Monday, February 23, 2015

Cartomancy II

When using cards to divide the unseen and unknowable, one starts by giving each card a symbolic meaning. These meanings differ from country to country and time to time, so you can choose which ever meaning that fits you best. After all, divination is reading the symbols. The cards themselves have no magical, mystical powers. :-D

But - that being said - there are beliefs associated with reading the cards.

There are the spreads, that are about the same as with tarot cards.

The card combinations have a meaning as well as individual cards and their placement.

Serena Powers says this:

Interpretations from Shuffling and Cutting

Who would have thought that a reading can begin from the cards even before that first card is laid out. Look carefully and note how the cards are shuffled and cut. Every person is different and has their own style, but this can even differ between readings.

When a person shuffles only the bare minimum number of times, this of course shows how eager they are to get straight to the point.

 When cards one or a few cards fall out during shuffling, take note of what they are because they are important to the reading.

When a lot of cards fall out, the querent is either not used shuffling cards, or they are reluctant or ambivalent about the reading.

When a person cuts only the top few cards from the deck, or leaves a tiny little pile, then they are reluctant to do the reading. This shows they do not really want to reveal too much or find out the true answer.

When cards fall from the deck as a person cuts the cards, this also shows a certain ambivalence or reluctance about the reading.

Shy and impressionable people cut the deck with their face virtually inches from the cards. They also tend to take any interpretations extremely literally despite their avowed scepticism.

Troubled querents also cut the deck with their faces inches from the deck and may take some time to do it. I also find these people tend to cut the deck dead centre if they can manage it and are most concerned to be doing it "right". These people tend to demand exact predictions and interpretations but this is because they are so troubled by their question.

Complex people tend to cut into multiple piles. These people cannot decide if they want to take the cards seriously or not.

Querents who are confident of the answer they think they will receive cut with their arm fully extended, often with a smile on their face.

There are people who barely glance at the cards when cutting them and expect you to shuffle and replace the cards in one pile. These people do not expect anything from the cards and are majorly sceptical or simply do not really want a reading.

When querents sit right back in their chairs and cross their arms you know they are feeling defensive. When the cards get right to the heart of the issue, you notice them lean forward and the arms are uncrossed. This simple body language reveals so much, and can be useful when the querent is determined to say only the bare minimum.

The next time you do a reading for yourself, notice how you cut the cards. Often you can pick up from the cut if you are secretly reluctant to know the answer (usually because your intuition/subconscious already knows the answer won't be what you want to hear).

Special Combinations to be aware of

    Ace of hearts next to any other heart – Friendship
    Ace of hearts with another heart on each side – Love affair
    Ace of hearts with a diamond on each side – Money
    Ace of hearts with a spade on each side – Quarrels
    Ace of diamonds with the eight of clubs – Business proposal
    Ace of spades with the king of clubs – A politician
    Ace of spades with the ten of spades – A serious undertaking
    Ace of spades with the four of hearts – A new baby
    Ten of hearts – Cancels adjacent cards of ill fortune; reinforces adjacent cards of good fortune.
    Ten of diamonds with the two of hearts – Marriage bringing money
    Ten of spades – – Cancels adjacent cards of good fortune; reinforces adjacent cards of ill fortune.
    Ten of spades next to any club – Business troubles
    Ten of spades with a club on each side – Theft, forgery, grave business losses
    Nine of hearts with the five of spades – Loss of status
    Nine of clubs with the eight of hearts – Gaiety
    Nine of diamonds next to any court card – Lack of success, an inability to concentrate
    Nine of diamonds with the eight of spades – A bitter quarrel
    Nine of spades with the seven of diamonds – Loss of money
    Eight of hearts with the eight of diamonds – A trousseau
    Eight of hearts with the five of hearts – A present of jewelry
    Eight of spades on the immediate right of the client card – Abandon your current plans
    Four of hearts next to any court card – A loss, injustice
    Two of clubs with the two of diamonds – An unexpected message


Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. Forms of cartomancy appeared soon after playing cards were first introduced into Europe in the 14th century. Practitioners of cartomancy are generally known as cartomancers, card readers, or simply readers.

Cartomancy is one of the oldest of the more common forms of fortune-telling. It is similar to tarot card reading in that various card spreads are used, such as single card, "Destiny Square," and 3 cards. The tarot is actually a form of cartomancy, as is oracle decks and other divination forms using cards.

