Birthstones of July: The Regal Ruby or Red Spinel

Proverbs 31:10 says of a virtuous woman that “her value is far above rubies,” so we know that rubies then were as precious and costly as they are now. After the emerald, ruby is the most consistently expensive gemstone. Department stores do not carry real rubies of any value; their “genuine stones,” frequently set in gold-plated jewelry, are usually dull and opaque, the color of cough syrup. “Simulated” rubies might be scarlet or intensely colored like the red light in a traffic signal. Both represent the July birthstone, but these are not rubies of the kind the Bible mentions.

A ruby’s value depends on its transparency and a cherry or wine color. A blood-red ruby is called a “pigeon-blood” ruby, so rare that in 2015 a 25-carat specimen, called “The Sunrise Ruby,” at auction set the all-time record for colored gemstones, at $30 million. If you can’t afford a natural stone, seek not “simulated” rubies but “created” rubies, which means they are laboratory-grown and chemically identical to natural rubies. Then you have a stone with true power, and even more so if you were born in July.

Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia had the world’s richest ruby and sapphire mines, but between 1975 and 1979 Cambodian dictator Pol Pot enriched himself and his genocidal regime and destroyed the local economy by depleting them. Today, people pay $40 to hunt in that region for raw stones they might or might not find. Ruby can appear in the forms of crystals, streaks, and pebbles. Tiny crystals might be fused with another mineral of lesser value, as are the ruby streaks in green zoisite or in blue kyanite. This ruby cannot be dug out. Nonetheless the ruby in these minerals greatly enhances their metaphysical power.

Geologically, ruby and sapphire are family. Both are the same mineral, called corundum, but differ slightly in chemical content. Corundum is second only to diamond on the Mohs hardness scale, scoring a 9 out of 10, and both stones are thus excellent choices for rings.

Legends of the Ruby

Legends abound about fabulous rubies that glow in the dark like coals or turn night into day. Marco Polo was bowled over by the sight of a ruby “a palm in length and thick as a man’s arm,” owned by the King of Ceylon. Marco Polo reported that another king offered a whole city in exchange for this ruby. Saying that it was a family heirloom, the King of Ceylon wouldn’t sell.

Snake rings with rubies for eyes were inspired by the many legends about snakes and dragons with ruby eyes or rubies in the tops of their heads. Heroes and saints slew dragons not to rescue beautiful maidens—who were a dime a dozen—but to secure the rubies. Anyone lucky enough to own a ruby often had it engraved with the image of a snake or dragon, because this supposedly attracted wealth.


True stories about rubies are inevitably stories about the very rich. In 1968, Aristotle Onassis gave Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis a wedding gift of a 17.62-carat heart-shaped ruby surrounded by five carats of diamonds, and matching clip-style earrings. She kept the ring all her life. After her death, Sotheby’s auctioned it for $312,000. With today’s inflated prices it might well be sold for three times that or more. Most world-class rubies are not worn but disappear into private collections.

It’s not legend but true that a ruby can change its color when exposed to high heat; it then returns to its natural color. In the same way, according to superstition, if a ruby-wearer discerns a color change, it means he or she is in danger of being attacked physically or psychically. When the threat passes, the stone returns to its normal color.

The Powers of Ruby

Both ancient and modern sources agree that ruby is a good stone for anyone to have or carry. It supposedly draws wealth like a magnet and clings to it so that the wearer will never be poor. Ruby, being the color of healthy blood, is metaphysically a source of vigor, especially heart health. It’s the stone of sovereigns and winners, often associated with the regal zodiac sign Leo.

Fittingly, a huge red gem called “the Black Prince’s Ruby” is the principal stone in the crown of Great Britain’s crown jewels, proving that someone believed the ruby was a power stone. But this gem was later found to be red spinel rather than ruby.

According to the book Healing with Crystals and Gemstones, in healing rituals garnet can substitute for ruby. Wear a garnet as a placeholder until you save enough money for a ruby or for a red spinel. If red spinel is a good enough for Britain’s royalty, it’s good enough for anyone! Even a small ruby carries the aura of thousands of years of legends and tales—some of which must be true.

Astrology: Reasons NOT to Do a Baby’s Horoscope

When Prince George (July 22, 2013) and Princess Charlotte (May 3, 2015) were born into the British royal family, the media asked astrologers to comment on the babies’ birth charts. They had the dates, times, and places to make complete and detailed natal charts. But no astrologer gave reporters detailed opinions or forecasts. Instead they used Sun and Moon signs, the most basic information, to discuss the babies’ personalities, keeping the tone very light. British astrologer Penny Thornton, consulted by People magazine, said Prince George, the future king, “has a powerful destiny” and that Princess Charlotte “will be much loved.”

Few astrologers in the 21st century are willing to go out on a limb and do full horoscopes for newborns, with all the responsibility that implies. Just because astrologers can cast a baby’s horoscope doesn’t mean they should. This is truly a case in which a little knowledge—and everybody thinks they know something about astrology—can be a dangerous thing. When a friend joyously tells me her grandchild will be born around May 30, I have learned not to say, “Oh, a little Gemini,” because she will then probably ask whether being born under the sign of the Twins means the child will “have a split personality.” I must then tell her that’s a Sun-Sign stereotype. Then she’ll ask about his talents and his future.

