Because the earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, the number of the decks produced is thought to have been small. It was only after the invention of the printing press that mass production of cards became possible. The expansion of tarot outside of Italy, first to France and Switzerland, occurred during the Italian Wars. The most important tarot pattern used in these two countries was the Tarot of Marseilles of Milanese origin.
The trance medium Leonora Piper was investigated by psychical researchers and psychologists in the late 19th and early 20th century. In an experiment to test if Piper's "spirit" controls were purely fictitious the psychologist G. Stanley Hall invented a niece called Bessie Beals and asked Piper's 'control' to get in touch with it. Bessie appeared, answered questions and accepted Hall as her uncle. The psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that Piper pretended to be controlled by spirits and fell into simple and logical traps from her comments. Science writer Martin Gardner concluded Piper was a cold reader that would "fish" for information from her séance sitters. The physiologist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett who examined Piper's mediumship in detail wrote it could be explained by "muscle-reading, fishing, guessing, hints obtained in the sitting, knowledge surreptitiously obtained, knowledge acquired in the interval between sittings and lastly, facts already within Mrs. Piper's knowledge."
Many souls have written or called me to ask, is an email reading effective? Is it as effective as say a phone or in person reading? What about healings, can they work via email or phone as well? As I have explained to many souls, an email reading is what we would call here on this earth dimension as just as effective and in some cases more so than the phone or a soul to soul physical presence reading. This is simply because in a phone reading or in-person reading, most of what is said we hear but we may be free from remembering every word spoken so that it resonates within us. While it is the energy of the reading rather than the words themselves that provide us with the shift within the soul, there are moments when we forget what is said and there are moments we come infinitely back to a Spiritual Medium or search for another reader to gift us what it is we have forgotten.
When you become a communications tool for spirit entities to convey meaning to their loved ones on the earthly plane, you are reaffirming to your client that these bonds of love and friendship go on and are everlasting. It's an amazing service to provide for someone. It is however, not like getting in touch with your own spirit guides and loved ones passed-over, because you are tuning in to the vibrations of strangers. Practice is required.
However, using cards for playful divination probably goes back even further, to the 14th century, likely originating with Mamluk game cards brought to Western Europe from Turkey. By the 1500s, the Italian aristocracy was enjoying a game known as “tarocchi appropriati,” in which players were dealt random cards and used thematic associations with these cards to write poetic verses about one another—somewhat like the popular childhood game “MASH.” These predictive cards were referred to as “sortes,” meaning destinies or lots.
Let’s say you want to find a new romantic relationship. Instead of pulling a card to predict whether Prince Charming is just around the corner and either being blissfully excited or bitterly disappointed, you consult the cards to discover how you can attract love (and keep it!). You draw the Ten of Cups, and upon seeing the happy family dancing under the rainbow in the card, you are reminded that to attract love, you need to set a clear vision of what it is you want to attract.
These employees, hired by psychic service companies who know they have no paranormal skills, usually fumble through a telephone session by asking the client numerous questions and providing generic answers to the client’s questions. Some callers get disgusted and hang up after several minutes, after paying a tidy per-minute sum to enrich the company.
In old-line Spiritualism, a portion of the services, generally toward the end, is given over to demonstrations of mediumship through contact with the spirits of the dead. A typical example of this way of describing a mediumistic church service is found in the 1958 autobiography of C. Dorreen Phillips. She writes of the worship services at the Spiritualist Camp Chesterfield in Chesterfield, Indiana: "Services are held each afternoon, consisting of hymns, a lecture on philosophy, and demonstrations of mediumship."
The oldest surviving tarot cards are the 15 or so Visconti-Sforza tarot decks painted in the mid-15th century for the rulers of the Duchy of Milan. A lost tarot-like pack was commissioned by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti and described by Martiano da Tortona probably between 1418 and 1425, since the painter he mentions, Michelino da Besozzo, returned to Milan in 1418, while Martiano himself died in 1425. He described a 60-card deck with 16 cards having images of the Greek gods and suits depicting four kinds of birds. The 16 cards were regarded as "trumps" since in 1449 Jacopo Antonio Marcello recalled that the now deceased duke had invented a novum quoddam et exquisitum triumphorum genus, or "a new and exquisite kind of triumphs". Other early decks that also showcased classical motifs include the Sola-Busca and Boiardo-Viti decks of the 1490s.
The Empress. The Hanged Man. The Chariot. Judgment. With their centuries-old iconography blending a mix of ancient symbols, religious allegories, and historic events, tarot cards can seem purposefully opaque. To outsiders and skeptics, occult practices like card reading have little relevance in our modern world. But a closer look at these miniature masterpieces reveals that the power of these cards isn’t endowed from some mystical source—it comes from the ability of their small, static images to illuminate our most complex dilemmas and desires.
At Waite's suggestion, Smith used the Sola Busca artwork for inspiration, and there are many similarities in the symbolism between Sola Busca and Smith's final result. Smith was the first artist to use characters as representative images in the lower cards. Instead of showing merely a cluster of cups, coins, wands or swords, Smith incorporated human figures into the artwork, and the result is the iconic deck that every reader knows today.