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". Price had proven through analysis of a sample of ectoplasm produced by Duncan, that it was made of cheesecloth. 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. 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.
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:
Some think this Everest of a novel the greatest ever written. On the surface, it tells a tale of family feuding and parricide, but underneath, it is really a philosophical quest for a spiritual future for humanity and for Russia. Dostoevsky has divided himself into three characters: Dmitry, the passionate and sensual man; Ivan, the brilliant but skeptical intellectual; and Alyosha, the youngest brother, a follower of a Russian holy man. Dostoevsky knows that a novel is only as strong as its villain, so he gives many of the strongest lines to Ivan, who seeks to discredit God on the grounds that even if things work out all right in the future, he cannot forgive God for the suffering of children in the present. The brothers' arguments are really the dialogues of a soul with itself; we can see that the author is risking everything and is not sure where this will all lead. Dostoevsky is arguing with the most powerful of his own doubts, so we find it incredibly moving when, at the end, this author drawn to darkness and violence turns his back on European materialism and cynicism and passionately embraces a spiritual view of life.
In recent years, we've seen the emergence of "celebrity mediums," who are people that have become famous simply for being mediums. This, in turn, has led to some fairly intense scrutiny of those who claim to have mediumship ability. People like the "Long Island Medium," Theresa Caputo and Allison DuBois, who inspired the hit television show Medium, have often been criticized for taking advantage of their clients' grief. Still worse, many are accused of being frauds.
King Saul of Israel sought counsel from a medium called the Witch of Endor. The armies of Israel were about to be attacked by the Philistines. Saul was in rebellion against God and in desperation sought the services of the spiritist. "So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.” (1 Samuel 28:8 NKJV). Saul then asked the medium to conjure up the spirit of the deceased prophet Samuel, to ask his counsel regarding the pending Philistine attack. "And the king said to her, 'Do not be afraid. What did you see?' And the woman said to Saul, 'I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.' So he said to her, 'What is his form?' And she said, 'An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.' And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.'" (1 Samuel 28:13-14. NKJV)
Though historians like Kaplan and Matthews publish new information on divination decks every year, there are still many holes in the larger story of fortune-telling cards. Wolf points out that those who use cards for divination are often at odds with academics researching their past. “There’s a lot of friction between tarot historians and card readers about the origins and purpose of tarot cards,” Wolf says. “The evidence suggests they were invented for gaming and evolved for use in divination at a much later date. Personally, I believe they were designed for game play, but that the design is a bit more sophisticated than many tarot historians seem to believe.”
Find the best level of detail: Your question should be focused but not overly detailed. Rather than looking at one aspect of a problem, find a way to look more broadly at it. For example, rather than asking how you can make your home life less chaotic, ask how you can better balance the family's schedules. That's a focused question. But do not go so far as to ask how you can coordinate baseball, soccer and Cub Scout schedules and still have family time — that's too detailed. Only include the minimum level of detail needed in order to express what you want to learn from the cards.
Read slowly and with attention. "'Nourish your soul,' says St. Augustine, 'with divine lectures.'" To be nourished, he said, one must chew and well and ponder well, and apply the teachings to oneself. "And when what you have read has made a lively impression on you, St. Ephrem counsels you to read it a second time...Besides, when you receive any special light in reading, or any instruction that penetrates the heart, it will be very useful to stop, and to raise the mind to God by making a good resolution, or a good act, or a fervent prayer. St. Bernard says, that it is useful then to interrupt the reading, and to offer a prayer, and to continue to pray as long as the lively impression lasts."
We have the original NewAgeStore tarot interpretations and the extremely popular tarot cards from Aquatic Tarot by the lovely Andres Schroeter, the same cards that have been on NewAgeStore for over a decade. In addition, the lovely and very talented Ciro Marchetti has graciously agreed to allow us to use his divine works of tarot art to add to our readings page. And yes! These cards are available for purchase directly through Ciro’s website
“Quite recently, it was discovered by Mary Greer that there was a prior source to the Lenormand cards,” she continues. “There’s a deck in the British Museum called ‘Les Amusements des Allemands’ (‘The German Entertainment’). Basically, a British firm put together a pack of cards that has images and little epigrams on the bottom, which say things like, ‘Be aware, don’t spend your money unwisely,’ and that sort of thing. It’s quite trite. But it came with a book of text that’s almost identical to the instructions for later packs of Lenormand cards.”
Building on Court de Gébelin’s Egyptian connection, Etteilla claimed that tarot cards originated with the legendary Book of Thoth, which supposedly belonged to the Egyptian god of wisdom. According to Etteilla, the book was engraved by Thoth’s priests into gold plates, providing the imagery for the first tarot deck. Drawing on these theories, Etteilla published his own deck in 1789—one of the first designed explicitly as a divination tool and eventually referred to as the Egyptian tarot.
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.
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.
Contrary to what the uninitiated might think, the meaning of divination cards changes over time, shaped by each era’s culture and the needs of individual users. This is partly why these decks can be so puzzling to outsiders, as most of them reference allegories or events familiar to people many centuries ago. Caitlín Matthews, who teaches courses on cartomancy, or divination with cards, says that before the 18th century, the imagery on these cards was accessible to a much broader population. But in contrast to these historic decks, Matthews finds most modern decks harder to engage with.
Even the earliest known tarot decks weren’t designed with mysticism in mind; they were actually meant for playing a game similar to modern-day bridge. Wealthy families in Italy commissioned expensive, artist-made decks known as “carte da trionfi” or “cards of triumph.” These cards were marked with suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks (eventually changed to staves or wands), and courts consisting of a king and two male underlings. Tarot cards later incorporated queens, trumps (the wild cards unique to tarot), and the Fool to this system, for a complete deck that usually totaled 78 cards. Today, the suit cards are commonly called the Minor Arcana, while trump cards are known as the Major Arcana.
The psychologist and psychical researcher Stanley LeFevre Krebs had exposed the Bangs Sisters as frauds. During a séance he employed a hidden mirror and caught them tampering with a letter in an envelope and writing a reply in it under the table which they would pretend a spirit had written. The British materialization medium Rosina Mary Showers was caught in many fraudulent séances throughout her career. In 1874 during a séance with Edward William Cox a sitter looked into the cabinet and seized the spirit, the headdress fell off and was revealed to be Showers.
The biblical basis is St. Paul's advice "Attend to reading" (1 Tim 4:13) which meant that Timothy his disciple should "apply to the reading of holy books, not in a passing way and for a short time, but regularly and for a considerable time," said St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Catholic Church on Moral theology. St. Bernard of Clairvaux said that "spiritual reading and prayer are the arms by which hell is conquered and paradise won."
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.
Colin Fry was exposed in 1992 when during a séance the lights were unexpectedly turned on and he was seen holding a spirit trumpet in the air, which the audience had been led to believe was being levitated by spiritual energy. In 1997, Massimo Polidoro and Luigi Garlaschelli produced wax-moulds directly from one's hand which were exactly the same copies as Gustav Geley obtained from Franek Kluski, which are kept at the Institute Metapsychique International.
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