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Humboldt's Fortune 

What's in the cards for the county

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At the start of a new year, there's no shortage of politicos and barstool pundits making bets and predictions about what's coming down the pipe for Humboldt County, but it's not like any of them are psychic. So why not check in with folks who peek into the future for a living?

Over the phone, Teresa von Braun says she's been a spiritual consultant in Humboldt for 37 years. She'll do her annual channeling for the coming year on Jan. 22, but she put herself into a trance, channeled her long-time spirit guide Adam and recorded her findings to give the Journal a preview. Numerologically speaking, she says, 2015 is an 8. Don't whistle, it ain't like that. Von Braun says it's all about balance. According to her, we're due for some evening out (albeit bumpy) between the 1 percent and the poor, "technological advances and moral values, arrogance and humility, tolerance and intolerance." Local politics will keep it conservative, she predicts, but "the local populace will continue to have more effect on policy especially around development."

Need specifics? She also sees stricter gun laws on the horizon (so either rejoice in the coming restrictions or snap up those heaters while you can) and less violent crime, nationally and locally. Worried about your health and your mortgage? Von Braun says we can expect more "professional healers" of all stripes in Humboldt — and good thing, too, as environmental toxins, autoimmune diseases and addictions are going to be headliners. The housing market is looking better, she says. And while she still expects to see some empty storefronts, it's "a good year for the ambitious, self-reliant entrepreneur," especially in tech, tourism and shipping out local products (and not just marijuana, which will remain "fairly stable" and move further into the medical market). Plan your crowdfunding activities accordingly.

What else is in the cards? Professional tarot reader, teacher and counselor Carolyn Ayres granted an over-the-phone reading, which is not unusual for her (she does Skype, too). She rapped the deck a couple of times, focused on Humboldt's future and dealt. For the state of the county here and now, she pulled the three of cups, on which a trio of women dance and toast. She says it's a celebratory card that speaks to abundance, which might be about recent rains, as well as opportunity and fluidity. OK, the rain is a gimme. For the political future, we got the seven of wands, with a man holding a staff against six more. This one, Ayres says, is about courage and stepping forward, and indicates "more authentic politics," an empowered voice of the people and new ways of thinking. She speculates that this might have something to do with Eureka's newly all-female council.

The local economy and financial year drew a high priestess and a four of wands, respectively. The priestess, a woman in robes between black and white pillars, could go either way — the future, Ayres says, depends on which past we choose to remember: Humboldt's riches and resources, or its crime and poverty. The four of wands, which resembles a wedding chuppah, is all about stability, she says, and "a good foundation to build on." How that bodes for the financial year, she didn't specify.

The two of pentacles came up for the people of our county. Figures. It looks a lot like a guy in a funky hat juggling on the plaza. According to Ayres, this is a bit like the high priestess card, in that our year could go up or down, dark or light, but it means "great change for the people." On her website, Ayres notes that the future is "always in flux" and that her readings are meant to help clients manifest their own "best future." So what can we do? That's in the next three cards: the knight of cups, which she interprets as a willingness to "open our hearts to the downtrodden, to those who we may feel have more than we do — the risk of opening your heart to your neighbor"; the six of cups, which points to gratitude and pleasure — counting our blessings and enjoying them so the good vibes radiate; and the ace of swords, which is about getting through to the truth.

Ready for the bad news? Well, sort of. For our greatest challenge, we drew the tower — you know, the one with the lightning strike and the people plummeting to the ground. "That's an earthquake card," Ayres says with a hoot. "I'm gonna divine a little here and say we may have a big one this year." Though it could also mean a metaphorical shake-up, which might just turn out for the best. "I love it," she says, "I sound like a real tarot reader here!" And our greatest joy is the eight of swords, in which a bound and blindfolded woman looks none too joyful. Ayres says it's all how you look at it. There could, she says, be "joy in our ability to transcend our mental chatter" in adversity. As with the tower and its calamities, "you can either freak out or transcend."

The final word goes to Zoltar, the roguish fellow in the box parked outside Eureka Books. The yellow ticket tells of the return of a loved one changing our lives, loyal military buddies, patience rewarded and the end of despair. Calm and "good sense will see you through all emergencies." We'll take it.

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