Astrologers cannot tell you anything definite about a person who hasn’t been born. If my friend’s new grandchild arrived two weeks early, it’d be a little Taurus, not a little Gemini, and I’d have been wrong from square one. Most astrologers agree that birth is the moment the child left the mother’s body and became an individual. A few astrologers recommend a “conception chart,” believing that’s when life begins, but that chart requires the date, place, and time of the baby’s conception, and most likely the parents weren’t watching the clock. Even a chart for a test-tube conception, with its exact time recorded, would tell us nothing about the coming child.

We are naturally curious about our children and their future. These days, the parent of a young Gemini can spend hours googling “Gemini traits” and wonder why her quiet bookworm Gemini isn’t athletic and talkative. Maybe, she thinks, something’s wrong with him! Buying a professional horoscope might also arouse needless expectations and concerns. I cast my niece’s chart the day she was born. I worried that her Libra Sun and Pisces Moon might make her too gentle and sensitive to withstand the heartaches that come to us all. She’s not that weak. She’s a pediatric nurse. Instead of hindering her personal life, the compassion she was born with had a higher purpose.

So it’s generally inadvisable to try peeking into the child’s mind and future instead of letting the child bloom on her own. Anyone with children knows how they’ll surprise you. I’ve heard frantic “Tiger Mothers” obsessing, “Is he going to be a doctor? He has to be a doctor. Does he have the traits of a doctor?” Another anxious parent might muse: “Gemini baby, Virgo mom, hmm—he’s an air sign, I’m an earth sign, and that means we will never get along.” These parents aren’t looking for a young soul’s higher purpose. They are, frankly, looking for trouble where there isn’t any.

Some astrologers call the natal chart a “blueprint for a life” or “astral DNA,” but a natal horoscope is not an “instructional manual” on how to raise a child, or a “what to expect” plan and calendar of events. You can scrutinize a horoscope all day and never find out whether your son needs tutoring in math. At worst, a parent might nag, “Your horoscope doesn’t show musical talent. It shows talent for business. So, no, you’re not getting a guitar. Go sell cookies.”

The natal chart, anyway, isn’t a predictive chart. It’s a foundational chart. To forecast events, an astrologer must create a second chart called a progressed chart, or a chart with planetary transits. Even so, some of life’s major events simply cannot be foreseen by any method we currently have. Just as the weather forecaster isn’t always right, there’s no guarantee that the plan of the universe is just as an astrologer says it is.

Astrology, like higher math or fine wine, is for adults. If you simply must have a full juvenile horoscope, professional astrologer Liz Greene, who was well-established before there was an Internet, is one of the few online sources. Another source of child-specific Sun-sign material is the classic book Sun Signs by Linda Goodman, which has sold millions of copies since first appearing in 1968. Goodman writes several pages on traits of children born under each sign. They’re all positive traits.

That’s because children should not feel handicapped by preconceptions about their capacities and luck. Your new child or grandchild is the center of your life, and your hopes are grand. But what you should do is enjoy the baby in the present moment. Soon he or she won’t be a baby anymore.

Commitment-Phobic Males, By Their Zodiac Signs

You did nothing wrong. It’s not anything you said, or what you weigh, or how you look. He was simply a man who’d rather die alone and miserable than make a commitment. Next time, ask his zodiac sign before getting involved (it’s very often given on dating profiles), and be prepared. And have fun reading the truth about him.

ARIES: An Aries adores falling in love, but won’t stay with a partner unless the partner is perfect in every way. Aries male egos are ginormous and eggshell-fragile. Say one wrong word, make a comment that he misinterprets, decline to watch the World Series with him because you accepted an invitation to watch it with friends, or mention your ex, and Aries will throw you back in the dating pool. He will then tell friends you were a liar and cheater. He sees himself as a knight in shining armor and wants a lover he can put on a pedestal. But, darn, it always turns out that the lover is human, has a past, says things, and so on. Nothing disgusts him more. There is no redeeming this relationship.

TAURUS: A single Taurus male isn’t looking for marriage, although his dating profile might say he is. He wants sex, as much as he can get. He’s a caveman at heart, and it doesn’t matter if a lover is 21 with three kids or 51 and still in pretty good shape. You will know a commitment-phobic Taurus because in bed he wants the exact same thing every time. “Why change what works?” is his thinking. Suggest a change of pace and the phobic Taurus will begrudge it and withdraw, calling you intimidating when he once wanted to please you. Taurus tends to marry only once, so dating a divorced Taurus while hoping for marriage is a waste of time. Marriage is unappealing to him because it takes work. Snag Taurus and you’ll spend a lot of time on his couch watching movies, and long days during which he does not speak because there’s nothing to say.

GEMINI: Gemini prefers not to have romantic relationships because they require maintenance and his participation, but is often anxious to marry so someone will organize his life and feed his narcissism. He takes your marriage or exclusivity vows very seriously, but his own vows not so seriously. Gemini will marry three or four times, no problem. A month after his divorce is final he’ll marry the hotter, younger, stupider person he has found. Gemini isn’t interested in anyone his own age. If you really want a Gemini (but why would you?) find one 10 to 20 years older than yourself. Even the oldest Gemini will believe he is still a hot number and the grooviest cat in town. Donald Trump is a Gemini. “Sorry” and “worry” are not in this gem’s vocabulary.

CANCER: Hoo boy. The Cancer man wants to commit; he really does. He openly says so, calls you “love” and “sweetie,” sends gorgeous cards, and even talks marriage, even if you never said the word yourself—right up until the day he vanishes. Where’d he go? He’s crawled like a hermit crab into his shell, shivering and sweating with fear of commitment. To Cancer, an imaginary crisis is as real as a real one. The Cancer commitment-phobe might have a nightmare about you and say it proves the relationship is over. You won’t hear from him until he’s finished feeling guilty and has dated other exes. Now you’re one of them. He likes what’s familiar and might bounce back, although he can also “do” random lovers just to prove to himself that he’s still a man despite being an insecure and frightened mama’s boy.

