Graphic designer and artist Bill Wolf, whose interest in tarot illustration dates to his art-school days at Cooper Union in New York, has his own theories about the tarot’s beginning. Wolf, who doesn’t use cards for divination, believes that originally, “the meaning of the imagery was parallel to the mechanics of the play of the game. The random draw of the cards created a new, unique narrative each and every time the game was played, and the decisions players made influenced the unfolding of that narrative.” Imagine a choose-your-own-adventure style card game.
Do your homework when choosing a medium either for teaching or for having a reading performed for yourself. You might want to attend a few readings before deciding to go ahead and practice mediumship yourself. How long have they been practicing? Do they come recommended? Do they belong to an online community where they are rated? Did they have any formal training? There are official organisations and colleges that train mediums if you care to research them, you could study at one yourself! Always thoroughly check and ask for recommendations before joining any group, teacher or organisation.
The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games. A very cursory explanation of rules for a tarot-like deck is given in a manuscript by Martiano da Tortona before 1425. Vague descriptions of game play or game terminology follow for the next two centuries until the earliest known complete description of rules for a French variant in 1637. The game of tarot has many regional variations. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is generally less popular than elsewhere.
Channeling is a growing phenomenon whereby the channeler – often he or she would not describe themselves as psychic – opens a line to another being or group of beings. They have the ability to allow their consciousness to step aside and let their contact speak through them. One of the most well-known is Esther Hicks, who channels a group of entities called Abraham. Esther describes the experience of channeling as "receiving blocks of thought".
"Trance mediumship" is often seen as a form of mental mediumship. Most trance mediums remain conscious during a communication period, wherein a spirit uses the medium's mind to communicate. The spirit or spirits using the medium's mind influences the mind with the thoughts being conveyed. The medium allows the ego to step aside for the message to be delivered. At the same time, one has awareness of the thoughts coming through and may even influence the message with one's own bias. Such a trance is not to be confused with sleepwalking, as the patterns are entirely different. Castillo (1995) states,
Automatic writing is where pen and paper are used by the medium during a meditative or trance-like state. The arm of the medium is taken over, and words are scribbled sometimes quickly, conveying meaning. Artistic spiritual mediums can use spirit drawing. An image of the spirit can be drawn using a clairvoyant impression and artistic skills. The portrait may not always appear identical to how the client remembers them in life, this is because spirits sometimes present themselves how they want to be viewed, perhaps younger in their earthly life.
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.