Search Results for Tarot
Rosemary Ellen Guiley says the word tarot comes from the Italian tarocci, meaning ‘triumphs’ or ‘trumps’ (Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, 1991).
Today’s tarot consists of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcanas. The major arcana of 22 cards contains symbolism paralleling different mythic traditions.
The minor arcana of 56 cards is divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles. These in turn are separated into King, Queen, Knight and Page.
Believers use the cards for depth psychology, the achievement of goals, divination or some combination of the three.
The cards are usually shuffled and placed in one of several different patterns or ‘spreads’ (e.g. the “Horseshoe,” the “Star,” the “Celtic Cross”). The choice of a spread arguably reflects the dealer’s current state of mind, proficiency level and possibly their unconscious intentions, hopes and desires.
The origins of tarot cards have been variously traced to Hellenistic Egypt, India, Morroco and Atlantis. Guiley says that a French painter, one Jacquemin Grinngonneur, presented cards “that may have been Tarot” to King Charles VI of France in 1392.
Alfred Douglas says that in 1415, the Duke of Milan had Tarot cards painted for his own personal use. Gordon Melton in The Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (1992) says these particular cards were precursors to the current Tarot deck. Melton claims that the Tarot was first differentiated from playing cards in the eighteenth-century, mostly due to the efforts of the French Freemason Anntione Court de Gebelin (1719-1784).
Alphonse-Louis Constant, a.k.a. Eliphas Levi, (1810-1875) wrote extensively about the tarot. Levi was first headed toward being a Catholic priest but fell in love, discovered the occult and never looked back. As such his writings were later incorporated into the practice of magic. He also associated the tarot with the Kabbala.
On this Stuart Gordon says:
Levi developed the pack’s occult connection by associating the card of the Major Arcana with Qabalah, assigning each of the twenty-two trumps to letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with corresponding numerological significances (The Paranormal: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Headline 1992, p, 647).
During this era the tarot was believed to have first been discovered (not devised) in Europe by gypsies, thought to have originated in Egypt–”(e)gyp(t)sy.”
The cards or, at least, the ideas behind them, were apparently preserved by scribes who, up to medieval times, quietly saved a lion’s share of ancient pagan texts, spells and incantations from the ravages of the war-torn Roman Empire and the official, outward condemnation of the Church.¹
The obvious influence of pagan Celtic symbolism in the tarot lends some support this view, as do the 22 Major cards corresponding to prominent deities from classical Greek and Roman lore.
In 1910, Arthur Edward Waite together with artist Pamela Colman Smith devised a new tarot deck, known today as the Rider-Waite Tarot. Shortly afterward, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) emphasized the tarot’s alleged Egyptian origin, devising a deck with commentary called The Book of Thoth, which rivaled Waite and Coleman’s tarot in popularity.
In the 1950′s, Jungian writer Marie Louise von Franz suggested that the tarot parallels steps along the individuation process.
¹Along these lines Arnold J. Toynbee and others say organized Christianity effectively replaced pagan Rome as the creator of a persecutory culture of fear.
» Earthpages.org Review – Tarot Stripped Bare (DVD), Magic, Odin
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Clairvoyance (French clair = “clear” and voyance = “vision”)
Just as the nineteenth-century medium is now called the channeler, and the former New Thought movement has been recast as the New Age, clairvoyance is a slightly antiquated term that’s been updated with the more specific ideas of psi, PK, and remote viewing.
The term clairvoyance seems to be making a bit of a comeback, however. It’s still being used as an umbrella term for practically every type of alleged paranormal perception—i.e. perception beyond the range of the normal senses.
Critics of the idea say that there’s no real hard scientific evidence to support clairvoyance. Sympathizers say that successful clairvoyance hinges on delicate factors, making scientific replication impractical.
Believers in God who are not hostile to clairvoyance (as some devilish trick) add that successful inner vision is entirely dependent on God’s will. That is, God permits clairvoyance to happen in specific situations for some good reason. If this is true, then it is ludicrous for science to expect God to always bend to the demands of scientific investigators. Skeptics like James Randi seem totally oblivious to this possibility. For them, if something cannot be replicated in a controlled experiment, it never happened.