LEO: This man’s ego is not as fragile as Aries’, but understand that when an immature Leo commits, which he’s not scared to do, you are now his assistant, housekeeper, cook, nurse, mother, trophy, and body servant. That’s the deal: He bought you a ring, didn’t he? Maybe it’s even a really nice one! Now he owns you and runs your life. Leo commits so you won’t date other men: That would hurt his self-image and his public image. He sees himself as your master and thinks it’s reason enough to break up if you hint that it’d be nice to share the work load. Complain and you will suffer the famous Leo sulk ‘n’ pout. It can last for weeks. Dump him during Week 1. Or he might be one of those Leos who punches holes in walls. A lover on the side isn’t out of the question when Leo suspects that you aren’t happy and fulfilled being just one of his accessories. He’ll soon find someone more accommodating.

VIRGO: The Virgo commitment-phobe falls hard for those who already have steadies or spouses, or divorcees emerging from long, dusty marriages, or sex-industry professionals. You don’t have any value to a Virgo unless somebody else wants you or has you on alternate days. Otherwise you’re just not attractive. Virgo will prefer a drug-addicted partner with a violent ex and six children over an independent childless single. First of all, she’s thin; second of all, she’s easy; and drama is easier to handle, and to walk away from, than true love. If he uses and leaves a drug addict, who could blame him? He’s an angel for trying! If he’s single he is separated, recently divorced, or hasn’t had a lover for years because he has sexual desires he’s not brave enough to talk about.

LIBRA: This gentleman has big plans for his lovers. They are going to wash his dishes and have his children. This will free him to sit immobile in front of the TV or play video games, trying to escape the chaos of the domestic life he wanted and created. Now and then he will attempt to control it by yelling. That’s if you’re unlucky and he commits. Lucky people will notice that smooth, oily, used-car-salesman tone in Libra’s voice, and wake up and smell the coffee the first few times Libra makes judgmental comments or little sarcastic digs. He can’t help it. After being impressively nice to everyone else all day, he simply has to be mean to someone, and if you’re handy, it’ll be you. For this Sun sign, if he shows disrespect at all, you should be the one who sidesteps commitment.

SCORPIO: The Scorpio commitment-phobe seeks justice for all the bad relationships he’s had by re-living and acting out, on his current victim lover, every diss and disappointment he’s ever experienced: bitter words, unreturned phone calls, drunken scenes, cold shoulders, humiliations, and so on. Then he does love-bombing to try to paper it over. His idea of love is a bleeding heart no one change or heal. Unless you are the same way, give up. Scorpio denies that he’s commitment-phobic; he’s all over you, obsessed with you—how could anyone call him commitment-shy? The difference is that a Scorpio who isn’t a commitment-phobe will treat you kindly.

SAGITTARIUS: Your job is to set up and run the camera while the Sagittarian commitment-phobe makes promotional videos. He will throw stardust in your eyes and claim you are equal partners in his project to become a big-time whatever, but really, to him you are only a cheap and easy camera operator and lay. Sagittarius actually prefers partners with low self-esteem; they won’t try to grab a place in his spotlight. He will avoid showing affection in public or introducing you to family and friends; after all, he’s got plans way bigger than having a warm and loving relationship with someone as ordinary as you! Win this loser’s respect by demanding to be paid by the hour, in money, for the useful services you render. He won’t fork it over? Dump him.

CAPRICORN: He’s been burned so badly by his exes he doesn’t want a commitment unless you are beautiful and well-paid and stand to inherit substantial money. If you are none of these things, do not approach Capricorn; you can’t win. His extreme bitterness and his own gold-digging tendencies make him wary and cold-hearted. A Capricorn will treat relationships as economic arrangements, and this commitment-phobe prefers to starve all evening rather than make what he calls an “investment” in dinner for two at Ruby Tuesday’s when it’s too soon in the relationship to expect you-know-what in return. But if you did provide you-know-what he’d consider you a slut. This type of Capricorn will never let you know where you stand, making all conversations uncomfortable.

AQUARIUS: It’s charming the way he says, “I’m having such a good time with you,” or “I find it very easy to talk with you,” but this specimen never forgets the perfect lover he once had, and if he can’t go back to her or to him, will always refer to and compare you with this lost one, thus making himself emotionally unavailable from day one. He will talk for hours about any topic to avoid deepening a relationship. In his view, every other person in the world will always be a sorry substitute for his great love. But that doesn’t mean he stops looking. There is no question whatsoever that his dating profile is up all over the Internet, under many different names. Aquarius will date and have meaningless sex with just about anyone; what does it matter, when he’s already had and lost the love of his life?

PISCES: Pisces has a warm heart, and can be lots of fun, and committed ones are great, but you don’t want the commitment-phobe kind who (let’s be frank) can’t keep it in his pants. The attractive new person he saw, married or not, exists to be sweet-talked and seduced, right? Why else would the universe present him with the opportunity? With every new conquest he truly believes he’s in love. Then someone winks at Pisces or finds him on Facebook, and he’s so flattered he’s, like, bewitched. He understands loneliness because so many people, including family, have rejected him. Lonely people will accept him, untidy and paunchy and a miser though he might be. His “batting average” is excellent, and it is his one great achievement in life.

