Behold, the future is being revealed and it looks bright for fortune tellers, clairvoyants, tarot card readers and anyone claiming to contact spirits in this corner of northern New England. Soothsaying might still be banned in some parts of the country, but St. Johnsbury has repealed the ordinance against peering into the future that it had on the books since 1966."When the ordinance was lifted, I actually felt a large weight lifting from my shoulders," said Maria Pawlowski, a tarot card reader. "It was veryoppressive to have to refrain from something that was as natural to me as breathing."Fear of fraud has prompted many communities to ban fortunetelling but critics say it's not government's place to decide whether such personal beliefs or practices are fraudulent. Last year in Philadelphia, city inspectors shut down more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers after discovering a decades-old state law that still bans fortunetelling for profit.
year, Louisiana's Livingston Parish made soothsaying, fortunetelling,
palm reading and crystal-ball gazing illegal; a Wiccan minister filed a
challenge to the law in federal court.
Other laws are on the books
or have been challenged in Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina
and Oklahoma, said Charles Haynes, a seniorscholar with the First
Amendment Center in Washington.
A ban in Lincoln, Neb., was struck down by a federal appeals court in 1998 as unconstitutional.
"People have the right to
believe in these things and to predict the future, to say what they
think and even to charge money for it," Haynes said.
has no power to determine whether or not these people are committing
Critics of such bans warn
that other activities could be called into question if the government
has the power to decide whether fortunetelling is fraudulent or illegal.
"We have people who predict
what the stock market is going to do. We have people who predict the
weather and get paid for it," said Haynes.
St. Johnsbury lifted its
ban in July at the urging ofpsychotherapist......
An otherwise entirely rational person might confess to having a lucky number or two, but why do some people base important decisions on the right numbers? Most of us see maths as a science, but to some, numbers have hidden meanings that can be used to make decisions in matters as serious as recruiting staff. When Samantha Roddick, the daughter of Bodyshop founder Anita Roddick, launched her business, she crunched numbers with her bank manager, her accountant - and her numerologist. "When I pulled the whole team together, I just got everybody's numerology done," she says, describing how she used numbers to organise hernew staff into efficient working groups."And then you just look at the overall numbers and how they interact.
Ones are very ambitious, hard-working, career-centric, money-driven, Threes are very creative, as are Sixes. Fives, they're very apt to a lot of change."
believe the numbers one to nine each have a mystical meaning, and that
if you add together the digits in a person's date of birth, the end
result is a number which influences the path that person will take in
life. They also believe the letters in the alphabet have corresponding
numbers, so a person's name can be added up to produce a number with
meaning as well.
But how far can you take
this? "The reality is it should never affect yourdecision-making
process that much," says Samantha Roddick.
"It is there just to inform
you, not to direct you, because you don't really want to hire and fire
based on someone's numerology - that would be ridiculous," she laughs.
But possibly not unheard
of. The numerologist Samantha Roddick consulted is Sonia Ducie. She
claims companies big and small contact her for help with product
launches, rebranding and recruitment decisions.
"Somebody came to me last
week for a new company name," Ducie says. "The product it was selling
was something fun, so we had to look at the number three. It was also
something very practical, so you've got the number four. "And then we
looked at the launch date, because you might have the best product but
the timing is out," she says.
"I don't like using angel cards all that much because I don't want to keep bugging angels," said Ivy Jennings in her Lafayette home. Jennings considers herself to be an empath, a person who is sensitive to feelings and vibrations given out by the living or dead."I'll use them on certain occasions to kind of give me an idea of what the heart is looking for and what the soul is needing and how can we get those in harmony," Jennings said. "When your heart and soul are working in harmony toward the samething, then limitless doors are open for you." Jennings uses tools such as palm reading, angel cards, numerology or the vibrations given off by clients' given names to help them understand what is going on in their lives and what options are open."The reading is only as good as you are willing to be honest," Jennings said, "and nothing is ever set in stone."
She said that she helps people discover what they really want.
"I've had people come to me
and say 'What's my next step,' 'What should I do,' " Jennings said.
"Well, I don't know this.
I'm not a mind reader. That's not the way it
works. I have to ask them, 'What is it that you want to do.' "
Other tarot card readers agree.
"My readings are such that
it leaves them with something they have to work on," said Raine Castle,
owner of Castle-BrooksSpiritual Supply in downtown Lafayette.
Castle does not like to do readings often on the same person and feels six months is enough time between tarot card readings.
"If they came back in a
month, they would not have had time to work on the issues that had
cropped up in the reading. If they actually work through the issues,
then they will be ready for a new reading."
Jennings feels that she is
there to help her clients get to know themselves better so in the end
they won't need her help anymore.
"Knowing yourself is being
OK with who you are. That means even the bad stuff," she said. "You
can't just pick and choose the parts of you that you like. You have to
like the complete thing."
Anthony North: There are many forms of divination, ranging from Palmistry to Astrology, Numerology to the I Ching. And let us not forget ancients such as the Auguries, who used to read your fate from animal entrails. I"ve always had a healthy skepticism for such practices. I"ve not condemned them, but thought human psychology can account for them. However, I want to explore the possibility of deeper mechanisms behind such practices. I"ll begin with my healthy skepticism.: Rather than man"s fate being slave to outside forces, such as the position of planets at birth, I"ve seen divination as a form of therapy and advisor. It works like this. A person consults a practitioner and through atwo way system of suggestion, the subject intuits, himself, what his unconscious is really after.
Thus his path seems to open up as if destined, whereas he has simply been given the confidence to follow his real inner desires. I still thing this covers most of the subject.: But even I have to admit there are annoying gaps in the idea, especially if we take much of divination at face value. Consider Palmistry, which claims much of your future is already mapped out in the lines of your palm. How is this possible? Let us consider genetics. Now, genetics does map out a great deal of your life from conception, including physical attributes, possibilities of future illnesses and, if correct, leanings towards certain behaviour. Could it be possible that such "predestination" could affect you in a wider way,such as the patterning of lines on your palm? Basically, could the palm be a physical map of your basic genetic make-up? Genetics could hold the key to other areas, too.: Indeed, I think if we can highlight a genetic answer to even one part of divination, it could rationally be seen as important to the rest as well. I say this because one of the main problems with divination is the sheer number of contrary and conflicting "systems". Surely it would be more rational to identify a common thread between them all.