Sunday, December 19, 2010

For Your Holidays: How to Pray for Someone Who Has Hurt You -- A Lot

. . .And You're Not Ready to Forgive or Forget

When a man I loved left me, I couldn't hate him -- when you truly love someone you wish him the best. But I felt terribly shocked and wounded. His occasional calls gave me false hopes and only prolonged my grief. Desperate for a way to cope with the burden of my pain, I remembered Luke 6:28: "bless those that curse you; pray for those that mistreat you."

Praying for him helped me heal. By "pray for him," I don't mean asking God to turn back the clock and make everything all right, although I did that. I mean, praying sincerely for God to bless and keep this man, and light his way. Praying for him took my focus off of myself and balanced things out. I needed it, and he needed it.

Then I looked for advice on how to pray even while the very thought of this person still cut me and I was not yet ready to forgive or forget. It was left to me to humbly offer these suggestions for anyone else who has been injured by another.

While praying for the one who hurt you, avoid picturing him. Put away the photos. Don't relive memories good or bad. These inspire grief, not prayer. Picture not his face or self but the God in him, the divine spark given to us all. I saw this as a chunk of gold or a wink of light. This opened a spiritual channel that cut through the tonnage of my grief and helped me see that this man still had goodness in him and needed my prayers.

Don't pray for this person to change, or for their conversion. These things are in God's hands and/or in the hands of the individual. Prayer is powerful but it does not make the phone ring.

Pray for your own understanding. Praying for my loved one broke up my constant pleading and bargaining with God and let God get a word in edgewise. He informed me: "He is in the dark, and must find his own way out. You cannot help him." This was painful to hear, but now I knew better what to pray for.

Be busy while you pray. Lying awake at night or kneeling alone in a chapel will only summon up memories, anger, and sobs that may be natural but keep your wound from healing. The human body is made to move. Sweep the sidewalk, take a walk with a camera, practice free-throws with the children. Just get active, and then pray, when you think of it, "God, please bless him (or her)," or "Help me understand," or other short simple prayers.

Keeping these prayers short and simple is a good idea. "God, please protect her," "God, please help him quit drinking," "Dear God, let him find peace."

Get "above" it. Imagine you are viewing the earth from above, as if it were a dollhouse with the roof cut away. There you are, and, miles away, there he (or she) is, perhaps watching TV, working, sleeping, dating someone else. From this distance you both look a lot like the rest of humanity. This perspective opens just a moment of mental space and compassion so you can stand to ask for blessings on the person whose behavior tempts you to hate.

Pray with just one other person. Grief and resentment are natural but keep you spiritually isolated. Ask one person to pray with you. (Prayer circles do not seem to work for this; you get sympathy, but later when you are alone, the pain returns in in full force.) It doesn't matter if you pray with a family member or a stranger for blessings on the lost one; it just helps.

Don't "expect a miracle." Seen on plaques and potholders, "Expect a Miracle" implies that God is like an ATM machine and we don't have to straighten ourselves out spiritually, or resolve our own problems. Your expectations -- especially when you are grieving or resentful -- may not line up with God's will or what is best for you or another. To expect something is to be passive, a taker. Pray for a miracle, but don't "expect" it.

Sylvia Sky writes about occult and spiritual matters. Copyright 2010 by Sylvia Sky.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gabriella the Psychic's Copycat, "Ms. Singh"

Psychic Gabriella, now well known as a bogus astrologer and psychic, and "Ms. Singh" at the website are very much alike. There's no picture of "Ms.Singh," but she shares Gabriella's biography -- including this: "To this day, Ms. Singh is the only initiated westerner who knows the secrets of Indian celestial magic." Gabriella too is the "only initiated westerner" with that credential -- so something is wrong! Like Gabriella, "Ms. Singh" was also taught by the nonexistent "Shri Maliki," and studied astrology with a "33rd Degree Grand Master," which is an honorary (meaningless) Freemason title that has nothing to do with astrology.

It was a sharp reader who noticed the likeness and clued me in. I've seen no ads for Ms. Singh, so went to her site. Unlike Gabriella's site it is spare and mousy. No rates for Ms.Singh's services were given -- it says, "Call me and we will find an affordable rate for you: 1-866-930-95555" [sic], so I called.