Suburbanclairvoyant nicely sums up how many clairvoyants (and those sympathetic to the idea) would likely see skeptics and scientists who overreach the inherent limitations of science:
…the words “controlled experiment” are an oxymoron in the Clair world, and make me laugh. There’s no pinning this down. It just is what it is…¹
- Excerpts from “Seership! The Magnetic Mirror!” (1874) (vonfaustus.blogspot.com)
- Connecticut School Shooting – and a day that sucked to be psychic (ifyoucouldseewhatihear.wordpress.com)
- Free Jazz Saxophonist IVO PERELMAN Releases Three Albums: “Living Jelly,” “The Clairvoyant,” and “The Gift,” Available November 13 on Leo Records (theurbanflux.com)
- Logo for Nostradamus site (clairvoyance, tarot reading, prophecies) (99designs.co.uk)
Divination (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be supernaturally inspired”) is trying to tell the future, locating lost objects or revealing hidden personality traits through magical or spiritual means, usually with the aid of a special technique. Divination appears in most societies throughout human history. The practice is so widespread that it’s found among the very first literature cultures. S. G. F. Brandon suggests that divination takes two main forms, which he calls automatic and interrogation of divine intent.¹
Some religions frown on the practice, or have come to frown on it by claiming to progressively “perfect,” “complete” or “fulfill” its imperfect religious roots (Christianity being a prime example). But for the most part, divination has been condoned or encouraged by zealous leaders and layperson alike, eager to know what life has in store for them, and how they should best decide on certain issues.
Delphi was home to the famous Dephic oracle. In Tibet, state temples were devoted to divination. In ancient China the I Ching was developed. In Africa oracles and female mediums were consulted. In the ancient Near East animal entrails were examined, their form and condition apparently foretelling future events.
The ancient Romans were mostly concerned with determining the gods’ attitudes towards certain acts. Auspicia were favorable omens (usually the flight of birds) that only senior Roman magistrates could interpret. Prodigia, on the other hand, were evil omens interpreted by the Roman elite, the effects of which could be avoided by civic piety and priestly skill. Augurs involved observing animals, in general, to receive a sign that would help in deciding action in public and private affairs. The Romans, however, were not bound to accept a given augur. They could reject it if they wished, and act on their own accord.²
In the New Testament we have the indisputable example of the Three Wise Men following the star that lead them to bear gifts to Jesus Christ. Despite this, the Protestant Reformer John Calvin wrote the “Warning Against So-Called Judicial Astrology” in 1549. And Pope Sixtus V officially condemned all forms of divination in 1586.³
Several centuries prior, St. Francis of Assisi apparently opened the Bible at random every morning and read a verse, believing that God directed him to the passage that would set the right tone for his actions through the day.
In a similar vein, the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung believed a spiritus rector lead him to open books at the right page, turn on the radio at the precisely right moment, and so on, in order for meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) to take place.
¹ S. G. F. Brandon (ed.) Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1971, pp. 115, 243.
² Ibid. The entry on divination gives many more examples, as does Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divination
³Duby and Perrot (eds.) A History of Women, Vol 3, 2000, p. 455.
Rosemary Ellen Guiley (19?? – ) is an American researcher, author and broadcaster on paranormal phenomena. Dr. Guiley promotes awareness of the paranormal. At her website she writes that her “driving purpose is to help further our understanding of our place and role in the cosmic scheme” (visionaryliving.com). She also addresses issues like communicating with the dead and dealing with malevolent spirits.
This is all very interesting stuff. Unfortunately, it’s still difficult for most people to understand because of the inherent difficulties in the public verification of paranormal reports. In addition, some materialist or (ironically enough) religious reactionaries tend to cast aspersions on anyone interested in trying to understand the paranormal—even though the very same people will often delight at movies like The Exorcist.¹
¹ The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, of course, would say that the horror movie watcher is momentarily fascinated by the archetype of the shadow. For Jung this is not unhealthy. But in some destructive instances, if left unconscious the shadow archetype apparently can erupt and compel non-integrated individuals to behave in a manner harmful to self or others.
- Paranormal? Earling Possession – Anna Ecklund – Last Sanctioned Exorcism – Begone Satan (etxhaunted.com)
- Demonspotting: Vassago (teresawilde.wordpress.com)
- deZengo liked Eli’s blog post ‘What Is Affirmative Prayer?’ (community.humanityhealing.net)
- Strange Dimensions January 2012 (visionaryliving.com)
- Stuart Gordon (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- The Paranormal Genre (kyomirichardsa2.wordpress.com)
- Paranormal Activity (ambalabamba.wordpress.com)
Hellenistic civilization refers to the ancient Greek people and their culture after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE.
In sharp contrast to today’s Greece, struggling to fight off social and economic collapse, ancient Greece was a highly respected cultural powerhouse whose influence spread throughout the ancient world.
In those days, cultivated people spoke both Latin and Greek. And the Hellenistic age was, for all intents and purposes, a highpoint in Greek civilization, in terms of both its creative output and its general influence.
Hellenistic civilization was preceded by the Classical Hellenic period, and followed by Roman rule over the areas Greece had earlier dominated – even though much of Greek culture, religion, art and literature still permeated Rome’s rule, whose elite spoke and read Greek as well as Latin.¹
The Hellenistic Age extends from Alexander’s death to the beginning of the Roman Empire in 31 BCE.
