SCORPIO & HANDS

Scorpio is a fixed feeling type. Having a Scorpio Sun, Moon, houses, aspects, planets, or planetary placements doesn’t guarantee a Scorpio personality. Having Scorpio hands with long rectangular palms and long stiff fingers and large stiff thumbs does. The consistency of those hands is denser and skin less elastic than Cancer and Pisces. Head and life lines interlace at their start, embodying a tendency to fight change and procrastinate at beginnings and endings. ‘Letting go’ is a huge challenge, even when there’s no choice. Another big challenge is caring too much what others think.

No matter your archetype, long broad nails and straight pinky fingers represent more open and frank people. Dominant first and third phalanges on rounded and conical fingertips embody a healthy mix of intuition and practicality. Loop fingerprints symbolize adaptability and social ability. Developed knots on second joints need physical order. Developed first knots need mental order. Very large knots often belong to OCD people.

Vertical lines within a lifeline represent intimate relationships. Balls of the thumb with no lines within the lifeline are untrusting and untrustworthy, though they might not know it. They mistake desire and passion for love and end up becoming jealous and possessive. Scorpio can have many wonderful qualities, but Scorpio is also a tale of the tail of the Scorpion. Now is a good time to tell a tale of Scorpio with Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Venus currently transiting Scorpio. Mercury will be Retrograde in Scorpio on Halloween. It’s a great time to talk about the mythology of Scorpio and explore how the dark side of Scorpio is affecting our humanity and planet. The ball of thumb on the left in the picture above is simulated. It belonged to a child serial killer. Click here to read his story.

mark seltman

My Gemini sun and hands embody my Gemini behavior. Scorpio ascends in my natal chart, closely conjunct the asteroid Chiron (hand). Jupiter in Scorpio in my first house is a singleton in the bottom hemisphere of my natal chart. Pluto in Leo in my tenth house is closely conjunct Saturn in Leo which straddles my Leo midheaven. My Sun Uranus and Venus Node conjunctions are in Gemini in my 8th (Scorpio) house, joined by Vulcanus, Vertex, and a few asteroids. Scorpio rules my unconscious. As a metaphysical reader and counselor, I hear a lot of secrets. People tell me things they’ve never told anyone else because they believe I already know them. They think I can see more than I can. Of course, in the final analysis, it’s not what you see, but what you say and how you say it that matters.

When Saturn in Scorpio transited my ascendant in November of 2012, it squared my natal Saturn Pluto conjunction, compelled me to strengthen my foundation, build more stable structures, and construct my life with less distraction and more discipline and focus. Saturn forced me to set realistic goals and challenged me to let go of everything and everyone that wasn’t working for me. It wasn’t easy, but I did. Seeing clearly, listening carefully, and thinking critically, has enabled me to rise from the ashes.

Jupiter in Scorpio has been a blessing and a curse for me. My natal Jupiter is within minutes of opposing my very stubborn 7th house Mars in Taurus. It’s trine my very sensitive ninth house Mercury in Cancer. Looking for shortcuts and easy paths to success has been a challenge. Coming out of the shithouse smelling like a rose has been the easy part. William Blake said, “The path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”. I know. 

Where’s Greta? EXPELIOSIS!

Pluto, Roman god of sex, transformation, and death is ruler of Scorpio, lord of darkness, and master of the sexual orgasm. In ancient Greece, Hades was god of the underworld. Hades had the nastiest job because his brothers and sisters were having fun controlling living people. Hades was king of the leftovers and waste. In tarot, the High Priestess, Queen of Cups, and Death card are ruled by Scorpio. Voldemort, Darth Vader, the Mummy, and the Big Bad Wolf are modern versions. Religious extremism, politics, and big business are Pluto’s playgrounds. It’s not what you do, but what you can get away with that matters. Anger, fear, hatred, prejudice, and punishment excite and beckon Donaldemort’s Dementors who are determined to terrify and control the rest of us…  

My question is what responsibility do Mega-Haves have to help support have nots. Billionaires can use their free will to decide what they want to champion, but they must support a humanitarian cause. Who will repair infrastructure? Who will help harness natural energy? Who will promote sustainability? Who will manage communications, push mass transit and alternative transportation, intelligently design and manufacture new products and then plan for their corresponding distribution, consumption, and disposal?  Who will help us acquire healthcare and education for all? What’s the cost of a healthy planet?  How much to feel well? How much does thinking critically and living creatively cost? What’s the cost of having a healthy body and skin? What price for healthy circulatory and respiratory systems?  What about the costs of having a satisfying spiritual life?

REPUGLICANTS

The seduction turns Pluto on, but the betrayal gets him off. By encouraging terrorists, rewarding rapists, and worshipping religious fanatics, we’re all invited to spend an eternity in hell. The path of too many dark secrets leads to the palace of sociopathy. From first breath to final exit, Pluto impatiently awaits you with a kiss of death.

‘MY PRECIOUS’

Scorpions make manipulative bosses, mean spirited jailers, abusive parents, and jealous partners who hide their true feelings. It’s especially hard to deal with the shadowy unstable side of Pluto’s emotions. Executioners, undertakers, coroners, morticians, and garbage men, along with power hungry plutocrats, partisan politicians, and spiritually bankrupt religious fundamentalists and hypocrites have strong Scorpio in their symbolism. Your friendly neighbor, a model citizen, devoted husband, loving father, loyal friend, and faithful parishioner dies. His family finds pornography, secret love letters, sadistic and masochistic sexual supplies, illegal drugs, and concealed money. Alternative facts are opaque, while hindsight is transparent.

