The article about this phenomenon in Encyclopædia Britannica places emphasis that "… one by one spiritual mediums were convicted of fraud, sometimes using the tricks borrowed from scenic "magicians" to convince their paranormal abilities". In the article it is also noted that "… the opening of the wide ranging fraud happening on spiritualistic sessions caused serious damage to reputation of the movement of a Spiritualism and in the USA pushed it on the public periphery".
One time I did a sitting for a woman, and no one came through at all. I told her that it didn’t mean they didn’t love her, and maybe it just wasn’t the right time. We decided to try again in six months. When she came back, it transpired that in those months she’d lost someone quite close to her, and somehow those in the Spirit World held back in the last sitting because it was simply not the right time.
At Waite's suggestion, Smith used the Sola Busca artwork for inspiration, and there are many similarities in the symbolism between Sola Busca and Smith's final result. Smith was the first artist to use characters as representative images in the lower cards. Instead of showing merely a cluster of cups, coins, wands or swords, Smith incorporated human figures into the artwork, and the result is the iconic deck that every reader knows today.
The illustration on some decks did double duty, providing divinatory tools and scientific knowledge, like the Geografia Tarocchi deck from around 1725. “The Geografia are extraordinary cards, almost like a little encyclopedia of the world with the oracle imagery peeking out at the top,” Matthews says. “The actual bit that you read from is just a cigarette-card length. So for example, the hanged man just shows his legs at the top of the card, while the rest of the card has information about Africa or Asia or other places on it.”
Spiritual Guidance can confirm information that an individual may be receiving from their own Higher Self, but because they may not be totally connected or emotionally involved, they are unable to really allow that information to be perceived or understood as a clear truth. A spiritual guide that points toward the same information can then delve deeper into the situations that may be surrounding the issues of why a person may not be able to totally trust the guidance received. Even those who would consider themselves advanced on the spiritual path, still from time to time, need a little outside confirmation from another connected being to see if their information is coming through clearly. This added confirmation from an outside source can sometimes be just the encouragement someone needs in taking that next step. Spiritual readings are more interactive and encourages the person being read to participate in the learning process. It is not a process where you should try to test your reader by giving incorrect information or trying to be vague. It should be considered counseling or therapy which involves a two-way interaction. The other difference that may be experienced between these two types of guidance is that spiritual guidance can, at times, be harsh and more direct. The goal is to help the person evolve to a higher level and sometimes the person needs to take responsibility for the situations that are currently being experienced. It can awaken dormant emotions, which can be very painful or can also release waves of anger. These emotions, if processed appropriately, can be used to initiate a healing process in an area that was once considered a block. If one is sincerely following a spiritual path, then they must take responsibility for the good and the bad that is occurring in their life. Not to mention some of the negative scenarios that they may have committed in a past lifetime.
“You either have these very shallow ones or these rampantly esoteric ones with so many signs and symbols on them you can barely make them out,” says Matthews. “I bought my first tarot pack, which was the Tarot de Marseille published by Grimaud in 1969, and I recently came right around back to it after not using it for a while.” Presumably originating in the 17th century, the Tarot de Marseille is one of the most common types of tarot deck ever produced. Marseille decks were generally printed with woodblocks and later colored by hand using basic stencils.
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.”