Cartomancy using standard playing cards was the most popular form of providing fortune-telling card readings in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
In English-speaking countries, a standard deck of Anglo-American bridge/poker playing cards (i.e., 52-card, four-suit set) can be used in the cartomancy reading; the deck is often augmented with jokers, and even with the blank card found in many packaged decks.
In France, the 32-card piquet playing-card deck was, and still is, most typically used in cartomancy readings, while the 52-card deck was, and still is, also used for this purpose. (A piquet deck can be a 52-card deck with all of the 2s through the 6s removed. This leaves all of the 7s through the 10s, the face cards, and the aces.)

Harry Roseland; Reading the Cards, 1899

 Cartomancy by an unknown artist... looks Russian to me.

Playing cards were invented in China. There are cards as old as from the 9th century and it was in teh 9th century a writer referenced to playing cards, calling them "the leaf game". It is probably associated with the development of books, from rolls to sheets of pages.
The Chinese cards have four suits - coins; strings of coins (which may have been misinterpreted as sticks from the crude drawing); myriads of strings of coins and tens of myriads...

Here two of these cards; 1 of strings and 3 of coins. The myriads were usually depicted as people.

By the 11th century, playing cards were spread throughout the Asian continent and later came into Mamluk Egypt.[9]:309 The Mamluk pack contained 52 cards comprising four suits: polo sticks, coins, swords, and cups. Each suit contained ten spot or pip cards (cards identified by the number of suit symbols or "pips" they show) and three court cards, called malik (king), nā'ib malik (viceroy or deputy king), and thānī nā'ib (second or under-deputy). The thānī nā'ib is a non-existent title so it may not have been in the earliest versions. The Mamluk court cards showed abstract designs or calligraphy not depicting persons (at least not in any surviving specimens), though they did bear the names of military officers. Nā'ib would be corrupted into naibi (Italian) and naipes (Spanish), the latter still in common usage. The pip cards in two suits had a reverse ranking, a feature found in many old European card games.

mamluk cards - highly ornamented, no depiction of people.

Playing cards first entered Southern Europe in the 14th century, probably from Mamluk Egypt, using the Mamluk suits of cups, coins, swords, and polo-sticks, and which are still used in traditional Latin decks. As polo was an obscure sport to Europeans then, the polo-sticks became batons or cudgels.

Playing card symbols
The German symbols of acorns and leaves should be reversed 

- swords, leaves, piques, spades and batons, acorns, trèlles and clubs/clover

As cards spread from Italy to Germanic countries, the Latin suits evolved into the suits of Leaves (or Shields), Hearts (or Roses), Bells, and Acorns, and a combination of Latin and Germanic suit pictures and names resulted in the French suits of trèfles (clovers), carreaux (tiles), cœurs (hearts), and piques (pikes) around 1480. The trèfle (clover) was probably derived from the acorn and the pique (pike) from the leaf of the German suits. The names "pique" and "spade", however, may have derived from the sword of the Italian suits. In England, the French suits were eventually used, although the earliest packs circulating may have had the Italian suits. This may account to why the English called the clovers "clubs" and the pikes "spades".

"Coeurs, Hearts - denotes the Church.
Carreaux, Diamonds - denotes the arrowheads which are symbolic of the vassels from whom the archers were drawn.
Trefles or Clover, Clubs - signifies the husbandmen.
Piques, Spades - denotes the the points of Lances, symbols for the knights themselves."
- History of playing cards

 As you see the coins in the Chinese cards, they have a clear diamond figure in the middle.

When using cards to divide, one may choose to use the joker(s) and/or empty cards and give them a meaning. The Joker usually is interpreted as the Fool of the tarot deck, even though it has a different background story.

In the 19th century, people were playing the game of Euchre [from German Juckerspiel, (Jucker is a carriage horse, which is why I believe the game was called Junkerspiel. Junker is a young nobleman.)]. This Juckerspiel most likely developed from Karnöffel, a game where the jack is the "best" card. In USA the name of the game was Juker (originally pronounced as ewe-ker, not as jew-ker), and they added an extra jack, the best jack, unsuited, called Juker and later Joker. It was because of this, the depictions melted together with the tarot Fool.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hydromancy or Water Scrying

(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2007

Scrying is a practice that dates back to the ancient Arabs and Egyptians which makes it one of the oldest forms of divination. Scrying using a Crystal Ball is one of the best known forms of fortune telling and often one of the first images stereotypically used regarding Divinatory practices. We are not restricted to the Crystal Ball as a tool for scrying: shiny stones, mirrors and any reflective object or surface can be utilized. Nostradamus used a brass bowl of water on a tripod and this method is called Hydromancy. The tool utilized to scry is called a Speculum. Scrying is used to answer questions, resolve problems, find what is lost or to solve criminal acts.

