“The imagery was designed to reflect important aspects of the real world that the players lived in, and the prominent Christian symbolism in the cards is an obvious reflection of the Christian world in which they lived,” he adds. As divinatory usage became more popular, illustrations evolved to reflect a specific designer’s intention. “The subjects took on more and more esoteric meaning,” says Wolf, “but they generally maintained the traditional tarot structure of four suits of pip cards [similar to the numbered cards in a normal playing-card deck], corresponding court cards, and the additional trump cards, with a Fool.”
In a series of experiments in London at the house of William Crookes in February 1875, the medium Anna Eva Fay managed to fool Crookes into believing she had genuine psychic powers. Fay later confessed to her fraud and revealed the tricks she had used. Frank Herne a British medium who formed a partnership with the medium Charles Williams was repeatedly exposed in fraudulent materialization séances. In 1875, he was caught pretending to be a spirit during a séance in Liverpool and was found "clothed in about two yards of stiffened muslin, wound round his head and hanging down as far as his thigh." Florence Cook had been "trained in the arts of the séance" by Herne and was repeatedly exposed as a fraudulent medium.
Ten mediums—five less expert and five experienced—were injected with a radioactive tracer to capture their brain activity during normal writing and during the practice of psychography, which involves allegedly channeling written communication from the "other side" while in a trance-like state. The subjects were scanned using SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) to highlight the areas of the brain that are active and inactive during the practice.
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.
All of Kerouac's work constitutes a dialogue between his Buddhist and Hindu learning and the residues of his Catholic upbringing. This autobiographical novel, his most joyous and optimistic work, centers on his meeting and friendship with Gary Snyder (here called "Japhy Ryder"), the American poet and student of Chinese and Japanese culture and Zen Buddhism. Kerouac, the child of immigrants and raised in a Massachusetts mill town, is guided by Gary Snyder, Oregon mountain man and anthropologist, in treks up mountains toward "heaven," and in his first steps toward an ecological view and a path of personal independence. Kerouac, in turn, becomes our guide to the spiritual possibilities inherent in the grandeur and beauty of the great American Northwest. As Kerouac and Snyder trade Buddhist one-liners and bring Eastern thought into contact with native American influences like Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir, we realize we are witnessing a rebirth of American transcendentalism. The book is filled with a youthful energy and idealism that makes you wish you were there with them during a time when anything seemed possible for young Americans and for the American novel. See also5 Must-Read Summer Books
Jesus himself on several occasions was confronted with people controlled by demon spirits, yet still recognized the authority of Jesus. In one instance in Capernaum, "there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him." (Mark 1:23-26, ESV). Just because a spirit can tell the truth, doesn't mean it is a good spirit.
The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games. A very cursory explanation of rules for a tarot-like deck is given in a manuscript by Martiano da Tortona before 1425. Vague descriptions of game play or game terminology follow for the next two centuries until the earliest known complete description of rules for a French variant in 1637. The game of tarot has many regional variations. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is generally less popular than elsewhere.
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.
However, using cards for playful divination probably goes back even further, to the 14th century, likely originating with Mamluk game cards brought to Western Europe from Turkey. By the 1500s, the Italian aristocracy was enjoying a game known as “tarocchi appropriati,” in which players were dealt random cards and used thematic associations with these cards to write poetic verses about one another—somewhat like the popular childhood game “MASH.” These predictive cards were referred to as “sortes,” meaning destinies or lots.
On Fox News on the Geraldo at Large show, October 6, 2007, Geraldo Rivera and other investigators accused Schwartz as a fraud as he had overstepped his position as a university researcher by requesting over three million dollars from a bereaved father who had lost his son. Schwartz claimed to have contacted the spirit of a 25-year-old man in the bathroom of his parents house and it is alleged he attempted to charge the family 3.5 million dollars for his mediumship services. Schwartz responded saying that the allegations were set up to destroy his science credibility.
