Humans have been fascinated with contacting the dead since the beginning of human existence. Cave paintings by indigenous Australians date back 28,000 years, some depicting skulls, bones, spirits and the afterlife. Other cave paintings in Indonesia date back a further 10,000 years. Mediumship gained popularity during the nineteenth century, when ouija boards were used by the upper classes as a source of entertainment. Investigations during this period revealed widespread fraud—with some practitioners employing techniques used by stage magicians—and the practice began to lose credibility. Fraud is still rife in the medium/psychic industry, with cases of deception and trickery being discovered to this day.
While the tarot is the most widely known, it’s just one type of deck used for divination; others include common playing cards and so-called oracle decks, a term encompassing all the other fortune-telling decks distinct from the traditional tarot. Etteilla eventually switched to using a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s premise echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations. Though hieroglyphics had not yet been deciphered (the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799), many European intellectuals in the late 18th century believed the religion and writings of ancient Egypt held major insights into human existence. By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility.
Playing cards, imported into Europe from Egypt, consisted of four suits similar to the ones we still see in tarot today: cups, swords, wands (or staves) and coins. As early as 1227 C.E., symbolic meaning was attributed to certain cards, some of which began to take on names such as “The Sun” and “The Moon,” etc. This attachment of symbolism to the cards heralded the development of the trumps. Occultists suggest that this evolution of the tarot coincides so closely with the rise of both the Kabbalah and the Inquisition that the symbolism entrenched in the tarot is really the hidden remnants of Pagan Europe struggling to survive.
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The Christian spiritual life is a journey that doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Christianity requires a community to exist in and teachers from whom to learn the faith, and features a cloud of witnesses cheering us on (Heb 12:1). The Holy Spirit animates the Church and, among other things, gives her the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fortitude, good counsel, and fear of the Lord, piety. We have an obligation to build on those gifts sealed in us at our confirmation: and one of the most effective ways is spiritual reading. By reading good spiritual books, we can build on each of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we can come to know the saints better, sit at their feet, and learn from their writings.
In 1930 the Polish medium Stanisława P. was tested at the Institut Metapsychique in Paris. French psychical researcher Eugéne Osty suspected in the séance that Stanislawa had freed her hand from control. Secret flashlight photographs that were taken revealed that her hand was free and she had moved objects on the séance table. It was claimed by spiritualists that during a series of séances in 1930 the medium Eileen J. Garrett channeled secret information from the spirit of the Lieutenant Herbert Carmichael Irwin who had died in the R101 crash a few days before the séance. Researcher Melvin Harris who studied the case wrote that the information described in Garrett's séances were "either commonplace, easily absorbed bits and pieces, or plain gobblede-gook. The so-called secret information just doesn't exist."
Here's what happened: The experienced psychographers showed lower levels of activity in the left hippocampus (limbic system), right superior temporal gyrus, and the frontal lobe regions of the brain during psychography compared to their normal (non-trance) writing. The frontal lobe areas are associated with reasoning, planning, generating language, movement, and problem solving, which means that the mediums were experiencing reduced focus, lessened self-awareness and fuzzy consciousness during psychography.
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.
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.
These employees, hired by psychic service companies who know they have no paranormal skills, usually fumble through a telephone session by asking the client numerous questions and providing generic answers to the client’s questions. Some callers get disgusted and hang up after several minutes, after paying a tidy per-minute sum to enrich the company.
It is claimed that the telepathic communications come from highly evolved spirit beings existing in the normally invisible realms of the spirit dimension. Sometimes the medium will have a vision in which he or she sees the spirit in a visible form, manifested in the imagination faculties of the medium’s consciousness. The spirit guides are said to sometimes wear white robes and often radiate brilliant, golden-white light. Channelers claim that the messages received represent divine wisdom and truth, and have beneficial value for mankind.
In contrast, the meanings in other decks are particularly difficult to decipher, like the infamous Thoth tarot developed by Aleister Crowley, notorious for his involvement with various cults and experimentation with recreational drugs and so-called “sex magick.” Completed in 1943, the Thoth deck was illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris and incorporated a range of occult and scientific symbols, inspiring many modern decks. As Wolf explains, “with the rise of the divination market in the 20th century, more liberties were taken, and the imagery evolved into increasingly personal artistic statements, both in content and style of execution.”
Illusionists, such as Joseph Rinn have staged 'fake' séances in which the sitters have claimed to have observed genuine supernatural phenomena. Albert Moll studied the psychology of séance sitters. According to (Wolffram, 2012) "[Moll] argued that the hypnotic atmosphere of the darkened séance room and the suggestive effect of the experimenters' social and scientific prestige could be used to explain why seemingly rational people vouchsafed occult phenomena." The psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones in their book Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking (1989) wrote that spirits controls are the "products of the medium's own psychological dynamics."
You may not always get the opportunity to physically sit down with someone who is skilled in the art of reading the cards, or perhaps afford to pay for regular readings, so here at Lotus Tarot we aim to provide you with a little guidance and easy and convenient access to information. Hopefully, this will bring you some pleasure, as well as insights and hope for the future.