Water scrying was very popular with the Celts and other Shamanistic traditions. The Cup of Jamshid was used in Ancient Persia to divine. The liquid in the cup was said to be an elixir of immortality and looking into the cup allowed you to view the seven layers of the universe and deep truths were revealed. The Mirror of Galadriel in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" was used to see past, present and future: the mirror was a pool of water.

If you would like to try your hand, or your eye, at Water Scrying, it is relatively simple to set up, getting results is somewhat more complicated. You need a bowl of water. A brass, silver or glass bowl would be nice but you have to use what you have on hand, so your favourite cereal bowl or tea cup is also a nice option here. I think a Tibetan Singing Bowl would work well for scrying as well. It is preferable to use water collected under a Full Moon from a stream or river. I am not a purist, tap water while the moon is full would certainly be adequate. If you are able to construct a tripod to set your chosen bowl on, please do. If you have access to laurel, bay or hazel branches use them to construct your base. If you aren't construction oriented, don't worry about it, a nice flat spot on your table or altar will do - like I said, I'm not a purist. A couple of candles appropriately coloured or charged for the issue you are scrying on should be placed about a foot from your scrying bowl.

Colour the water with dark green or dark blue food colouring - or whatever colour or combination of colours has appeal for you. It has to be dark enough that you can't see the bottom of the bowl. If you have a magic wand or a favourite crystal, you can wet the edge of the bowl and use your wand or crystal to rub the edge of the bowl - following the edge of the bowl all the way around. You can even just use the index finger of each hand and do alternating circles around the edge of the bowl. Each of these methods will create ripples in the water and energize it. You can use your hands to energize the bowl if you prefer. Using your left hand first, then your right, pass your hands, palm down, in a clockwise circular motion over the water an inch or two above to the surface - do three passes with each hand before switching (a bit of an upper body cardio workout, you always have to look for the hidden benefits). Pay attention to your breathing, breath slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your intuition and your issue while watching for any images reflected in the water. You will have to trust your own intuition for interpretation. Keep it as simple as possible.

Don't be discouraged because it may take time to actually see anything. View it as a form of deep meditation and relaxation. Make sure you have grounded and protected yourself properly as you would before undertaking any type of divination. A nice cup of tea before and eating something of the earth after to return you to ground will round out the divination. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Celtic Numerology

'...I have been a word among letters.'
--the Book of Taliesyn, VIII

What's in a word? Or a name? What special power resides in a word, connecting it so intimately to the very thing it symbolizes? Does each word or name have its own 'vibration', as is generally believed by those of us who follow the Western occult tradition? And if so, how do we begin to unravel its meaning? Just what, exactly, is in a word? Well, LETTERS are in a word. In fact, letters COMPRISE the word. Which is why Taliesyn's remark had always puzzled me. Why didn't he say he had been a 'letter among words'? That, at least, would seem to make more logical sense than saying he had been a 'word among letters', which seems backwards. Unless...

Unless he was trying to tell us that the word is NOT the important thing -- the critical thing is the LETTERS that make up a word! The Welsh bard Taliesyn was, after all, a pretty gifted fellow. He certainly put all the other bards at Maelgwyn's court to shame. And over the years, I've learned never to take his statements lightly -- even his most enigmatic statements. Perhaps he was really suggesting that, in order to understand the true meaning of a word or name, one must first analyze the letters that comprise it. Of course, this is certainly not a new theory. Any student of arcane lore would at once recognize this concept as belonging in the opening remarks of any standard text on numerology. But to read the same meaning behind a line of poetry penned by a 6th century Welsh bard may be a bit surprising. Is it possible that the Celts had their own system of numerology?

Let us begin the quest by asking ourselves what we know about numerology in general. Most of our modern knowledge of numerology has been gleaned from ancient Hebrew tradition, which states that the true essence of anything is enshrined in its name. But there are so many names and words in any given language that it becomes necessary to reduce each word to one of a small number of 'types' -- in this case, numerological types from 1 to 9 (plus any master numbers of 11, 22, etc.). This is easily accomplished by assigning a numerical value to each letter of the alphabet, i.e. A=1, B=2, C=3, and so on. Thus, to obtain the numerical value of any word, one simply has to add up the numerical values of all the letters which comprise the word. If the sum is a two digit number, the two digits are then added to each other (except in the case of 11, 22, etc.) to obtain the single digit numerical value of the entire word, which may then be analyzed by traditional Pythagorean standards.