“13” is the Women’s Number!

Only 10 percent of the U.S. population truly believes anymore that “13” is unlucky. Where science rules, such as hospitals, buildings do have 13th floors. Still, brand-new hotels don’t have floors labeled “13” because it makes guests uneasy. Car racing won’t give anyone 13th place; it’s #12 and then #14. Some airplanes don’t have a 13th row. One international airline, Lufthansa, has no Row 13 and no Row 17 either, because in Brazil, “17” is the unlucky number. A terror of the numeral 13 is an actual illness called “triskaidekaphobia,” and author Stephen King suffers from it.

Friday the 13th

Fear of “13” is the Western world’s most common superstition. People fear “13” and especially Friday the 13th because 13 sat at the table at the Last Supper, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Youth have grown up with Friday the 13th slasher movies, the first one released in 1980. We’re told a name for a person or product is considered unlucky if it has 13 letters. How did a mere numeral get a bad reputation?

Most articles will say “13” is tainted by a connection with the occult, but don’t explain further. A rumor says that in old Europe 13 witches made up a coven. That “fact” was made up by folklorist Margaret Murray in 1921. For a century, scholars have been seeking proof of her assertion in testimonies of real and accused witches. They haven’t found a shred of evidence.

“13” Hasn’t Always Been Evil

If we go as far back as recorded history allows, a few millennia before the Last Supper, we find that 13 is a number associated with women. There are 12 solar months in a year but 13 lunar months of 28 days each, and this happens to match the average woman’s menstrual cycle. This synchrony seemed mystical or magical, and across all cultures femininity and mystery are associated with the Moon. But people could fear the numeral “13” only after numerals had been invented—about the year 3000 B.C., as far as historians can prove. So the fear of “13” is not a primal or prehistoric fear embedded in the human mind.

Nor is fear of “13” a universal fear. In Chinese, the number 13 combines two words that together sound like “definitely alive”; the unlucky number there is 4. In Hinduism, the 13th day of the month has the most potential for prosperity.

The author of a thorough and serious historical study called 13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition, Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, has traced the very first mention of “unlucky 13” to the 17th century. It said that if 13 people sat around a table, one would die within the year, and the reason was because of the Last Supper’s seating. A 19th-century group calling itself “The 13 Club” deliberately sat 13 people around a table on the 13th of each month and then waited for any one of them to die within the year. They proved the “13 at the table” fear was groundless.

Friday has not always been an evil day. The sixth day of the Jewish week, it was established by God when He created for six days and rested on the seventh. Jesus was crucified on Friday because the Jewish elders wanted the execution and burial over with before preparations for the Sabbath began at sundown. If Friday is bad because Jesus died on a Friday, then the fear of Friday has a Christian origin—although Christians aren’t supposed to believe in superstitions. “Friday the 13th,” occurring about every seven months, was not a fearsome day until the 20th century. Yes, bad things have happened on Friday the 13th; you can find lists of them online. But you can also list things just as bad or worse happening on a Monday the 22nd or a Thursday the 9th, or any day.

Most of our weekdays are named after Norse gods, and Friday is “Freya’s day,” ruled by the Norse goddess of love and beauty, equivalent to the Roman goddess Venus. Most of these goddesses’ followers were, of course, women. Roman women ate and served fish on Fridays in honor of Venus, born from the sea, and the early Christians simply borrowed that tradition. (We still love and celebrate Fridays and enjoy Friday fish fries without thinking of deities at all.) Both Fridays and the numeral 13 are therefore associated with women, and that might be one reason patriarchal culture felt it ought to demonize them.

“Thirteen” is considered a neutral or even a lucky number in cultures other than ours. The Aztec week had 13 days; 20 such weeks made an Aztec year. In Italian, “to do 13” means “to win the lottery.”

It’s pretty clear that numerals of any kind don’t influence our luck for good or bad. If they did, by simply using numbers we could make our lives easier.

Phrasing Your Questions to Get Better Psychic Readings

Keeping psychic readings satisfying isn’t the reader’s job only—the Seeker (you) has a role to play. A Seeker most often comes to a psychic reader with one specific question in mind, such as Does Sam love me? Or Should I take that job? Or, Will my grandmother get better? These are all great questions, and your reader is eager to answer them.

Magic 8 Ball

At first you might think a plain “Yes” or “No” from the psychic is all you want, but if that were true you could use a Magic 8 Ball and accept the 50/50 chance that it’s accurate. Personal psychic readings offer a much higher-quality experience. When the question is urgent, you seek as much depth and guidance as possible. “Yes” or “No” by itself will not do. That’s why you called a human psychic reader. If your answer is “Yes” you will want to know what comes next, what will unfold. And if it’s “No,” what are the reasons, and what should you do?

Your psychic reader knows you expect value from the reading and wants to deliver that value. The psychic isn’t the source of the answer; the universe is. So the reader might encourage you to rephrase the question so it’s more specific. Unlike the Magic 8 Ball, the universe has complete and compassionate answers for you. The more specific your question, the richer and more colorful the answer. To show how this works, let’s say a news reporter wants asks an interviewee:


Reporter: Hey, Coach, do you think your team did well today?

Coach: Yes.

That’s a complete answer to the reporter’s question, but not memorable or what reporters call “quotable.”

A trained reporter elicits a more detailed and revealing answer than “Yes” or “No” by asking questions that cannot be answered with one word, called open-ended questions:

Reporter: Hey, Coach, how would you characterize your team’s performance today?

