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PSYCHICS' BUSINESS BOOMS BEFORE '07 FORTUNETELLERS GIVE NEW-YEAR GUIDANCE.

Byline: RACHEL URANGA Staff Writer

Excuse me, Mr. President, the year ahead is going to be really rough, and you need to be especially wary of those who claim to be your allies.

And keep an eye on the president of North Korea. The cards show he'll be up to mischief.

At least, that's what Los Angeles psychics say.

As clairvoyants make their predictions for 2007, they foresee no major earthquakes looming for Southern California. And the success this year of crossover sensation Shakira will be eclipsed by her popularity during the next 12 months.

Fortunetelling is a booming business in this city of mystics, believers and black magic makers -- especially at the start of a new year.

While many of us -- the psychically handicapped -- will begin the year making resolutions and reflecting on the 365 days of 2006 -- the mystically connected are kicking into high gear as mortal souls come seeking guidance.

``It's just a basic part of human nature. People want to know what the new year is going to bring, and if you're psychic, you have a little bit of insight into that,'' said Vicki Wells, a 43-year-old self-described empath who reads tarot cards at Psychic Eye Book Shop in Sherman Oaks.

The New Age shop -- selling amulets, love potions and energy-emitting mystic stones -- sees business soar 25percent as the new year approaches and everyone from staid office workers to hip musicians comes looking for signposts on their life paths.

The Psychic Eye employs nearly 40 self-described fortunetellers who crank out nearly 200 readings a day at this time a year.

And that is just a sliver of the business done in Los Angeles, where psychic shops, botanicas and tarot readers operate out of homes and storefronts. Anyone from your hairdresser to your computer salesman is likely to have a decent referral.

``Everyone wants to know what to expect,'' said Deseret Tavares, a 32- year-old psychic and tarot reader who has made end-of-the-year predictions for E! Entertainment and the morning show on Que Buena, a Spanish-language radio station.

Tavares -- who specializes in readings -- says the end of the year also brings requests from cleansings or limipias -- common across Latino America. The ceremony -- which differs in various cultures -- can be an elaborate ritual with crystals to merely rubbing someone with an egg, saying prayers and dusting them with various herbs and flowers.

At Botanica Milagro in North Hollywood, spiritual healers have been booked solid from 9a.m. to 7p.m., tending to believers who hope to be freed from negative energy ahead of the new year.

Other psychics said many of their clients come seeking information about only two things: love and money.

``I come every year. I want to know what the year ahead brings,'' said Jon Hudson, a 38-year-old executive administrator, who sought information about his career during a $50-an-hour reading at the Psychic Eye.

He emerged from the dimly lighted room, smiling about the predictions he'd just heard.

``One of the first things that came up at the reading was the transfer at my job that I was very concerned about ... But now, I am excited about where she sees me, and now the time is right. That makes me feel good.''

The business of fortunetelling is especially popular in Latino communities.

Spanish-language newspapers around the world carry the predictions of psychic Walter Mercado, who offers his annual forecasts for politicians and celebrities alike. And Spanish-language variety shows across the country -- where daily horoscopes are already a staple -- reserve a spot for celebrity predictions.

``We know our viewers are very interested in this type of information, and they love to hear about their favorite stars,'' said Pablo Urquiza, executive producer of ``Cotorreando,'' a Telemundo celebrity gossip magazine that will be airing a special prediction segment for New Year.

rachel.uranga@dailynews.com

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 31, 2006
Words:639
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