The problem has always been how to be sure of the numerical value of each letter. Why SHOULD A equal 1, or B equal 2, or Q equal 8? Where did these values come from? Who assigned them? Fortunately, the answer to this is quite simple in most cases. Many ancient languages used letters of the alphabet to stand for numbers (Roman numerals being the most familiar example). Ancient Hebrew, for instance, had no purely numerical symbols -- like our 1, 2, 3, etc. -- so their letters of the alphabet had to do double duty as numbers as well. One had to discern from the context whether the symbol was meant as letter or number. This was true of classical Latin, as well. Thus, in languages such as these, it is easy to see how a number became associated with a letter: the letter WAS the number.

It is a bit more difficult to see how the associations in 'modern' numerology came into being. The modern numerological table consists of the numbers 1 through 9, under which the alphabet from A through Z is written in standard order:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9





This arrangement seems somewhat arbitrary, at best. At the very least, it is difficult to sense any 'intrinsically meaningful' relationship between a letter and its numerical value. After all, our modern alphabetical symbols and our modern numerical symbols (Arabic) come from two completely different sources and cultures.

For this reason, many contemporary numerologists prefer the ancient Hebrew system because, at least here, there is a known connection between letter and number. However, when we attempt to adapt this system to the English language, a whole new set of problems crops up. For one, the entire alphabet is arranged in a different order and some of our modern letters have NO Hebrew equivalents. Thus, based on the Hebrew alphabet, the only letters for which we have numerical values are the following:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8





Obviously, a modern numerologist wouldn't get very far with this table. In order to compensate for the missing letters in the Hebrew system, most modern textbooks on numerology 'fill in' the missing letters by 'borrowing' numerical values from the Greek alphabet, thus mixing cultural symbols in an eclectic approach that is not entirely convincing.

Another problem is the exclusion of the number 9 from the table -- which modern textbooks often 'explain' by saying that the Hebrews did not use the number 9, since it was a 'sacred' and 'mystical' number. The real truth, however, is far less esoteric. The fact is, the Hebrew alphabet DID have letters with the numerical value of 9 -- the letters Teth and Sade. But, since Teth and Sade do not have equivalents in our modern English alphabet, the 9 value must be left out.

And finally, it is once again difficult to see any INTRINSIC relationship between a Hebrew letter and the number it represents. Why should one symbol stand for 1, or another for 2, or yet another for 3, and so on? The whole superstructure seems somewhat shakey.

But let us now turn our attention to a Celtic alphabetic system called the 'Ogham'. This alphabet is written by making a number of short strokes (from 1 to 5) below, above, or through a 'base line' (which in practice tended to be the edge of a standing stone). Thus, A, O, U, E, and I would be written, respectively:


Of course, in this system it is easy to see how a letter becomes associated with a number, since the numerical value of each letter is implicit. Thus, A=1, O=2, U=3, E=4, and I=5. (It is true there is much disagreement and confusion among modern scholars as to how the Ogham alphabet should be rendered. Further, a number of different Oghams seem to have been employed at various times by different Celtic cultures. But this confusion usually centers on whether the strokes should be above, below, or through the base line -- NOT on the number of strokes used. On that point, there is general agreement. And though orientation to the base line is important, it is not essential to our discussion of numerology, since we need only concern ourselves with the NUMBER of strokes used.)

Thus, based on the work of such scholars as P.C. Power, S. Ferguson, D. Diringer, I. Williams, L. Spence, and D. Conway, I have synthesized the following table of Celtic numerology:

1 2 3 4 5









Using this table, the student of Celtic numerology would then proceed to analyze any word in the generally accepted manner. One should not be concerned that the numbers 6, 7, 8, and 9 do not appear in this system, as the Ogham alphabet had NO letters with these values (as opposed to the Hebrew alphabet which DID have letters with the missing 9 value, as mentioned earlier). Another consideration is that the Ogham alphabet is just that -- an alphabet. It never represented any particular language, and historically it has been employed by many different languages. Again by contrast, the Hebrew alphabet was structured for a particular language -- Hebrew -- and many problems arise when we attempt to adapt it to a language for which it is not suited.

Although the Ogham alphabet only has letter values from 1 through 5, all of the numbers from 1 through 9 (plus any master numbers of 11, 22, etc.) will be used in the final analysis (just as in the Hebrew system). To understand how this works, let us try an example. We will use the name of the Welsh goddess Rhiannon:

R + H + I + A + N + N + O + N

5 + 1 + 5 + 1 + 5 + 5 + 2 + 5 = 29

2 + 9 = 11

Most numerologists will agree that 11 is a 'master number' or 'power number' and therefore it is not further reduced by adding the two digits (although, if one does this, 1 + 1 = 2, and 2 is considered the first even and feminine number in the numerical sequence, certainly appropriate for a Welsh Mother Goddess). Viewed as an 11, the analysis is usually that of someone who is on a 'higher plane of existence' (certainly appropriate for a goddess), someone who brings 'mystical revelation'. Often this is someone who feels slightly distant from the people surrounding him or her, and who has trouble feeling any real empathy for them (which seems to fit a faery queen who has come to live in the land of mortals). Also, this is sometimes the number of the martyr, or of someone unjustly accused (which is certainly true of Rhiannon's story as told in the 'Mabinogi', in which she is falsely accused of destroying her own son).

