Horoscopes enjoy a new boom thanks to uncertainty of these years: the older feeling of insecurity about what the present of each day and the immediate future will bring, the greater the time and money that many dedicate to consulting the astrological forecast according to their zodiac sign. Some do it with the intimate superstitious belief that the planets govern their personal destiny. Others use it as literary entertainment. But they all look to them for positive messages that serve as a guide and encouragement to orient themselves in the jungle without maps that is life.
This is being verified by two Spanish astrologers who number hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of readers and followers: Maestro Joao, who, in addition to his participation in Telecinco programs, signs the magazine’s horoscope Soonand Victoria Velez, author of the widely read horoscopes published by EL ESPAÑOL. Both also attend to their own telephone and face-to-face consultations.
This 2023 has started with the hoax that the existence indicated by NASA of a thirteenth constellation of stars called Ophiuchus forces to change the sign of the zodiac that each one wears: the one who was born Pisces would actually be an Aquarius, and so on. The impact that this story has had on the collective imagination embodied in social networks is the greatest proof of the massive revival of astrological beliefs, Maestro Joao and Victoria Vélez tell EL ESPAÑOL, who take the opportunity to calm the faithful, remembering that the zodiac signs remain where they were.
[Desmontando el bulo viral de Oficuo: por qué la NASA no ha cambiado tu signo del zodiaco]
“I’ve received hundreds of messages on Instagram from people who asked me if I would change their sign with the Ophiuchus thing: ‘That I am a Libra!’, ‘That I am a Taurus!’, ‘Don’t let them change it!’. It’s like the title of the movie Not without my daughter… Not without my horoscope! It has been a very tender reaction: ‘Don’t change my life, don’t change anything else, it will be over my dead body!’ It is very curious, it has caught my attention, it is endearing”, says Master Joao.
His observation points to a key to this social phenomenon: many, although they do not believe in zodiacal esotericism, perceive their sign as a sign of their identityan anchor like its name, a safe place in a complex, fluid, uncertain and changeable world, and changing it would be like the ground opening up under their feet. No more changes, by God or by Jupiteris the general feeling.
50 euros, half an hour
The famous Maestro Joao is the artistic name of Joao Joaquín Castejón, who has no objection to revealing that he was born “in Madrid on December 18, 1963, at 1:30 p.m.”, and that therefore he is “Sagittarius with Pisces ascendant”. The data of the place, date and time of birth are the basic coordinates to elaborate the astral chart which, in this non-scientific belief, explains the influence of the planets on the individual, although he recommends “don’t obsess” and emphasizes that this external influence is not decisive and that what really matters is “the internal energy of each one”.
He lives from communication and entertainment. In addition to working as a clairvoyant, Maestro Joao has been a cross-dressing artist on stage and is a popular character on television shows, such as survivors, VIP Big Brother either Nightmare in Paradise. A half-hour consultation with him, in person at his “Temple” at Calle del Cardenal Silíceo 9 in Madrid or by phone, costs 50 euros. He clarifies that he does not attend to minors nor does he consult about diseases: “For that, I tell them to go to the doctor”.
How is your audience? “Women, of all ages, are 70 percent and men, 30 percent. They prefer to come in person, and among men there are more who do telephone consultations. But all, women and men, consult about the same, love, work, insecurities“, details Master Joao.
Resorting to astrology and other esoteric rituals such as the tarot as a psychological handle is growing significantly. He has just verified it with objective, empirical data: in the last year, the traffic on his website “has increased by 300 percent, crazy,” says Master Joao. Furthermore, he has 696,000 followers on Instagram and 75,200 on Twitter. “The president, Pedro Sánchez, follows me on Twitter”says the astrologer, who shares the last name, Castejón, with the second, compound, of the socialist leader, Pérez-Castejón (Pisces of February 29, 1972).
[El cabreo de Esperanza Gracia con el ‘retorno’ de Ofiuco que se ha hecho viral: “Estoy muy harta”]
Increased faith in astrological rituals −not to be confused with astronomical scientific studies− is related, as Master Joao has observed, with the greatest personal introspection that people experienced during the confinement by the pandemic of coronavirus and the fears that this planetary disaster unleashed. The end of the pandemic was linked to the economic crisis and the war in Ukraine. “People have internalized: what is going to happen to my life?”