The researchers speculate that maybe as frontal lobe activity decreases, "the areas of the brain that support mediumistic writing are further disinhibited (similar to alcohol or drug use) so that the overall complexity can increase." In a similar manner, they say, improvisational music performance is associated with lower levels of frontal lobe activity which allows for more creative activity.
Saint after saint has pointed out the positives of spiritual reading. Reading features rather prominently in the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict. Sundays are to be devoted to reading and meals are to be held in silence, with one of the monks reading to the community. St. Alphonsus Ligouri noted that “we cannot always have access to a spiritual Father for counsel in our actions, and particularly in our doubts; but reading will abundantly supply his place by giving us lights and directions to escape the illusions of the devil and of our own self-love, and at the same time to submit to the divine will.” Many spiritual masters urged reading the lives of the saints for encouragement and models of holiness. Padre Pio recommended spiritual reading in general, but particularly for difficult times in our lives:
In that vein, studying apologetics is a good way to learn more about the faith—as long as the focus remains on learning why the Church believes what she does, instead of bludgeoning others with the truth. Scott Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home tells the conversion story of him and his wife, Kimberly, from Protestantism to Catholicism. Just on its own, it’s a lesson in apologetics.
Automatic writing is where pen and paper are used by the medium during a meditative or trance-like state. The arm of the medium is taken over, and words are scribbled sometimes quickly, conveying meaning. Artistic spiritual mediums can use spirit drawing. An image of the spirit can be drawn using a clairvoyant impression and artistic skills. The portrait may not always appear identical to how the client remembers them in life, this is because spirits sometimes present themselves how they want to be viewed, perhaps younger in their earthly life.
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.
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.
Now, over a hundred years since the release of the Rider-Waite deck, Tarot cards are available in a practically endless selection of designs. In general, many of these follow the format and style of Rider-Waite, although each adapts the cards to suit their own motif. No longer just the domain of the wealthy and upper class, Tarot is available for anyone who wishes to take the time to learn it.
The swords is the suit of intelligence, logic, truth, ambition, conflict and communication. It is associated with the element of air. In readings, these cards focus on the faculty and power of intellect, which like the swords themselves, are double-edged. This can be used for both good or evil, to help and to harm, and our greatest conflicts usually come from this delicate balance. At their worst, the swords can be abusive, harsh, and lack empathy.
During our Heart Reading, we can come across your loved one that may be having a tough time. Maybe they are in a “dark place” and can’t see beyond their cloudy thoughts. We can send “long distance healing” which is as simple as a prayer and can have the same effect. Our clients have reported to “see a dramatic change” in their loved ones after we intentionally send the healing.
The VERITAS Research Program of the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona, run by the parapsychologist Gary Schwartz, was created primarily to test the hypothesis that the consciousness (or identity) of a person survives physical death. Schwartz claimed his experiments were indicative of survival, but do not yet provide conclusive proof. The experiments described by Schwartz have received criticism from the scientific community for being inadequately designed and using poor controls.
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.
Scientists who study anomalistic psychology consider mediumship to be the result of fraud and psychological factors. Research from psychology for over a hundred years suggests that where there is not fraud, mediumship and Spiritualist practices can be explained by hypnotism, magical thinking and suggestion. Trance mediumship, which according to Spiritualists is caused by discarnate spirits speaking through the medium, can be explained by dissociative identity disorder.
If I had to choose one book to take to a desert island, this would be it. The ageless "Song of God" is, of course, a magnificent, sacred scripture and not technically a novel, but its narrative form makes it read like one. The Gita tells the story of Arjuna, who turns to the God Krishna, his friend, for explanations and advice on life. Krishna lays out an entire worldview, the philosophy of Vedanta, one of the great achievements of human thought. Christopher Isherwood, an English novelist, and Swami Prabhavananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and Isherwood's guru, translate the Gita in a simple, modern style, alternating between prose and poetry without sacrificing the majesty and wisdom of this ancient story. Krishna gives Arjuna simple advice which I have found so useful in my own life, such as not to do anything for results, but rather for God: "You can have the work," he tells Arjuna, "but not the products of the work."
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