Coach: Considering how many rookies we have this year and how tough the competition is, they did well. I’m proud.

Clear questions receive clear answers. Most psychics will allow you a few moments to focus on what you truly want to know and can assist you in formulating, rather than a “Yes” or “No” question, a more desirable open-ended question. Here are examples of open-ended improvements on the questions in the first paragraph:

What kind of future do I have with Sam?

What happens if I take that job?

What’s the outlook for my grandmother’s health?

If desiring an even more specific answer—as of course everyone does!—focus your question:

What if Sam says he loves me? (The answer will include your future with Sam.)

If I take that job, will it be a good career move? (By asking the question in this way, you will learn how that job you’ve been offered will or will not fit into your overall career plan.)

What’s my grandmother’s health outlook if she gets a hip replacement? (Grandma might have several health issues, but by asking like this you are being specific about the issue most worrisome right now.) 

To be even more specific about Grandma’s health, you can indicate a time frame:

What’s my grandmother’s health outlook for the next year if she gets her hip replaced?

Mostly likely, while you are having your psychic reading, the clock is ticking or others are waiting, so to make the best use of your time know the benefits of formulating the best possible question so you and your psychic can plunge right in.

Dream Interpretation 101

A dream is a message from the universe tailored for you alone, which is why “dream dictionaries” supposedly able to interpret every dream don’t seem to explain your dreams very well.

Not every dream can be explained, or correctly explained. But a few things are always true of dreams:

  • They’re symbolic, not literal.
  • They know everything about you, including all your thoughts and feelings, and knowledge you keep hidden or repressed.
  • Certain dream symbols have special meaning for you they would not have for anyone else. In my dreams, apartments symbolize freedom. In other people’s dreams, apartments symbolize isolation.
  • People in your dreams can be substitutes for people in your life.
  • Dreams use plays on words, such as puns and homonyms.

Most every source will tell you, correctly, that dreams are symbolic rather than prophetic. They are about your present rather than your future. Dream symbolism is unique to you. In various dream dictionaries, under “apartments” are dozens of contradictory interpretations. None have any basis in “ancient wisdom” because in ancient times, apartments as we know them did not exist. So put the book away and think of what apartments mean to you and how they make you feel.

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud

The way dreams play with words and names, which “dream dictionaries” don’t account for, was discovered by Dr. Sigmund Freud. He used real-life examples in his book The Interpretation of Dreams. In one case, a French patient who drank too much told Freud that he dreamed that his alcoholic father came back from the dead and handed him six roses. Freud said, “Six roses? Or cirrhosis?”

You are the best interpreter of your own dreams. Even very serious or scary dreams play with words and names in ways that we don’t in waking life. Here are some examples:

The Cheating Dream

In waking life, Carol has a steady boyfriend, Scott, and isn’t interested in anyone else. In her dream she is back in high school, making out with a classmate also named Scott, a boy who in real life never attracted her. Carol’s dream is very vivid and when she wakes she feels as if she has cheated on her boyfriend.

Interpretation: This dream isn’t about cheating. Scott in the dream is only a substitute for the real Scott.

The Argument Dream

In waking life, Courtney is just about fed up with Zach, who’s been pulling away from their relationship. She keeps a private mental list of the times she has felt Zach hurt or failed her. In Courtney’s dream she and Zach are artists and comparing designs they have made on matchbooks. Zach accuses Courtney of copying his designs and threatens to sue her. Courtney is stunned and defends herself. She wakes feeling terrible.

Interpretation: Courtney’s view is that the couple’s differences are small and common things of little value, represented by the matchbooks. Because a serious argument erupts over these “matchbooks,” something is basically wrong with their “match.” Deep down Courtney knows she and Zach are not a true match. She also knows that Zach is readier than she is to break off their relationship.

The Pun Dream

In waking life, Vicky’s romantic interest quit answering her emails and texts. Vicky’s sadness over this has turned to hate. She dreams she is traveling alone and decides to stay overnight in a hostel with bunk beds and room on the floor for sleeping bags. She leaves her backpack on a bunk and goes out for a while. When she returns, someone has claimed that bed and moved her backpack onto another. Vicki says nothing and sets her backpack on yet another bed and leaves again. She returns to find all the bunks occupied and her backpack on the floor next to people sleeping. She could sleep on the floor, but decides to find somewhere else to stay.

Interpretation: “Hostel” is a homonym for “hostile.” Vicky’s dream is telling her she shouldn’t stay, emotionally, in a “hostile” space, but should move on.

The “Imaginary Town” Dream

Aisha moves from city to city because of her job, but wishes she could finally settle down somewhere nice and make friends. She dreamed that she was planning a move to Toomey, Maryland. When she woke she googled “Toomey, Maryland,” and found there is no such place.

Interpretation: Aisha’s dream was about her hope that she’d settle down in a place both happy and fun: “To me, merry land.”

Who Predicted World War II? She Did

Astrologer Evangeline Adams, from Boston, checked into New York City’s Windsor Hotel in winter 1899 and did readings there because the hotel’s owner, Warren Leland, didn’t mind that she practiced astrology. All types of fortunetelling were illegal in New York City then, but Adams, related to two U.S. presidents, had the social status to get away with it.