By way of contrast, the 'modern' system would have Rhiannon be a 3, a somewhat inappropriate masculine number (not that all feminine names should always yield a feminine number -- but one would at least expect it to do so in the case of an archetypal mother goddess). The Hebrew system would yield an even more inappropriate 4, that being the number of the material world and all things physical (and since Rhiannon hails from faery, she is definitely not of this material plane.)

By now, some of my more thoughtful readers may think they see some inconsistency in my approach. Why have I gone to so much trouble to point up the flaws in traditional systems of numerology (even going so far as to suggest an entirely new system), only to fall back on interpretations of the numbers that are strictly traditional? The reason is this: all of my objections thus far have been limited to METHODOLOGY. When it comes to interpreting the meaning of the numbers, I have no quarrel with the traditional approach, since here we enter the field of universal symbolism. All systems of numerology, be they Hebrew, modern, Oriental, or whatever, tend to attach the same interpretive meaning to the numbers. When Three Dog Night sings, 'One is the loneliest number that you'll ever know...', it is a statement which is immediately understood and agreed upon by people from widely diverse cultures. And the same holds true for all other numbers, for we are here dealing with archetypal symbols.
It is worth repeating that, although I believe this system to have a firm theoretical basis, it is still in an embryonic state -- highly tentative, highly speculative. To the best of my knowledge, it is also an original contribution to the field of numerology. While some writers (notably Robert Graves in 'The White Goddess') have dealt with the numerical values of Ogham letters, I believe this article is the first instance of employing it specifically as a system of numerology. I have spent many long hours working with Celtic numerology -- putting abstract theory to use in practical application -- but much work remains to be done. For this reason, I would be happy to hear from readers who are interested in the subject and who would like to share their own experiences and thoughts.

Document Copyright © 1978, 1998 by Mike Nichols HTML coding by: Mike Nichols © 1998

This document can be re-published only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others.

And for clarification

The standard order:

1 - A J S
2 - B K T
3 - C L U
4 - D M V
5 - E N W
6 - F O X
7 - G P Y
8 - H Q Z
9 - I R

The Hebrew order:

1 - A Y Q
2 - B K R
3 - G L S
4 - D M T
5 - H N
6 - V W
7 - Z
8 - P

The Celtic order:

1 - A B H M
2 - D G L O X
3 - T U V W
4 - C E F J K S
5 - I N P Q R Y Z

Tea Leaf Reading

Although telling fortunes by consulting the patterns formed by tea-leaves on the base and sides of a cup is often regarded as drawing-room entertainment, it is not purely an amusement. The tea leaves can act as a medium through which the clairvoyance of the reader is stimulated so that he or she is able to reveal truths that would otherwise remain hidden; or the figures formed by the leaves may be believed to reflect patterns that exist in the astral. The method used in tea-leaf reading is time honoured and simple. The client inverts her cup, turning it round three times; she places it on the saucer and then taps the bottom three times with her left index finger. The clairvoyant, who is in a light trance, picks the cup up and turns it round so that the leaves can be inspected.

All tea leaf readers have their preferred methods of interpreting the patterns made by the leaves, and only some general indication of their meaning is given here:

Chain of small leave: A journey, travel; if two larger leaves are in close proximity, the excursion is mental and not physical.

Serpentine chain of small leaves: a visit to the mountains; if two larger leaves are in close proximity, there will be ups and downs in daily life; inability to settle down.

Three small leaves close to one leaf: A man.

Two leaves close to a small leaf: A woman.

Group of small leaves in a triangular pattern: A child or children.

Heart: Love; a heart broken or crossed by a chain of leaves represents a broken love affair or divorce.

Triangle: Emotional involvement; jealousy; rivalry. If pointing downwards this shape indicates a menage a trois, if upwards, ambition and success are suggested.

Square: Several different possibilities are suggested by this formation; it may mean that the person concerned is well-established, conservative and solid character. Bit it can also imply a need for protection, or the client's failure to excel in his career.

Star: Great success; a sign of genius; spiritual enlightenment. However, if it falls on or near a heart formation, the passions may be crushed and replaced by a life of asceticism.

