I was an astrologer – here's how it really works, and why I had to stop | Life and style | The Guardian


22 bookmarks. First posted by andrewducker 6 days ago.


But as I bounced from one department to another, my views changed. I’d understood organised religion to be something between an embarrassment and an evil. Yet as Aids did its dreadful work – this was the 1990s – I watched nuns offer compassionate care to the dying. Christian volunteers checked on derelict men with vomit down their clothes. I became uncomfortably aware that New Agers do not build hospitals or feed alcoholics – they buy self-actualisation at the cash register. ...

We charged A$50 an hour, a significant sum at the time, and I wanted to offer value. No fishing for clues from me – I printed a horoscope or laid the cards and started interpreting immediately, intending to dazzle the customer with my insights.

Half the time, though, I couldn’t get a word in. It turned out what most people want is the chance to unload for an hour.

The range of problems faced by people who can afford $50 for fortune telling turned out to be limited: troubles with romance, troubles at work, trouble mustering the courage for a much-needed change. I heard these stories so often I could often guess what the problem was the moment someone walked in. Heartbroken young men, for example, talk about it to psychics, because it’s less risky than telling their friends. Sometimes I’d mischievously say, “Let her go. She’s not worth it,” as soon as one arrived. Once I heard, “Oh my God, oh my GOD!” as an amazed guy fell backwards down the stairs.
astrology  psychology  science 
16 hours ago by terry
"I can still make the odd forecast, though. Here’s one: the venture capital pouring into astrology apps will create a fortune telling system that works, because humans are predictable. As people follow the advice, the apps’ predictive powers will increase, creating an ever-tighter electronic leash. But they’ll be hugely popular – because if you sprinkle magic on top, you can sell people anything."
religion  philosophy  science  technology  curious 
yesterday by tremolo
I can still make the odd forecast, though. Here’s one: the venture capital pouring into astrology apps will create a fortune telling system that works, because humans are predictable. As people follow the advice, the apps’ predictive powers will increase, creating an ever-tighter electronic leash. But they’ll be hugely popular – because if you sprinkle magic on top, you can sell people anything.
fraud  science  life  future 
2 days ago by msszczep
Yet as Aids did its dreadful work – this was the 1990s – I watched nuns offer compassionate care to the dying. Christian volunteers checked on derelict men with vomit down their clothes. I became uncomfortably aware that New Agers do not build hospitals or feed alcoholics – they buy self-actualisation at the cash register.
quote  Christianity  new-age  astrology  science  fraud 
4 days ago by whatithunk
The man was agitated, with red-rimmed eyes and clammy skin. At first it was just flickering lights, he said. And then a figure, at the edge of his vision. Now something grabbed his fingers or stroked his arm. There was more – and it was happening more frequently. I was an astrologer – here's how it really works, and why I had to stop
Archive  best  stories  hacker  news 
5 days ago by Agiza
It dawned on me that my readings were a co-creation – I would weave a story and, later, the customer’s memory would add new elements.
5 days ago by carlrustung
The man was agitated, with red-rimmed eyes and clammy skin. At first it was just flickering lights, he said. And then a figure, at the edge of his vision. Now something grabbed his fingers or stroked his arm. There was more – and it was happening more frequently.
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5 days ago by rwhe
I was an astrologer – here's how it works, and why I had to stop
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6 days ago by essjaybee
"The range of problems faced by people who can afford $50 for fortune telling turned out to be limited: troubles with romance, troubles at work, trouble mustering the courage for a much-needed change."
delusions  illusions  future  cards 
6 days ago by kevan
Customers marvelled at my psychic abilities but was that really what was going on when I told their fortune?
astrology  fraud  science  debunking  witchcraft  energy  fortune  psychic 
6 days ago by ivar
I was an astrologer – here's how it really works, and why I had to stop

Customers marvelled at my psychic abilities but was that really what was going on when I told their fortune?
Felicity Carter. The Guardian. 7 November 2019



My psychic teacher was right – the signals we pick up before conscious awareness kicks in can be accurate and valuable.Astrology is one big word association game.

I loved it, though I was losing interest in other mystical practices. Partly I didn’t have time, because I was now immersed in theatre while working as a temp typist at St Vincent’s, a Catholic hospital. But as I bounced from one department to another, my views changed. I’d understood organised religion to be something between an embarrassment and an evil. Yet as Aids did its dreadful work – this was the 1990s – I watched nuns offer compassionate care to the dying. Christian volunteers checked on derelict men with vomit down their clothes. I became uncomfortably aware that New Agers do not build hospitals or feed alcoholics – they buy self-actualisation at the cash register.

astrology  witchcraft 
6 days ago by asfaltics