Thursday, May 31, 2012

Heraldnet: Astrologers gaze into the future in New Orleans

[This is the long version of the Associated Press release.  robin]

NEW ORLEANS -- Will President Barack Obama win re-election? Will the world end Dec. 21, as some say the Mayan calendar predicts? Will the economy ever improve?

If you ask the 1,500 astrologers contemplating planetary alignments this week in New Orleans, the answers are yes, no and yes.

The astrologers, representing 30 countries, are in the city's famed French Quarter for the United Astrology conference held every four years. They say their work goes beyond the entertainment of horoscopes, tarot cards and palm readings, instead relying on in-depth study of the solar system.

This year, there is no shortage of predictions.

"If you thought that the election of 2000 race was crazy, that's nothing compared to what's going to happen in November of 2012," said astrologer Michael Lutin, an astrology columnist for Vanity Fair magazine for 25 years. "Don't count on anything being smooth."

That's because Mercury -- the planet of communication, tabulation and transportation -- goes into what's known as retrograde on Nov. 6, Election Day. Retrograde in astrology refers to the optical illusion of a planet moving backward, causing changes or disturbances in areas of life represented by that planet.

In 2000, Mercury was in retrograde when controversy swirled in Florida over the recount that took center stage in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Florida was a swing state, and the outcome of the election wasn't known for more than a month after balloting.

"There could be tabulation problems, problems with the polling machines. Vote absentee to make sure your vote is counted," said New York City astrologer Shelley Ackerman.

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