False tweets and fake facts create opacity and disguise secrets of greed, bigotry, hatred, and sexual perversion. Tyrants rationalize the most bizarre behaviors because they believe they can get away with them. And they do, if we let them. At this moment, many are getting away with philandering, sexism, insider trading, religious hypocrisy, and poisonous partisan politics. Our deepest darkest fears and terrors are propelling humanity towards mental, emotional, moral, and spiritual bankruptcy. Evil Priests feign love and compassion as they physically, mentally, and spiritually rape the innocent souls they were entrusted to protect. Fear, guilt, shame, and remorse safely guard their secrets.

“Money talks and bullshit walks”. Plutocrats control humanity’s destiny. Republican partisan politicians have become morally and spiritually bankrupt sadists, who derive pleasure from harming have-nots. Fearful poverty minded Democrats desperately scrape the bottom of the barrel as they ask us to sign their petitions, fill out their surveys, and pledge loyalty to too many urgent causes as they beg for a few shekels. I sign and give as much as I can to worthy causes, but it’s like applying a Band-Aid to a compound fracture or placing a drop of potable water in an ocean of poison. Humanity’s ideological, philosophical, and spiritual paradigms must shift as the human race has become a race against horrible bad shit happening.

Our planet and social cultures have been corrupted by a handful of greedy moguls who control our food, shelter, healthcare, energy, communications, transportation, raw materials, manufacturing, marketing, retailing, finance, religion, and politics. Plutocrats devalue democracy by placing greed over giving, by embracing religious fundamentalism over spirituality and true faith, and by choosing consumption, waste, and denial over truth, good sense, and planetary good health. 2,153 billionaires have great social responsibility. Humanity needs them (and everyone else) to embrace caring and meaningful causes.

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt”. Many of life’s most painful lessons are a direct result of choosing money over values and religion over spirituality. It’s easy to rationalize the blackest behavior when your head rules your heart. “I never intended to hurt anyone”. “No one did anything they didn’t want to do”. “I may not have told the whole truth, but I didn’t lie”. “I’m sorry for my part”. Why must we lose what we’ve taken for granted to learn to value it? Scorpio holds the key to unlocking our secrets!

CAPRICORN & PSYCHE

The full moon in Cancer arrives with this year’s winter solstice. As humanity races recklessly toward bad shit happening, Saturn solemnly reveals our faulty foundations, unstable structures, and horrible habits. The time has come to balance our personal and collective heads and hearts. Every thought, choice, and action has consequences. It’s time to let go of fear and begin loving and nourishing each other and our planet.

Outer planets symbolize massive transformations in both personal and collective psyches as they change signs. While Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited Capricorn in the 20th Century, outdated paradigms and patterns of political institutions and social structures were shifted. Uranus in Capricorn revolutionized politics and business from 1989 to 1996. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were ripped down. Germany was reunited on October 3, 1990. The political demarcation between East and West vanished. In 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen republics. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibited discriminating against the disabled. Why have we regressed to Nationalism, Fear, and discrimination? Do we really need to build another wall that we’ll eventually tear down between the US and Mexico?

NASA successfully observed and recorded Uranus orbiting the outer limits of our solar system, thanks to our Voyager space probe. Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years behind bars and successfully galvanized Anti-Apartheid across the globe. Jean Bertrand Aristide, radical priest, became Haiti’s first freely elected president. Ten months after his election, the military seized control of government. After his USA asylum, Aristide returned to office in 1994, accompanied by 20,000 American troops. Operation Desert Storm liberated Kuwait from Iraqi invaders. Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia resulting in a religious civil war that pitted Serbs and Croats against Muslims. Why are we allowing genocide in Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and so many other countries? Why are we supporting and promoting hatred around the world? Why are we wasting money on irrelevant outer space programs?

Johnny Carson retired after 30 years (Saturn return) of the TONITE show. Representatives from over 100 countries met in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992 to discuss how to preserve the earth. Good intentions were no longer enough. The USA and UN brokered a prickly cease-fire to end ethnic cleansing. Why have we chosen leaders who ignore humanitarian and environmental values and instead worship greed? Why have we abandoned our good health and the good health of our planet?

Expect the unexpected. PLO leader Yassar Arafat shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to end hatred. The Irish Republican Army agreed to lay down its arms in exchange for a role in Northern Ireland’s political future. Smoking was banned in New York City restaurants. Women began smoking cigars. The Brady Bill for gun control was signed into law thirteen years after Brady was shot and paralyzed. Why are more semi-automatic weapons than ever being sold to crazy people and then being used in mass shootings in schools, religious institutions, and shopping malls, etc.?

When Neptune transited Capricorn from 1984-1998, lines between chemical industries and moral responsibilities dissolved. A gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in India killed over 3,000 people. British scientists pinpointed a hole in the earth’s ozone layer. Two years later in 1987, after seeing the hand writing on the wall, fifty-three nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce the number of CFCs in the atmosphere. The most serious nuclear accident in history occurred at Chernobyl, killing thirty-one people instantly. Later, 40,000 were diagnosed with cancer from too much exposure to radiation. The Exxon Valdez shipwreck was the worst oil spill in history. It contaminated hundreds of miles of Alaska shoreline and killed many thousands of creatures. Why are we still choosing to promote fossil fuels and environmental pollution over clean energy and sustainability?

Monsanto, creator of Agent Orange, PCB, DDT, and Dioxins, launched “Round-up Ready” GMO soybeans, approved by the FDA in 1994. “Frankenfood” was born.  Environmental activists fought back while FDA folly was parodied by late night pundits on TV. Mad Cow disease mysteriously appeared in the UK in 1996. The slim line between science fiction and reality was crossed when the first sheep was cloned in Scotland in 1997. The FDA approved a drug called AZT, designed to treat AIDS. El Nino was named and blamed for bizarre bad weather conditions in 1997 and 1998. Why are we ignoring science and climate change? Why haven’t we banned ‘Roundup’, knowing that it’s a carcinogen?

