One frequent obstacle with spiritual reading is the question of where to start.  There are so many writings of saints, magisterial documents, and enough devotional books and pamphlets to fill a library.  Choosing what kind of books to read should have a multi-pronged approach, depending on each individual.  I think a great way to organize it is an adaptation of St. John Paul II’s recommendations in Pastores Dabo Vobis.  The encyclical was on the training of priests, and he called attention to four basic areas of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. Even though most of us aren’t ordained priests, we can still apply this to our spiritual reading habits.  Good spiritual reads will ideally aid us in all four of those elements—or at least focus on one or two. 
Speaking of readings, the first thing to know is that there actually are two different types of Tarot readings: question readings and open readings. In question readings, you are addressing a specific question. Tarot is not intended to answer specific yes or no questions. Most say it also shouldn't be used to make decisions, but instead should be used as a guide to help you make the decision yourself. For this reason, the way a question is stated is very important. Tarot reader and teacher Joan Bunning gives this advice:
From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery.[52] Séances take place in darkness so the poor lighting conditions can become an easy opportunity for fraud. Physical mediumship that has been investigated by scientists has been discovered to be the result of deception and trickery.[53] Ectoplasm, a supposed paranormal substance, was revealed to have been made from cheesecloth, butter, muslin, and cloth. Mediums would also stick cut-out faces from magazines and newspapers onto cloth or on other props and use plastic dolls in their séances to pretend to their audiences spirits were contacting them.[54] Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote:
Matthews’ favorite decks are those with straightforward illustrations, like the Tarocchino Bolognese by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, an Italian deck created sometime around the 1660s. Matthews owns a facsimile of the Mitelli deck, rather than an original, which means she can use them without fear of damaging a priceless antique. “The deck that I enjoy most is the Mertz Lenormand deck because of its clarity,” she says. “The background on each card is a creamy, vellum color, so when you lay them out in tableau, you can see the illustrations very clearly. I frankly get so tired of all the new Photoshopped tarots and the slick art, with their complete lack of any framework or substance.
The word tarot is derived from the Italian word tarocchi, which has no known etymology. There are many theories regarding its origin. It may be derived from the name of an Italian river, the Taro. Or perhaps it is of Arabic origin, as playing cards originated in the Middle East, becoming common in Europe by the year 1377 C.E. 18th century occultists claimed the name Tarot came from the conjunction of two Egyptian words meaning “royal road,” which indicated that the tarot was the path to wisdom.
Channeling is a method of trying to communicate with the spirit world that has existed since antiquity. Most modern channelers learn the art through the practice of Eastern meditation. This mildly altered state of consciousness enables the channeler to psychically perceive spirit messages. These manifest themselves as a “thought voice,” which is perceived in the stillness of the medium’s mind. Experienced mediums can enter into a trance state whereby the spirit entity takes direct control over the medium's voice, speaking through it in an accent quite distinct from the medium's normal mode of speech.
A simple question, yet with such an important answer! Well, my belief is that it isn’t above us or below us — it’s actually all around us. I was taught to believe that everything is made up of energy and vibrations. The vibrations of this physical world where we exist in human form are slow and dense, whereas the Spirit World vibrates at a much higher rate.
Now, over a hundred years since the release of the Rider-Waite deck, Tarot cards are available in a practically endless selection of designs. In general, many of these follow the format and style of Rider-Waite, although each adapts the cards to suit their own motif. No longer just the domain of the wealthy and upper class, Tarot is available for anyone who wishes to take the time to learn it.
In the 1930s Harry Price (director of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research) had investigated the medium Helen Duncan and had her perform a number of test séances. She was suspected of swallowing cheesecloth which was then regurgitated as "ectoplasm".[148] Price had proven through analysis of a sample of ectoplasm produced by Duncan, that it was made of cheesecloth.[149] Helen Duncan would also use a doll made of a painted papier-mâché mask draped in an old sheet which she pretended to her sitters was a spirit.[150] The photographs taken by Thomas Glendenning Hamilton in the 1930s of ectoplasm reveal the substance to be made of tissue paper and magazine cut-outs of people. The famous photograph taken by Hamilton of the medium Mary Ann Marshall depicts tissue paper with a cut out of Arthur Conan Doyle's head from a newspaper. Skeptics have suspected that Hamilton may have been behind the hoax.[151]

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.
That’s why it’s invisible to the human eye. It’s because it’s vibrating at such a high frequency that we’re unable to see it. Just like a dog whistle, we can’t hear it due to the high pitch, yet a dog can. There’s a thin layer between this world and the next (which I refer to either as “the Other-Side” or “the Spirit World”), and the only thing that separates us is the frequency of the vibrations.
The pentacles is the suit of all things worldly and material. Though we will immediately think of the pentacles as relating to financial matters, we also can understand them as being associated with security, stability, nature, health, and prosperity. The pentacles are of earth element. When we see pentacles show up in a reading, they are usually concerned with your long term future, career, generosity, your household, business investments and your feelings of sensuality. The negative side of the pentacles show up as greed, jealousy, miserliness, and unbridled ambition at the cost of all else.
