In contrast to most oracle decks, which don’t include suited pip cards, Lenormand cards feature a unique combination of numbered playing-card imagery on top of illustrated scenes used for fortune-telling. “One of the earliest versions, called the Game of Hope, was made by a German named J.K. Hechtel and was prepared like a board game,” says Matthews. “You laid out cards 1 to 36, and the object of the game was to throw the dice and move your tokens along it. If you got to card 35, which was the anchor card, then you’re home, safe and dry. But if you went beyond that, it was the cross, which was not so good. It was like the game Snakes and Ladders.” In this way, the Game of Hope fell into the Victorian-era tradition of board games that determined a player’s life story based on luck.
In 1876, William Eglinton was exposed as a fraud when the psychical researcher Thomas Colley seized a "spirit" materialization in his séance and cut off a portion of its cloak. It was discovered that the cut piece matched a cloth found in Eglinton's suitcase.[79] Colley also pulled the beard off the materialization and it was revealed to be a fake, the same as another one found in the suitcase of Eglinton.[80] In 1880 in a séance a spirit named "Yohlande" materialized, a sitter grabbed it and was revealed to be the medium Mme. d'Esperance herself.[81]
Matthews’ favorite decks are those with straightforward illustrations, like the Tarocchino Bolognese by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, an Italian deck created sometime around the 1660s. Matthews owns a facsimile of the Mitelli deck, rather than an original, which means she can use them without fear of damaging a priceless antique. “The deck that I enjoy most is the Mertz Lenormand deck because of its clarity,” she says. “The background on each card is a creamy, vellum color, so when you lay them out in tableau, you can see the illustrations very clearly. I frankly get so tired of all the new Photoshopped tarots and the slick art, with their complete lack of any framework or substance.
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)
After her death in the 1980s the medium Doris Stokes was accused of fraud, by author and investigator Ian Wilson. Wilson stated that Mrs Stokes planted specific people in her audience and did prior research into her sitters.[174] Rita Goold a physical medium during the 1980s was accused of fraud, by the psychical researcher Tony Cornell. He claimed she would dress up as the spirits in her séances and would play music during them which provided cover for her to change clothes.[175]
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."
Matthews’ favorite decks are those with straightforward illustrations, like the Tarocchino Bolognese by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, an Italian deck created sometime around the 1660s. Matthews owns a facsimile of the Mitelli deck, rather than an original, which means she can use them without fear of damaging a priceless antique. “The deck that I enjoy most is the Mertz Lenormand deck because of its clarity,” she says. “The background on each card is a creamy, vellum color, so when you lay them out in tableau, you can see the illustrations very clearly. I frankly get so tired of all the new Photoshopped tarots and the slick art, with their complete lack of any framework or substance.
As souls, we all progress as we realize our faults, as well as whom we’ve hurt here, while we deal with all the decisions made in this lifetime. It’s almost as if we have a higher view of things when we cross over and can see why certain things transpired. It means a lot to my clients when I blend with the energy of their loved ones and start to describe and take on their personality or some of their individual habits. Since we’re all so different, getting a spirit’s personality can sometimes be the best evidence for a client.
Illusionists, such as Joseph Rinn have staged 'fake' séances in which the sitters have claimed to have observed genuine supernatural phenomena.[44] 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."[45] 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."[46]
Do compose your emotions and appearance to hide any revealing information about yourself. Your facial expression, style of dress, personal mannerisms, and emotional outbursts can tell a psychic, especially a false one, a great deal about you to make it look like she knows all these things from a paranormal reading, when in fact, she is merely interpreting your physical appearance or reactions.
The process is known as synchronicity, a term coined by psychologist Carl Jung to describe the temporally coincident occurrence of events. In synchronicity, there is no distinction between inner and outer. The choice of a card is exactly what your higher self already knows. This is what tarot occultists call the conversation with your higher self. The cards always work. It’s not magic—tarot cards are a sacred mirror.

