by Catherine Hedgecock |
Published January 20, 1997
As a self-employed astrologer, psychic, and counselor, Hank Friedman must keep his
eyes on the heavens and his feet on the ground.
A trained scientist, Hank Friedman began studying astrology in order to debunk a
friend's belief in it. Friedman had a degree in psychology and had studied neurochemistry
in a doctoral program. He was confident he could quickly show his friend evidence that
astrology was meaningless.
Friedman, who at the time was working for a disabled children's school in Boston, began to
make astrological charts for coworkers in his spare time. Like Peanuts' Lucy Van Pelt, he
charged per consultation -- $5 -- and the results were astounding. "People told me the
charts were 80 percent accurate or more. As I learned more, I was able to improve the
results to 90 or 100 percent accuracy."
Friedman continued to study astrology, and it has been a cornerstone of his business for more
than 20 years. In his cottage-like house in the hills above the San Francisco Bay, Friedman
meets with clients in a comfortable sunny room, his pomeranian, Sasha, and cat, Poncho,
curled up nearby. He most values being able to help people understand their problems and
work through their difficulties, which are often spelled out in the stars.
Although astrology is an ancient field of study, some things have changed with the times.
Friedman now uses astrological software, manufactured by a score of U.S. companies, and
writes reviews of software programs for astrology magazines.
Friedman, 46, doesn't regret leaving scientific pursuits for a field he once thought bogus.
"There's a deliberate nearsightedness to science. It is more about saying 'no' than
saying 'yes.' Science is alienating. It cuts people off from anything that can't be tested
Along with being an astrologer, Friedman is a certified clinical hypnotherapist, offering
traditional counseling for individuals and couples. But his consultations tap deeper into
the cosmos than even astrology when he does psychic readings.
He traces his psychic interest to his childhood. At age 5, Friedman had a waking dream
experience in which God told him his purpose in life. God also said he would forget what that
purpose is, but would remember that he had been told. "That had a big impact on me,"
said Friedman. In his early teens, he practiced developing his psychic abilities with a deck
of Rhine cards that alternate among five symbols on one side. The average person would get
five of 25 correct, Friedman said. He consistently got 10 or more correct.
He continued his psychic training after he moved to California in the 1980s and gave free
psychic readings for two years. "I didn't want to charge for it, I enjoyed
Friedman supported himself by doing astrological charts and counseling. Eventually he
became aware of two spirit guides who advised him to charge for his readings. He wouldn't,
but began accepting donations. After six years, he set up a sliding scale of fees that averages
$80 an hour. "Money is part of the natural balance," Friedman said. "In order
for people to receive, they have to give."
When clients come in for a psychic reading, they usually have an important decision to make
or a crisis to resolve. Friedman sits across from a client and looks into the person's eyes. He
experiences seeing the soul and hearing words or seeing pictures about the client's situation.
He then goes into a trance and channels the advice of his spirit guides. Recently, Friedman
has done psychic consultations by phone for out-of-state clients. Most people who come to
Friedman already believe in psychic abilities, but some don't. "If they are in enough pain,
they'll try anything," he said.
With his eclectic services, Friedman has been happily self-employed in a way that brings out
his best qualities -- compassion, insight, close listening. He doesn't worry much about whether
people think his work is for real. He has always relied on word-of-mouth for clients and done
minimal advertising. He knows the results his clients achieve, and that's what really matters.
"It's about helping people grow and change and heal and flourish. I see the impossible
happen every week, things that by logical standards are impossible. There is so much more
grace in the universe than we realize."
Hank Friedman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine Hedgecock is a freelance writer and editor in Berkeley, California. She has written
for USA Today, Knight Ridder newspapers, GNN, and other publications. She has won first
place investigative reporting awards from California Newspaper Publishers Association, Gannett
newspapers, and Best of the West. Ms. Hedgecock is currently writing a mystery novel.
1997 Catherine Hedgecock, all rights reserved.
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