This is the last in the five-volume series of autobiographical novels called "The Children of Violence," which trace the life story of Martha Quest. The first four books portray Martha's youth and young womanhood among the English settlers in colonial, racially divided British Rhodesia. In this book, Martha leaves Africa and is living in postwar London, a bombed-out city where the walls of buildings are not the only boundaries that have come down. The line between good and evil was much clearer under the African sun; here Martha enters a world where such distinctions are lost at a dizzying pace. Her friend Lynda undergoes a personal breakdown, prefiguring Martha's own dissolution. Lessing's genius is to see that this time of social fragmentation and personal disorder can be welcomed as the prelude to a spiritual rebirth. This book moves from politics toward spirituality and reflects Lessing's honesty and concern.
Well, here is where things might be a little more “out there” and magical. You see, we are all connected to a collective, universal wisdom and our inner wisdom. And when we read the Tarot cards—and connect with our intuition—we can tap into this universal wisdom. It’s a little like connecting in with the collective mind, not just the individual mind.
In old-line Spiritualism, a portion of the services, generally toward the end, is given over to demonstrations of mediumship through contact with the spirits of the dead. A typical example of this way of describing a mediumistic church service is found in the 1958 autobiography of C. Dorreen Phillips. She writes of the worship services at the Spiritualist Camp Chesterfield in Chesterfield, Indiana: "Services are held each afternoon, consisting of hymns, a lecture on philosophy, and demonstrations of mediumship."
One, some psychic mediums see spirits. Not every spirit chooses to show himself or herself to a psychic medium who has this ability, but many of them do. If the psychic medium can see spirits, part of the communication will be based on sight. A psychic medium may see something in their mind’s eye (as an inner vision), or they may see spirits the way they see other people (as a physical manifestation, except the spirits are more ethereal, ghostly).
Over time, many great thinkers have added to the deeper understanding of the Tarot cards. Carl Jung connected the symbology of the trumps to archetypes, concluding that the tarot might play an important role in psychoanalysis. The Hero’s Journey discussed by Joseph Campbell laid the foundation for the Journey of the Fool, who jumps heedlessly off a cliff only to come full circle into the position of magician. The archetypal symbols in each card tell a story, and therefore clue the reader into what influences are appearing in the querent’s own life.
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.
"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.' And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities (Acts 16:16-19, NKJV).
Oracle decks like the Lenormand tend to rely on more direct visual language than traditional tarot cards. “The tarot can often speak in broad, timeless, universal statements about our place in the world,” says Wolf. “The imagery of fortune-telling decks is more illustrational and less archetypal. The images are generally more specific, simpler, and less universal, keeping the conversation more straightforward.”
I remember being in a parking garage in Los Angeles once, and I was driving up a steep ramp. Another car came flying over that ramp in the opposite direction, coming right at me with lightning speed. All of a sudden, my car stalled right in its tracks. Had I continued to drive, I would have hit the approaching car head on, but because my car stopped so suddenly, the other vehicle had room to avoid me. Was it a random act of luck that my car stalled at that precise moment, or did I have a little Divine help? I think I know the answer to that one.
A great starting book in this area is Ralph Martin’s The Fulfillment of All Desire. He makes the case for the Catholic faith in an accessible way—relying heavily on the writings of the spiritual masters of our tradition. Another profitable path to pursue is reading biographies of Jesus Christ. They deepen our understanding of Scripture, the Mass, and develop our personal relationship with Him. Pope Benedict XVI recently wrote a three-book series entitled Jesus of Nazareth. Although it has some theological insights that might challenge a reader unschooled in theology, he has many profound reflections that would be valuable to anyone who read it. Fulton Sheen, Frank Sheed, and Romano Guardini also wrote excellent works on the life of Jesus.
I somehow got convinced to have a psychic reading with Adriana on Newbury St. I was walking down the road minding my own business and she pulled me aside and said something like, "You're at a crossroads and I see something about career in your future." Well, that's pretty non-specific, but I was intrigued because I've been plagued by work issues and feeling like I need to make a change.
King Saul of Israel sought counsel from a medium called the Witch of Endor. The armies of Israel were about to be attacked by the Philistines. Saul was in rebellion against God and in desperation sought the services of the spiritist. "So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Please conduct a séance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you.” (1 Samuel 28:8 NKJV). Saul then asked the medium to conjure up the spirit of the deceased prophet Samuel, to ask his counsel regarding the pending Philistine attack. "And the king said to her, 'Do not be afraid. What did you see?' And the woman said to Saul, 'I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.' So he said to her, 'What is his form?' And she said, 'An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.' And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down.'" (1 Samuel 28:13-14. NKJV)
Mediumship became quite popular in the 19th-century United States and the United Kingdom after the rise of Spiritualism as a religious movement. Modern Spiritualism is said to date from practices and lectures of the Fox sisters in New York State in 1848. The trance mediums Paschal Beverly Randolph and Emma Hardinge Britten were among the most celebrated lecturers and authors on the subject in the mid-19th century. Allan Kardec coined the term Spiritism around 1860. Kardec claimed that conversations with spirits by selected mediums were the basis of his The Spirits' Book and later, his five-book collection, Spiritist Codification.