Evangeline Adams
Evangeline Adams

On March 16, 1899, Adams read the wealthy Mr. Leland’s horoscope and transits and told him something terrible was about to happen. She was so unnerved she checked out of his hotel and stayed elsewhere. The next day around 3 p.m., during New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, a smoker at the Windsor Hotel threw a lit match out of a second-floor window. It blew back in, igniting the curtains. The fire burned the entire 500-room hotel to ashes—there are photos of it—and killed 86 people including Leland’s wife and daughter. Leland himself died—his obituary says of appendicitis—soon afterward, on April 4.

Before his death Leland had told someone about Adams’ prediction, and Adams, then in her thirties, made headlines and became America’s first celebrity astrologer. Illegal or not, she attracted the city’s richest and most prominent clients: billionaire J.P. Morgan, singer Enrico Caruso, actresses Tallulah Bankhead and Lillian Russell. When arrested for fortunetelling, Adams argued that she was no gypsy fortuneteller but a serious and methodical business professional. Her office in Carnegie Hall had a staff of 13 to calculate and write an estimated 100,000 mail-order horoscopes. She also advertised, wrote books and columns, and traveled the U.S. on speaking tours. Her forecasts were sometimes wrong, but she also predicted the 1929 stock-market crash. In popular astrology, even a single spot-on, well-publicized prediction of a public event can make you famous. Two or three, and you’re set for life.

The 1930s became a great decade for astrology. During the Great Depression people turned to astrology for hope and entertainment. Adams, America’s first radio astrologer, educated and entertained them. She died in 1932, having predicted her own death.

Evangeline Adams was quite special. I mention her because it’s common to hear that one of the great faults and shames of astrology is that astrologers failed to predict World War II—even Europeans.

World War I ended with Germany’s surrender, and the Germans, embittered and broke, spent the 1920s suffering and looking for someone to blame. You didn’t need an astrologer to figure out trouble was afoot: French army commander Ferdinand Foch, who witnessed Germany’s surrender in 1918, predicted then that a much bigger war would erupt in 20 years. Angry World War I veteran and dictator Adolf Hitler organized a political party and started the next world war in 1939. He hated astrologers and occultists for predicting the failure of his Reich. Hitler jailed or executed an estimated 600 astrologers, including Germany’s best-known, the Swiss-born Karl Ernst Krafft, who died while being shipped to a death camp. That’s how the Nazi elite rewarded him for writing Nazi propaganda including bogus additions to the famous prophecies of Nostradamus, and fake horoscopes, distributed worldwide, falsely predicting a victory for Germany.

Evangeline Adams made her first prediction about a second world war in 1927, pinpointing 1942 to 1944 as the war years. An online news article written and published in The Milwaukee Sentinel on October 11, 1931, announcing her upcoming talk at the city’s Pabst Theater, is more specific, saying:

“Evangeline Adams to Speak at Pabst”

“Evangeline Adams, the astrologer, who in 1912 predicted a world war in 1914 and who predicts that the next great war will occur in 1941-42 with the United States as its center, will speak on astrology as a science at the Pabst theater, Oct. 23 at 8:15 p.m.”

“Three presidents of the New York stock exchange, including J. Pierpont Morgan the elder, consulted Miss Adams regularly until their deaths.”

Evangeline Adams
Evangeline Adams

No one can claim anymore that astrology and astrologers completely and utterly failed to predict World War II.

It might be that Evangeline Adams, who died years before World War II, had a special gift for astrological forecasting, or a method or level of expertise others did not. Some claim that various not-so-famous astrologers predicted World War II before Adams did, and that she simply copied them.

But ultimately, does it matter who did or didn’t predict World War II? More important than second-guessing the past is paying attention to present-day events and preventing future conflicts any way we can.

Tarot Card Readings: The True Meaning of “The Devil” Card

“The Devil” card showing up in a Tarot reading shocks people. We have been taught since childhood that the Devil, or Satan, is God’s and humanity’s greatest enemy, evil incarnate, tempter of Adam and Eve. And ugly, too. The Devil in the Rider-Waite Tarot card is pictured with a ram’s horns, a goat’s legs, the wings of a bat, and a raptor’s claws. This unholy creature, bearded and grimacing, perches on a black rectangle. Chained to it by their necks are a naked man and woman, each with horns and tails. The Devil holds a flaming torch.

We’re all familiar with this image of the Devil. It’s the devil we know.

devil card

First, calm down. As with all images on Tarot cards, the Devil’s image is symbolic, not literal.

When a Knight of Cups shows up in your future, it doesn’t mean a real knight in real armor. It means a nice guy. If the Devil shows up in your future, it doesn’t mean the Devil will grab you, steal your soul, and roast you.

For those who believe there’s a devil because the Bible mentions them, our inner picture of the Devil, with pointed tail and pitchfork, doesn’t come from the Bible. It comes from Europe in the Middle Ages. And the story of Lucifer, the angel who went bad and fell from Heaven, famously told in Isaiah 14:12-17, refers not to an angel but to a man, the pagan king of Babylon who enslaved the Israelites. Read that whole passage, starting with Isaiah 14:3 (NIV):

On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

How the oppressor has come to an end!

Isaiah 14:12-17 is part of the taunt against the king. It ends:

Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”

The name “Lucifer” that many of us know is from a Latin translation of the Bible. It has been dropped and replaced with its true, more careful translation from the original Hebrew: “Son of the Dawn,” or “Morning Star.” And it speaks of a fallen man, not a fallen angel.


Like the “Lucifer” story, most of what is said about the Devil is legend. The point of this Tarot card, should it emerge in your reading, is to confront you with the devil you know—the one you prefer to the devil you don’t.