Neptune transformed our illusion of fatherhood. Convicted pussy grabber Bill Cosby was the most popular father in 1984. What a hypocrite he turned out to be. While Saturn transited Scorpio, Bill was clearly not practicing what he was preaching. Sadly, he had no awareness of his karma until Saturn returned to Scorpio in 2014. Racial bigots Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson were wildly popular fathers. ‘Married with Children’ warped our visions of fatherhood. Disney produced a powerful father and son story, ‘The Lion King’. Murphy Brown revealed a powerful animus to a national anima, hopefully teaching women not to give away their power. Why are we electing and appointing pussy grabbers and rapists to leadership roles in public office?

Ivan Boesky preached virtuosity and honesty while practicing insider trading. Frenzies of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers began in 1980, destabilizing financial institutions. General Electric purchased media giants NBC and RCA. Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapsed. Regulators from 69 countries seized assets and charged officers who hid substantial losses from investors. Congress closed the House of Representatives Bank in the wake of scandal. Why are we gifting billionaires with our hard earned taxes?

Neptune dissolves political and financial structures. Mikhail Gorbachev reformed controls to keep the Soviet Union together. Growing concerns over growing federal deficit catalyzed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Congress failed to control its spending, and rather than assume the massive mandatory cuts specified, it was scrapped in 1990. Reagan deficits soared to two trillion dollars (2X 1981). Black Monday suffered a stock market mini-crash with sudden steeply dropping stock prices. Texaco filed the largest bankruptcy in history. Why are our deficits greater than ever and our middle class and have-nots poorer and more desperate than ever?

History repeats itself. Power corrupts. The top 1% is above the law and beyond scrutiny. The 99% are well aware of the greed of the 1%.  Deceptive business practices, dark conspiracies, devious plutocrats and capitalists are dark manifestations of Pluto. Partisan politics, greed, hypocrisy, and selfishness must be replaced by healthy values, ethics, morality, and spirituality.

Nostradamus predicted the time of Pluto in Capricorn would destabilize major financial structures and burst the bubbles created by the illusion of social security. How can we reform broken social systems when greed owns our Congress and Senate? What happens when the Federal Reserve Bank (Capricorn) destabilizes? How do we prepare for fluctuating interest rates and inflation?

We need to recreate and refurbish our infrastructure and find revolutionary ways to manage our energy and environment. Fossil fuels must be utilized to create sustainable products and not be squandered. Recycling and reuse must be implemented on a massive scale to become practical and cost effective. Cyber-Terrorism is capable of reaching into any computer, cell phone, or electronic device. The list of necessities to be transformed is endless and eternal. We must build bridges, not walls.

The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4 1776. Among astrologers, there’s a dispute whether Gemini or Sagittarius is rising. No matter what, the USA Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are still in Cancer. As Pluto opposes those archetypes, we’ll try harder to control everyone and everything and be challenged for economic power and status as world leader. We’re smart-assed short-sighted little children who take what’s most valuable for granted.

NYC’s charter was signed January 1 1898 at 12:01 am. Pluto reached the degree of NYC’s Sun in Capricorn in 2013 and catalyzed chaos around physical and financial infrastructures, public transportation, and political corruption. Worldwide challenges have included hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, wildfires, and unnatural anomalies due to environmental abuse. Capricorn rises in the USSR for a constitution that promises political and economic upheaval. Pluto teaches us where responsibility begins and accountability ends. Bottom lines do not justify the means. What gives Donaldemort and his Dementors the right to take us for granted, squander our planet’s natural resources, ignore science, and abuse our respiratory and circulatory systems, bodies, minds, and spirits? How can we allow them to deny responsibility and not expect serious karmic consequences? Why can’t we see the handwriting on our walls? We must wean ourselves from hate, fear, and terror, and choose loving leaders.

CAPRICORN and the 20th CENTURY PSYCHE

Saturn arrived in Capricorn today (December 19, 2017) with a new moon in Capricorn. As humanity races recklessly toward bad shit happening, Saturn will sober and reveal our faulty foundations, unstable structures, and horrible habits. Every thought, choice, and action has consequences. The time has come to let go of fear and start loving.

Outer planets symbolize massive transformations in personal and collective psyches as they change signs. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited Capricorn in the 20th Century. Outdated paradigms and patterns of political institutions and social structures were shifted forever. Uranus in Capricorn revolutionized politics and business from 1989 to 1996. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were ripped down. Germany was reunited on October 3, 1990. The political demarcation between East and West vanished. In 1991, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen republics. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibited discriminating against the disabled.

NASA successfully observed and recorded Uranus at the outer limits of our solar system, thanks to our Voyager space probe. Nelson Mandela was released after 27 years behind bars and successfully galvanized Anti-Apartheid across the globe. Jean Bertrand Aristide, radical priest, became Haiti’s first freely elected president. Ten months after his election, the military seized control of government. After his USA asylum, Aristide returned to office in 1994, accompanied by 20,000 American troops. Operation Desert Storm liberated Kuwait from Iraqi invaders. Bosnia declared independence from Yugoslavia resulting in a religious civil war that pitted Serbs and Croats against Muslims.

Good intentions were no longer enough. USA and UN brokered a prickly cease-fire to end ethnic cleansing. Representatives from over 100 countries met in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992 to discuss how to preserve the earth. Johnny Carson retired after 30 years (Saturn return) of the TONITE show.

Expect the unexpected. PLO leader Yassar Arafat shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to end hatred. The Irish Republican Army agreed to lay down its arms in exchange for a role in Northern Ireland’s political future. The Brady Bill for gun control was signed into law thirteen years after Brady was shot and paralyzed. Smoking was banned in New York City restaurants. Women began smoking cigars.

