(Everything That Rises Must Converge), Flannery O'Connor put the twisted vision and dark humor of Southern Gothic fiction to spiritual purposes. Though O'Connor, a rural Southerner, knew she would die young of lupus, she remained a faithful Catholic. Indeed, she was determined to undermine the '50s worldview which saw science and logic as steadily leading us to becoming a society based on rationality, consumerism, and progress, which would make God superfluous. Acutely aware of the extremes of religion in the South, she nonetheless preferred that "God-haunted" region to a bland world produced by advertising. She believed the supernatural lay just below the surface of the everyday, requiring the spiritual artist to portray the mundane world with great care and accuracy, however bizarre some of its events and characters might be. O'Connor saw the potential for mysterious grace in any place where the spirit, though twisted, was still alive. Her writing is powerful, at times violent, often hilarious. Sometimes I find it best to read her a little at a time; her unconquerable wit and her deep, abiding spirituality always shine through.
In 1917, Edward Clodd analyzed the mediumship of the trance medium Gladys Osborne Leonard and came to the conclusion that Leonard had known her séance sitters before she had held the séances, and could have easily obtained such information by natural means. The British psychiatrist Charles Arthur Mercier wrote in his book Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge (1917) that Oliver Lodge had been duped into believing mediumship by trickery and his spiritualist views were based on assumptions and not scientific evidence.
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.
The medium Frank Decker was exposed as a fraud in 1932. A magician and séance sitter who called himself M. Taylor presented a mail bag and Decker agreed to lock himself inside it. During the séance objects were moved around the room and it was claimed spirits had released Decker from the bag. It was later discovered to have been a trick as Martin Sunshine, a magic dealer admitted that he sold Decker a trick mail bag, such as stage escapologists use, and had acted as the medium's confederate by pretending to be M. Taylor, a magician. The British medium Estelle Roberts claimed to materialize an Indian spirit guide called "Red Cloud". Researcher Melvin Harris who examined some photographs of Red Cloud wrote the face was the same as Roberts and she had dressed up in a feathered war-bonnet.
You need to work with the cards to become familiar with them but none of us can be totally objective as we all have blind spots. Consult with an experienced professional who can be trusted. Modern serious authentic and ethical tarot readers are not “fortune tellers” or mind readers. Real tarot readings become a therapeutic process for gaining valuable insights. A good tarot reading will affirm your own intuition and opens up more questions and options as part of a process, so be discerning when it comes to choosing a reader.
By comparing various decks from different time periods, tarot-card enthusiasts can identify the evolution of certain illustrations. “For example,” says Matthews, “the modern version of the hermit with the lantern, you’ll find that that was an hourglass and he was Saturn or Chronos, the keeper of time. You can see how that translates with the Tarot Bolognese meaning of delay or blockage. It was about time moving slowly, though that’s not used as a modern meaning much now.”
The spiritualists Arthur Conan Doyle and W. T. Stead were duped into believing Julius and Agnes Zancig had genuine psychic powers. Both Doyle and Stead wrote that the Zancigs performed telepathy. In 1924 Julius and Agnes Zancig confessed that their mind reading act was a trick and published the secret code and all the details of the trick method they had used under the title of Our Secrets!! in a London Newspaper.
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.”
Often, I will do a Skype call with my best friend in the evening, when she is off work. She lays the cards out for me on her Turkish scarves then - ta-da! - the fortune-telling happens. Because she knows me so well, since we were pip-squeaks, it is helpful to have her insight on what each card forebodes. After the reading, I get to process it all with my pal then take it with me into my dreams.