(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.
(I’m interrupting my current run of “Ask An Astrologer” blog entries… in which I’m trying to show the practical results you can get from a consultation… to bring you a two-part blog entry about a recent death. Part Two will be my take on the entire 900 line industry and my personal experiences within it.)
Youree Harris, better known as frequent 90s infomercial clairvoyant Miss Cleo, died on Tuesday after a struggle with cancer. She was 53 years old.
Writing about this subject is problematic for me. On the one hand, Miss Cleo was an important figure when it came to re-igniting public interest in the paranormal in the early 1990s, around the same time I took up this line of work full time. She was entertaining, and frankly even a lot of people who would never call a Psychic Line loved watching her appearances on TV. She was inherently likeable and fun to watch.
On the other hand, there was that whole fraud thing, and the complex issue of “psychic lines”… but more on that later.
I’m breaking this article into two parts. Here in Part One, I’m going to be discussing the details of her birth chart, and Part Two will consist more of a rant about my experiences, for good and bad, working in the 900 industry. If you want some sugar, here it is. If you’d like a little venom with that, come back next time!
First and foremost, Cleo (born August 12 1962, 8:54 AM, Los Angeles CA) was a psychic, clairvoyant, and Tarot reader. Doing something like that properly for a living requires more mental toughness than you might expect. Dealing with people’s pain and frustration is one thing, but bonding with them over those issues on a one-on-one basis (even over the phone) requires a lot of emotional stability. Cleo had that going for her, with a strongly-aspected Moon in Capricorn, which received trines from Mercury, Uranus, and Pluto and a sextile each to Jupiter and to Neptune.
(Today’s Pro Tip: If you’re wondering whether or not a person is clairvoyant or intuitive, one of the things to look for is aspects from one or more of the Outer Planets to the Moon. Having three planets in her 12th House (by the Placidus House System) is another vote for psychic/intuitive ability.)
There are a lot of psychics out there, but Cleo was undoubtedly the most famous. She didn’t actually own or operate the line she worked for, but she became its public face. This was all fine and well until 1993, when the Uranus-Neptune conjunction spent the year quincunx her natal Midheaven (while trine her Ascendant — surely the astrological definition of “the best of times, the worst of times). To summarize: the Psychic Readers Network was sued in ten different States, and some of those States permit naming a spokesperson for a fraudulent company in a lawsuit, even if that spokesperson had nothing to do with the actual fraud in question. The lawsuit involved various charges including “psychics” working off of prepared scripts, and advertising “free readings” while making it essentially impossible to get one without paying. Thus, Youree Harris (AKA Miss Cleo, LaShawnda Williams, Corvette Mama, Elenore St. Julian, Desiree Canterlaw, Janet Snyder, Maria Delcampo, Christina Garcia, Cleomili Harris, and Youree Perris) was essentially ruined in the public’s eye.
For what it’s worth, though: no one who had a reading ever accused Cleo of being a fake herself (that I’ve found), and she weathered it all with classic Leo good humor.
NEXT TIME: My complicated personal relationship working for various “psychic hotlines”… and I won’t even charge you $2.99 a minute to hear about it! Click HERE for more…
(This is one of a series in which I try to show you how an astrologer can give you practical understanding that gets practical results. We all need a bit of that sometimes, don’t we?)
“Am I naturally someone who is meant to be single? I am curious as am always dating but really like being alone, its a hard contradiction to manage.”
Man, things are a lot more complicated than they used to be, aren’t they? Once upon a time relationship options were a lot simpler.
-If you are heterosexual: get married young and start reproducing as soon as possible.
-If you are not heterosexual: ACT hetero, get married young and start reproducing as soon as possible.
Things aren’t nearly that straightforward in our world of late, and overall I figure that’s a good thing. The problem of course is that this leaves most of us lacking for guidance as to what or who we should be involved with, and what that involvement should look like. Don’t worry though, FN… I figure you’re going to be just fine.
Here’s your chart, FN. If it looks different from what you’re used to looking at, remember that I use Whole Sign Houses. All the major placements are the same, though.
You may already have something in mind as to what you’re looking for in a relationship, or what kind of a person you’re looking for, but beyond that the details of your birth chart give us additional clues as to what you may actually need from a relationship. For this we look at two different factors:
- The condition of your Fifth House and its ruler (romance)
- The condition of your Seventh House and its ruler (partnership/commitment)
At this point, those of you who know a bit about astrology are probably saying “but what about Venus and Mars and the Eighth House? What about sex?” To which I can only say “thanks, but I’m busy writing a blog entry.”