When Neptune transited Capricorn from 1984-1998, lines between chemical industries and moral responsibilities dissolved. A gas leak at a Union Carbide plant in India killed over 3,000 people. British scientists pinpointed a hole in the earth’s ozone layer. Two years later in 1987, after seeing the hand writing on the wall, fifty-three nations signed a treaty pledging to reduce the number of CFCs in the atmosphere. The most serious nuclear accident in history occurred at Chernobyl, killing thirty-one people instantly. Later, 40,000 were diagnosed with cancer from too much exposure to radiation. The Exxon Valdez shipwreck was the worst oil spill in history. It contaminated hundreds of miles of Alaska shoreline and killed many thousands of creatures.

Monsanto, creator of Agent Orange, PCB, DDT, and Dioxins, launched “Round-up Ready” GMO soybeans, approved by the FDA in 1994. “Frankenfood” was born.  Environmental activists fought back while FDA folly was parodied by late night pundits on TV. Mad Cow disease mysteriously appeared in the UK in 1996. The slim line between science fiction and reality was crossed when the first sheep was cloned in Scotland in 1997. The FDA approved a drug called AZT, designed to treat AIDS. El Nino was named and blamed for bizarre bad weather conditions in 1997 and 1998.

Neptune transformed our illusion of fatherhood. Bill Cosby was the most popular father in 1984. What a hypocrite he turned out to be. While Saturn transited Scorpio, Bill was not practicing what he was preaching. Sadly, he had no knowledge of his karma until Saturn returned to Scorpio in 2014. Racial bigots Archie Bunker and Homer Simpson were wildly popular fathers. ‘Married with Children’ warped our visions of fatherhood. Disney produced a powerful father and son story, ‘The Lion King’. Murphy Brown revealed a powerful animus to a national anima, hopefully teaching women not to give away their power.

Ivan Boesky preached virtuosity and honesty while practicing insider trading. Frenzies of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers began in 1980, destabilizing financial institutions. General Electric purchased media giants NBC and RCA. Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) collapsed. Regulators from 69 countries seized assets and charged officers who hid substantial losses from investors. Congress closed the House of Representatives Bank in the wake of scandal.

Neptune dissolves political and financial structures. Mikhail Gorbachev reformed controls to keep the Soviet Union together. Growing concerns over growing federal deficit catalyzed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. Congress failed to control its spending, and rather than assume the massive mandatory cuts specified, it was scrapped in 1990. Reagan deficits soared to two trillion dollars (2X 1981). Black Monday suffered a stock market mini-crash with sudden steeply dropping stock prices. Texaco filed the largest bankruptcy in history.

History repeats itself. Power corrupts. The top 1% is above the law and beyond scrutiny. The 99% are well aware of the 1%.  Deceptive business practices, dark plots, devious fundamentalism, and crafty capitalism are dark manifestations of Pluto. Partisan politics, greed, hypocrisy, and selfishness will eventually be replaced by true values, ethics, and spirituality.

Nostradamus predicted the time of Pluto in Capricorn would destabilize major financial structures and burst bubbles created by an illusion of social security. How do we reform broken social systems when Plutocrats own both Congress and Senate? What happens when the Federal Reserve Bank (Capricorn) upheaves and destabilizes? How do we prepare for fluctuating interest rates and inflation?

 

We must recreate and refurbish our infrastructure and find revolutionary ways to manage our energy and environment. Fossil fuels must be utilized to create lasting products and not be squandered. Recycling and reuse must be implemented on a massive scale to be practical and cost effective. Cyber-Terrorism is capable of reaching into any computer, cell phone, or electronic device. The list of necessities to be transformed is endless and eternal.

 

 

 

The Declaration of Independence was signed July 4 1776. Among astrologers, there’s a dispute whether Gemini or Sagittarius is rising. No matter what, the USA Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are still in Cancer. As Pluto opposes those archetypes, we’ll try harder to control everyone and everything and be challenged for economic power and status as world leader. We’re like a bunch of smart-assed short-sighted little children who take too much for granted.

 

NYC’s charter was signed January 1 1898 at 12:01 am. Pluto reached the degree of NYC’s Sun in Capricorn in 2013 and catalyzed chaos around physical and financial infrastructures, public transportation, and political corruption. Worldwide challenges have included hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, droughts, wildfires, and unnatural anomalies due to environmental abuse. Capricorn rises in the USSR for a constitution that promises political and economic upheaval. Pluto teaches us where responsibility begins and accountability ends. Bottom lines do not justify the means.

Donaldemort and his Dementors are selfish and mean spirited because they don’t have a clue how to love. Our leaders substitute greed and hate for love because they can get away with it. What gives them or anyone the right to take us for granted,  squander our planet’s natural resources, and abuse our respiratory and circulatory systems, bodies, minds, and spirits. How can they deny responsibility and not expect serious karmic consequences? Why aren’t we seeing the handwriting on our walls? We must wean ourselves from hate, fear, and terror, and choose love and loving leaders.

Sagittarius and the Collective Psyche in the 20th Century

Outer planets powerfully influence our personal psyche. They symbolize massive transformations in our collective psyche as they change sign. When Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto transited Sagittarius in the 20th Century, paradigms of politics, commerce, and religion shifted forever.

Uranus transited Sagittarius from 1981-1988. Political gender was shaken up. Sandra D. O’Connor was the first Woman elected to the Supreme Court. Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman nominated by the Democratic Party for Vice President. Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister of a Muslim country in Pakistan’s first free election since 1977.

Uranus can represent sudden and unexpected upheaval and disaster. The space shuttle Challenger exploded on takeoff while millions watched in horror on their TVs. While Greenpeace protested France’s nuclear testing, their flagship Rainbow Warrior was bombed. Ronald Reagan created “Star Wars”, an absurd and overly expensive national defense idea. George Bush Sr. was the first sitting Vice President elected as president since 1836. IBM introduced personal PCs. AT&T’s monopoly was broken by the Department of Justice.