The appearance of more complicated symbols or geometric signs needs profound study; because of their rarity they are extremely significant.

Many leaves spread all over the cup: A rich or confused character; extravagance; negligence; generosity.

Very few leaves in the cup: Clarity; direct action in the future. However, this also indicates poverty in emotional life, and if the
leaves seem to arrange themselves in a provocative way they must be read with great care so that they offset the poverty of the all-over pattern.

Cross: This means that the client is at a crossroads in life, and that a personal sacrifice may be necessary. If this pattern is in conjunction with one large leaf, it can signify death. However, care and tact should be exercised in making such an interpretation, and it should be remembered that the possible death is not necessarily that of the client. Other leaves close by will ward off danger, and show a remedy for whatever ill is likely to befall him.

Circle: Marriage; a close partnership; fame. A good omen.

Circle with a cross on it: Enforced confinement, possibly in a hospital, prison, or other institution.

Two parallel lines of leaves: A propitious journey; dreams that will come true; a long and happy life. Reinforcement of all else seen in the cup.

Dots: Letters; messages; thoughts.

Stars: Good luck.

Dashes: Surprises.

Flowers: Joy; an engagement and marriage.

Fruit: Good fortune; children.

Daisy: Simple happiness.

Gun or dagger: Danger; strife.

Scythe: A good harvest; a death warning.

Musical instruments: Good company.

Scales: Justice; success at law.

Ladder: Increasing success.

Key: Secrets revealed; knowledge.

House: Stability.

Bottle: Excess; flirtation at a party.

Envelope: News.

Fan: An indiscreet love affair.

Teapot or kettle: Good cheer; contentment.

Pair of scissors: Angry words.

Hammer: Hard work.

There are other general indications:

Time is represented by the different levels of the cup. The rim is the present, and below this lies the near future, while patterns formed on the base refer to events that are many years ahead.

Place is indicated by the parts of the cup in which the leaves settle. Those nearest the handle tell of events that affect the home; the leaves on the sides suggest distance according to their proximity to the handle, and those on the base show the place of birth, nationality and hidden nature of the client.

Letters of the alphabet represent the initials of people concerned in the reading; the hearer they are to the handle, the closer their relationship to the client.

Clear symbols are lucky, with the exception of those that represent illness or death.
Faint symbols tend to be unlucky, suggesting a weak character or lack of purpose.

Man, Myth, and Magic Volume 20, Article by Basil Ivan Rakoczi

How To Develop Your Own Psychic Abilities

Everyone has innate psychic abilities. There are some who are born with a more developed gift than others, but everyone has potential.

There are three basic modes of psychic receptivity

Being aware of facts or situations that you have no concrete way of knowing by experiencing them emotionally. In other words, a clairsentient can feel the emotions of others, can feel the presence of spiritual entities and feel that a situation will turn out a certain way. This happens to be the mode I work most from.

This is the ability to hear sounds (music, voices, names) from other realms. Joan of Arc is a famous example of a clairaudient.

A clairvoyant experiences psychic awareness in the form of visual images. Sometimes these images are of actual scenes, sometimes they are symbols. Clairvoyants can sometimes see spiritual entities. The child in the movie "The Sixth Sense," for instance, was an extremely powerful clairvoyant.

The majority of people will find that their psychic abilities lie primarily in one of these areas. Working within the area in which your natural abilities lie makes the process of strengthening those abilities easier.

If you are intuitive and empathic, your primary mode will likely be clairsentience. If you are a very visual person, chances are your primary mode will be clairvoyance. Experiment and see which works best for you. Practice! These are not skill you can master with a minimum of effort. It is like exercising a muscle; You have to work it to make it strong.

Prepare Yourself

The state of mind you should be in for divination is close to a meditative state. Your mind and body should be relaxed. Sit comfortably and breathe deeply. Slowly let your mind open.

Physical Tools

Having a divinatory tool to work with is an excellent idea because it gives you something tangible to interpret. It stimulates your intuition and unconscious mind by serving as a screen for them to project upon. Some useful divinatory tools are The I Ching, a form of stichomancy (the practice of seeking insight into the world by reading a random passage in a book), Runes (a tool that dates from at least 300 AD when they were used by the Goths) and The Tarot. Then there is:


This is the use of a crystal or crystal globe or, more economically, a bowl of water with a few drops of ink (not India ink so in case you spill it, it won't be a disaster).