Seriously though: there are lots of people who have sex without a relationship, and lots of people in relationships who aren’t having sex. If you’re even considering a relationship with someone, you already know whether or not you’re attracted to that person. We’re talking about you and your needs in a relationship. Sex is much more a different subject than many realize (or want to think about).
Your Fifth House is in interesting shape. On the one hand, Uranus (which is always a little weird and unpredictable) in that House indicates you’re probably fun to date, and you’re looking for something unique or different in a partner relative to what others might be seeking. Sure, “tall dark and handsome” is great, but “tall dark and handsome and a little weird (by most people’s standards)” probably works even better for you. Complicating this is the position of the Fifth House ruler, which in your case is Venus. Uranus may be a little odd, a little flaky even… but Venus in Scorpio is intense. You might like to keep things light at first, but once you’ve found someone or something you want. you’re going to latch onto it fiercely.
Getting that fish into the boat is one thing, but keeping it there is another. That’s where the Seventh House comes into play. You have Sagittarius on the Seventh House cusp. Sagittarius may not have the reputation for being the most faithful and committed of the Signs (and as a Sagittarius I protest this stereotype), but when a Sagittarius has a mechanism into which he or she can pour their ideals, they are committed as heck. Like, kamikazi-level committed. Its ruler is Jupiter, and yours is in Scorpio, so that goes double for you. And yes, I know there are no planets in your Seventh House, but “no planets” never means “no news.”
Most importantly: the ruler of your Fifth and Seventh Houses are conjunct. So, if you’ve given up on the idea that you’ll ever have a good, lasting, committed relationship, fear not. You may have given up on that idea… but The Universe hasn’t. And if there’s one thing an astrologer can tell you, it’s this: The Universe usually gets its way with things.
(NEXT TIME: Similar question, different chart, different answer.)
LAST TIME: I answered a reader’s question about her confusion around a career path (click here to read it). Now, I’ll demonstrate how it’s all put together.
So, my dear BC… after reading my delineation of how your birth chart can point the way to a career… did you notice there were no quick and easy answers in all that? No “you’d be a perfect dog groomer” or “you should go into sales” or “you’d love being a doctor”? There are two good reasons for that. First of all “career” is a lot harder to figure out now (astrologically and otherwise) than it was 500 years ago. Five hundred years ago it would have been simple…
“So, your mother married a farmer, her mother married a farmer, her mother married a farmer… so, you should marry a farmer. That’s your ‘career path.’ You’d better get right on that. Hey, I have a nephew who’s a farmer. I’ll call him.” (leaning out the window and shouting) “Hey Jedediah! I’ve got a twenty-one year old spinster here for you! Come and get her before she withers away!”
I’m glad that’s all changed, aren’t you?
Second: jobs are simply not that straightforward anymore. We’re all told that we need to keep changing and learning and adapting to circumstances. Thus, the “ideal job” for you may not even be something that An Old Guy like me has even heard of… or it may not even exist yet. Good thing for you that you have that 10th House Aquarius and you’ll likely be a lot more adaptable than most.
So, my advice? Roll with it. Don’t pressure yourself now to have a sense of direction. Now, how do I justify that answer? I have an astrological basis for telling you to relax and wait for the path to find you, as opposed to hacking through the bushes trying to find the path at this time. Remember when I said that the Saturn transit which is currently obscuring your sense of direction would be over with by January? That’s true, but after that point your career-related transits just get more interesting.
Here’s the punchline to my entire response: transiting Pluto is hovering around your Midheaven — that little inner voice that keeps asking “what should I be when I grow up?” no matter what your age is — and will be within conjunction range of it until 2020. That, and transiting Neptune is only now approaching your Sun-Saturn conjunction. That transit will be affecting you from early/mid 2017 until… are you sitting down?… about 2022.
Now, before you jump out the nearest window, let me explain: this is actually very good news. What this means is that, in a world where ever-increasing change demands more flexibility from us as individuals, you are going to be undergoing a process of mutation where both your career direction and you yourself as a human being are changing. Congratulations! You’re almost certainly going to come out of the next decade on the winning side of things, no matter how many times life moves the goal line in the meantime. So whatever it is you ultimately end up doing with your life, I think you’ll do well.
And remember, when that glorious Whatever-It-Is materializes in your life… a lot of successful people have an astrologer on retainer. Keep me in mind!