Sagittarius rules publishing and religion. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death after he published his popular novel The Satanic Verses. Rushdie’s tales of good and evil fueled riots in India and book burnings in England. His huge success fueled Islamic hatred.

 

Neptune transited Sagittarius from 1970 to 1984. The idealism of the 60’s was replaced by pessimism and a marked lack of trust in national institutions. The war in Vietnam united a mass of skeptical protestors ready for confrontation. The Arab oil embargo of 1973 created a major energy crisis, teaching US not to take energy for granted, and conveniently catalyzing the opening of the controversial Alaska pipeline.

 

Neptune rules false prophets, delusion, deception, and victimization. Neptune is also visionary, imaginative, and magical. Richard Nixon was the first US President in history to announce his resignation. New York was the first city in US history to be bailed out of bankruptcy by the federal government. A religious paradigm shifted when the Catholic Church elected its first non-Italian pope in four centuries. Mother Theresa accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in the name of the poor. Televangelist Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority in 1979.

Neptune rules chemicals and drugs. The first test-tube baby was conceived out of the womb. Genetic engineering created new horrors for theologians and religious extremists. Environmentalists protested industries creating “Acid Rain”. The ‘Three Mile Island’ fiasco derailed several major nuclear energy projects. The World Health Organization announced an end to smallpox. Crack cocaine became popular. A deadly epidemic was officially named AIDS.

Pluto transited Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008. Pluto with Zeus is recipe for upheaval and transformation in politics, big business, and religion. Political extremism, corporate greed, religious fundamentalism, and terrorism began to flourish and thrive across the globe. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing law student. The Middle East peace process was disrupted. Great Britain finally let go of Hong Kong. President Clinton resumed diplomatic relations with communist Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of Black Men flocked to Washington to march for freedom. It was the first time in 40 years that Republicans controlled congress. Y2K was not end time.

Sex scandals rocked the Catholic Church.  The House of Representatives impeached and later acquitted Bill Clinton for lying about his sexploits. Two students killed themselves after murdering twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton Colorado. The Unabomber was caught and sentenced to life in prison. The Oklahoma City bombing established large-scale terrorism by Americans on our soil. After 9/11, governmental power transformed, giving leaders the ability to supersede human rights and civil liberties. A large political machine preempted war without world consent. Lairs of corporate foxes ruled the hen house while packs of political wolves managed the sheep.

Saturn returned to Sagittarius on December 23, 2014, after nearly thirty years through eleven other signs. Astrologers predicted Saturn would wield powerful influence for three years as it transited Sagittarius on its way to Capricorn. Saturn rules responsibility, structure, discipline, focus, time, big business, and bureaucracy. Energy, transportation, communications, food, housing, healthcare, law, politics, and religion were changed by Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius.

Sagittarius rules transportation. We’re a long way from the Model T, only a speck in time ago. Sagittarians love prestige and luxury cars as racing is to Aries and showing off is to Leo. The gods of cars must shift the paradigm of profit before people. Automotive industries must be more spiritual in their visions and truthful in their actions. By perpetuating an illusion that overly powerful gas guzzling vehicles are expensive, glamorous and sexy, car makers and profiteers promote a delusion that it’s OK to deplete our natural resources and pollute our planet. How long did we let cigarette companies get away with pretending unhealthy products were heallthy. Do we really need hundreds of horses galloping under our hoods? Transportation needs to be designed for present and future good health. We will profit from higher social and environmental consciousness. As the globe warms and fuel prices skyrocket, fuel efficient, non-polluting, practical, and economical transportation needs to happen or we will drive ourselves to extinction.

We drive whenever and wherever in the comfort of our cars. Real and hidden costs are usurious as we guzzle gas, fight oil wars, deplete finite natural resources, and pollute our Mother Earth. Carbon monoxide and dioxide hover everywhere. Toxic smoke and smog poison arteries while they proliferate and coagulate like cholesterol on its way to a coronary. Too many old, tired, depressed, angry, drugged, and drunken drivers are turning roads into varicose veins connecting festering sores we call cities. We must shift our travel paradigm and steer ourselves far from death and destruction, instead being hopeful and helpful in our intent and actions. Our fate is in our hands.

Greed and prejudice are unhealthy symptoms of powerful partisan political philosophies and pervasive extremist religious ideologies. A global world family and economy must see the forest from the trees in ways that are healthy and sustainable for all. Our values will become healthier when Uranus enters Taurus on May 14, 2018. I’m praying for a reincarnation of nobility, dignity, integrity, ethics, and virtue.

Pisces and Hands

You don’t need a Pisces Sun or Pisces planetary relationships or placements in your natal horoscope to be Piscean. Pure types have dominant top phalanges on long narrow fingers, smooth joints, conical tips, and loop prints, especially on index fingers. All feeling types have long rectangular palms and long fingers. Pisceans have medium set mildly flexible shapely thumbs, sensitive looking fingers, a combination of round and conical fingertips, long narrow nails, and their head and life lines interwoven at their beginnings. Pinkies with tiny bottom and middle phalanges and no knots symbolize not having any need for physical order or material wealth. Feeling types with inwardly curving pinkie fingers hate emotional confrontation. In my experience, Pisceans tend to have more hand and finger flexibility, more peripheral shallow lines, and less deeply etched basic heart, head, life, and fate lines than Scorpio and Cancer types.

Pisces is a personification for spiritual growth. As the astrological home of Neptune (Poseidon, King Triton), ruler of the seas. Pisces embodies emotion, instinct, personal feelings, and the collective unconscious. Neptune can be a calming or destructive force in nature. The King of the Sea rules substances like prescription and recreational drugs, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, or anything that alters consciousness, produces illusions, and feeds delusions. Pisces mundane correspondence is religion. Spirituality is its esoteric match. Spirituality without religion is fine. Religion without spirituality is blind.