The British direct-voice medium Frederick Tansley Munnings was exposed as a fraud when one of his séance sitters turned the lights on which revealed him to be holding a trumpet by means of a telescopic extension piece and using an angle piece to change the auditory effect of his voice.[126] Richard Hodgson held six sittings with the medium Rosina Thompson and came to the conclusion she was a fraud as he discovered Thompson had access to documents and information about her séance sitters.[127]
According to James Randi, a skeptic who has debunked many claims of psychic ability and uncovered fraudulent practices,[202] mediums who do cold readings "fish, suggest possibilities, make educated guesses and give options." Randi has a standing offer of $1 million US dollars for anyone who can demonstrate psychic ability under controlled conditions. Most prominent psychics and mediums have not taken up his offer.[203]
In 1908 at a hotel in Naples, the psychical researchers W. W. Baggally, Hereward Carrington and Everard Feilding attended a series of séances with Eusapia Palladino. In a report they claimed that genuine supernatural activity had occurred in the séances, this report became known as the Feilding report.[109] In 1910, Feilding returned to Naples, but this time accompanied with the magician William S. Marriott. Unlike the 1908 sittings, Feilding and Marriott detected her cheating, just as she had done in America. Her deceptions were obvious. Palladino evaded control and was caught moving objects with her foot, shaking the curtain with her hands, moving the cabinet table with her elbow and touching the séance sitters. Milbourne Christopher wrote regarding the exposure "when one knows how a feat can be done and what to look for, only the most skillful performer can maintain the illusion in the face of such informed scrutiny."[110]
After I had my own private conversation with him, remembering those gallery visits and happy times we’d shared, and how I was blessed to have him as a friend in my life, it was time to say my goodbyes, and I knew I would see him again. I went downstairs, and of course, I just had to ask Amanda, “While you were upstairs, did you ask Michael something about money?” I knew it sounded very personal. She looked at me with a look of surprise and said as she put her head down, “Well . . . yes, John, I guess I was being selfish. I asked Michael if there was anything he could do to help me out financially over there; and if there was any guidance he could send me, it would be of great help now.” I was amazed that he’d answered her so quickly.

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.

Even if you aren’t familiar with tarot-card reading, you’ve likely seen one of the common decks, like the famous Rider-Waite, which has been continually printed since 1909. Named for publisher William Rider and popular mystic A.E. Waite, who commissioned Pamela Colman Smith to illustrate the deck, the Rider-Waite helped bring about the rise of 20th-century occult tarot used by mystical readers.


If you've decided to hire the services of a medium, for whatever reasons, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to guarantee you get the best session possible. First of all, try to come in with an open mind. You may be feeling skeptical, but if you let that be an issue, it can certainly color your results. A corollary to that is that it's important to be honest about why you're there. If you're only trying to debunk things, or to expose the medium as a fraud, go ahead and admit it up front. A medium who's legitimate will probably still be willing to work with you.
They can’t interfere with the lessons you need to learn while you’re here. I remember a woman who was thrilled that her mother came through during our session. She wanted her mom to tell her if she should divorce her husband. Of course, the mother couldn’t make that decision for her because it wasn’t her job. The woman needed to take responsibility for her own life.
Growing up in the 1950s, I felt lost amid the materialism and shallow sunniness of the postwar culture; I longed for some overarching meaning. Then I came across books by two novelists, Jack Kerouac and J.D. Salinger, that opened my eyes to an entirely new way of looking at the world. I had not known that books could do this. These novels made life seem a much more mysterious and rich experience than I had imagined. At heart, they were books about spiritual journeys, and they made spirituality seem hip and wonderful. They also introduced me to the Buddhist concept of "right livelihood," thereby ultimately changing my life, for in time I gave up a lucrative career as a missile engineer to become a novelist and teacher of literature. Today, these novels have become spiritual classics, timeless books that provide special wisdom and insight for readers grappling with life's thorniest philosophical dilemmas. The novel as an art form originally came into being as bourgeois entertainment concerned with everyday matters, such as money, success, and ambition. Paradoxically, its very concreteness, which requires the novelist to create plausible characters operating in a credible world, makes the novel an ideal vehicle for exploring spiritual themes and presenting unorthodox worldviews. The best-selling novelists of our time seem not to understand this; but over the past century or so, the form's masters have put this opportunity to especially good use. Their handiwork includes, among others, the following 10 spiritual classics (including a novella, a short story collection, and one novel-like sacred scripture). I cherish these volumes as old friends and teachers; your summer reading experience will be greatly enhanced by packing one or more of these treasures in your travel bag.
On 4 February 1922, Harry Price with James Seymour, Eric Dingwall and William S. Marriott had proven the spirit photographer William Hope was a fraud during tests at the British College of Psychic Science. Price wrote in his SPR report "William Hope has been found guilty of deliberately substituting his own plates for those of a sitter... It implies that the medium brings to the sitting a duplicate slide and faked plates for fraudulent purposes."[128] The medium Kathleen Goligher was investigated by the physicist Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe. On July 22, 1921 in a séance he observed Goligher holding the table up with her foot. He also discovered that her ectoplasm was made of muslin. During a séance d'Albe observed white muslin between Goligher's feet.[129]
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.
Today "demonstration of mediumship" is part of the church service at all churches affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) and the Spiritualists' National Union (SNU). Demonstration links to NSAC's Declaration of Principal #9. "We affirm that the precepts of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship."
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