well it took three years, but then he finally called me and said, ‘I met her.’ And sometimes it can happen three hours later. Because there’s no time on the other side. Time is very nonlinear, and we live in a very linear world. So a moment on the other side can be two years.”
Photos by Jason Hornick for Express