In a cozy Coconut Grove shop redolent of incense, Sandra Richardson hovers over six colorful tarot cards laid before her on a silk-covered table. She ponders the question: Obama or McCain?
The middle-age self-described psychic consultant sweeps her ash blond hair from her shoulders. A crystal dangles around her neck. She points to the ace of cups — one of the three cards she drew for McCain. On it, a royal blue vessel emanates red, white, and gold squiggles.
"This is a card with new emotional beginnings," she says. Her hazel eyes examine it before she laughs. "It's hard to imagine with a Republican, right?"
Pollsters, schmolsters. Who's to say South Florida's psychics and astrologers can't choose 'em? So Miami New Times sought presidential picks from intuits ranging from Richardson, a former psychic friend of Dionne Warwick's, to Fran Baskerville, whose predictions flow forth in song.
And where would any such story be without Walter? Let's begin with the big man of the star-crossed Spanish-language world: Walter Mercado. We don't have the masthead to make direct contact with the famed feathered-haired Puerto Rican astrologer known for his lavish jewelry and gender-bending costumes. But his office sent written thoughts. Sadly, Mercado saw Hillary Clinton as the best head-of-state material.
"Her moon is in Pisces, making her very compassionate, intuitive, the voice of the people that cannot be heard or are afraid to speak. She would have been the perfect president for the United States," he wrote.
He was split when it came to the current contenders. "Barack Obama is a candidate that believes in change, will unite opponents, and will be an inspiration for the younger generation. McCain signifies mentality, reasoning, and experience. I personally believe that in order for the Democratic Party to win this presidential election, they have to unite and overcome their differences. If not, we will be facing four more years of the Republican Party."
Could Walter be a Democrat?
Conflicting birth times, along with reality, can be prediction busters for astrologers. They use birth times to sketch astral charts. But Jeffrey Brock, a Kendall resident in his fifties, was at the United Astrology Conference in May, when a precise birth time was announced for Obama. A hush fell when the moment — August 4, 1961, at 7:11 p.m. — was revealed, according to the Associated Press. Brock says he and most others later agreed on the following: Obama would be the next president.
"Pluto is opposing Barack's natal Venus, and this indicates he's getting some substantial Plutonian energies," explains Brock, a teacher of the stars since the late Seventies. Pluto can mean rebirth and transformation but also death, he says. So Obama should be careful. "There's a general feeling, and I have these same feelings, that there could be some danger to his personal safety," he says. "We pretty much agreed on this, and we're a pretty diverse lot."
That's for sure.
Let's move onto the witch from Hialeah: Marizel Almirall. The 28-year-old married mother's skepticism about the political system trumps her ability to see a winner. "The outcome is whoever the big guys want it to be," she says. "As much as I see a lot of movement with Obama, I see a lot of favors being done for the other dude, the one with the white hair."
Almirall, who owns TheWitchsGarden.com, a site where she sells handicrafts, believes she inherited her powers from her Cuban grandmother.
Like Walter, she thinks Hillary would have been the best option. "I think they got her out on purpose."
What's more, she hints the Sunshine State could be the backdrop for another election debacle. "It's the energy of Florida," she explains. "There's a lot of chaos in Florida, mostly in Miami. It's just one of those places."
Ugh. Here we go again.
Jill Dahne bills herself as the love psychic, but the blonde from Hollywood earned early fame for forecasting world events. The subject of a Lifetime special, and daughter of psychic Micki Dahne, she made some bold early election pronouncements on her site.
Two years ago, she predicted a race between Hillary and Rudy Giuliani. She later wrote that Hillary would be the next president and Bill would be her sidekick. On the same day, she predicted starlets such as Paris Hilton would start a fad of opening nightclubs in their homes.
Although Hillary has dropped out, Dahne stands by what she saw in the senator's future. "Some people might say I'm crazy to even think it; I think she will be the next president," she says. "She hasn't rescinded yet — right?"
Not at first, but then she did concede.
"If I'm off now, maybe I'm seeing that in four years. Then I see [Hillary] as a president," she explains. "But not Condonita Rice, or however you say her name."
Lawrence Huff, a 62-year-old Miami Beach resident and yoga teacher, has been studying ancient Indian astrology for about 25 years. Saturn's heavy influence on the Arizona senator could be Obama's downfall, Huff says. "Saturn could weaken him in this upcoming period, and not only that, it could create some health issues."
According to Huff's charts, Obama's moon is in Taurus, with Venus well placed. His translation: Obama can bring people together and is reaping fortune from past lives.
"I think Obama is quite strong, maybe stronger than McCain," Huff concludes. He notes that both candidates' charts show "they're beautiful people like, really, everybody is."
Do you think President Bush is a beautiful person?
"That's why he was elected — with his compassionate conservatism. But now we know,'" Huff huffs. "Hopefully he doesn't blow us all up by the time he goes out."
A few years ago, Psychic Queen Isis, a Boca-based clairvoyant who hawks her abilities for corporate events, predicted on Univision that youthful competition was coming for Hillary. Perhaps it was another woman, she thought. Apparently Obama was unexpected, even for a visionary. "I don't think any psychic could have said, 'There will be a young man of black origin,'" she admits. "We can't predict everything."
These days she's going with Obama. "In the history of America, the losers will become the winners. The game this time is for the Democrats."
Fran Baskerville, a.k.a the Singing Psychic, lives in Texas, but who could resist checking in with this former Howard Stern guest? Baskerville claims to have discovered her powers after a brush with death when an 18-wheeler backed into her Chevy in the late Seventies.
As her moniker suggests, her projections come in spontaneous songs. She is kind enough to strum one for New Times on her 30-year-old firebird red guitar.
Her aging vocal cords emit a sugarplum tone as she sings:
Oh, oh, yay. Hillary.
I had to say a sad goodbye to her.
Oh, oh, yay.
I don't think she'll be a vice president
'Cause Obama's wife just can't stand her.
But it looks as though
She's going to be more of a diplomat.
Oh, oh, yay.
Hey, hey, there.
It will be a tough fight,
But its looks as though, I'd say,
McCain will pull off with this.
Oh, oh, yay.
Things will look real good.
Hey, hey, there.
And the war won't last long. Oh no.
About a year and half.
And it looks as though
Our boys will be comin' home.
Back in Coconut Grove, Sandra Richardson pulls the emperor and prince of wands along with the ace of cups for McCain. For Obama, she randomly selects the cards of science, the knight of discs, and the fool.
"The fool carries a lot more energy than 'Oh my gosh — he looks like a fool!'" she says of the card with a wily green figure and a tiger biting his leg. "It represents the birth of newness."
But it also shows Obama must be careful with his choices. After mulling the six cards, Richardson asserts, "I do believe Obama is going to do it. I don't proclaim that I'm God, but I do have an 80 to 85 percent accuracy rate."
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Click play to hear Fran Baskerville, the Singing Psychic, deliver her prediction: