New Psychic Business Ordinance Passes in Salem

May 1st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s official, licenses for psychic businesses in Salem, Massachusetts are once again being issued.

As I posted last week, City Council temporarily suspended the issuance of licenses for new psychic businesses in July of 2011. Last Thursday, they voted to accept a new ordinance regulating such businesses.

Per the new law, only stores that dedicate at least 75% of their goods and services to fotunetelling and related products will be eligible for a psychic business license. This percentage has been increased from 51%.

The move was made to support psychic merchants who devote their business to the trade and to discourage psychics from setting up shop in businesses unrelated to fortunetelling, like clothing stores or coffee shops.

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Salem City Council to Hear New 'Fortunetelling' License Ordinance

April 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

And there’s more Tarot and the law news this week … Salem, Massachusetts might begin issuing new licenses for psychic businesses starting May 1st.

Since July of last year, there’s been a moratorium on the issuance of licenses to new psychic businesses in Salem.

Council members have been reviewing the present regulations and have drawn up a new ordinance to be heard at City Council this coming Thursday.

According to The Salem News, under the new rules, a ‘fortuneteller’ license would only be issued to a business that devotes at least 75 percent of its goods and services to fortunetelling and related products.

The old rules required only 51 percent of a business to be designated as such.

These changes are expected to reduce the number of licenses issued for psychic businesses in the city.

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Tarot in Mixed Media

April 14th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

If you’re in the Salem, Massachusetts area next Saturday, April 21st, get down to The Griffen Theatre to see Tarot in Mixed Media: Thematic Explorations through Music, Spoken Word, Video and Dance!

It’s the debut show for Spiral Light Productions and it looks to be very entertaining.

Their theme is Tarot and they’ll be exploring the archetypes through tribal bellydance, storytelling, shamanic visions and music.

Watch the Icy River mixed media video below created by Margaret McGilvray and Griffex, with music by Calamus. It represents the High Priestess.

To see more videos go to their website, or better yet, go to the show!!

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Salem Puts Temporary Hold on Issuing Fortune-Telling Licenses

July 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Witch Spoon ad from 1891

And more in legal news …

Last week, Salem City Council moved to temporarily suspend issuing new fortune-telling licenses. They want time to close a loophole in the existing ordinance.

According to the present law, in order to qualify for a fortune-telling license, 51 percent of a shop must be dedicated to the metaphysical, for instance tarot cards, crystals and the like.

But apparently, that’s not what’s been happening.

Councilor-at-large Joan Lovely says she herself is aware of two businesses that created separate corporations within the same establishment in order to get around the license requirements.

To stop this from happening, Lovely asked for the suspension of license issuance to allow the city solicitor time to recommend changes. She received unanimous support of the council.

None of them want too many fortune-telling business in town, but they’re also aware of how important they are to Salem.

Council expects to consider the proposed amendments at their first meeting in September. They’d like to settle the issue before October’s witchy season begins.

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Too Many Psychics in Salem?

February 1st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Salem City Seal

Salem City Seal

There’s a debate right now in Salem, Massachusetts about how many psychics there should be in that town.

Presently, all of Salem’s professional fortune-tellers are required to have a license.

Until two years ago, city by-laws limited the number of psychic licenses available to five for every 50,000 inhabitants.

Apparently, that law was seldom enforced. In 2009, the population of Salem was 41,361. And there were a lot more than five psychics there.

When City Council revised the law in 2009, no new limits were imposed on the number of psychics in the city, but they did institute a maximum of 6 per store.

Now some residents are upset. They want more control over how many people should be allowed to read the future and accept money for doing so.

blue crystal ball

At least seventy licenses were issued last year, 13 to individuals and 25 to stores. That’s about one psychic for every 591 Salem resident.

City Councilor Joan Lovely thinks that that’s too many. She doesn’t want a fortune-teller on every corner.

But the psychics have been hard to monitor. The Licensing Board is part-time and responsible not only for fortune-tellers, but for restaurants, bars, used-car dealers and rooming houses as well. They can’t keep up.

According to Board Member John Casey, “At this point, it’s not far from being out of control.”

Councilor Lovely wants to take action. A lawyer herself, she intends to discuss constitutional issues surrounding a possible cap on psychics with City Solicitor Beth Rennard.

According to the Salem News, though Rennard has yet to be approached, she’s open to the idea. “I think it’s something we’ve had in place before, and it’s something we can look at again.”

Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot painted by Frieda Harris

Some psychics welcome the initiative. Barbara Szafranski is one of them. Owner of two psychic shops, and eligible for 12 licenses herself, Szafranski says she’s upset about how many licenses are out there, and to whom they’re being issued.

Psychic Linda Weinbaum is also concerned. She thinks there’s too many readers in Salem and that putting a cap on licenses should be seriously explored.

It’s interesting that psychics and non-psychics seem to be on board with this. Though their agendas might be quite different.

The City Council is concerned that the historical importance of Salem will be forgotten in the circus-like atmosphere of fortune-tellers everywhere.

The psychics, on the other hand, are worried about the competition. Or at least that’s what it looks like from here.

Another psychic store owner, Teri Kalgren, thinks the idea of caps should be open for discussion. But Kalgren adds that the business is ‘feast or famine.’

City officials themselves acknowledge that most of the psychics in Salem are only open for a few weeks in October.


It’s a fascinating problem. I can see that gimmicky fortune-telling neon might cheapen a downtown. But if that’s the issue, maybe the controls should be put on trashy store-fronts rather than psychics themselves.

And if it really is only for a few weeks a year, I’m not sure what harm the readers are doing. I imagine they’re satisfying a demand.

For a town nicknamed, The Witch City, it shouldn’t be surprising that people flock there for divinatory adventure. Psychics are part of the fun.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this. I look forward to hearing what the people of Salem decide.

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