My Declaration of Independence

At the exact moment I publish this, a super full moon is conjoining my natal lunar north node in Gemini. I’m using that power to launch my declaration of independence. Donald Trump and I share that same node. Our karmic responsibility is to communicate higher knowledge to the multitudes. Bill Clinton and George Bush also share that node, but blew their chances. Donald Trump may have already fulfilled his karmic destiny by exposing the dark underbelly of democracy. Donald Trump’s hubris will be his legacy.

I’ve had an epiphany.  If Donald Trump can become president, I can shift the paradigm of ‘palmistry as a gypsy fortune- telling scam’ to ‘palmistry as a potent path to knowing oneself and other’. By ignoring palmistry’s history and making up my own rules, I’ll drag hand reading, kicking and screaming if necessary, out of the dark ages and into the light of the sun. My mission is to give everyone a helping hand, their own. Once you realize the true value of palmistry, you’ll be looking at your hands with reverence.

I’ve been an astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader for forty years. As an astrologer, having an exact date, time, and place of birth empowers me to recognize character types, observe behavioral patterns, and understand life cycles, habits, and timing. As a palmist, I observe body language and examine the morphology and topography of hands to interpret a person’s actual potentials. Our hands reveal what we’ve done, are doing, and are likely do with those potentials. Tarot cards unveil unconscious and subconscious minds and answer questions ~ like about other people’s stuff.

linda-goodmans-sun-signsAstrology had been quietly knocking at our door for thousands of years. In 1968, we opened wide and asked “What’s your sun sign?”  Linda Goodman wrote and Bantam Books published the simple and entertaining ‘Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs’. Suddenly, astrology became fun. The popular astrology movement was catalyzed. Horoscopes magically appeared in newspapers and magazines everywhere. Astrological organizations, schools, books, and clubs sprouted, thrived, and continue to flourish. Over one hundred million copies of Linda’s books were sold with no Amazon.com or e-social networking.

In my attempt to understand how Linda Goodman transformed astrology, I reached out to her literary agent, Arthur Klebanoff. After reading his autobiography, ‘The Agent’, I was convinced he would be a good catalyst for launching palmistry. I hoped to persuade him that I could become the ‘Linda Goodman of palmistry’ with his help. Too bad for me, because Arthur had retired from agenting and was wary of esoteric authors. Linda had been a royal pain in the butt as a client. I assured him the only relationship between Linda and me was a metaphor between charts and hands. His answer was still ‘No’. I needed to find another way to gain credibility with publishers. If you’ve read my recent personal publicity series, you know how hard I’ve tried.

Here’s my paradox ~ hands are more potent than astrology for seeing basic behavior. There’s no need for accurate birth info, computers, software, or hindsight. While natal astrology charts remain static, hands change as thinking and circumstances change. We get to observe our changes in the mirrors of our hands over time. I use astrology and palmistry together. Viewing hands through the lens of the twelve signs and houses of astrology instantly reveals our basic characters, values, thinking, feelings, will power, health, relationships, creativity, philosophy, purpose, hopes, fears, and spirituality.

Palmistry has not had a champion since Cheiro (hand) in the early 1900’s. Cheiro (Count Louis Hamon) was a self-appointed, self-promoting seer, showman, gossip, and indisputably the most fascinating palmist of all time. He was a bit like Donald Trump in that he made up his own rules as he went along. He’d be a superstar these days with reality TV. You can read more about him in my blog post, ‘Your Palmistry Education’.

It’s time for palmistry to be reborn, but palmistry needs a spokesperson. I’ll be happy to support anyone who is qualified and wants the job. If I’m forced to become a face for palmistry, I’ll rise to the task, but I’m not Cheiro (except for having amazing clients and stories). I have reservations about going public. I cherish my anonymity. I must always remain discreet about my clients’ private lives and secrets. I’ll be seventy next June.

I hope to inspire expert palmists and sincere seekers to take responsibility for what they know and need to know. Knowledge and wisdom are keys to unlocking the magic of hands, but you don’t need to know about hands, or millions of details, or be an expert at anything, to see what you need to see. You must learn how to look and ask the right questions. Hands can be seen and heard by whoever chooses to look and listen.

If you’re a professional palmist and have a legitimate service, product, or school, you should be part of this. Once the public is turned on to palmistry, masses of people will be searching for sources for all things hands. I will promote you when you’re ready, but I’ll require a lot of help from you. First you need to have your act together.

