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.
The illustrations of French-suited tarot trumps depart considerably from the older Italian-suited design, abandoning the Renaissance allegorical motifs. With the exception of novelty decks, French-suited tarot cards are almost exclusively used for card games. The first generation of French-suited tarots depicted scenes of animals on the trumps and were thus called "Tiertarock" ('Tier' being German for 'animal') appeared around 1740. Around 1800, a greater variety of decks were produced, mostly with genre art or veduta. Current French-suited tarot decks come in these patterns:
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."
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.
The Austrian medium Rudi Schneider was investigated in 1924 by the physicists Stefan Meyer and Karl Przibram. They caught Rudi freeing his arm in a series of séances. Rudi claimed he could levitate objects but according to Harry Price a photograph taken on April 28, 1932 showed that Rudi had managed to free his arm to move a handkerchief from the table. According to Warren Jay Vinton, Schneider was an expert at freeing himself from control in the séance room. Oliver Gatty and Theodore Besterman who tested Schneider concluded that in their tests there was "no good evidence that Rudi Schneider possesses supernormal powers."
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.
I have been fortunate enough to work with trance mediums, one especially gifted one, in a therapeutic context for several years now. I personally feel we truly know next to nothing about the mechanisms behind trance channeling and mediumship. Like Edison said, "We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything." I do think it's far more likely to be an integrative both/and rather than either/or pheonomenon with respect to subconscious production vs spirit speakers (to say nothing of tapping the collective unconscious) and that's about all I feel reasonably sure of. Quantum (Unified Field)theories/New Paradigm Science and the like holds promise as far as cracking the code on the the entire spectrum of super-normal phenomena. The study here sounds rudimentary. I would suggest interested readers see the research being done at Windbridge Institue, the Rhine Research Center, and IONS.
Teacher and publisher Jean-Baptiste Alliette wrote his first book on the tarot in 1791, called “Etteilla, ou L’art de lire dans les cartes,” meaning “Etteilla, or the Art of Reading Cards.” (Alliette created this mystical pseudonym “Etteilla” simply by reversing his surname.) According to Etteilla’s writings, he first learned divination with a deck of 32 cards designed for a game called Piquet, along with the addition of his special Etteilla card. This type of card is known as the significator and typically stands in for the individual having their fortune read.
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These trump, or triumph, cards were often painted for wealthy families. Members of the nobility would commission artists to create for them their own set of cards, featuring family members and friends as the triumph cards. A number of sets, some of which still exist today, were created for the Visconti family of Milan, which counted several dukes and barons among its numbers.