A series of dynasties, including the Ptolemies and Seleucids, dominated the region between Greece and Northern India.
Hellenistic philosophy was based in Athens from approximately 300 BCE to 200 CE. Among the many subjects explored, its chief concerns were to outline the ideal life and to develop empiricism. Hellenistic philosophy’s most prominent branches are Stoicism, Epicureanism and Skepticism.
But Hellenistic culture was diverse. It wasn’t just about hard-headed thinking. Some believe that the roots of astrology can be traced to Hellenistic Egypt.
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A knight was a mounted warrior in the Middle Ages who pledged allegiance to the Church and, as such, answered to ordained priests. During the Crusades it was believed that a knight only fought for just and holy causes.
However, many abuses occurred (including rapes, pillaging, cruelty and senseless murder), and some would argue that the whole idea of ‘killing for Christ’ is a twisted perversion of Christ’s teachings.
It has often been said that crusaders tended to behave particularly badly once they were in the field. That they could be undisciplined and capable of acts of great cruelty cannot be denied.¹
The Crusading knight was also a servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and as the institution developed over the centuries, the idea of knighthood became highly romanticized in life, literature and song. Instead of being a mere ‘killer for Christ,’ the knight evolved into a courageous hero who was bound to protect women through acts of chivalry. At least, that was the prevailing ideal in the latter Middle Ages, an idea that became even more pronounced during the Renaissance.
Part of the knight’s identity rested upon horsemanship and another part on armoury–just as horsemanship, battle attire and weapons have always been important to warriors, stretching back into antiquity. When the technology of warfare changed, the old idea of the mounted knight in armor gradually fell into obscurity.
Today, the knight remains an omnipresent symbol of heroism and honor in works of fiction and pop culture. And those knighted by royalty are done so for some great lifetime achievement (e.g. Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir Michael Phillip “Mick” Jagger).
In addition, certain religious groups have adapted the term knight to symbolize holiness and the pursuit of goodness (e.g. The Knights of Columbus).
Interestingly, some contemporary figures do not accept the honor of knighthood which the British royalty so carefully offers.²
¹ See Rethinking the Crusades by JONATHAN RILEY SMITH » http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0042.html
² David Bowie declined the honor in 2003, saying : “I would never have any intention of accepting anything like that. I seriously don’t know what it’s for. It’s not what I spent my life working for.” See » http://www.bowiewonderworld.com/press/00/030912thesun.htm. And many others have responded similarly, as revealed in this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declining_a_British_honour
- Constantine, We Are Here: (brothersjuddblog.com)
- Mar 11, 1997: Paul McCartney Knighted (censorshipinamerica.com)
- Feudal Europe Essay (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar at War (socyberty.com)
- King Arthur in Legends and Literature (socyberty.com)
- Teutonic Knights and Knights Templar: Clash of Interests (socyberty.com)
- Jousting Tournaments in the Middle Ages (brighthub.com)
- A Crusading Knight and Cute Concrete (nytimes.com)
- Santorum Tackles the Crusades (unreasonablefaith.com)
- In Defense of Medieval Gaming from Geekcentricity ” Role-Playing (geekcentricity.com)
Broadly speaking, magic is the use of supernatural power to cause an effect on or gain knowledge of people, souls, animals, vegetation, objects, the elements and events. Magical procedures may involve elaborate ritual and are variously directed towards the past, present, future and afterlife or some combination thereof.
A distinction is usually made between white and black magic. White magic is allegedly intended to help people. Black magic is revengeful with the intent to harm others and thus more clearly evil.
Sympathetic magic is the belief that one event causes another, so the magician imitates a desired outcome. A positive example would be painting animals on a cave wall in the belief that this will enrich the hunt. A negative example would be believing that a barren woman is the cause of a blighted crop.
Contagious magic is based on the belief that things once in physical contact or proximity continue to have a magical connection after they’re separated.
The most familiar example of Contagious Magic is the magical sympathy which is supposed to exist between a man and any severed portion of his person, as his hair or nails; so that whoever gets possession of human hair or nails may work his will, at any distance, upon the person from whom they were cut. This superstition is world-wide.¹
Another distinction is made between magic and religion. As Joachim Wach (1898-1955) suggests:
Religion differs from magic in that it is not concerned with control or manipulation of the powers confronted. Rather it means submission to, trust in, and adoration of, what is apprehended as the divine nature of ultimate reality.²
However S. G. F. Brandon says this is a biased perspective:
…such attempts generally rest on a priori definitions of the two entities concerned.³
Sociologists also point out similarities between magical and religious rituals. However, structural similarities do not necessarily entail equivalence.