Well, here is where things might be a little more “out there” and magical. You see, we are all connected to a collective, universal wisdom and our inner wisdom. And when we read the Tarot cards—and connect with our intuition—we can tap into this universal wisdom. It’s a little like connecting in with the collective mind, not just the individual mind. 
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.
Oracle decks like the Lenormand tend to rely on more direct visual language than traditional tarot cards. “The tarot can often speak in broad, timeless, universal statements about our place in the world,” says Wolf. “The imagery of fortune-telling decks is more illustrational and less archetypal. The images are generally more specific, simpler, and less universal, keeping the conversation more straightforward.”
I have been fortunate enough to work with trance mediums, one especially gifted one, in a therapeutic context for several years now. I personally feel we truly know next to nothing about the mechanisms behind trance channeling and mediumship. Like Edison said, "We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything." I do think it's far more likely to be an integrative both/and rather than either/or pheonomenon with respect to subconscious production vs spirit speakers (to say nothing of tapping the collective unconscious) and that's about all I feel reasonably sure of. Quantum (Unified Field)theories/New Paradigm Science and the like holds promise as far as cracking the code on the the entire spectrum of super-normal phenomena. The study here sounds rudimentary. I would suggest interested readers see the research being done at Windbridge Institue, the Rhine Research Center, and IONS.
Jump up ^ "Spiritism is not a religion but a science", as the famous French astronomer Camille Flammarion said in Allan Kardec's Eulogy on April 2, 1869, in Death and Its Mystery – After Death. Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dead; The Soul After Death Translated by Latrobe Carroll (London: Adelphi Terrace, 1923), archive version at Allan Kardec eulogy
The Major Arcana is a 22 card set within the tarot that is considered to be the core and the foundation for the deck. All of the deck is filled with archetypal significance, but this is most pronounced within the Major Arcana. These cards follow a storyline that tells of the spiritual travels taken from the innocent wonder of The Fool to the oneness and fulfillment of The World. In other words, these cards tell the story of humanity's spiritual evolution into enlightenment and individuation.
Jump up ^ Brian Righi. (2008). Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists: An Exploration of the Supernatural through History. Llewellyn Publications. Llewellyn Publications. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7387-1363-2 "One medium of the 1920s, Mina Crandon, became famous for producing ectoplasm during her sittings. At the height of the séance, she was even able to produce a tiny ectoplasmic hand from her navel, which waved about in the darkness. Her career ended when Harvard biologists were able to examine the tiny hand and found it to be nothing more than a carved piece of animal liver."
The Major Arcana is a 22 card set within the tarot that is considered to be the core and the foundation for the deck. All of the deck is filled with archetypal significance, but this is most pronounced within the Major Arcana. These cards follow a storyline that tells of the spiritual travels taken from the innocent wonder of The Fool to the oneness and fulfillment of The World. In other words, these cards tell the story of humanity's spiritual evolution into enlightenment and individuation.
On 4 February 1922, Harry Price with James Seymour, Eric Dingwall and William S. Marriott had proven the spirit photographer William Hope was a fraud during tests at the British College of Psychic Science. Price wrote in his SPR report "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes."[128] The medium Kathleen Goligher was investigated by the physicist Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe. On July 22, 1921 in a séance he observed Goligher holding the table up with her foot. He also discovered that her ectoplasm was made of muslin. During a séance d'Albe observed white muslin between Goligher's feet.[129]
This powerful novella is a classic of both existentialist and spiritual literature. One day Ivan Ilyich (the Russian name for "John Doe"), a moderately successful lawyer and minor judge, learns that due to a small injury, he is quickly dying. He has never thought about this possibility, and it tears away all the structure of his life and the values and assumptions which have supported him. This is why the existentialists revere this novel: It shows man stripped of all certainties, helpless and alone in a world he can't know. But Tolstoy doesn't stop there. He knows that this forlorn state is exactly the precondition for seeing deeply, and he shows how Ivan Ilyich, through the devotion and faith of his peasant servant, finds his way to a renewed faith in his fellow people, and to a vision in which death is superseded by spiritual awakening. Because Tolstoy has presented the shock of Ivan's sudden despair so vividly, we find Ivan's victory over his despair all the more heartfelt and moving.
In 1918, Joseph Jastrow wrote about the tricks of Eusapia Palladino who was an expert at freeing her hands and feet from the control in the séance room.[118] In the séance room Palladino would move curtains from a distance by releasing a jet of air from a rubber bulb that she had in her hand.[119] According to the psychical researcher Harry Price "Her tricks were usually childish: long hairs attached to small objects in order to produce 'telekinetic movements'; the gradual substitution of one hand for two when being controlled by sitters; the production of 'phenomena' with a foot which had been surreptitiously removed from its shoe and so on."[120]

Mediumship became quite popular in the 19th-century United States and the United Kingdom after the rise of Spiritualism as a religious movement. Modern Spiritualism is said to date from practices and lectures of the Fox sisters in New York State in 1848. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid-19th century. Allan Kardec coined the term Spiritism around 1860.[12] Kardec claimed that conversations with spirits by selected mediums were the basis of his The Spirits' Book and later, his five-book collection, Spiritist Codification.
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