Why aren’t we asking, “May I see your hands?”  My intention is to catalyze a popular palmistry movement as soon as possible. Everyone is seeking spiritual insight and better understanding of oneself and other. There’s no competition for being you. Open your mind, stretch your awareness, and cultivate your ideas ~ be creative. Let me know what you’re planning. Ask for my advice. What I know isn’t proprietary. I have no trade secrets. I will freely share any ideas and ideals that make good sense for the future of palmistry.

I’ve spoken about hands at local venues to mostly uniformed audiences. I’ve shared my knowledge, experience, and creative ideas at colleges, universities, museums, new-age bookstores, community centers, churches, and cafes’. I’ve consulted with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers about fast forwarding diagnosis, to salesmen about improving sales quotas, and human resource professionals about seeing and knowing whether a person is right for a job. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not. Unless you’re waving what you’ve done or are doing in someone’s face while it’s still hot, it’s quickly forgotten.

I’ve shared my personal publicity experiences with newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV, volunteering, and public speaking. The workshop flier below was from one of my favorite events. Working with small communities is very satisfying. By participating in local events, you can give people a taste of what you do and let them know you plan to share what you know with the community. With digital camera in hand I ask,

“May I photograph your hands?”

“What will you do with the photos?”

“I’ll blow them up huge on a screen and talk about you with you in front of everyone.”

I’d be terrified if someone asked me. I have too many secrets. I’m always surprised how many people are ‘up for it’. I assure them I would never say anything hurtful or harmful. Being constructive, helpful, and leaving people feeling hopeful is the name of the game. Workshop volunteers sign a model release. I use their photos in limited ways. I choose twenty people for my poster while instantly creating a captive audience expecting an interesting experience. I place fliers online and in local village stores a couple of weeks ahead of time. This event worked especially well because people were turned on, the workshop was inexpensive, and the proceeds were donated to the café cinema series.

If you go into palmistry for money, you’re in the wrong profession. You can have a happy and healthy life as a palmist without being rich. I work as much as I choose, but will never make big bucks. Corporate speaking is profitable, but it’s a hard sell and the least satisfying work in the end. Your real wealth is in recognizing hands as powerful tools for healing mind, body, and spirit. In the process, you meet a diversity of amazing individuals, cultivate quality private clients, and attract fascinating special event work.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll post my ideas for popularizing palmistry on my blog. Feel free to question, comment, suggest, advise, imagine, or whatever you choose. If you have a better idea or know how to make an idea better, share your thoughts and insights. Let go of palmistry’s past. Take a leap of faith. Figure out what works for you. All of humanity must know and understand self and others better for a better future. Precious treasure wants and waits to be discovered at the ends of our arms.

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding”   Hermes

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Publicity Stories #6 ~ Volunteering

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Volunteering has always been good for business. Being generous with my time and energies has been extremely rewarding on many levels. I get to meet other givers at charity functions. I’ve connected with some of my favorite event planners, performers, and caterers at fund raising events. Forty years later, we still recommend each other for well-paid work when we get the opportunity. Another benefit of charitable events is benefactors, who may pay $1000 or more a plate for dinner and entertainment. They also throw their own parties. I often give out business cards when asked and collect referrals for other causes and more lucrative events. I read many people at these events who have the maladies we’re working for or have family members or friends who have them. I feel grateful to be able to be there to support them.

Newspapers, magazines, books, and radio & TV were obvious ways to promote business. When I first started contributing my time and talents to causes, it never occurred to me to volunteer for the purpose of marketing or publicity. I was taught in early childhood that if you’re lucky enough to have a good life, you have a responsibility to give back in some way. I used to search for old ladies to help across the street, carry their bags, give up my seat, or open a door. I never expected anything in return.  I believe that learning to give contributed to my having a happy childhood.

These days, I sign copious petitions and donate time and money to a variety of social causes. I sometimes regret getting involved as I receive copious requests for endless causes and contributions in my mailbox. I feel like unsubscribing from everything and becoming a hermit, but I don’t. It’s impossible for me to stand by while plutocrats and bigots exploit our environment and trample our human rights under gigantic footprints.

I volunteer regularly for charitable causes like AIDS, Cancer, Schizophrenia, Cystic Fibrosis, Blindness, Healthy Environment, and Dance & Arts Education. The same organizations have called me back year after year. I ask them to pay these days, but offer a substantial discount. They’re grateful to have me and tell me that their guests ask ahead whether I’ll be there. Some of their patrons feel like old friends who like to inform me of their progress since last year’s five-minute rendezvous.