For example, you have a smoking habit, knowing it’s unhealthy. But you think that if you quit, you might go nuts or gain weight. So you stick with the devil you know.

The devil in your life could be a roller-coaster relationship or dead marriage. It’s too scary to imagine life without it. Rather than break it off you prefer to suffer because it’s “the devil you know.” Saying “the devil you don’t know” means you think the future might be different, but just as bad and probably worse.

Most people don’t truly believe the Devil is a real entity—his Tarot image is a lot like a caricature or cartoon character, showing Tarot doesn’t believe in him either—but most people do believe there’s a God. When someone calls her own future “the devil I don’t know” it says rather a lot about her lack of faith.

The Devil in a Tarot reading doesn’t represent an individual. There are other cards for that. The Devil shows us a habit or way of life that’s dragging us down. It’s not necessarily a sinful habit. Without lifting even their eyelids, people can create their own personal hells with habits of thought such as negativity or worry, or a lack of self-esteem. The Tarot-card image shows the man and woman bound with large, loose chains they could lift off to free themselves—if they wanted to. But they don’t. They stay enslaved by choice. The pair are not chained together, but separately, so this isn’t a card about relationship hell. The battle you must fight if you don’t want to be a slave isn’t with another person but with yourself, or what we call “our personal demons.”


The choice facing you might be difficult. It might seem in your particular situation as if you have no choice. The Devil card will show up in your reading only when you truly have a choice.

You might be wondering why this card isn’t named “Satan,” because that’s the name most often used in the Bible. But “Satan” doesn’t mean “Lord of Hell,” or “evil spirit” or anything like that. In its original Hebrew it means “adversary,” or “opponent.” Adversity is a force we all wrestle with, and it’s not the same as evil. The word “devil,” at its root, means, “throws across,” or, in more modern terms, “throws a wrench into the works.” Giving in to the temptation to drink too much, overspend, cheat, or interfere in others’ business, is you—and not Satan—throwing a wrench into the works and creating your own adversity.

The Devil card reversed, in a reading, means freeing yourself from a bad habit or bad situation. It’s not that the Devil had you by the throat and let you go. It’s that you faced, or will face, the devil you know and realize that there is no devil in your future unless you decide there is one.

Born on the Cusp? What Zodiac Sign You REALLY Are

People born between the 19th and 23rd of any month, on the “cusp” during the time the Sun transitions from one zodiac sign to the next, often feel left out of Sun Sign astrology. They’ve heard they “have the traits of both signs,” although nobody tells them which traits. Cusp people are left to figure that out themselves. From Sun Sign books (they have to buy two, one for each sign) or daily horoscopes (they have to read two) they string together character traits they think they might have, or try to blend two daily-horoscope forecasts to get one that seems to apply to them. It’s like do-it-yourself astrology. It never feels right. That’s because it isn’t right.

Everyone has a genuine Sun sign. Cusps defined as “two or three days before and after the Sun changes signs” accommodate the fact that Sun Sign astrology—invented in the 1930s—doesn’t require a birth chart or even a birth year: only a birthday. Sun Sign personality assessments and forecasts are general because the reading considers only a person’s Sun position. Everyone has eight more planets, and 12 houses, and much more in their charts that Sun-Sign astrology ignores. That leads to Sun Sign stereotyping.

Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian, for example, was born on October 21, and those too lazy to Google her birth year, 1980, and computer-calculate that day’s chart might call her a Libra-Scorpio cusp and leave it at that. But that’s very sloppy thinking, not astrology. The Sun on any day is either in one sign or the next. In the most-used type of astrology there exist borderlines between signs, crystal-clear and permanent, although invisible anywhere but on a sky map or horoscope chart.

We don’t even need Kim’s birth time and place (10:36 a.m., Los Angeles) to determine that on October 21, 1980, the Sun was in Libra. On that day it was one degree away from being in Scorpio. But the Sun was still in Libra. Kim’s a Libra. It’s wrong to characterize her further by borrowing random stereotyped Sun Sign traits from Scorpio. (“Hey, she’s sexy! That’s because she’s part Scorpio!”)

If you were born between the 19th and 23rd of any month, online calculators can tell you your true Sun Sign. The simplest we’ve found, and you don’t have to give your name, is Lunarium’s calculator at Your Sun position can be anywhere from 0 degrees to 29 degrees of a zodiac sign. Please note that Lunarium is a British site and the British sometimes call Sun Signs “star signs.” That’s not wrong, it’s just how they say it.

If your natal Sun comes out at 0 degrees or 29 degrees of a sign, then you might be the rare exception: a person truly “born on the cusp,” which professional astrologers define extremely precisely, not “a few days before and a few days after.” In fact the window for a genuine cusp is one hour. As seen from Earth, the Sun’s disk measures one degree in diameter. For a brief moment in the sky the Sun’s center is exactly on that invisible line between signs. That’s the cusp. This cusp lasts one hour, or 30 minutes on each side. Only those born within that hour were truly born on a cusp. Prince George of Cambridge (July 22, 2013, 4:24 p.m.) was born just seconds, a mere breath, before the Sun moved from Cancer into Leo. His Sun is technically in Cancer, but he’s a genuine Cancer-Leo cusp.

Of course calculating this requires an exact birth time, and birth times are notorious for being inaccurate—most witnesses being too busy to watch the clock. And then there’s the question of whether the clock is accurate. But you needn’t bother because there’s no benefit to having been born on a genuine astrological cusp. You get no special gifts or traits from the Sun or stars. It’s back to “half of one sign and half of the other.”

