Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tara the Medium Dreamt I Won the Lottery

I let Tara the Visionary Medium speak for herself here, through samples from the e-mails and messages received after I requested a free reading. You judge whether you want to pay $79 (usually $139, she says) for her "Dated Astral Reading of Luck and Money." Tara offers refunds, but it is probably smarter not to pay her in the first place.

Oct. 11: Dear Sylvia, you can count on my help...

Oct. 14: I have selected you to be included in a book I plan to write. If all goes well, I will be able to send you A CHECK FOR $300, MADE OUT TO YOUR NAME. . . . OVER 97% OF PEOPLE who had never won anything (or only very small amounts) STARTED WINNING ALL AT ONCE, THANKS TO AN ASTRAL READING . . .

Oct. 16: Your free reading is ready. . . I spent more than 13 hours performing an in-depth study of your case. . . . Your dominant planet is: Uranus. [That, remarkably, is true, but it's true of all Aquarians.]

Oct. 20: A VERY LARGE JACKPOT WILL SOON BE YOURS, Sylvia! I have a visionary gift that few mediums possess. A secret power allows me to see into the future and DETECT THE SPECIFIC DATES AND WINNING NUMBERS you have to use to ensure that luck is on your side. I’ll tell you when the right time is. But for now. . . there is an evil influence at work which wants to attract bad luck into your life, and prevent large sums of money from reaching you. . .

Oct. 22: Dear Sylvia, it's certain! Great good fortune should enter your life in the next 30 days. . . . In my dream I saw you feverishly waving a game receipt, jumping for joy as the winning numbers were announced. . .

Oct. 28: Sylvia, an urgent and personal message: . . . there is an exceptional configuration of a number of particularly influential astral planets [sic] that affect your luck, your happiness and your success. This rare conjunction only happens every 9 years. . . . ATTENTION: THIS EXCEPTIONAL MOMENT MAY NEVER COME AGAIN [but, Tara, you just said it happens every 9 years!]. . . I AM GOING TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION AND DO SOMETHING VERY UNUSUAL FOR YOU. . . perform A MAGIC ASTRAL CEREMONY OF PROTECTION on your behalf. . . .

Oct. 29: Sylvia, read this quickly, there is no time to waste . . .

Zero stars out of five for nailing only one astrological fact, and exploiting the hopes and worries of the saddest and most desperate people.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, monitors 70-plus horoscope sites for quality and accuracy. Copyright 2010 by Sylvia Sky.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Horoscope Review: Gabriella, as Psychic as a Toilet Seat

After you click on a line ad saying “Free Horoscope Reading” and send your information, Gabriella Psychic and Spiritual Medium sends an email with a confirmation link. It says, in part, “our meeting is no accident. . . .The proof of this is that I’ve just now had a vision: United States, that’s where happened [sic]. That’s why I’ve decided to let you benefit from a special priority Reading. Please, note that I can only do that for people for which I feel a deep and special connection.”

Then in an hour or two Gabriella emails: “Yes, Sylvia, in you I have discovered someone of high morals and ethics who is also extremely sensitive.” This email links to my “reading,” not of a horoscope, but of three Tarot cards. Later, using a different name and email address, I requested another “reading" and got one that was identical. Both times Gabriella recommended a “Grand Indepth Astral Reading.” But her "inner voice" told her I couldn’t pay $200, her usual fee, so she will charge me only $49. She furnished a convenient link for my credit card or PayPal payment. A bit later I get an email saying slyly, “I know you have read my email.” She knows because I gave her that confirmation link that let her track me. The next email begins, “Sylvia, I don’t want to panic you, but…” and further emails pestered me every few hours until I unsubscribed.

Gabriella’s testimonials include nameless people photographed with supersized checks from Vegas and lotteries. Her bio says she studied astrology alongside a 33rd degree Grand Master and is the only Westerner taught "the secrets of" celestial magic by “the great Indian Master Shri Maliki.” Then there’s a quote from Clairvoyance Mag : “Several foreign magazines have already voted Gabriella ‘Best Psychic of the Year’…”