Pisces is the most sensitive, least acquisitive, and most introverted of all types. She’s often misunderstood because she communicates through a lens of feeling. Less sensitive, more practical Pisces have strong earth, air, fire, and deep clear basic lines, large thumbs, stiff joints, square fingertips, developed knots, broad nails, and arch and whorl fingerprints. When head and heart are balanced, Pisces can be extremely powerful. George Washington was a Pisces. Former CEOs of Citigroup, IBM, Merck, DuPont, and Bank One were Piscean. One intriguing Pisces CEO is Michael Dell of Dell Computer. Like Ariel, daughter of King Triton, ruler of the Seas and the unconscious, Michael imagines whatever he wants as he swims into collective unconscious. He intuitively knows what the public needs and hones in on that. He must keep a watchful eye on Ursula (octopus conglomerate) who lusts for control of his empire.

Pisces is well suited to teaching, human resources, and helping professions. Many are at home in visual arts and music. Hand qualities will vary depending on their natural talents and abilities, decisions, and actions. Piscean strengths include compassion, humility, and faith. Not known for mental or emotional decisiveness, Pisces are private, spiritual, and hard to be intimate with. Their trust must be earned. Impressionable and easily influenced, some Pisces attempt to escape reality when circumstances get too hard. Many become substance abusers like Johnny Cash, Jerry Lewis, and Liza Minelli.My father was Pisces, along with my brother and daughter. I’ll love and cherish them unconditionally for eternity.

Pisces is intimately connected to the collective unconscious and mundane events. Uranus was the only outer planet to pass through Pisces in the twentieth century from 1919 to 1928. Uranus completed its eighty-four year cycle through the zodiac in 2003 and began its path through Pisces, crossing into Aries at the end of 2011. Let’s observe the cultural similarities as Uranus passed through Pisces in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

When World War I ended in 1919, discrimination, immigration, and consumerism grew.  Uranus left the sign of Aquarius and moved into Pisces. A new kind of rebellion began. Over four million steel workers and miners walked off the job to protest too many work hours with “inhumane pay”. Three Presidents held office during Uranus’s first transit through Pisces (Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover). The 30th President, “Silent Cal” Coolidge (born on the 4th of July) said, “The business of America is business”. He told us, “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend”, speaking of the “inferior races” of Asia. While focusing on and promoting ‘government business partnerships’, they all put material wealth and unobstructed corporate power in the forefront of the nation’s political, social, and cultural fabric. Government was in bed with big business. On its recent return through Pisces, George W. Bush gave our healthcare Industry to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, energy to big oil companies, and security for airports and seaports in the hands of private enterprise. He even tried to bequeath our Social Security to the Stock Market.

When Uranus transited into Pisces, traditional thrift and austerity gave way to neo-consumerism and buying on credit. Two out of three Americans had electricity, refrigerators, and washing machines. Spending on recreation tripled. Henry Ford announced cars in Green and Maroon as well as black. Mass produced foods: Rice Krispies, Lender’s Bagels, Mounds Bars, Betty Crocker, and Peter Pan Peanut Butter influenced mass taste. Consumerism and credit created the illusion of an easier more convenient life. Movie houses, chain stores, and radio advertising proliferated. By the end of Uranus’s transit through Pisces, movie attendance had outstripped church attendance. Consumer magazines like Modern Romance challenged moral codes. Many critics believed consumerism was driving Americans into a soulless existence of materiality and conformity. Sinclair Lewis, author of ‘Babbitt’, highlighted the delusion of Uranus in Pisces. He blamed mass production and consumption for “having created a bloodless, loveless, and standardized world”.

The Ku Klux Klan had a resurgence that targeted African Americans, blacks, immigrants, Catholics, and Jews. The Klan marched on Washington DC In 1925 with over 40,000 hooded members. New immigration laws reduced the stream of immigrants to a trickle when congress decided to reduce the flow of immigrants based on quotas of 150,000 new immigrants a year.

Uranus in Pisces symbolizes a conflict between science and religion. Modern science clashed with Intelligent Design and Creationism as Uranus transited Pisces in both centuries. Tennessee legislators voted that it was unlawful for any teacher in a state supported school “to teach any theory that denies the story of man’s creation as taught in the bible”. Man was too intelligent to descend from a lower order of animals. One high school biology teacher named John Scopes taught the theory of evolution. As the defendant in the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial” legal battle, John Scopes lost.

Culture clashed with school curriculum, obscenity, censorship, race, and sexuality in theater and literature. The German Bauhaus School of Architecture, with its less is more design philosophy, influenced architecture and products around the globe. When I graduated from Carnegie Mellon in 1969 as an industrial designer, ‘intelligent design’ was about making and saving money for manufacturers. No one cared about waste, except for disposal and financial cost. Truly ‘Intelligent design’ is when designers create useful products, choose sustainable resources, determine how much energy will be used in production, know what pollutants are generated, what remedies are available, and how the product will ultimately be disposed of, reused, or recycled.

Common sense is not good sense. The human race has become a race against bad shit happening. Donald Trump has taught us that it’s not what you do, but what you get away with that really matters. Why do we continue to nourish a perverse society with a morbid sense of reality and humor? We can be a lot healthier and happier by taking better care of our planet, ourselves, and each other.

Here are some similarities between the past two transits of Uranus in Pisces:

1919 – The worst baseball scandal (Black Sox) in history occurred when a grand jury brought indictments against eight players from the Chicago White Sox. Accused of throwing the 1919 World Series, they were eventually found not guilty.

2003 – The illicit use of steroids became the biggest scandal in modern baseball.

1919 – The eighteenth amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors, which encouraged home brewing and bootlegging.

