Oh My Stars

beliefnet astrology matthew currie miss cleo

You MUST BE good at your job to afford that much neon…

(Part one is HERE.)

I first worked on a Psychic 900 line in the early 1990s, during the heyday of Miss Cleo. I was fortunate to have worked for two companies where the employees had genuine talent. Yes, there were some fakes and some frauds, but they didn’t last long. And yes, dear Skeptics, I hear you. You’re saying that all psychics and astrologers are fakes and frauds. To which I can only say: you’ve never heard of an incompetent doctor or a crooked accountant? As with so many other things in life, it’s not the ideology that’s the problem… it’s the humans. Usually it’s only a small subset of them, but that’s all it takes to screw things up for the rest of us, isn’t it?

(And for the record? Don’t for a moment assume that if a skeptic is passing themselves off as being rational that they aren’t being deceptive. Take a look at this if you don’t believe me. Normally I wouldn’t link to a CSICOP-related website, but I’m hoping they notice a surge in traffic from Beliefnet and come check it out. Hopefully CSICOP musters the strength of their convictions enough to accept my Amazing Ten Dollar Challenge, which is based on their Million Dollar Challenge, which becomes more phony-baloney the more you look at it. So there.)

As you can imagine, I met a lot of interesting people working at that job. This was back in the day when many 900 lines operated out of an actual office and not out of individual homes, so I got to know a lot of people in that line of work. Some of those people I met were not only genuinely gifted and talented and made a real difference in people’s lives, some of them became lifelong friends to me. So despite all the bad press that Miss Cleo’s fraudulent line has gotten, I am not ashamed of my time working on a 900 line. In fact it was very helpful to me: I’ve been asked a few times by aspiring astrologers how they can best become full-time astrologer. There are plenty of answers to that question, but in my case working on a 900 line and working with eight or ten different birth charts every day was an invaluable boot camp.

My biggest complaint with the 900 line model is not the service provided, but how the billing works. It’s easy enough to keep someone talking longer than necessary to make a few extra cents, but that doesn’t help the client. I’m much happier doing readings now my way: you pay for an hour, and it’s in advance, so no one feels like they’re stuck in a taxi with the meter running.


The way we live our lives has changed a lot more in the last thousand years than human nature has. There was a time when we all lived in the village of some sort and there was always a priest or seer or rabbi or shaman or someone like that to who could not only provide wisdom and guidance, but who also seemed to know what God or The Universe or Whatever had in mind for us. Most of us don’t live like that anymore, but the vast majority of us actually need some form of wisdom or guidance or compassion, specifically when presented within the context of a worldview.

This is essentially what a psychiatrist or a counselor does, and that is basically what I do or a Tarot reader does. Yes, there are many people who would gladly admit to seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis but wouldn’t want it to be known that they talk to an astrologer once or twice a year. That’s mostly because psychiatry is mostly considered to be a science, yet astrology considered by many to be a load of old nonsense.

I took psych and counseling in college, and now I am an astrologer. Why? Because my use of astrology appears to get better and faster results. Say what you will about the billions of dollars that have been poured into psychiatric research over the years, but they still haven’t come up with a unifying world view of how the human mind really works have they? Frankly: most people don’t know how their microwave oven works. But when it’s broken they want it fixed or replaced. That doesn’t require an extensive knowledge of how electromagnetism works, does it?

If you are at a point in your life where some clarity and guidance is needed, I’m here for you, and I think part of the reason why there are as many people as there are like me making a living at it now is Miss Cleo — even with the associated ugliness and legal issues.

So thank you, Cleo. I think you were legit, even if your Jamaican accent wasn’t.

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