In order to scry, you should sit comfortably, preferably inside a cast circle, in a darkened but candlelit room. Then, without straining, gaze at the surface of your scrying tool. You may be able to discern a blue light emanating from it. Out loud, say the question you want information about. Continue to gaze at the scrying tool. At a certain point, you will notice its surface has become hazy. Then it will come sharply back into focus. This is the point at which the vision may open. If it doesn't, don't be impatient. It may take lots of practice before you have a breakthrough.

The vision may be symbols or scenes. When you are a beginner, they may not be easily discernible. Resist the temptation to shift your line of vision in an attempt to try to make them out. Keep your eyes on the scrying tool. Perhaps the images you see won't make much sense to you, but make sure you write them down in your notebook along with the question you asked so you can assess their meaning from the vantage point of a later date.

Meditation and Automatic Writing

Have a friend give you a question on which to meditate. Or ask a question yourself. For learning purposes it should be a question you do not know the answer to but will be able to verify later. Get a pen and a piece of blank paper. Relax. Breathe deeply and slowly. Find your centre. Ask your spirit guardian for assistance in guiding your hand. Let your mind drift. Hold the pen lightly in your hand. Focus on the question and on the charge of energy that is building up in your hand. At a certain point, the pen may begin to move, seemingly of its own accord. Don't let the excitement you feel at what is happening disrupt the delicate connection between your everyday consciousness and your deep mind. This last point is probably the most difficult instruction to follow, particularly when you are just starting out.

Your first few efforts will likely result in a collection of squiggles and chicken scratches. Again, don't be disheartened. With practice you will be able to write legible words. Save even your most illegible efforts in a binder or notebook so that you can keep track of your progress.

Brief note of warning: Keep your perspective. Don't allow your psychic abilities to dominate your life. In order to be a balanced person, you have to listen to all of your senses (including your common sense), not just your sixth sense. So develop your psychic abilities but find a balance between them and your other abilities. Don't overindulge.

Thoughts on tarot

by Anne-Marie Krone

"I have put tarot first because it's my favorite form of divination. So let's dive into the mechanics of using tarot. The first step is acquiring a deck. When I first started using tarot finding a deck was a lot more difficult than it is now. Back then they were only available in occult book stores and the selection was fairly small (Rider-Waite only usually). Now tarot decks can be picked up in nearly any bookstore that has a New Age section and the variety of decks is amazing! This is a fantastic development, but it can be confusing to a beginner. Which deck to use? I use Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck, but I own an Aquarian Deck, a Sacred Rose Deck, and a Rider-Waite Deck. (I used to own more but I have this tendency to give them away to people who need a deck LOL). My daughter uses the Unicorn Tarot deck. So we are still at the question of which deck? The answer is any deck will work, but the one that you find visually and symbologically appealing to you will work better, so take some time and check out the pictures.

A standard tarot deck consists of 22 trump cards and 56 suit cards. The four suits are generally wands, cups, swords, and pentacles, but there are design variants like rods, staves, clubs, coins, disks, etc. There are now Dragon tarot, Fairy tarot, Womyn's tarot, Wolf tarot, Animal tarot, Witches tarot, Egyptian tarot, Celtic tarot, Magic the Gathering tarot, and many others too numerous to name. It is now possible to find a tarot deck that suits your taste and personality more exactly and this is a very good thing, as divination works best when the symbols are appealing. So the best tarot deck for you is the one that you like the pictures on's that simple.

So now you have a deck, how to use it?
The first and most important step is to learn the meanings of the cards. All decks come with a little booklet that gives a brief description of the meanings of each card and this is perfectly good to get started on. You can purchase a book on tarot (my fav is the The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley, but this is specifically designed for the Thoth deck) to learn more complete meanings, but this is not necessary to start off with. Some good exercises to learn the meanings is to use the cards like flash cards, going through the deck and trying to name the meaning from memory. After some practice you should have at least the generic meanings down, the more specific and subtler meanings will come with practice, also the pictures themselves should give you mnemonic hints. Another way to fix the meanings in your head is to take each card and study it, then copy the meaning down by hand in your book of shadows. Whatever method you use, once you have become familiar with each cards meaning you are ready to begin using the cards for divination.

This is done by means of a "spread". Just as there are lots of tarot decks there are lots of spreads. One of the most common (and probably the one that is shown in your little booklet) is the Celtic Cross Spread. This is a 10 card spread laid out in the form of a cross.

