I think fiction novels from a Catholic author or with a Catholic subject have their place here. Although Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory tells the story of a whiskey priest in 1930s Mexico, the story is really about sin, grace, and redemption. G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown Mysteries feature a clever priest-sleuth and a spiritual lesson in every story. And, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a masterful epic with Catholic symbolism at every turn. Willa Cather wrote quite a few books; among them, Shadows on the Rock and Death Comes for the Archbishop have strong Catholic influences and characters. Louis de Wohl’s historical fiction novels breathe life into heroic saints.
If the words "spiritual medium" call to mind cheap velvet cushions and crystal balls, you're in good company. But a session with Gabriel feels like an amazing conversation with a therapist you've seen for years; she's down-to-earth, astute and totally professional. She gives in-person readings for larger groups and individual readings over the phone. View Profile »
The Minor Arcana (lesser secrets) consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits of 14 cards each; ten numbered cards and four court cards. The court cards are the King, Queen, Knight and Page/Jack, in each of the four tarot suits. The traditional Italian tarot suits are swords, batons, coins and cups; in modern occult tarot decks, however, the batons suit is often called wands, rods or staves, while the coins suit is often called pentacles or disks.
It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that the tarot was taken up wholeheartedly by occult and esoteric societies for use in divination. A Swiss clergyman named Antoine Court de Gébelin wrote a treatise called Le Monde Primitif (The Primitive World) which connected the imagery in the Marseilles tarot to the mysteries of Isis and Thoth, thereby forever linking the two. (Aleister Crowley would later take this up in his creation of his own Thoth deck.) De Gébelin made many assertions regarding the connection between the tarot trumps and Egypt; these were later debunked by Egyptologists.
The British journalist Ruth Brandon published the book The Spiritualists (1983) which exposed the fraud of the Victorian mediums. The book received positive reviews and has been influential to skeptics of spiritualism. The British apport medium Paul McElhoney was exposed as a fraud during a séance in Osset, Yorkshire in 1983. The tape recorder that McElhoney took to his séances was investigated and a black tape was discovered bound around the battery compartment and inside carnation flowers were found as well as a key-ring torch and other objects.
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.
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While the tarot is the most widely known, it’s just one type of deck used for divination; others include common playing cards and so-called oracle decks, a term encompassing all the other fortune-telling decks distinct from the traditional tarot. Etteilla eventually switched to using a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s premise echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations. Though hieroglyphics had not yet been deciphered (the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799), many European intellectuals in the late 18th century believed the religion and writings of ancient Egypt held major insights into human existence. By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility.
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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. 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. 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."
In contrast, the meanings in other decks are particularly difficult to decipher, like the infamous Thoth tarot developed by Aleister Crowley, notorious for his involvement with various cults and experimentation with recreational drugs and so-called “sex magick.” Completed in 1943, the Thoth deck was illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris and incorporated a range of occult and scientific symbols, inspiring many modern decks. As Wolf explains, “with the rise of the divination market in the 20th century, more liberties were taken, and the imagery evolved into increasingly personal artistic statements, both in content and style of execution.”
In 1936, the psychical researcher Nandor Fodor tested the Hungarian apport medium Lajos Pap in London and during the séance a dead snake appeared. Pap was searched and was found to be wearing a device under his robe, where he had hidden the snake. A photograph taken at a séance in 1937 in London shows the medium Colin Evans "levitating" in mid air. He claimed that spirits had lifted him. Evans was later discovered to be a fraud as a cord leading from a device in his hand has indicated that it was himself who triggered the flash-photograph and that all he had done was jump from his chair into the air and pretend he had levitated.
Every spiritual lesson we meet in our lives can be found in the seventy-eight Tarot cards. And when we consult the Tarot, we’ll get shown the exact lessons we need to learn and master to live an inspired life. It’s like holding up a mirror to yourself so that you can access your subconscious mind. Tarot allows us to tap into the wisdom and answers that live in us all.
Additional Tarot Definitions are still available. For those of you who have studied tarot yourself or are simply after further detailed analysis of each card. The wonderful soul Avia Venefica from Tarot Teachings has graciously donated her interpretations. All brought to life by the exquisite tarot cards provided by Aquatic Tarot and Ciro Marchetti
In 1991, Wendy Grossman in the New Scientist criticized the parapsychologist Stephen E. Braude for ignoring evidence of fraud in mediumship. According to Grossman "[Braude] accuses sceptics of ignoring the evidence he believes is solid, but himself ignores evidence that does not suit him. If a medium was caught cheating on some occasions, he says, the rest of that medium's phenomena were still genuine." Grossman came to the conclusion that Braude did not do proper research on the subject and should study "the art of conjuring."
The word tarot and German Tarock derive from the Italian tarocchi, the origin of which is uncertain but taroch was used as a synonym for foolishness in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The decks were known exclusively as trionfi during the fifteenth century. The new name first appeared in Brescia around 1502 as tarocho. During the 16th century, a new game played with a standard deck but sharing a very similar name (trionfa) was quickly becoming popular. This coincided with the older game being renamed tarocchi. In modern Italian, the singular term is tarocco, which, as a noun, means a type of blood orange, and, as an adjective, means 'fake, counterfeit'.
Four, some psychic mediums get feelings or sensations in their body and mind, both physical and emotional. A spirit can make the psychic medium feel sad if they are trying to convey the message of depression. Or they can make the psychic medium’s lungs feel tight if they are trying to convey the message that someone had pneumonia or lung cancer. It is not uncommon that a psychic medium will feel a painful sensation in the head if the spirit is trying to relay the message that there was a head trauma that caused death. This could be due to an auto accident or suicide (or any number of causes), so the spirit will also send another message—perhaps a telepathic picture of a smashed car—to complete the story for the psychic medium.
“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.”
Between 8 November and 31 December 1920 Gustav Geley of the Institute Metapsychique International attended fourteen séances with the medium Franek Kluski in Paris. A bowl of hot paraffin was placed in the room and according to Kluski spirits dipped their limbs into the paraffin and then into a bath of water to materialize. Three other series of séances were held in Warsaw in Kluski's own apartment, these took place over a period of three years. Kluski was not searched in any of the séances. Photographs of the molds were obtained during the four series of experiments and were published by Geley in 1924. Harry Houdini replicated the Kluski materialization moulds by using his hands and a bowl of hot paraffin.
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.
Other good starting points in studying the intellectual side of the faith are Frank Sheed’s Theology for Beginners and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism is probably thought of more as a reference book, and it certainly is useful for that—but it also contains a tremendous amount of spiritual wisdom. In pondering the mysteries of our faith, we can better make connections between what the Church teaches and why the Church teaches it.
Magicians have a long history of exposing the fraudulent methods of mediumship. Early debunkers included Chung Ling Soo, Henry Evans and Julien Proskauer. Later magicians to reveal fraud were Joseph Dunninger, Harry Houdini and Joseph Rinn. Rose Mackenberg, a private investigator who worked with Houdini during the 1920s, was among the most prominent debunkers of psychic fraud during the mid-20th century.
Illusionists, such as Joseph Rinn have staged 'fake' séances in which the sitters have claimed to have observed genuine supernatural phenomena. Albert Moll studied the psychology of séance sitters. According to (Wolffram, 2012) "[Moll] argued that the hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters' social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena." The psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones in their book Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking (1989) wrote that spirits controls are the "products of the medium's own psychological dynamics."