2003 – George W. Bush prohibited Medicare from negotiating drug prices. A black market for drugs from India and Canada began to thrive.

1921 – First formal investigations of the Teapot Dome oil scandals were initiated.

2003 – USA invaded Iraq under false pretenses in order to secure oil resources.

1924 – The worst tornado in US history obliterated 35 towns in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.

2005 – Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Much has happened since 1919. Not much has ideologically changed.

Neptune takes 164 years to completely cycle through our zodiac. Neptune returned to its home base in Pisces on April 4, 2011 and will remain in Pisces until April 1, 2025. It’s hard to predict what Neptune will symbolize in Pisces because Neptune dissolves the illusion of reality. Many astrologers say that Neptune in Pisces symbolizes the dawn of a new age of spiritual enlightenment. This may be true, but it appears we may have to get there the hard way. Our culture must first lose what we value in order to appreciate it.

Pluto transited into Capricorn in 2008. Uranus transited into Aries in 2011. These three outer planets together symbolize a total transformation of business, energy, politics, and religion. I don’t feel comfortable making predictions about Neptune because it’s so nebulous and fickle, but we can already see in six short years how the illusion of power resulting from extreme wealth has nourished a delusion and disillusion of the 99%.

Neptune rules HMO’s, hospitals, and pharmaceutical industries that value profits over people. Prisons have been privatized for profit and packed with predominantly black petty criminals. Religion has abandoned spirituality, becoming more fundamentalist, fanatical, and violent. Even bacteria and viruses have become a lethal threat to the fabric of humanity. The USA has a president who is certifiably insane and cabinet members whose mandates are contrary to the purpose of their positions. Before Uranus leaves Aries in 2018, we could see a religious war, designed to stimulate our economy, fought by the have nots, and created to pack the burgeoning pockets of the haves.

The Greening of Our Psyche

Humanity needs to open its eyes, minds, and psyches and realize that our physical problems and challenges are symptoms of ideological, philosophical, and spiritual disease. The human race has become a race against bad shit happening.

‘Psychic Pollution’ is the mother of all pollution. It’s the most insidious, contagious, and pandemic of all contaminations, infecting the immune systems of our souls and the spirit of our planet. We must wake up and smell the ‘Psychic Garbage’. Our negative ideas and beliefs are catalyzing the fear and terror that is endangering our good health and the good health of our world. Terror and wrath boil and bubble in a cauldron of trouble. Our personal health and the health of our planet is a consequence of our thinking and feelings. We need to observe our thoughts objectively and realize that all physical manifestation is a result of our thinking. We can close landfills, but what can we do with malignant mind-fills and toxic emotional-spills?

It’s time to look in the mirror. Walls divide, boundaries detach, censorship destroys, and lies deceive. How many gilded towers, glitzy gambling casinos, graven images, beauty queens, shark tanks, and celebrity idols do we need?  Must we prostrate ourselves before an over-clothed self-appointed emperor on a polished brass pedestal? Being financially wealthy and spiritually bankrupt is a strain of spiritual cancer. Preaching love and faith and practicing hatred and fear is not a good idea. Vengeance is not a solution to violence. Enough minds focusing on toxic thought creates self-fulfilling prophecies.

Fortunately, truth disinfects. Hindsight catalyzes foresight. Our present and future is in our hands. Our mother is immune deficient. She suffers from tumor’s we call towns and cities, varicose veins we call roads and highways, cancerous lungs we call air and sky, and polluted arteries we call streams and rivers that are turning our reservoirs, lakes, and oceans into toxic waste sites. Why must everything be bright white, squeaky clean and lemon fresh? We consume massive amounts of highly toxic chemicals every day in our wars with insects, rodents, weeds, dirt, stains, odors, germs, bacteria, pathogens, viruses and other potential and invisible enemies. We’re marinating in the chemicals that heat and cool us; power transportation; provide us with products; color, flavor, and preserve our foods; and enable us to communicate on a grand scale. We eat, drink, breathe, wash, brush, and apply risky chemicals to our scalps, armpits, toes, and crotches.

What has happened to good sense? Why are we debating climate change? Must we always lose to learn to value? Why is pollution profitable? Fossil fuels are finite. Hundreds of horses gallop under the hoods of gas guzzling vehicles that can go twice as fast as our highest speed limits. Screening ourselves from the sun has become a way of life. We will all need air and water purifiers. Oxygen will be marketed over the counter like bottled water. We’ll be able to purchase “a breath of fresh air” at oxygen bars. Designer oxygen masks and lemon scented oxygen will become fashionable. Pharmaceutical, apparel, and cosmetics industries will create new chemicals and products to protect us from their past, present, and future chemicals and products.

In ancient Egypt, Hermes explained that anyone can connect with anyone at any time. As father of the cell-phone, Hermes taught that everything is made up of cells and our brains are the hardware. Our job is to put our minds where we want them to be and then tune our links. Hermes said, “The All is in all and all is in The All”. We create value out of thin air.

By observing our plant world, we can better understand the life cycles of our human world. In order to cultivate a healthy world it is essential to select healthful concepts for planting.  We must clear away destructive and unproductive thoughts and plant positive ideas in our minds. Healthy attitudes and circumstances will enable new hope to sprout. A healthy society must have healthy nutrients and a natural, supportive environment in which to create strong roots. It’s our responsibility to show the world by example that we truly care. We need to pull the weeds of greed and prune the branches of waste in order to serve mankind wherever and in whatever ways we can. We must nurture relationships and conditions that fortify our world. In time, our gardens will bud and blossom. We can fertilize our crop by promoting diversity and achieving unity with other nations that will enrich our garden and prepare us to bear fruit. Many varieties of fruits and vegetables can thrive together in a garden. Many types of people can thrive together in our world. Thinking of humanity as a flourishing garden ensures a bountiful harvest for the soul, an abundance of good health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of mind.