The first card is laid in the center and this card represents either the question or the questioner. It can either be deliberately chosen before the reading or picked at random.
The second card is laid across the first. This card represents that which is "crossing" the question or questioner. In other words...whatever it is that caused you to do the spread in the first place, the problem to be resolved or the unknown information you are seeking.
The third card is placed below the first card and represents the "foundation" or the basis of the question or the starting state of the questioner.
The fourth card is placed to the left of the center. It indicates the past...the circumstances that led up to the present question.
The fifth card is placed above the center and represents the "crown". This is how the question or the questioner appears to the outside world.
The sixth card is placed to the right of center. This represents the immediate future in respect to the question..trends that will soon manifest.
The seventh card is placed beside the cross to the lower right and is the first card in a line that will be made beside the cross. It represents the subconscious...something that pertains to the question but that you might not have been consciously aware of.
The eight card is placed immediately above the seventh. This card represents external relationships with friends and family that might pertain to the question.
The ninth card is placed above the eighth. This is the card that describes the hopes and fears that are related to the question.
The tenth and final card is placed above the ninth and represents the final outcome of the question.

As you can see the Celtic Cross is designed to foretell the general future of a person and really doesn't lend itself well to more specific questions or questions about the properties of a magickal substance. It also only places one card for each area, thereby limiting the nuances that could be expressed.

Another spread which I find more specific and effective is the Pentagram spread.

Starting at the top you lay three cards next to each other. These represent the Spirit of the matter. And all three should be read together as a combined progression. (This is where knowing the magickal elements comes in handy) with the left-most representing the past the middle representing the present and the right-most representing the immediate future)
Next you lay three cards together at the bottom left (you are outlining a pentagram with each point marked by three cards). These three cards represent the Earth of the question...the foundation or basis of the question.
Next you lay three cards in the upper right. These cards will represent the Water of the question...the emotions that lie in the question.
The next set of three is placed in the upper left and represent the Air of the question...the thought or intellectual properties of the question.
Finally the last set of three are placed in the lower right (completing the pentagram) and represent the Fire of the question...or what actions should be taken.

A third spread I call the Yes/No spread, is fairly simple. The question should be phrased as a yes/no question. You lay five cards in a row from left to right. Reversed cards mean no, forward cards mean yes. You count the yes's and no's to get the overall yes or no (majority wins). The cards then can be read as farthest left~past, left-immediate past, middle~present, right~imediate future, furthest right~future.

There are many more spreads and you should feel free to investigate others or make up your own. As long as you know what each place is supposed to mean the spread will "work".

Mechanics or the Care and Feeding of a tarot deck:)

You can shuffle as little or as much as you like in any fashion you like, as long as you do it the same way every time. This allows your dream consciousness a chance to "stack" the deck.

Reading a spread:
Beyond the specific meanings of each card you should look for predominations. For example a spread that is mostly trumps indicates great powers at work, a spread that is mostly swords indicates intellectual matters, cups emotional, disks earthly or material matters, wands physical or life matters. Also look for oppositions like swords and disks or rods and cups..this may indicate conflict or opposing forces at work.

You can keep your tarot deck in the box they came in, but I find it aesthetically pleasing and conducive to my belief in their power (which is what makes them work) to wrap them in a swatch of silk and put them in their own box (I have one in a stain glass box, one in a stone box carved with celtic knotwork, one in a wicker box and one in an orange silk pouch). I keep my favorite deck on my altar, but any place where they aren't going to be upset or casually man-handled is okay.

I keep one set that I use on/for other people (the Aquarian deck) and I allow whoever I am reading for to touch this deck, but all others are off limits. I do this because I have found that keeping your decks attuned only to you makes them more effective. If someone touches your personal deck though, all is not lost. Simply put them back in order (0-21 trumps, 1-King suit cards) this "clears" the deck and you can reset it to your own personal attunement thereafter. (course I still get upset if someone touches my personal deck cause I have been tuning that baby for years LOL)

Most important when doing a reading is how and what you are thinking as you do the spread. Before beginning any tarot reading, I place the deck in my left hand and say a prayer to the Goddess, then I spend a few moments in meditation to bring myself to a light trance state. While I shuffle and lay out the spread (and still in a light trance) I keep the question as the only thought in my head (sometimes chanting the question out loud helps maintain the purity of the thought). If you do not do this your spread WILL reflect whatever happened to be floating around in your head...for example: you asked a question about the best time to do a spell, but your mind kept popping over to the car needing new tires. Chances are really good that the spread will be more about the new tires your car needs than about the spell timing, so it is very important to remain focused.

As with everything else, practice is absolutely necessary to getting "good" with tarot. The more familiar you are with your deck and the more readings you have done, the better your readings will get and the more accurate they will become. It is a good idea to keep notes on readings in your book of shadows, as I have found, sometimes readings I thought I had blown proved to be very accurate (scary accurate) when I reviewed them months or years later."

Copyright Anne-Marie Krone 1999.