Energy and jargon at Whole Life Expo Balance: Astrologers, aromatherapists, vegetarians and the curious energized the Convention Center this weekend.

March 15, 1998|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

When Sandra Mitchel arrived at the Whole Life Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center yesterday, she made her way to the Vogel Photonic Triangulation Unit: a massage table surrounded by crystals and colored lights and connected to a tripod busy with wires and a green cube covered with knobs and meters.

A graphic artist for the Navy, the Arlington, Va., resident took off her shoes, stretched out on her back, closed her eyes and turned up her palms.

A sign read: "Quiet please. Sacred space."

When the table was turned on, waves of energy passed from the cube to crystals connected to colored lights aimed at chakra points along Mitchel's body, according to body worker Kate Shawgo. Each light hit a certain spot: the top of her head, her throat, her solar plexus.

Shawgo moved what she called the "congested energy" through Mitchel by running her hands -- "sensors" in the massage trade -- above Mitchel's skin, rubbed her feet and told her to visualize warm balls of light.

Twenty minutes later, Mitchel sat up from the special blend of energy, light and color as if she'd just awaked from a refreshing nap.

"I could feel shifts in my body from the energy," she said after paying $30 to one of dozens of body workers amid some 150 booths set up at the expo yesterday. "It's really hard to explain it. I feel very grounded, and very balanced just being in the now, being here."

What might be hokey for some was heaven for others. Money, information, recipes, warm hugs and New Age jargon floated among thousands of expo visitors who landed at the Inner Harbor on Friday in search of shamans and healers.

On display were hand-carved lava rocks, vibrating pillows, vegetarian curry recipes, blender-made peanut butter and wheat-grass juice. Lines stretched 30 feet for foods raw and natural -- mostly for people, but some for cats -- and a vast area in the middle of the hall exhibited a library's worth of books on subjects from hypnotherapy to relaxation.

On the fringes, a man sold battery-operated aromatherapy machines that sent the perfume of apple blossoms, banana-nut bread, lavender, and cinnamon rolls wafting through the room. Women offered readings in traditional tarot, past lives, and idiosyncratic information encoded in palms, tongues, and fingernails.

Ellen Brown, an astrologer from Bel Air, charged about 20 people $20 each yesterday to create computerized zodiac charts based on the date, time, and place of their birth. Then she told them who they used to be before being born this time around.

"I didn't have to advertise and go after clients," said Brown, who left the corporate world to trace cosmic genealogies. "Clients started coming to me."

Bill Leach of Delaware spent $60 on magnetic insoles to help him keep his balance when he plays tennis. He predicted improved scores.

And Kathy Rappold came from Parkville to "get my karma in the right place."

The event ends today.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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