The woman who answered said she was Ms. Singh. She had an East Indian accent. This doesn't mean she isn't a westerner, but I wondered. She asked how I had heard of her and I said, "the Internet." She asked my birthdate and then what my question was, and I said, "First I want to ask about your rates." She charges $75 for a full life reading and $110 for a reading involving a couple. I then asked about her education. She said, "What do you mean?" and I said, where had she trained as a psychic? And suddenly she had "another client in front of her" and asked if she could call me back.

According to Wikipedia, one million people living in Western countries have the surname "Singh," so without a first name "Ms. Singh" -- if she's a real person and that's her real name -- cannot be traced and investigated. But looking into both their website URL registrations I think that "Ms. Singh," who is based in Canada, is probably a company recently set up to compete with the huge European-based company that sells itself as "Gabriella," and "Ms. Singh" borrowed "Gabriella's" biography, hoping that copycat credentials would create the same kind of success.

Games, games! Don't contact either of them.

Sylvia Sky, experienced astrologer, reviews online horoscope sites for quality and accuracy. See more of her reviews here. Copyright 2010 by Sylvia Sky.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Which Psychics Aren't Real?

I have been asked how I can tell which online psychics are fake.

I write horoscope reviews. If an online ad offers a free horoscope, I request one. I'm an astrologer, so if the 'scope makes no sense, I try again, giving a different name, email, and birthday. If I get the same reading, I got my "free horoscope" -- it's just fake, that's all.

Maybe along with or instead of a fake horoscope, they promise or send a card reading, or long emails selling "clairvoyant" or "psychic" services, or a "second reading." By now I sense that I'm being misled. So far I've found misleading ads by:

  1. Norah
  2. Jenna
  3. Gabriella
  4. Tara

These are misleading ones. When I investigated their individual claims of being "a fourth-generation clairvoyant" or "winning a Psychic of the Year Award," finding no proofs of these claims I checked for Internet complaints. (So should you.) If there are many bitter complaints, all the evidence, starting with the fake horoscope, points to fakery overall.

"Tara" told me I'd won the lottery -- that's amazing, considering I didn't even play!

The names and faces of these "psychics" are fronts for businesses that rake in millions by misleading people. They do not give customized, individualized psychic readings. Their products are "canned." This is tragic for desperate people who want online psychics to tell them winning lottery numbers or explain a child's death.

About Real Psychics

Real psychics are extremely rare and do not need to advertise. They build a regular local or regional clientele through word of mouth.Maybe they could advertise through Yahoo and invite the entire Internet to come get a reading from them, but that would be a terrible overload for one person, don't you think?

Real psychics do not need to "do" astrology or Tarot readings, and so are unlikely to offer those. Astrology and Tarot are two totally different arts and require extensive education and training. By contrast, real psychics have a gift. They do not need to be trained or mentored. They probably have unlisted phone numbers. They may very well be miserable with their gift and wish they did not have it.

It works the other way, too: Real, trustworthy astrologers do not claim to be psychics. Astrologers and psychics have nothing in common. Misleading ads for "free horoscopes" bet that most people don't know this.

Still think you need a psychic reading?

First, Google the name of the psychic or company and see what other clients have said. Do NOT pay money or call a number if you find complaints. Fake psychics are big business. Needy, suffering people are their bread and butter.

My opinion about psychic readings done "remotely" by phone or email is that electronic energy fields and the pressure on both the reader and the caller greatly interfere with the clarity of a psychic transaction.

Local psychics have websites so people can find them or book a reading, so you can try that, but I have been to two local psychics and was disappointed. One struggled along, getting everything wrong, and then declared me "hard to read." So it was my fault!

The other did a move that is classic fake! Very often, a fake psychic will tell you that someone important in your life has the initial "R." Every one of us has that, whether it's Robert our boss or Rover our dog, or a neighbor or lawyer with that initial.

A friend I'll call Sarah went to a psychic, although it was 70 miles outside of the city and its price was very high. The psychic was a plain-faced, working-class woman who lived with her parents in a small house and met clients in the living room. When Sarah came in, the psychic said she saw an orange aura and said, "You're anticipating something," and asked, "Who's George?" Sarah had just had a first date with a man named George. That was probably much like the experience you will have if you find a real psychic.

But if you don't find one, in my opinion your best bet for quick customized information and guidance is a local Tarot card reader with a good reputation, one you meet in person. Ask around at salons, coffeehouses, spas, and hotels. A real Tarot reader is a combination counselor and diviner, and an ethical one will be glad to give you references. The price will be reasonable.

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