astrology news

Astrologers No Longer Welcome in Philadelphia

The news has been going around the astrological community for the past few days that the city of Philadelphia has started cracking down on “fortune tellers” in the city and closing down shops that are in the business of “fortune telling”. According to some of the reports this has had its main effect on people who were purporting to offer advice as psychics, tarot card readers and palm readers, although apparently a few astrologers were among those who were delivered a cease and desist order as well.

Apparently what happened is that the city inspectors were alerted to an obscure law that has been on the books since 1971 which bans fortune-telling “for gain or lucre”. Of course, the city itself has been issuing business licenses to these people all along, and is just now realizing that running such a business is apparently illegal in their city.

Fortunately no one has actually been arrested or fined at this point, but anyone who tries to engage in “fortune telling” again probably will be.

This kind of reminds me of some of the squabbling that periodically broke out in ancient Rome between the astrologers and the emperors at various points in time. In her book Ancient Astrology Tamsyn Barton relates one story while explaining the dangers of practicing astrology in the Roman Empire:

Thus astrologers were wise to act as an anonymous group. In the turbulent year of 69 CE, in response to Vitellius’ decree banning them from Rome and Italy from 1 October, they posted an announcement with their own edict:

Decreed by all astrologers

In blessing on our State

Vitellius will be no more

On the appointed date.

In response Vitellius executed any astrologers he came across, according to Suetonius. He did not have long to enjoy the satisfaction of proving them wrong, for he only survived three months afterwards. (Tamsyn Barton, Ancient Astrology, pgs. 47-48.)

5 replies on “Astrologers No Longer Welcome in Philadelphia”

Any in-depth information on the law itself? It seems kind of outrageous to begin with. How is an outright ban justified? Apparently astrologers and similar folk haven’t been too bad menaces to society, considering the police dept wasn’t even aware of the law.

Here is a link to the actual law itself as it is written:

“7104. Fortune telling.

(a) Offense defined.–A person is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree if he pretends for gain or lucre, to tell fortunes or predict future events, by cards, tokens, the inspection of the head or hands of any person, or by the age of anyone, or by consulting the movements of the heavenly bodies, or in any other manner, or for gain or lucre, pretends to effect any purpose by spells, charms, necromancy, or incantation, or advises the taking or administering of what are commonly called love powders or potions, or prepares the same to be taken or administered, or publishes by card, circular, sign, newspaper or other means that he can predict future events, or for gain or lucre, pretends to enable anyone to get or to recover stolen property, or to tell where lost property is, or to stop bad luck, or to give good luck, or to put bad luck on a person or animal, or to stop or injure the business or health of a person or shorten his life, or to give success in business, enterprise, speculation, and games of chance, or to win the affection of a person, or to make one person marry another, or to induce a person to make or alter a will, or to tell where money or other property is hidden, or to tell where to dig for treasure, or to make a person to dispose of property in favor of another.

(b) Advertising as evidence.–Any publication contrary to this section may be given in evidence to sustain the indictment.

(c) Competency of witnesses.–Any person whose fortune may have been told shall be a competent witness against the person charged with violating this section.”

If someone truly wanted to shut the astrological industry down, using the American legal system would be the most efficient plan of action. I wonder who made this an issue again?

“or in any other manner”

So they should prosecute all the financial analysts and economists who attempt to predict the stock market. An meteorologist predicting the weather. Certainly they are only pretending when we cnsider their track record…

This is a must read, Evans had to defend herself, and won !