By Sarah Moreno Miami Herald
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For Betty Benet Mercado, a love of astrology was nutured early on by her late uncle, astrologer, Walter Mercado. She now plans to honor his legacy by doing as he did, dissecting the effects of the moon and the planets on the lives of everyday people.
Betty Benet Mercado owes her passion for astrology to her uncle Walter Mercado, who used to take her outside by the hand on dark nights to look at the constellations. She also owes him the knowledge she has today to continue in his footsteps, she had helped the astrologer with this daily horoscopes since the 1980s.
"About Walter, I can say I learned everything from him. More than an uncle, he was a father, a teacher and a friend to me. I had a very close relationship with him since I was small," said Benet Mercado, who now has the mission of continuing his legacy by writing the columns that brought fame to the late astrologer, known for his "Love, lots of Love" message. He died on Nov. 2.
"He always told me that when he passed to the spiritual side, we should not abandon his audience, his fans, his people. He wanted us to continue spreading his message of peace and love, to continue delivering the celestial messages through the horoscopes, because he said the population needs those words, that positive message, that guidance from the Universe to feed the spirit," Benet Mercado said.
She plans to continue spreading the astrological message together with two other Mercado nieces, Dannette and Ivonne.
"Walter wanted to leave his legacy to us, making us part of his world. We are his continuation, his future, his presence in this world," said the astrologer, adding that she and her sisters own the rights to the image, the name and the brand of Walter Mercado.
Benet Mercado also said that her uncle had been handing over to her the job of producing the daily horoscopes for newspapers, including el Nuevo Herald, and some magazines. Dannette, also a student of the Tarot, handled the website waltermercado.com and collaborated on his psychic line.
"He would give us instructions. Talk about the position of the planets when they were in retrograde phase, the lunar and solar eclipses and how they were going to affect each symbol throughout the month," Benet Mercado added.
When she thinks of Mercado's words, she of course points out the phrase her uncle made famous, "Much peace, and much, much love," as well as other favorites like "Be grateful," "Love yourself, value yourself, have faith in yourself," and "You are the captain of your life."
"There's also another one, very funny, that he would say when we complained, 'Don't cry today. Cry tomorrow,' " said Benet Mercado, who used another of her uncle's phrases when asked for her age. "Between 50 and death," she said.
Before training under Mercado, and at his recommendation, Benet Mercado took classes with other experts in spiritual issues such as Xiomara Mayor, who is known for her studies on reincarnation, and the late Argentine astrologer Horacio Valsecia.
"Walter opened the doors for me to innumerable opportunities in life, exposing me to the arts, and among those things, I chose to paint," said Benet Mercado, who graduated from the Puerto Rican Cultural Institute and the University of Puerto Rico, with a degree in art and a specialization in painting.
Benet Mercado participated in several art shows, then got married and had three children. After a divorce, she concentrated on astrology and working with Mercado.
"I am neither timid nor introverted, and the cameras don't scare me," she said, noting that she once worked for a Florida-based television channel broadcasting news and the horoscopes for Hispanics.
"At times I joined Walter in interviews and videos, talking about astrology, the Tarot cards, love, the runes and magic," she added.
"I can say that I consider myself a simple person, funny, loving and a lover of peace," she said, noting that she accepts the challenge of following in her uncle's steps even though he was "unique."
But she's promising a renovated vision of her uncle's column, Las estrellas de Walter Mercado (The Stars of Walter Mercado), which she will be writing for el Nuevo Herald.
"Walter has always done an excellent job, but times change and it would not be a bad thing to give the column a little more sizzle, bring it up to date to the social changes, aim it at the new generations and add more rituals and magic for health, love and money," she said.
She said she also wants to talk more about sex and the future of the planet. She's interested in issues like the effect of the moon and the planets on people, and she's passionate about spiritual questions like reincarnation, karma, destiny and past lives.
"I love the human contact," she said, adding that she wants to continue handing out a sense of optimism, love of life and a concept her uncle, Walter, always expressed: 'There is no one like you in this world.' " ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.