Welcome, cosmic warriors. I'm Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure's resident astrologer, and this is Aliza's Allure Astrology, a column dedicated to astrology, esotericism, and all things magick. (That's not to be confused with magic, which has more to do with entertainment — think pulling rabbits out of hats — than inner growth.) In each installation, I'm taking a closer look at an otherworldly subject, exploring both important celestial events and time-honored traditions of the occult. Today, we're getting acquainted with the ancient art of taromancy, or divination through the use of tarot cards.
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She then turned over another two cards that were meant to be situations I was currently dealing with. They both ended up being cups ("You've got three of the four. I've never seen that!") with one being the Sage and the other being the Child. If I came for a reading that focused on my emotions and relationships, I got way more than I could've expected. The Sage card is about feeling confident about your knowledge and beliefs. "If there's some dry place in your emotional spectrum, water it. Give yourself what you need and don't necessarily expect someone else to do that." She explained the child card, saying that it's meant to tell me to allow myself to acknowledge my emotions and truly let myself feel them, even if they're not always the most pleasant.
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Ten mediums—five less expert and five experienced—were injected with a radioactive tracer to capture their brain activity during normal writing and during the practice of psychography, which involves allegedly channeling written communication from the "other side" while in a trance-like state. The subjects were scanned using SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) to highlight the areas of the brain that are active and inactive during the practice.
In March 1902 in Berlin, police officers interrupted a séance of the German apport medium Frau Anna Rothe. Her hands were grabbed and she was wrestled to the ground. A female police assistant physically examined Rothe and discovered 157 flowers as well as oranges and lemons hidden in her petticoat. She was arrested and charged with fraud. Another apport medium Hilda Lewis known as the "flower medium" confessed to fraud.
The suit of cups rules over all that is associated with emotions, the unconscious, creativity, and intuition. They frequently talk about relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, and one's imagination and inner world. They are associated with the element of water, which becomes a frequent visual theme within this suit. At their worst, the cups suit is fret with uncontrolled feelings, fantasy, and a disconnect with one's inner voice.
Another well-known medium was the Scottish materialization medium Helen Duncan (1897–1956). In 1928 photographer Harvey Metcalfe attended a series of séances at Duncan's house and took flash photographs of Duncan and her alleged "materialization" spirits, including her spirit guide "Peggy". The photographs revealed the "spirits" to have been fraudulently produced, using dolls made from painted papier-mâché masks, draped in old sheets. Duncan was later tested by Harry Price at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research; photographs revealed Duncan's ectoplasm to be made from cheesecloth, rubber gloves, and cut-out heads from magazine covers.
Last October, I tried making a love potion with a friend of mine, who, quite frankly, perfectly fit the bill that the psychic described. By November, our relationship had changed and wasn't as platonic as I originally thought it was. While it inevitably didn't work out and we just went back to being friends, I could never stop thinking about what the soothsayer had predicted. So, this year I decided to have my tarot cards read once again in hopes that it might change my perspective on dating and relationships.
Let’s say you want to find a new romantic relationship. Instead of pulling a card to predict whether Prince Charming is just around the corner and either being blissfully excited or bitterly disappointed, you consult the cards to discover how you can attract love (and keep it!). You draw the Ten of Cups, and upon seeing the happy family dancing under the rainbow in the card, you are reminded that to attract love, you need to set a clear vision of what it is you want to attract.
You make an appointment via telephone or by filling a form on a web page. You will usually be charged by the minute. A genuine, professional medium will get his message over succinctly and clearly. Some unethical practitioners will simply try to wring as much money out of you as possible by keeping you talking. Others, like Psychic Elements, would prefer to build up a rapport by giving you exactly what you want and need in as short as time possible. You won’t get ripped off, and you should be so impressed that you’ll want to repeat the experience when you next need a helping hand from the spiritual realm.
The first documented tarot packs were recorded between 1440 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara, Florence and Bologna when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack. These new decks were called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The earliest documentation of trionfi is found in a written statement in the court records of Florence, in 1440, regarding the transfer of two decks to Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.
An online reading takes place via Skype or similar video link. It is carried out in real time, and you will pay up-front when booking the session. It is similar to a telephone reading but with two-way visual contact. It is much more like an in-person consultation. A good medium will try to put you at ease and connect with you on a personal level as it makes it more rewarding for both parties.
