By the mid-18th century, the mystical applications for cards had spread from Italy to other parts of Europe. In France, writer Antoine Court de Gébelin asserted that the tarot was based on a holy book written by Egyptian priests and brought to Europe by Gypsies from Africa. In reality, tarot cards predated the presence of Gypsies in Europe, who actually came from Asia rather than Africa. Regardless of its inaccuracies, Court de Gébelin’s nine-volume history of the world was highly influential.
Some people ask if I, much like a doctor, chose this specialty as my service. On a basic human level, the answer is no...it chose me. On a soul level, though, I am certain this is what I signed up to do in this lifetime. My responsibility lies in simply acknowledging my "gift" and what comes naturally for me, and embracing the calling to serve as a messenger for Spirit.
It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that the tarot was taken up wholeheartedly by occult and esoteric societies for use in divination. A Swiss clergyman named Antoine Court de Gébelin wrote a treatise called Le Monde Primitif (The Primitive World) which connected the imagery in the Marseilles tarot to the mysteries of Isis and Thoth, thereby forever linking the two. (Aleister Crowley would later take this up in his creation of his own Thoth deck.) De Gébelin made many assertions regarding the connection between the tarot trumps and Egypt; these were later debunked by Egyptologists.
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There are now thousands of types of tarot decks to choose from, Hello Kitty to zombies. A traditional deck has 22 Major Arcana (or trumps) which are the archetypal images. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards, sixteen Court or Personality cards; the Kings, Queens, Princes and Pages, just like modern playing cards. There are four elements or suits: Fire, Earth, Air and Water, with 10 cards in each. There are no inherently negative cards.
Mediumship must under no circumstances to be taken lightly. Years of training and development, personal balancing and tuning are required. You are dealing with other people's emotions after all, it's a big responsibility. A good spiritual medium stands for truth, love and light, with the highest intent to serve. Spiritual mediumship is a selfless act. A good professional medium may require a fee to put food on the table, but mediumship should not be undertaken with excessive profit as the main driver, instead it should be the will to help others, provide healing, understanding, reassurance and comfort.
You need to work with the cards to become familiar with them but none of us can be totally objective as we all have blind spots. Consult with an experienced professional who can be trusted. Modern serious authentic and ethical tarot readers are not “fortune tellers” or mind readers. Real tarot readings become a therapeutic process for gaining valuable insights. A good tarot reading will affirm your own intuition and opens up more questions and options as part of a process, so be discerning when it comes to choosing a reader.
In 1958, the English-born Spiritualist C. Dorreen Phillips wrote of her experiences with a medium at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana: "In Rev. James Laughton's séances there are many Indians. They are very noisy and appear to have great power. [...] The little guides, or doorkeepers, are usually Indian boys and girls [who act] as messengers who help to locate the spirit friends who wish to speak with you."
The Burning Question reading is for times when you have a question that needs to be answered immediately—a burning question, if you will. A card symbolizing the question is placed at the center of the spread with the remaining six cards placed around it, suggesting the shape of a flame as it clings onto an object. Spread created by veteran tarot reader Laura Mead-Desmet.