Deb McBride

Daily Mail (UK)

Could happiness really be written in the stars? 
By SARAH HUGHES 12th January 2009
The world becomes an increasingly depressing place during these late winter months. Each day brings more bad news, from a crumbling property market to growing financial insecurity and turmoil in the Middle East. In such gloomy times, where’s a girl to turn for even small crumbs of comfort? The answer, apparently, is towards the growing army of astrologers, psychics and clairvoyants for a peek into what the future might hold. Since the credit crunch began to bite, astrologers across the world have reported a surge in customers.
In India, for example, where it is not uncommon for a fortune-teller to be both physician and psychic, the number of people seeking solace in spiritual cards is up by 50 per cent, according to a recent article in the Times of India, and a similar boom has been reported in the U.S.
‘I’ve had more clients since the credit crunch,’ says astrologer Deb McBride. ‘And most of them have asked about their financial situation and what the future might hold. ‘In such situations I spend a lot of time telling clients not to be afraid to take risks. It’s a difficult time for people and many of us are scared of the future.’
And it isn’t only those with too much time on their hands who are looking to the stars for guidance. ‘Most of my clients are professional women, many of whom do the sort of jobs in which you’d expect people to dismiss astrology,’ says McBride. ‘I think that, especially in difficult times, people are more open to different ideas.’ McBride – who, as well as having practised astrology for more than 20 years, holds degrees in chemistry and mathematics  –  admits that there are plenty of charlatans out there, but says she is offering something different. ‘I understand why people are sceptical,’ she says. ‘Do I think that the financial crisis has led to new scams?
Exactly, which is why I find myself agreeing to a consultation with McBride, although sadly – due to lack of notice  –  she is unable to provide the full service. Whereas a typical session would last 90 minutes and involve several hours’ work beforehand (during which McBride would draw up detailed charts examining every aspect of the client’s life from family to finance), because we don’t have quite so long, I settle for half an hour and a basic chart. The first thing I learn is that I’m terrible with money, as the size of my debt reminds me on a regular basis. I’m initially hopeful McBride is going to tell me that it’s not my fault, the planets are simply aligned against me and, hey, some people just aren’t that competent where cash is concerned. Sadly, this is not the case. McBride, after all, is a professional, so we spend a considerable amount of time examining ways in which I manage my finances better-take control of my life and ‘allow my moon in Virgo (that is my more organised side) to have a greater say in how I live my life’.
It’s all less like sitting down for a glimpse of the future and more like spending time with a financial adviser, albeit one who believes that if you just considered the alignment of the planets in your life and remembered that Pluto is currently having a disruptive effect on Capricorn, house of commerce and financial transaction, then you’d be less likely to have your bank charging you for exceeding your overdraft every month. Frivolity aside, however, there’s something oddly soothing about spending time with McBride. ‘What I do is about as far removed from the horoscopes you read in newspapers as you can imagine,’ she says. ‘It’s a detailed look at all aspects of a person’s life, and then we examine future courses of action or ways in which that person can help themselves change their life.’
And in contrast to the TV psychics who seem keen to claim that they predicted this or that disaster, usually long after the affair occurred, McBride believes that in the prediction business less is usually more. ‘I’m not comfortable with making big predictions,’ she says. ‘You won’t find me saying this or that catastrophe is going to happen. What I’m doing is explaining possibilities and then discussing certain courses of action.’ In other words, McBride is as much therapist as astrologer. Her warm manner relaxes her clients and convinces them that this is not simply a matter of hocus pocus, but rather a look at how best to cope with problems in their lives or understand flaws in their character.  And the bad is always balanced with the good. Thus, while I learn that I am both impetuous and frequently lazy, I am told that I am also passionate and keen to succeed. It’s rather like attending a relaxing therapy session  –  and one where even your weaknesses can be turned into strengths, provided you keep an open mind and consider the possibilities of change. ‘When things seem bad on a global scale, people begin to fear that nothing will ever get better. And astrology, while not offering all the answers, at least offers you the chance to see that things might improve or that different opportunities exist,’ she says. ‘There’s a sense that when everything is going well, then people don’t really think about the future. But when things aren’t going so well, then suddenly the future and what might happen next becomes the most important thing of all.’ As to my own experience, do I think that astrology provides the answers to all that ails us? Well, no. Was my time with McBride an interesting way to spend an hour and one that helped me reconsider certain behaviour patterns? Absolutely.
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