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.
In the late 19th century, the fraudulent methods of spirit photographers such as David Duguid and Edward Wyllie were revealed by psychical researchers. Hereward Carrington documented various methods (with diagrams) how the medium would manipulate the plates before, during, and after the séance to produce spirit forms. The ectoplasm materializations of the French medium Eva Carrière were exposed as fraudulent. The fake ectoplasm of Carrière was made of cut-out paper faces from newspapers and magazines on which fold marks could sometimes be seen from the photographs. Cut out faces that she used included Woodrow Wilson, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, French president Raymond Poincaré and the actress Mona Delza.
The physicist Kristian Birkeland exposed the fraud of the direct voice medium Etta Wriedt. Birkeland turned on the lights during a séance, snatched her trumpets and discovered that the "spirit" noises were caused by chemical explosions induced by potassium and water and in other cases by lycopodium powder. The British medium Isa Northage claimed to materialize the spirit of a surgeon known as Dr. Reynolds. When photographs taken of Reynolds were analyzed by researchers they discovered that Northage looked like Reynolds with a glued stage beard.
The Major Arcana (greater secrets), or trump cards, consists of 22 cards without suits: The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World, and The Fool. Cards from The Magician to The World are numbered in Roman numerals from I to XXI, while The Fool is the only unnumbered card, sometimes placed at the beginning of the deck as 0, or at the end as XXII.
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.
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.
In recent years, we've seen the emergence of "celebrity mediums," who are people that have become famous simply for being mediums. This, in turn, has led to some fairly intense scrutiny of those who claim to have mediumship ability. People like the "Long Island Medium," Theresa Caputo and Allison DuBois, who inspired the hit television show Medium, have often been criticized for taking advantage of their clients' grief. Still worse, many are accused of being frauds.
^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847. Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 110–12. A Mr. Merrifield was present at one of the sittings. Home's usual phenomena were messages, the moving of objects (presumably at a distance), and the playing of an accordion which he held with one hand under the shadow of the table. But from an early date in America he had been accustomed occasionally to "materialise" hands (as it was afterwards called). The sitters would, in the darkness, faintly see a ghostly hand and arm, or they might feel the touch of an icy limb. Mr. Merrifield and the other sitters saw a "spirit-hand" stretch across the faintly lit space of the window. But Mr. Merrifield says that Home sat, or crouched, low in a low chair, and that the "spirit-hand" was a false limb on the end of Home's arm. At other times, he says, he saw that Home was using his foot."
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.
Another important distinction is that while psychic readings often focus on predicting future events, mediums primarily tune into past and present issues. It's my opinion that predicting the future, while sometimes helpful, runs the risk of disempowering people. Always remember that you do have a say in how your future unfolds. Despite what any psychic or medium may "see" in your future, it is important to remember you were given the gift of free will when you came into this world, and at any moment in time you can absolutely redirect your course and create the life you want by changing your thoughts and actions. Psychic information is often just insight into what potentially could happen based on the road you are currently traveling—and it should be used only as a guideline to help you make the best choices for yourself.
In a series of fake séance experiments (Wiseman et al. 2003) paranormal believers and disbelievers were suggested by an actor that a table was levitating when, in fact, it remained stationary. After the seance, approximately one third of the participants incorrectly reported that the table had moved. The results showed a greater percentage of believers reporting that the table had moved. In another experiment the believers had also reported that a handbell had moved when it had remained stationary and expressed their belief that the fake séances contained genuine paranormal phenomena. The experiments strongly supported the notion that in the séance room, believers are more suggestible than disbelievers for suggestions that are consistent with their belief in paranormal phenomena.
Clairvoyance or "clear seeing", is the ability to see anything that is not physically present, such as objects, animals or people. This sight occurs "in the mind's eye". Some mediums say that this is their normal vision state. Others say that they must train their minds with such practices as meditation in order to achieve this ability, and that assistance from spiritual helpers is often necessary. Some clairvoyant mediums can see a spirit as though the spirit has a physical body. They see the bodily form as if it were physically present. Other mediums see the spirit in their mind's eye, or it appears as a movie or a television programme or a still picture like a photograph in their mind.