Walter Mercado is known for his fancy, mystical and over-the-top capes and his daily horoscope readings, which he gave for many years on national television. The 87-year-old Puerto Rican astrologer and psychic, who’s often referred to simply as "Walter," has shaped the lives of many Latino households for decades. “I always give the touch of love and they call me the Walter of Miracles,” he said on Sundial.
A new exhibition at HistoryMiami celebrates his life and career: “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado,” will be on display Aug. 2 to Aug. 25, and features his iconic capes, sculptures and photos. Mercado says this exhibition is “for the people to know that Walter is not only the cape or the hair,” but to learn about who he is as a person.
Walter was raised by a Spanish mother who believed strongly in God and a Puerto Rican father who honored the earth and loved his plants. He stresses that his spirituality and powers of astrology did not just appear out of the blue one day, but that he had his abilities from a young age.
Mercado first made his mark working as an actor in telenovelas. Later in life he got a 15 minute fill-in slot to give out horoscope readings and wishes of positivity, which turned into five decades as an astrologer.
The Sundial team visited the History Miami exhibition and talked to Walter about how he got into astrology, the future of Puerto Rico and his impact on the Latino community. He also sent blessings and positive energy to WLRN listeners and encouraged them to live life in a passionate way.
This has been edited for clarity.
WLRN: At what point did astrology become part of your life?
MERCADO: Since I was very little I had revelations and visions. The people followed me so I can touch them for good luck or for health. I'm always giving that touch of love and they believe that that touch of love makes a miracle. That's why they call me Walter of The Miracles.
You've had many years of performing and that's helped you talk to people about astrology and about their lives.
What I have inside is what I gave to the people who came to me. I always say if you are full of love you have to forget the past. The past is carrying like a burden of ... guilty feelings and anger. Forget it. Forget about the future. God is going to plan for you. Enjoy the moment now and the beautiful moment you are living here and now.
I wanted to ask you about Puerto Rico. The governor is about to step down. And nobody knows what's next.
Somebody called me on the telephone and asked me, 'When is the governor [going to] resign?' And I said, 'the last days of July or the first days of August.' At this moment Puerto Rico -- my land -- is having a cleaning. Cleaning is putting things in order. When you have one problem like this it's like Puerto Rico tuvo un parto. It's like it was pregnant of negative things and then the baby's coming out and the baby is Puerto Rico. A new Puerto Rico with new demands. I love Puerto Rico and all the Puerto Ricans are so proud of the land. The reason why the people of Puerto Rico rage and make our lives a protest is because they are demanding and new Puerto Rico.
This exhibit has a big collection of your stuff, your outfits, your cape and so much of what you own. Tell us about the things that you shared that we'll be able to see.
I want for the people to know that Walter is not only the cape or the hair. In the world there are five people that are the most imitated. One is Julio Iglesias. The other Michael Jackson, but the first one is Walter Mercado. I am the most imitated in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and in Spain. I love it and they enjoy it.
Watch Sundial's Facebook Live with Walter Mercado.