Back in the late ‘80’s, I started working with the AIDS community. It began as research. I hoped to be able to identify the virus in a diversity of hands and track its progress or regress. I printed many hundreds of immune deficient hands of people in various stages from early HIV to full blown AIDS. As I continued to print their hands, I found substantial changes over time. It was hard for me to finance my time and expenses. I tried to find a sponsor to help fund my efforts. No one seemed interested in paying for my research.

In 1994, I discovered Bailey House and met Roy Fowler. Bailey House was an AIDS housing and health organization and Roy was in charge of rehab. Roy wanted to help and hired me to read their clients’ hands, tarot cards, and astrology. I worked two afternoons a week for two years with Roy and Bailey House’s staff and clients.

Individuals with HIV/AIDS tend to suppress their potentials because they’re concerned mainly with the harsh realities of their impending mortality. I was able to identify their strengths, abilities, and talents and encourage them to have hope and make use of the time and resources they had. I played a role for many as a spiritual counselor. Just my being there encouraged some of the more despondent clients to show up at the center.

It was hard to leave, but I needed to make more money. I also hadn’t been able to gather enough hard statistics to validate my research. When I left, Roy handed me this unsolicited testimonial (below). He hoped to help me advance my palmistry work.

bailey-house

Publicity Stories #5 ~ Radio & TV

I was first interviewed on radio in 1986, a few years prior to the Village Voice feature. WNYC Radio asked me to explain palmistry to their listeners for thirty minutes. I was nervous, but knowing I wouldn’t be seen alleviated my biggest fears. As an NPR affiliate, WNYC generated interest in Boston, Chicago, Albuquerque, Houston, and other cities.

frankie-boyerI’ve had many radio interviews since WNYC. One challenge is that if you have nothing to sell, there’s no way to make $. Even if you have something of value, a lot of people must see it and recognize you. I was interviewed by Frankie Boyer numerous times. Frankie promoted my book during the show. It didn’t translate into book sales. I believed Frankie was the perfect venue for me: syndicated in thirty major cities, Frankie interviewed Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dwyer, John Gray, Dr. Oz, Suzanne Somers, and other thought leaders. Her listeners seemed perfect for palmistry and me. I was wrong. I mostly got inquiries from other media looking for stories. My publicist friend who introduced me to Frankie told me it can take as many as fifty radio interviews before listeners respond.

patti-canovaI prefer smaller venues. My all-time favorite tarot teacher and friend, Patti Canova, hosts a radio show she calls ‘Got a Lite’. How many people are actually listening is hard to know, but shows are recorded and archived online, so fans and friends can hear them anytime. I’ve been on Patti’s show several times. She’s got a loyal following. When Patti says, “Mark is great” or “You need to go see this man”, listeners listen. I got friend requests, likes, follows, links, shares, and a few readings from being on her show. Link to my first show.

anthony-piccoI was interviewed for ninety minutes on a show called ‘Cosmic Tuesdays’ that airs on Monday nights. Anthony Picco, a knowledgeable astrologer with a personable interviewing style, blends the esoteric with the practical in the electronic ether for an earful. Link

bliem-kernTV intimidates me. Appearing on screens has its drawbacks. Viewers can see your awkwardness and self-consciousness. Mistakes are permanent and not easily forgotten (mostly by you). Watching yourself afterwards is sobering. “If only I had done or not done…” I spent my first hour on TV with Bliem Kern on ‘Satellite Psychic’. Bliem’s quirky humor and casual informative style made it easy for me to be myself. We joyfully shared our metaphysical ideas and experience on the air.

 

patti-davisBack in 1994, I read Patti Davis on Lifetime TV, on the same day she came out on the cover of Playboy magazine. We sat apart in ‘the green room’, waiting to go on the show. A frustrated stylist was unsuccessfully trying to put makeup on me while Patti was ignoring me. When the producer walked in, she introduced us. “Patti, I want you to meet Mark. He’ll be reading your hands on the show.” Instantly, Patti was kneeling beside me with her hands in my face. “My family loves this stuff!” We talked about what it was like living with Ron and Nancy Reagan. The first thing the two chatty hosts asked me, “Well Mark, what’s in Patti’s hands that we haven’t already seen?” They made jokes about everything I said. By the middle of the show, I regretted doing it, though I was glad to have met and read Patti.

guru-of-garbageI’d never merged design with metaphysics before now. Combining them turned out better than expected. I was the “Guru of Garbage” on Fox ‘Good Day New York’ and a successful industrial eco-designer who creates new products from recycled materials on Japanese WOWOW TV. My esoteric and environmental worlds were beginning to morph into a new physical and metaphysical awareness.

