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.
Psychometry can be used to initiate and strengthen contact with spirit. This is where the energy of a person has been transferred onto a personal possession such as a hat or a pipe for smoking. Holding the object causes the energy signature of the previous owner to be effectively broadcast out into the universe (distance in not a factor in spiritual dimensions), strengthening contact by aligning the energy vibrations.
Mediums are souls in the world who still have their physical bodies, yet they can attune to souls who don’t (and communicate with them). In other words, we tune-in to those who have moved over to the Other-Side. I am the type of Medium who uses her mind to connect mentally with energies on the Other-Side. There are other Mediums who use their bodies to channel spirit.
Just because spirits can come to me doesn’t mean they are in control — I am. I wasn’t so disciplined at the beginning, but then I was more inexperienced and possibly a little naïve. As an example, I do remember one time when I was at a party where no one knew me. I was mingling with the guests when a young man walked in and pushed past me to get a drink.
In the late 19th century the fraudulent methods of spirit photographers such as David Duguid and Edward Wyllie were revealed by psychical researchers. Hereward Carrington documented various methods (with diagrams) how the medium would manipulate the plates before, during, and after the séance to produce spirit forms. The ectoplasm materializations of the French medium Eva Carrière were exposed as fraudulent. The fake ectoplasm of Carrière was made of cut-out paper faces from newspapers and magazines on which fold marks could sometimes be seen from the photographs. Cut out faces that she used included Woodrow Wilson, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, French president Raymond Poincaré and the actress Mona Delza.
The exposures of fraudulent activity led to a rapid decline in ectoplasm and materialization séances. Investigator Joe Nickell has written that modern self-proclaimed mediums like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Rosemary Altea and James Van Praagh are avoiding the Victorian tradition of dark rooms, spirit handwriting and flying tambourines as these methods risk exposure. They instead use "mental mediumship" tactics like cold reading or gleaning information from sitters before hand (hot reading). Group readings also improve hits by making general statements with conviction, which will fit at least one person in the audience. Shows are carefully edited before airing to show only what appears to be hits and removing anything that does not reflect well on the medium.
A series of mediumistic séances known as the Scole Experiment took place between 1993 and 1998 in the presence of the researchers David Fontana, Arthur Ellison and Montague Keen. This has produced photographs, audio recordings and physical objects which appeared in the dark séance room (known as apports). A criticism of the experiment was that it was flawed because it did not rule out the possibility of fraud. The skeptical investigator Brian Dunning wrote the Scole experiments fail in many ways. The séances were held in the basement of two of the mediums, only total darkness was allowed with no night vision apparatus as it might "frighten the spirits away". The box containing the film was not examined and could easily have been accessible to fraud. And finally, even though many years have passed, there has been no follow-up, no further research by any credible agency or published accounts.
The suit of cups rules over all that is associated with emotions, the unconscious, creativity, and intuition. They frequently talk about relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, and one's imagination and inner world. They are associated with the element of water, which becomes a frequent visual theme within this suit. At their worst, the cups suit is fret with uncontrolled feelings, fantasy, and a disconnect with one's inner voice.
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These trump, or triumph, cards were often painted for wealthy families. Members of the nobility would commission artists to create for them their own set of cards, featuring family members and friends as the triumph cards. A number of sets, some of which still exist today, were created for the Visconti family of Milan, which counted several dukes and barons among its numbers.