By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
NEW ORLEANS – It’s unanimous: A panel of renowned astrologers predicts President Obama will win re-election in November.
That’s the word from the last day of an astrology conference here that also forecast earthquakes, explored the impact of lunar cycles on U.S. stocks and demonstrated how to use planetary charts to find a job.
The United Astrology Conference meets every four years and is the largest gathering of astrologers from around the globe, says David Railey, a conference spokesman and an Atlanta-based astrologer. This year’s conference included, for the first time, a contingent from China, where astrology is rapidly gaining popularity.
“Everybody sees astrology a little differently,” says Ingrid Zhang, 50, an astrologer from Beijing. “It’s important to have astrologers from around the world in the same place.”
The highlight of each conference is the presidential prediction. At the last conference, in May 2008, six panelists unanimously predicted Obama’s win over Sen.John McCain.
This year’s panelists used an array of different techniques to reach their predictions. One panelist inserted the candidates’ birth information into winter solstice charts and directed the information to the swearing-in location, Washington, D.C. Another looked at planetary charts dating back to 1880. All chose Obama to win.
The astrologers also warned that a Mercury retrograde — an alignment of Mercury, the sun and Earth — begins on Election Day and could lead to voting irregularities. The last time a Mercury retrograde appeared on Election Day was on Nov. 7, 2000 — and it took a Florida recount and Supreme Court decision to finalize a winner.
Besides bringing astrologers together to exchange ideas and techniques, conference organizers say the gathering adds legitimacy to a field often grouped with palm readers and horoscopes.
Unlike astronomy, the science that deals with the physical study of planets, astrology explores how the positions of planets and suns affect human behavior.
Workshops included “Better than Prozac: Astrology and Mental Health” and “Finding the Gypsy Within.”
A marketplace offered everything from astrology iPad software to Brazilian energy crystals to $3,000 astrology retreats to Bali.
“An astrologer is showing you a map to things that you are living in your life,” Railey says. “It makes for a more fulfilling life.”
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