JURY DUTY

My recent jury duty experience will be of particular interest to other esoteric readers. I’m registered to vote in New York City, so every few years (it’s five now); I’ve been called to serve. That entails typically spending three days sitting around waiting for attorneys to call potential jurors to be interviewed for various cases. Jurors are paid $40 per day and are expected to remain in the building from 9am to 5pm with an hour or so break for lunch. Depending on the size of the pool, jurors can be called and rejected several times over those three days.

In our Justice System, it’s every citizen’s responsibility to serve on a jury when called on. A jury consists of twelve individuals who are selected from a pool of potential jurors by a judge, defense attorney, and prosecuting attorney. There are two types of court cases, criminal and civil. Over many years, I’ve only been called for civil cases and have always been rejected because I’ve been both a plaintiff and defendant in civil law suits. If there’s any chance of bias, there’s little chance of being selected.

This time, I was called to sit in a courtroom with other potential jurors to listen to the judge and attorneys present a criminal case. The judge explained the nature of the case and asked us if we watched TV shows like CSI and Criminal Minds. Most of the jurors raised their hands. He explained that those shows are for entertainment purposes only and real forensic evidence is rarely perfect. You really can’t spot a license plate from a satellite, surveillance video is often not clear, and DNA is frequently unreliable. I’m not a big fan of TV, but most of those police dramas are way too predictable for my tastes.

After that, fourteen individuals were arbitrarily called by a court officer who picks pieces of paper with juror’s names from a wire basket that is rotated to mix them up. The jurors proceed to the juror’s box to be interrogated by the attorneys. Many potential jurors are prejudiced or prefer not to serve on a jury because some cases can drag out for weeks. It’s obvious when someone is trying to get out of serving and the judge has no problem letting them know that it’s their duty to serve. I was not chosen for the first round.

Between rounds, everyone files out of the courtroom while the judge and lawyers deliberate and choose which jurors support their arguments. Then everyone is called back and the jurors who have been chosen are allowed to leave. The remainder of the fourteen goes back into another pool to be selected for another case. I was chosen for the second round and was asked to be seated in the jury box. As a full time palmist, astrologer, and tarot reader for forty years, this was my moment of truth when I had to make a decision as to how I wanted to proceed.

I’d always been in business for myself. My only other work experience was being employed two days a week for two years in the rehab department of a forensic psychiatric hospital. I worked with over 150 murderers and violent criminals. My job was designing vocational programs, although I became the art therapist for six months when the regular therapist was caught by the rehab director in the art supply closet dispensing her own form of therapy to one of the patients. She was instantly fired. No one else was qualified for the job. I got to work directly with patients, which was crucial, as my real and secret purpose for being there was to read their hands, study their astrology, and to get to know them. If this had been a murder case, I’d be disqualified, but it wasn’t.

Most esoteric readers learn to trust their instincts and feelings.  I had a negative feeling about this particular defendant. I didn’t know if she was guilty on all counts, but she had a guilty energy about her. The judge asked us to introduce ourselves and to briefly describe what we do, our marital status, and whether we had any experience that might prejudice us. When it was my turn, I said, “I’m a practicing professional psychic”. You can see where this is going.

The prosecutor was the first to interview me. He inquired, “Do you think you can remain fair and impartial in hearing this case? “I can try” I replied. “I have a lot of friends and family who are corporate and tort lawyers” I volunteered. He moved on to the next juror.

When the defense attorney stood up, it was plain to see he didn’t want me. He asked, “What would you think if the defendant doesn’t testify?” “The defendant is testifying all the time with her eyes and body language” I replied. He countered, “Tell me. You don’t really need the evidence presented to know what’s going to happen. Do you?” “No, I don’t” I told him. I could hear a quiet gasp from the other jurors. I looked over at the defendant (who had remained deadpan throughout the procedure). A sudden look of terror appeared in her eyes. That’s when I was sure I was not going to be selected.

When we left the courtroom for deliberation, I could feel other jurors looking at me and trying to catch my attention. Some smiled as I caught their glance. One came up and enthusiastically shook my hand to tell me that I had given the most interesting response he had ever heard in his many years of jury duty. I asked to see his hands and then we spent a few minutes talking about his issues and challenges. We exchanged email addresses and have stayed in touch. The court dismissed me at the end of the day. I’ll be seventy-five next time they call me for jury duty.

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