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.

mark-martha

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.

mark-meredith-joy-debbie-and-star

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.

Publicity Stories #2 ~ The New York Times

nyt-artwork

I’d had plenty of press as ‘Guru of Garbage’, but never experienced the ‘power of publicity’ until I was featured on the front page of the ‘City Section’ of the NY Times. The Village Voice article had produced a lot of inquiries, but a small amount of actual business. I realized that today’s news truly is tomorrow’s fish wrap unless you’re waving it in someone else’s face. The significance of the Voice was that other publications and journalists were fishing in my pond for thought-provoking content for their venues.

Manhattan User’s Guide’ interviewed me and created a flow of new clients and parties. Too bad I was selling my time for so much less then. ‘Where NY Magazine’ dubbed me “Weatherman of the psyche”. I liked ‘Whetherman’, but the editor didn’t. Some writers were looking for a free reading. Pitching the article was their excuse. I quickly learned to separate the wheat from the chaff and to avoid questionable press and advertising.

Having fresh publicity facilitated my speaking business. I spoke about the history of palmistry in New York City at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The National Design Museum asked me to create a workshop / lecture series on the symbolism of the sun to complement a major solar design exhibition (testimonial). I’d given previous talks at the museum about designing products with recycled materials.

I was a faculty member of the NYC chapter of NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research) for nearly 20 years. I spoke at astrological conferences about combining hands and horoscopes. I offered hand reading workshops at the New York Open Center, Learning Annex, Theosophical Society, and East West Books.

As the eighties came to a close, I was switching back and forth between environmental and metaphysical work. I’d designed and fabricated an ‘all natural’ architectural loft for an artist and award winning film editor in Tribeca. When I completed the project, she celebrated by transforming the space into a salon and inviting a unique collection of notable individuals. She was my Gertrude Stein. That’s where I met Robert Lipsyte.

Bob was a celebrated journalist and novelist. As a 25 year old sports writer for the NY Times, Bob wrote about a boxing match between little known Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston, ‘The Champ’. Destiny united Ali with Bob and marked the beginning of two illustrious careers. Ali became king of the ring, while Bob became a famous sports journalist, Ali’s biographer, and friend. Bob met the Beatles on their first American tour with Ali. Bob also won prestigious literary awards for his YA novels and was the Emmy- winning host of the nightly public affairs show on WNET~ The Eleventh Hour.

ali-and-the-beatles

When Bob found out what I did (besides designing and building lofts), his curiosity was roused. A natural skeptic and cynic, he couldn’t wait to challenge my esoteric mind and ideas. Bob hungered for answers to unanswerable questions. My ambiguous responses made him even more inquisitive. He enrolled in my ‘Metaphysics 101’ class at the Cooper Union. That’s when he jokingly started calling me ‘his guru’.

I think Bob wanted to help me become the ‘champ’ of metaphysics. He asked if he could feature me in the weekend edition of the Times. He also asked me to be a guest on The Eleventh Hour. I said ‘yes’ to both. Unfortunately, the TV show was discontinued before my time. PBS gave his spot to Charlie Rose. I’ve lost touch with Bob, but know I can call on him anytime for any reason and he’ll be happy to hear from me.

Newspapers are good for short term publicity. My big surprise was receiving thousands of inquiries within a few weeks. Momentum from Bob’s article expanded my speaking and party businesses and generated even more free publicity.

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.

How I Created Useful Art from Trash

I’m amazed at the positive response to my Practical Sanctuary post. Here are some more favorite things I recreated from stuff collected from yard sales and our local recycling transfer station. We used to tell our city friends that our country home was furnished in early American white trash. We’ve upgraded the quality of our trash over the years.

Even as a wee tot, Cassie was a hard working apprentice. We designed and fabricated a lot of stuff together. Our first project was a swan mailbox. We transformed a small black plastic mailbox into a beautiful swan by cutting, shaping, forming, and attaching recycled black plastic sheet to the box. Then we spray painted it, pasted our house numbers on the front flap, and placed it on the road. It became a local landmark.

swan mailbox 2Next we built a bunny bench out of recycled plywood, two small branches for ears, three large branches for structure, and reconstituted shrink wrap for seating. The ears didn’t last, so we performed plastic surgery and made matching floppy ears from shrink wrap.

bunny bench

We created a food compost bin out of recycled plywood and reconstituted shrink wrap.

compost bin 2

Cassie raised a baby farm animal each summer. We built a wire pen and an animal hutch out of recycled plywood and plastics. At the end of summer when we had to return to NYC, we gave our creatures to people who would love and not eat them. We got to visit with them over the years. They all remembered Cassie. We got wool from Lilly, our black lamb who became a sheep, and cheese and soap from Zelda, our Alpine goat (my personal favorite) who had an insatiable appetite and babies of her own.

animal hutch

mark & cassie with bunnies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the roof of the bottom story of our tree house from reconstituted shrink wrap. It’s still in great shape after eighteen years of personal wear and tear, tree sap, and weather.

Cassie in tree house 2

Cassie in tree house 3

Our country home was a disaster waiting to happen when we first arrived. It was dark and moldy with low ceilings, an uninsulated slab, horrible plumbing, cobbled electrics, and a leaky roof supported by rotting beams. Our friends were planning to bulldoze it. We convinced them to let us rent it for a modest fee in exchange for transforming it. The first thing I did was to tear out the ceiling in the middle of the space and reinforce the rafters. Metal joist hangers, corner braces, and connecting hardware make the beams beneath the birch plywood ceiling look like an erector set. Prior to paneling, I cut open the roof and created two round sky lights using large plastic bubbles I scavenged from a ‘going out of business’ plastics sale on Canal Street in NYC. The last thing I built was a loft space for Cassie and her friends to play in and have sleepovers.

Cassie in loft space