To answer this irresolvable question, or at least get oriented, many turn to the horoscope of their sign. It is a phenomenon, he says, that was created in the pandemic and that is sprouting now. “We have spent more time with ourselves, we have discovered that due to the daily rush of work we went over and we did not see our shortcomings and needs, in this very materialistic and very consumerist world, in which I am also. Then they have put their feet back on the street and have said: ‘I want to change something'”.
He proposes his horoscope as a “funny, neither tragic nor transcendental” guide. In Los40 of Cadena Ser he has started a podcast, The chosen onewhich premiered with the former president of the community of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes. Through his Madrid office they go from aristocrats to “housewives and housewives.” One of his clients was Beatrice of Bourbon. There have been some politicians, who he does not identify, such as one, “candidate for the regional elections, who arrived on a motorcycle and entered with his helmet on”, seeking guidance on the favorable conditions for his electoral fight, as the old people did before going to war.
Guide the “lost”
The astrologer Victoria Vélez, whom many readers will have read in her books or in the horoscope section of this newspaper, tells that she has returned to live in Cádiz, her hometown, after a few years in Madrid, although, unlike her colleague Master Joao, she prefers keep the secret on the day of his birth and therefore his zodiac sign, so as not to condition his public.
Vélez attends mainly by phone or videoconference, and already charges for Bizum in addition to Paypal. An individualized and in-depth astrological study “of more than 30 pages”, in which part of the day, time and place of her birth, costs with her 30 euros; a brief consultation of one or two questions costs 10 or 15 eurosamong other services.
Lo curioso de Victoria Vélez es que tiene una sólida formación científica, pues cuenta que se licenció en Biología en la Universidad Complutense de Madrid antes de realizar varias maestrías y cursos de posgrado en Psicología y otras materias reconocidas, pero se fue adentrando cada vez más en las disciplinas que abordan la espiritualidad y el más allá desde ángulos más o menos esotéricos o mágicos, incluida la “psicoterapia de regresión”, para que el cliente se reencuentre con su infancia o adolescencia, o incluso con “su vida pasada, si cree en la reencarnación”. Ese viaje puede “solucionar fobias, miedos, ansiedad, estrés y asuntos no resueltos…”.
[¿Qué es el complejo de incertidumbre? El interrogante impulsor del desarrollo humano]
In his case, he has also detected a “very much” increase in interest in horoscopes and future forecasts associated with contemporary uncertainty. The more insecurity, the more demand. As a good communicator with psychological skills, at the end of what it is about, she comes to explain, it is to listen to the person who calls her and guide her with meaning. “They want to know what mission they have in life, where they have to define themselves; I try to focus them and make them look for their future”, describe. With his “astrological psychotherapy” he teaches “what is more difficult for you to achieve because you repeat the same action/reaction patterns, and how to resolve them”.
To her, a haruspex of the 21st century, come young people “lost” in matters of love and who need, more than a prediction, sensible advice. Or immigrant workers, weighed down by doubts about their job destinationwho ask him what will become of them, “if the contract works out or not.”
Victoria Vélez estimates that her clientele is 80 percent women and approximately 20 percent men. Women they ask above all for love“if their partner is faithful to them, if they can continue with him”, while men ask about love as well as work.
She also has clients who ask her for a prediction not about her future in general but about specific actions, like the young girl who called her a while ago to ask if the day she plans to go to meet a boy is auspicious. Although she receives people of different ages, young people and retirees, she highlights the age range between the ages of 20 and 40, those who are most disoriented in love and they want her to tell them if they hit this or that person as a couple. A compatibility analysis that, in astral slang, is called “synastry”, Vélez specifies.
His horoscopes and his writings on numerology He makes them “in conscience” combining the traditional method and other exclusive ones “that nobody knows about”, he emphasizes to emphasize that he takes his trade very seriously. Regarding the hoax these days about the radical change of the signs of the zodiac due to the appearance of Oficuo, he says that there is no need to worry, that there are still twelve in all cultures, “like the horoscopes of the Arabs or the Hindus”. He remembers that twelve are the parts that result from dividing the 360 degrees of the firmament into portions of 30 degrees. “12 is a number that has always been considered mystical: 12 months, 12 hours, 12 constellations, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel…”.
In short, the recipe has not changed in thousands of years: to illuminate the darkness of an uncertain world with hope.
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“Not without my horoscope!”: the Oficuo hoax that reveals the madness for the zodiac according to Joao and Victoria