We could, for instance, say that Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and New York are both big cities. Each has roads, buildings, people, movie halls and markets. But anyone visiting these two locales will be struck by their differences.
While an outsider may think that religious and magical rituals look the same and bring about similar results, to believers (on both sides) the numinous results differ dramatically. Modern magicians often say (or imply) that religious ritual is just an empty shell, cut off from any spiritual meaning it may have once had. Meanwhile, many contemporary religious persons shun magical rituals, often saying that the result brings about a kind of dark, gloomy, heavy and obscuring spirituality that is the work of evil.
Search Think Free » Abyss , Archetypal Image, Aztecs, Beowulf, Crowley (Aleister), Divination, Druids, Faeries, Frazer (Sir James G.), Glamour, Hero, Holy, I Ching, Justification, Kabbala, Numinous, Numinosity, Occam’s razor, Odin, Paranormal, Power, Steppenwolf, Taoism, Tarot, Ticket, Unction, Witch, Zombie
¹ Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). The Golden Bough. 1922. http://bartelby.org/196/7.html
² Joachim Wach, The Comparative Study of Religions, ch. 2, Columbia University Press (1958), cited in The Columbia World of Quotations, 1996.
³ Dictionary of Comparative Religion, ed. S. G. F. Brandon, New York: Charles Scribners & Sons, 1970, p. 418.
- What is Magic, Really? (teachstreet.com)
- In your blog yesterday, you wrote that you used to “talk smack about Chaos Magick”. I hope you won’t be offended, but a lot of what you write seems a lot like Chaos Magic. What are the things that you don’t like about Chaos Magic? (strategicsorcery.blogspot.com)
- Most cultures have strong ideas about what kind of magic is “women’s magic” and what kind is only for men. Is there any basis for any of these distinctions, outside of cultural mores? Anything an aspiring sorceress should do differently from a sorcerer? (strategicsorcery.blogspot.com)
- My Chaos Magic Re-look (strategicsorcery.blogspot.com)
- 4E Ritual- Empower Magic Item from Big Ball of No Fun (bigballofnofun.blogspot.com)
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The Latin prefix para means beside or beyond. Not unlike the word supernatural, paranormal refers to any phenomenon that eludes explanation through science or conventional wisdom.
It can be a misleading term because the idea of ‘normal’ is open to debate. At what precise point, for instance, does mere intuition or insight become ESP or clairvoyance?
Funnily enough, the US courts still provide the option of placing the right hand on the Bible when taking an oath—and the Bible is a book premised on, and which invites believers to enjoy eternal rest in, a ‘paranormal’ realm called heaven.
Likewise, the more recent versions of the psychiatric diagnostic manual accept as normal those religious beliefs, which sometimes include the paranormal, that are well-established and actively practiced within a given culture.
Traditional religious persons tend to look down on the paranormal, saying that it deals with magic, evil spirits, the occult and demonic realms, while heaven is said to be a faith-based concept denoting God‘s realm.
Many who believe they have psi abilities apparently don’t report them for fear of the repercussions–i.e. they don’t want to be ridiculed, bullied, harassed, stigmatized or marginalized.
We can only wonder how many might possess genuine psi abilities yet go unrecorded by statistics, which in turn contribute to the definition of the ‘normal.’
The issues of social visibility and unreliable statistics compel us to ask whether ‘normal’ and ‘paranormal’ are relative instead of absolute categories. Just as postmoderns deconstruct the notion of “the natural,” it seems that the line between normal and paranormal could be a historically relative and situation-specific one.
- Science journalism faces media changes, emerging discoveries – Article by Steve Hammons that questions the cut and dried distinction between normal and paranormal, outlining the need for science to be more inclusive of so-called paranormal phenomena
Runes were the characters of the Anglo-Saxon language dating from the 8th-century CE, although some claim they are of early Gothic origin and others date them to the 1st century.
The characters gradually took on divinatory and mystical significance as they spread from southern Europe to Britain and Scandinavia.
Not unlike modern interpretations of the I Ching, which adapt ancient Chinese commentaries, today’s Runes are said to be based on runic inscriptions as found on swords, stones and bronze pendants.
Also like the I Ching, Tarot and other divinatory systems, the runes have been commercialized on a grand scale.
While some may think this invalidates their divinatory and mystical significance, others don’t make such a sharp distinction between God and commercialism.
In fact, some believe that God can work through any vehicle, be it one traditionally construed as “sacred” or another branded as a “sellout.”
This issue touches on the unresolved idea of making cosmological and ethical distinctions between the sacred and profane, discussed by Mircea Eliade and others.