Most religions have some belief in the afterlife, some more than others. I do believe that it helps to follow some kind of faith, and through these various teachings and a deeper understanding, it can assist us when it’s our time to cross over. I often use the analogy of the spokes of a wheel, in that each spoke represents a different religion or faith, and although each is independent of the other, ultimately they’re all moving in the same direction.
Spiritists and mediums were common among the pagan peoples of the Bible lands. God warned the children of Israel against becoming involved in these practices just prior to their entry into the Promised Land of Canaan. "When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord." (Deuteronomy 18:9-12 NIV)
The Major Arcana (greater secrets), or trump cards, consists of 22 cards without suits: The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World, and The Fool. Cards from The Magician to The World are numbered in Roman numerals from I to XXI, while The Fool is the only unnumbered card, sometimes placed at the beginning of the deck as 0, or at the end as XXII.
Another important distinction is that while psychic readings often focus on predicting future events, mediums primarily tune into past and present issues. It's my opinion that predicting the future, while sometimes helpful, runs the risk of disempowering people. Always remember that you do have a say in how your future unfolds. Despite what any psychic or medium may "see" in your future, it is important to remember you were given the gift of free will when you came into this world, and at any moment in time you can absolutely redirect your course and create the life you want by changing your thoughts and actions. Psychic information is often just insight into what potentially could happen based on the road you are currently traveling—and it should be used only as a guideline to help you make the best choices for yourself.
Associated with the element of fire, the suit of wands represents passion, inspiration and willpower. The wands imbue their users with primal energy, for it is through them that the cycle of creation can begin. Because of their ability to bring energy into any situation, they are also associated with action, ambition and making plans. At their worst, they can refer to situations that are filled with recklessness and lack of direction. As you follow the journey within the wands, you'll come across these themes again and again.
The ancestors of what we today know as Tarot cards can be traced back to around the late fourteenth century. Artists in Europe created the first playing cards, which were used for games, and featured four different suits. These suits were similar to what we still use today – staves or wands, discs or coins, cups, and swords. After a decade or two of using these, in the mid-1400s, Italian artists began painting additional cards, heavily illustrated, to add into the existing suits.
When you ask the Tarot cards a question on behalf of someone else (who has given permission for the reading and whose energy is invested in the reading), you are tapping into this collective wisdom. You are picking up all sorts of intuitive messages through the Tarot cards and through your connection with the collective wisdom. And those insights are channeled through you to the person you’re reading for, often in a very powerful way.
Matthews has authored several books on divinatory cards, and her latest is The Complete Lenormand Oracle Cards Handbook. This 36-card deck was named after the celebrity card-reader Mademoiselle Marie Anne Lenormand, who was popular around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, though the decks bearing her name weren’t actually produced until after her death. The oldest packs in Matthews’ collection are two Lenormand-style decks, the French Daveluy of the 1860s and the Viennese Zauberkarten deck from 1864, which were some of the first decks to be illustrated using the technique of chromolithography.
No, it really doesn’t work like that. Just like us, spirits have free will — mediums don’t have power over them. Most of the time, you’ll hear from the ones you’re hoping will come through with a message for you, but it’s rare that a medium will guarantee who’s going to come through. I’ve done many a reading with people who want to connect with a specific person, but end up hearing from someone they never expected. It isn’t a case of 1-800-Dial-the-Dead! Just such a situation happened recently when I sat with a client named Vivian who had great trouble walking, so I agreed to go to her home.
The séance trick of the Eddy Brothers was revealed by the magician Chung Ling Soo in 1898. The brothers utilized a fake hand made of lead, and with their hands free from control would play musical instruments and move objects in the séance room. The physiologist Ivor Lloyd Tuckett examined a case of spirit photography that W. T. Stead had claimed was genuine. Stead visited a photographer who had produced a photograph of him with deceased soldier known as "Piet Botha". Stead claimed that the photographer could not have come across any information about Piet Botha, however, Tuckett discovered that an article in 1899 had been published on Pietrus Botha in a weekly magazine with a portrait and personal details.
For the less experienced mediums, exactly the opposite was observed--increased levels of activity in the same frontal areas during psychography compared to normal writing, and the difference was significant compared to the experienced mediums. What this probably means is that the less experienced mediums were trying really hard. The force is not yet strong with them.
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.
"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,
Each time I link with spirits, they usually appear to be exactly the same as when they were here. People seem to think that those who pass somehow turn into these exalted beings, yet they have the same personality and quirks on the Other-Side as they did before. They’re still upbeat, humorous, strict, or relaxed over there. However, I do believe that spirits progress over time, raise themselves to a higher level, and evolve.
According to James Randi, a skeptic who has debunked many claims of psychic ability and uncovered fraudulent practices, mediums who do cold readings "fish, suggest possibilities, make educated guesses and give options." Randi has a standing offer of $1 million US dollars for anyone who can demonstrate psychic ability under controlled conditions. Most prominent psychics and mediums have not taken up his offer.
A reading can help you say those last words to your loved one that you never got to say. A reading can give you insight into the path that lies ahead of you and help you open your eyes to see the endless possibilities that are at your feet. A reading can help you find peace in your heart on a mind, body, and soul level and guide you through certain issues in your life. It can help you understand your life purpose and why certain patterns keep repeating themselves. A reading can help your relationships by clearing the lines of communication and bringing you to an understanding from a point of view that you may have never seen before. And finally, a reading can give you answers you have always longed to find out such as your life purpose and why certain events happened in your life.
Some scientists of the period who investigated spiritualism also became converts. They included chemist Robert Hare, physicist William Crookes (1832–1919) and evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913). Nobel laureate Pierre Curie took a very serious scientific interest in the work of medium Eusapia Palladino. Other prominent adherents included journalist and pacifist William T. Stead (1849–1912) and physician and author Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930).