The Danish medium Einer Nielsen was investigated by a committee from the Kristiania University in Norway, 1922 and discovered in a séance that his ectoplasm was fake. In 1923 the Polish medium Jan Guzyk was exposed as a fraud in a series of séances in Sorbonne in Paris. Guzyk would use his elbows and legs to move objects around the room and touch the sitters. According to Max Dessoir the trick of Guzyk was to use his "foot for psychic touches and sounds".
Michael Shermer criticized mediums in Scientific American, saying, "mediums are unethical and dangerous: they prey on the emotions of the grieving. As grief counselors know, death is best faced head-on as a part of life." Shermer wrote that the human urge to seek connections between events that may form patterns meaningful for survival is a function of natural evolution, and called the alleged ability of mediums to talk to the dead "a well-known illusion of a meaningful pattern."
A fake medium is likely to consider money first and foremost. Because a mediumistic reading is un-provable it's hard to get your money back. You know when something is wrong when nothing makes sense or the medium asks many probing questions. Remember however that even the best mediums have off days, but primarily things should make sense. Some pieces of information don't make sense for days, sometimes weeks after the reading. Realization comes though a family member or finding an old photograph or letter. A medium can never make promises about which spirits with come through or on what information they can gather from spirit. Contact doesn't work that way, and you tend to get what you're given!
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.”
And here’s the thing – you may already consciously know the message or insight you receive in a Tarot reading, in which case, the reading can be a heartening confirmation of what you already know. Or, you might be completely unaware of the message until you see it reflected in the cards, in which case you are now empowered to take action based on your new awareness.
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.
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.
By comparing various decks from different time periods, tarot-card enthusiasts can identify the evolution of certain illustrations. “For example,” says Matthews, “the modern version of the hermit with the lantern, you’ll find that that was an hourglass and he was Saturn or Chronos, the keeper of time. You can see how that translates with the Tarot Bolognese meaning of delay or blockage. It was about time moving slowly, though that’s not used as a modern meaning much now.”
As the thirst for all things mystical, spiritual, occult and witchy expands into the mainstream, tarot cards are experiencing a huge, almost cultish following. Tarot cards are a form of divination, which literally means working with the divine, or your higher self, which is the ultimate purpose of tarot cards, just like yoga. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about them, from types of decks to what each card represents.
Physical mediumship is defined as manipulation of energies and energy systems by spirits. This type of mediumship is claimed to involve perceptible manifestations, such as loud raps and noises, voices, materialized objects, apports, materialized spirit bodies, or body parts such as hands, legs and feet. The medium is used as a source of power for such spirit manifestations. By some accounts, this was achieved by using the energy or ectoplasm released by a medium, see spirit photography. The last physical medium to be tested by a committee from Scientific American was Mina Crandon in 1924.
Many 19th century mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud. While advocates of mediumship claim that their experiences are genuine, the Encyclopædia Britannica article on spiritualism notes in reference to a case in the 19th century that "...one by one, the Spiritualist mediums were discovered to be engaged in fraud, sometimes employing the techniques of stage magicians in their attempts to convince people of their clairvoyant powers." The article also notes that "the exposure of widespread fraud within the spiritualist movement severely damaged its reputation and pushed it to the fringes of society in the United States."
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.
There are many varieties of Tarot decks, and there is no standard number of cards across all decks. While the types of cards, the suits and their meanings are the same, the illustrations vary greatly. Decks are based on various themes such as nature, animals, fantasy, dragons, etc. The most common deck in the United States is the Rider-Waite deck, which was created in 1909 by A.E. Waite, a prominent member of the aforementioned occult group The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and published by Rider & Company. The artist was Pamela Colman Smith. This 78-card deck was the only readily available deck in the United States for many years, which is why some consider it the "definitive" tarot deck in the U.S.
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.
Open readings address the larger aspects of your life rather than a specific problem area or question. They're usually done when you're entering a new phase of life, such as getting married, graduating from college or starting a family. You can somewhat direct the reading if you have a general area you want to cover, such as your career or health, but that's as specific as the direction gets.
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.
Psychologists and researchers who studied Pearl Curran's automatic writings in the 1930s came to the conclusion Patience Worth was a fictitious creation of Curran. In 1931 George Valiantine was exposed as a fraud in the séance room as it was discovered that he produced fraudulent "spirit" fingerprints in wax. The "spirit" thumbprint that Valiantine claimed belonged to Arthur Conan Doyle was revealed to be the print of his big toe on his right foot. It was also revealed that Valiantine made some of the prints with his elbow.
This free six-step study guide will help you learn the basics of Tarot reading, and give you a good start on your way to becoming an accomplished reader. Work at your own pace! Every lesson includes a Tarot exercise for you to work on before moving ahead. If you've ever thought you might like to learn the Tarot but didn't know how to get started, this study guide is designed for you!
Present - The next card, the middle card, represents your present state of being. This card helps you gain perspective on where you are right at this moment, what you are up against and what you have to work with. It may reveal things you are reluctant to acknowledge. For example, you may learn that your current efforts are in vain or that someone you trusted is shifty. On the other hand, you will also learn where your powers lay which you can nourish and grow into the future.