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Martha Stewart threw an exclusive millennium party at the ‘Four Seasons’ in NYC for celebrities, super stars, and other notables. The theme was metaphysics and Martha’s guests could have quickie counseling sessions with master astrologers, palmists, and tarot readers. I got to read the hands of some of my favorite personal heroes. The other palmist and several other readers had published many more books than me, but I had the longest line of celebrities waiting for their reflections.

Martha’s producer called me later to schedule a palmistry segment for CBS ‘Martha Stewart Living’ for April 2001. Martha’s TV studio had state of the art technology, great food, and a lot of hip well paid young professionals running around making sure all things are perfect at all times. I’d heard Martha was a cold task-master, but in person, she was charming and gracious. She has high expectations and truly wants to offer her viewers the most elegant and sensible solutions to whatever crafts, activities, and challenges she’s choosing to illuminate at the moment. In hindsight, I wished I’d done a better job explaining palmistry to her viewers. You can read more about my reading of Martha’s hands here and watch my favorite minute of my segment on her show here.

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After appearing on Martha’s show, I was nervous that people would recognize me on the street. Fortunately, I don’t think many New Yorkers watch her show. The next call I got was from the producer of ABC ‘The View’. She was planning ‘The View from Beyond’ and was lining up a week’s worth of the best esoteric readers she could find. She wanted me to be the guest palmist and promised that I could present palmistry in whatever way I chose. My problem was that while Martha Stewart’s show was taped and edited, ‘The View’ was live. I could be put on the defensive or get stuck with an awkward question I couldn’t answer and be embarrassed. She assured me the show would go smoothly. It actually went really well until Star Jones inadvertently put me on the defensive. “Well Mark; tell me something the audience doesn’t know about me.” Click here to see the look in her eyes as I respond to her question.

I’d never watched ‘Martha Stewart Living’ or ‘The View’ before they called me. I had no idea how many people watched those shows, but assumed the largest audiences for daytime network TV were suburban housewives and unemployed people. Many more strangers recognized me from my appearance on ‘The View’ than from Martha’s show.

mark-joanna-and-cassie-as-a-newborn2The next call I received was from a producer at AOL in collaboration with Huffington Post. They produced a popular video series called ‘You’ve Got’ which was promoted on AOL. A substantial crew of videographers, lighting experts, and stylists showed up at our little east village apartment with a ton of video equipment. A whole afternoon was spent shooting a 2 ½ minute segment entitled ‘You’ve Got Mark Seltman and Joanna Brotman’. The video was all about how I chose to marry Joanna because of her hands and how reading hands has affected our marriage. This short segment got well over a million views within hours of posting.

Since that time, I’ve been approached by a variety of Cable TV producers with reality TV show ideas. I haven’t said ‘yes’ to anything. I do believe the timing is right for the right metaphysical show. Everyone is searching for answers and many people are turning to metaphysics with questions.  I’d love to participate in something meaningful, but everything I’ve seen so far has been more like a ‘circus’ or ‘dog and pony show’. I have no desire to become the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich of metaphysics.

Personal Publicity Stories #1

guru-of-garbage

In 1989, Sarah Ferguson, a freelance journalist for the Village Voice (NYC newspaper) called to interview me for an article she was writing about hand reading. She’d been to several gypsy fortune tellers and her experience impelled her to choose to expose palmistry as a scam. I’d avoided any publicity prior to her contacting me.

At 42, I’d been quietly practicing palmistry, astrology, and tarot for twelve years. I loved my anonymity, but I wasn’t about to let Sarah write that article without meeting a real palmist and that palmist had to be me. At the time, I was known as the ‘Guru of Garbage’, for my innovative uses of waste and recycled materials. I taught ‘Designing with Garbage’ classes at Parsons School of Design and co-moderated a ‘Design for the Environment’ think tank at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC. I was a member of NYC’s Solid Waste Advisory Board, lectured at Universities and museums about designing for our environment, and spoke at community boards about developing better strategies for dealing with community waste. I volunteered for all sorts of eco-projects and preached to the converted for pennies. My design and craft work was exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. I was featured internationally in consumer magazines, newspapers, and on TV. This short video about my recycling and reuse work was featured on Fox, Good Day NY.

After Sarah interviewed me, her story became a feature article and the centerfold of the Voice. My secret and palmistry were out of the closet (so I thought). My good friends were jokingly calling me ‘the word incarnate’. I’d never mixed my design and metaphysics businesses before and was concerned the article would damage my design business. I also imagined people constantly waving their hands in my face. Fortunately, neither of those things happened. The recognition turned out to be positive. Other journalists began calling to interview me for their venues.  That was the start of all sorts of publicity, my obsession with psychic garbage, and the fateful launch of my career as a psychic garbage man. Here’s the article.

