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(a) Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person to make any direct or indirect charge, or receive any gift, donation or subscription by any means whatsoever, for or in connection with the carrying on, practicing or professing to practice the business or art of astrology, palmistry, phrenology, fortunetelling, cartomancy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, crystal gazing, mediumship, prophecy, augury, seership, necromancy or other similar practice. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

(1) The sale of books or other literature relating to the practices enumerated in this section; or

(2) The teaching of the practices enumerated in this section.

(b) Exemptions.

(1) Religious Practices. The terms of this section shall not apply to any person who performs any religious or spiritual function, or a priest, minister, rector or any accredited representative of a church or religion where such priest, minister, rector or accredited representative holds a certificate of credit, commission or ordination under the ecclesiastical laws of a religious corporation, incorporated under the laws of any state or territory of the United States, or any voluntary religious organization, and who fully conforms to the rights and practices prescribed by the supreme conference, convocation, convention, assembly, association or synod of the system or faith with which such person is affiliated; provided, however, that any church or religious organization which is organized for the primary purpose of conferring certificates of commission, credit or ordination for a price, and not primarily for the purpose of teaching or practicing a religious doctrine or belief, shall not be deemed to be a church or religious organization for purposes of this subsection.

(2) Theatrical Performances. The terms of this section shall not apply to any theatrical performance when the astrologer, palmist, clairvoyant, fortuneteller, mind reader or phrenologist is used for entertainment purposes only, and the regular admission is charged therefor. (Code 1981 § 18.5-2. Code 1995 § 54-6.)