Everyone else born between the 19th and 23rd of any month can calculate and enjoy their new status as a real 100 percent undivided Sun Sign.

Birthstones of June: Three Choices

The classic June birthstone is the white pearl, the only prized gem created organically, by a living creature. June is wedding month, and this birthstone is traditional because in its luminous beauty and self-sufficiency—it needs no fancy faceting—it represents purity and oneness of the body and mind. Often it is worn by brides, regardless of their birth date or wedding date.

One of the tests of a fine pearl is that you should be able to see yourself reflected in it. Few gifts are as treasured as a string of Grade AAA pearls, and few jewelry items are as wearable on every occasion as a pair of fine pearl earrings on 14-karat gold studs. I received my first pearl studs in the 1970s, and with good care, they are still beautiful.


June has two more birthstone alternatives. For astrological reasons, the moonstone is one of the two. Because our calendar months no longer line up with the Sun’s passage through the zodiac signs, those born in the first three weeks of June are born under the zodiac sign Gemini, the Twins; those in the final week of June under Cancer, the Crab. The sea-dwelling Crab is linked with the pearl, and some authorities say that only those born in the final third of June, under the sign of Cancer, can claim pearl as their birthstone. June-born Geminis are assigned the semi-precious moonstone, translucent silvery white with electric-blue flashes. The mercurial nature of Gemini and the blue flame of the moonstone have been likened for centuries. Frequently mined in the mountains of India and Sri Lanka, the better the moonstone the more blue it has, and the color matches it with Gemini, an air sign.

Alexandrite, June’s “Modern” Stone


Because of confusion over who should wear the pearl—and one can argue that both the pearl and the moonstone represent the Moon, the planet ruling Cancer—June’s modern birthstone, assigned in 1952 and covering both zodiac signs, is alexandrite, not as well known as it should be. This spectacular color-shifting gem in its natural form is rare and expensive and rarely larger than three carats. In daylight, the alexandrite turns from red-violet to seafoam green, and back to red-violet under electric light.

Most alexandrite currently sold is man-made and therefore not prohibitively expensive. June birthstone displays in department stores and jewelry stores are almost always of man-made, laboratory-grown stones (purplish-colored in the jewelry case), and in sunlight they perform the mesmerizing color change. If the purple stone does not change to green, you have a “simulated” alexandrite and its power is minimal.

Because laboratory-grown and natural alexandrites are chemically and physically identical, metaphysical authority Melody, author of Love is in the Earth, says they both function the same way. Alexandrite’s powers have nothing to do with purity and June weddings. According to Melody, alexandrite in crystal form can return you to the origin of time. If you want to feel reborn or change your world, covet and save for this stone. It’s also for centering and alignment. Unlike other birthstones, the Bible and ancient texts do not mention alexandrite, which is why we rely for now on channeled information. Melody writes that, metaphysically, alexandrite is a Scorpio stone. That might or might not be correct.

Isidore Kozminsky, author of the two-volume Magic and Science of Jewels and Stones, insists this is a stone for Aquarius because it was discovered only recently—some say in the 1820s, and others say later—as we approach the Aquarian Age.

Regardless of controversy, birthstone lore now holds that it’s the gem for all born in June. The name comes from Alexander, a Russian prince, because, legend says, the stone was first found in Russia on his birthday.

Powers of the Moonstone and Pearl

Moonstone attracts attention and affection. Put a moonstone on your key ring or other item you carry often if intending to capture someone’s attention. But if you wear moonstone all the time, it will cease to work. It’s considered feminine and receptive, like the moon and moonlight, and men who would not wear pearls can wear moonstone to get in touch with their feminine side.

A legend spread by an 1868 detective novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, says the moonstone is sinister and attracts bad luck. But Collins confused the moonstone with the opal, which for several reasons, including its chaotic internal structure, is hard to wear comfortably unless you are born in October or have Scorpio prominent in your birth chart. Opal is gorgeous but it is not for everybody. The young in particular should not wear opal. Moonstone can substitute.

Wear pearls to focus on tasks and business. Natural pearls have the most power, but there are no natural pearls circulating unless they are more than a century old. Pearls are the softest of the precious gems, age poorly, and yellow and go dull if repeatedly assaulted with chemicals such as hairspray or perfume. After wearing pearls, use a cloth to wipe them clean of body oils and store them where they cannot scratch each other or be scraped by other jewelry. You want to keep that mirrored surface! Because they are such pure and organic products, they require “clearing” or refreshing to maintain their spiritual attributes. Refresh them by taking them out on a cloth or a plate into the light of the full moon. A single loose pearl thrown into a river is a sacrificial act that is said to bring money.

Do “baroque” and “potato-shaped” pearls work as well as the round ones? From experience I can tell you they are fun to wear, but beyond that do not seem to enhance focus or productivity. Like pearls, they will enforce ladylike behavior. Wear them when you need an aura of intelligence and class.

Some New Agers and vegans refuse to wear pearls because oysters die during the harvesting of pearls, when their shells are pried open. For this reason, some believe every pearl carries bad karma, and nothing could be worse for your karma than wearing a whole string of them. On the brighter side, wear pearls or a pearl to win the favors of superstar goddesses such as Diana and Freya. Hindu astrologers advise setting a pearl in silver and wearing it on Mondays (Moon days) in emotionally turbulent times.

So, June-born readers, take your pick: alexandrite, moonstone, or pearl.

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