My Palmistry Astrology and Tarot Practice

recent mark photo

I’m a full time professional palmist, astrologer, and tarot reader. I help clients examine their behaviors, strengths, weaknesses, talents, challenges, and current and major life issues. Many people want to hear one thing, but need to hear another. My job is to determine what a person needs to hear at a particular moment. I help my clients to gain clarity and to know and understand when it’s healthy to compromise and when it’s not. My mission is to give people a helping hand, their own.

There are many doors to knock on in NYC. I offer private consultations, special events, public speaking, small workshops, and creative writing. Much of my favorite work has come from having healthy working relationships with professionals who market public speaking, corporate special events, and private parties. Most of my income is from special events. A lot of valuable information can be shared in five minutes. I can read up to forty- eight people in four hours. I used to work exclusively for a dozen or so event, party, and meeting planners. I was attracted to the spectacular venues, lavish homes, and fantastic wealth. I’ve read many hundreds of mega-wealthy people and celebrities.

After working the party scene for a couple of years, I began feeling annoyed with planners who took too much commission. Some made as much as I did. Many were paranoid and concerned that their clients would go around them to save money (and they do). Vendors like me are not permitted to give our full names or business cards to guests. I never bit the hand that fed me, but I did observe less scrupulous readers slipping cards to guests. When clients from parties track me down (it’s not hard) to quote on a job, I refer them back to the planners when I realize how they got to me.

I work with top magicians, caricaturists, make-up artists, comedians, musicians, clowns, DJ’s, and caterers. I charge a flat fee of $1000 for up to four hours. When I’m busiest, I feel like I’m not charging enough. Magicians can earn $500 per hour. Mentalists may be worth $5,000 ~ $50,000. A magician referred  me for an hour of work. “You can have me for four hours for the same price.” I told the client. “I know”, she replied. “I only need you for cocktail hour, but I hear you’re worth it.”

Most palmists are poverty conscious. They don’t value what they do enough and can’t see past practical matters. Many have day jobs where they work for peanuts. They’re thrilled to make $150/hr. I charge my clients the same or a bit less than planners charge for my services. I used to recommend other palmists and believed I had no competition. I learned many customers shop for price, not quality. Palmists I had referred to planners would sooner or later offer to discount the healthy fee I’d gotten  them and compete with me for my clients.

Fortunately, I have friends as well as business relationships. Most of my favorite clients, their guests, and other vendors love me and I love them. Click and scroll for reviews. I overheard a guest asking a magician “Is this real magic?” He was performing for the line of guests waiting for their five-minute hand reading with me. “No”, he said, “These are tricks. You need to see Mark for real magic.”

I mostly market myself these days. My favorite events are small and exclusive. I love reading people who know who they are and what they want and ask smart questions. They take what works and leave what doesn’t and do what they want. I work large events, but require a quiet space away from crowds and loud noise. I always ask potential clients what they want and expect from me. I don’t make psychic predictions, have answers, or have a need or desire to tell anyone what to do next.

The special event business is seasonal. I’m busiest in late spring and autumn. I refuse over a dozen prospects a week that aren’t right for me. I refer astrologers, numerologists, and tarot readers who I know and respect. My summer and winter are split between a week in NYC and three weeks in the country. When a party is confirmed, I call whoever has been waiting for a reading and cram a month’s worth of work into a week if I can. I’ll schedule up to a dozen private 1 ½ – 2 hour consultations. Most of my clients are willing to adapt to my schedule and needs.

I’ve read a lot of hands, charts, and cards over forty years. Hands are topographical maps of human character in past, present, and future. Priceless treasure is in plain sight, waiting to be discovered at the ends of our arms. Most people can learn to navigate their maps and chart their course. I use astrology to examine process. Tarot unveils the unseen. Meaningful dialogue unravels clarity from chaos. I’ve peered into myriad eyes and shared intimate stories as a counselor, five-minute best friend, bull-shit detector, and soothsayer for a huge diversity of individuals of all ages, genders, colors, cultures, and nationalities. I stopped counting at 50,000 many years ago.

For astrologers, my lunar north node conjunct Venus in Gemini symbolizes a push-pull between city and country life. I’m a communicator in the city. My country life is creative writing, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, gardening, cooking, making things, reading, and loving nature, art, music, friends, and family.

country life