Jump clear of the market when Mars enters Libra

pounds 10bn worth of investment funds are influenced by astrology

Sorry, John: there's no solace in the stars

No prizes for guessing what John Major will be wishing for when he blows out his 54 candles at his birthday tea today. Election victory is not, however, written in his stars. It is, say astrologers, more a case of New Moon, New Labour.

LETTER : Bad astrology

With reference to Iain Sharp's letter (2 March), it is not the reputation of astrology that is at issue but merely that of the astrologer who made the predictions referred to. Astrology has good and bad practitioners and should not be judged by those foolish enough to make such predictions in public.

heavenly The far-out influence of Pluto

Currently there seems to be a raft of books concerned with bridging the generations.

Heavenly chaos, where astrologers thrive

Armistice Day next week finds several countries still mired in devastating civil wars.

Blair's covenant: to create an era of achievement

Tony Blair's speech to the Labour Party Conference, Blackpool, 1 October 1996:

Ariens suffer road rage, Scorpios stay sane

The money men are seeing stars, says Michael Drewett (Sagittarius)

LETTER : Astrology: could anything else provoke such venom

Again last week we had a large DID I miss something or is the country going completely mad?


l l

Pluto factor heralds world of difference in stars

Astrological epoch: Time for reflection as star-gazers greet 13 year period of transition

Beyond the Age of Aquarius

In here

How to read tarot cards

"Well I can see that your sister is about to be married and it looks as if you've got to move house" is Michele's opening gambit. I try to nod nonchalantly, but my astonishment that a complete stranger can know these things about me shines throug h. "Good aren't I" she quips. From her tiny office in London's Covent Garden Michele Knight has built up a formidable reputation as a top notch Tarot card reader. She continues to reel off fact after fact, most of which, with the benefit of hindsight I can say have come true Both Michele and Ernie James, tarot reader to the stars, agree that "it's all in the cards". The cards on which they both rely are a 72 card deck , the origins of which are unclear. The deck roughly resembles an ordinary pack of playing cards, numbere d cards in four suits called the minor arcana, and 22 picture cards, called the major arcana. It is within these 22 that the "magic" lies. These picture cards, often beautifully illustrated, apparently represent the circle of life. They have names like T he Lovers, the Tower, The Star, Death or the Hanged Man and are central to any interpretation. " Each card can have many different meanings, on many different levels" James explains, "I tell everyone I'm training, 'Look at the card and tell me what you see', but it's no bloody good if they don't know what they're looking at." James stresses that under no circumstances must the cards be taken at face value. "They operate on many levels," he explains. "There's the material, what the figure is actually doing in the picture; the spiritual, what the picture brings to mind andthe numerology. Even the colours used in the card can be important." Once the client has made a selection, Knight reveals that all is not necessarily what it seems. "People are often frightened when the they pick the Death card," she explains, " but it can be really good, signalling the end of something and the beginning of something new." "Each card will have a different meaning depending on where it appears in the spread" James insists. The spread is the other essential tool of the Tarot reader. The client is asked to shuffle the pack and then lays them out in a specific pattern. James has pioneered his own spread called the Astro and according to him, it's the only one which can some up the whole of a person's life. In the Astro spread twelve cards are picked and each represents a different part o fthat individuals life: for ex ample the sixth card concerns work, the seventh partnership, the 10th career, the 11th friendships and so on. Knight uses a more traditional spread called the Celtic Cross. But for more in-depth readings, especially concerning a specific question from the client, both James and Knight will employ more sophisticated spreads. " Reading the tarot is an instinctive thing," Knight says. "You open yourself up to it and try not to let your intellect get in the way." Both James and Knight run courses to train aspiring tarot readers and while recognising that some people are naturals, they admit that anyone can be trained to do it. But while James reckons he can train someone up in a weekend, Knight advocates a long er apprenticeship. "When someone comes to you wanting their tarot read, they're putting a lot of trust in you," she says. "Unqualified readers can do a lot of harm." James, whose client list is said to include royalty, is about to publish his own Tarot manual (including a CD-rom version, complete with built-in predictor) and he's just designed three new decks. Meanwhile, Knight has just finished the pilot for a late-night chat-show. Perhaps James and his cards can reveal its fate.

Feelgood factor: Holly Johnson

"There's an angelic lady who I have seen twice now for aromatherapy at the HIV clinic I go to, though the last time I saw her it was a bit rushed and we spent just over an hour together; the first session was about two and a half hours. She provides aromatherapy for free. This lady is particularly good with people who have HIV. She uses only original oils, which are expensive. She chatted - it's very important to talk to the person you're seeking treatment from, so they know what your lifestyle involves - and gave me information on what I could use at home.



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