Needless to say, there is no Clairvoyance magazine or “Best Psychic of the Year” award. Her Indian Master is not referenced anywhere else on the Net; “Maliki” is in fact a form of Sunni Islam canon law; nothing celestial about it. The title “Grand Master” is given to every top officer in local freemason chapters, and their “33rd degree” designation, although it sounds dramatic, is meaningless, like the honorary degrees that colleges give their wealthy donors. Even if Masons were astrologers, which they aren’t, their men-only club wouldn’t be training women. Maybe Gabriella did study astrology “alongside” her freemason grandpa, but she gave no indication that she knows or practices astrology at all. I foresee that it’s best if you avoid Gabriella. She's about as psychic as a toilet seat. Rating: zero stars out of five.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, monitors 70-plus online horoscope sites for quality and accuracy. Read more horoscope reviews clicking here. Copyright 2010 by Sylvia Sky.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Busted: How to Know if Astrologers are Real or Fake

Don't waste your money on fake astrologers. Here are ways to gauge who is probably fake and who is worth your time and money. To get the best results, know what to look for, AND research your choice of astrologer before spending any money:

Real astrologers do not claim that they personally are psychics and mediums too.

An online astrologer who always goes by just one name is fake. "Jenna" is fake. "Norah" is fake.

A fake will tell you about "your stars." A real astrologer will tell you about "your planets."

Real astrologers will ask you for your birth time, date, and place. They also need a birth date, time, and place for anyone you are asking about, such as a spouse. They will tell you truthfully that they can't give you accurate information without these facts.

Fakes say "star signs" rather than "sun signs."

A real astrologer will tell you that sun-sign astrology is very simplified astrology, and that the most accurate horoscopes are custom-made for individuals and are much more involved.

If you can make an appointment with and meet an astrologer in person, he or she is probably a genuine practitioner. Ask if he or she has a certificate (has taken a standardized test or graduated from an astrology course). Note: Testing for credentials became common in the U.S. only in the 1980s. Older astrologers may be self-taught or may have studied with experienced teachers, but may not have taken the tests.

"Intuitive" or "psychic" astrologers may not be lying when they say they think they can "intuit" or use psychic power to "do astrology," but real astrology is never a matter of intuition or psychic power; it's about math and skill.

A real astrologer will be glad to give you references.

A real astrologer will give you his or her contact information.

A real astrologer will never tell you what you "must" do.

A horoscope reading cannot solve your personal problems. If your situation is overwhelming, or involves bodily harm, a real astrologer will refer you to counseling or other resources.

An astrologer who has been in business only a short time, or is very young, may be the real thing but may not be experienced at interpreting charts for clients. As in any profession, experience counts.

An astrologer who pushes you hard to buy a reading, or sends repeat e-mails, or otherwise makes you uncomfortable, is probably fake.

An "astrologer to the rich and famous" is likely a fake. If his clientele was really the rich and famous, he would be making a good living and not needing to advertise.

A real astrologer will take at least a day or more to create your chart and study it before setting up a meeting to interpret it for you and answer your questions.

A real astrologer prefers not to give readings over the phone, although sometimes it can't be helped.

A real astrologer will give you an hour or a half-hour of time in which to answer your questions about your horoscope. Fifteen minutes is not enough time.

A real astrologer charges professional rates. $100 per hour is about right; some charge as much as $200. Remember that they have prepared and considered your chart or your question before meeting with you. If they are real astrologers, you will not have to have this same reading done over again.

Cheaper horoscope readings are available online, for much less money, but they are probably totally computerized, and you do not get to ask questions about them.

Real, in-person astrologers often record the session for you, or, if they're older or not comfortable with the technology, will allow you to make your own recording of the session.

Today's astrologers commonly use computers to calculate astrological charts, but proper chart interpretation can be done only by a human astrologer. It's like your doctor: She gets the results of your lab tests, but she has been educated to interpret what they mean for you.

No real astrologer will ever tell you that horoscopes are "spooky," "shocking," or "scary."

An astrologer who says you have a terrible chart and there's no hope for your business, love life, or whatever, is fake or very sick in the head; even more so if he suggests your future success depends on buying more readings from him.

A husband and wife team ("I can't meet you Thursday, but Bob can") who also claim that they are both psychics, is probably fake.

A real astrologer will not be so specific as to say, "You will meet a tall dark stranger," or "Yes, he is having an affair with your best friend," or "You will lose your job in two weeks, then go work at Wal-Mart." He or she will talk about planetary conditions and likelihoods, saying something like, "Saturn is entering your tenth house, and for the next two years job or career matters may be challenging. It may help you in this area of your life to become serious and organized."

No real astrologer will speculate about your lifespan.

A real astrologer cannot tell you the exact date, time, and place you will meet your "soulmate," or what his name is, and what he will look like. To answer that question, you really need a fake.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, monitors 70-plus online horoscope sites for quality and integrity. Read her reviews of 20 different sites at Copyright 2010 by Sylvia Sky.