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Divination and Psychicism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.tarot
From: tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com (nagasiva)
Subject: Divination and Psychicism (was Re: 'Real' vs. 'Nonhistorical, Intuitive' Meanings (was Re: Dog in The Fool card?)
Date: 13 May 1997 01:47:29 -0700

49970513 AA1 Hail Satan!

"Jan Tier" :
#># if a person was (were?) a naturally gifted psychic, 
#>                                             ~~~~~~~

"Jan Tier" :
# ...a psychic [is]...a person with clairvoyant ability or sixth sense -- 
# having knowledge of past, present or potential future events without 
# having been told or otherwise acquiring that information via
# traditional means.

I suppose that the tarot could be by your description a 'nontraditional
means' of coming about this type of information?  if so, then you don't
have to be a psychic to be a tarot reader, doing a reading is 
effectively a "psychic act" by your definition.

however, you previously said that a "psychic" was someone who had
certain qualifications *prior* to tarot usage, some sort of abilities
which *enabled* one to use the tool of tarot effectively.  perhaps,
therefore, the 'nontraditional means' of acquiring information was
some kind of mental experience and using the tarot cards as some 
sort of 'trigger mechanism', a tool by which this psychic power is
unlocked and exercised?  this would explain some of your commentary
which has come up in our thread thusfar.  more below.
  

#># ...the particular tool used (crystals, Ouija board, tarot
#># cards, personal item belonging to querant, whatever) would just be a
#># personal preference; the reader would be using the tool as a channel,
#># per se, and would use tarot as a springboard for their own intuitive 
#># gifts.

# ...Many psychics say they hear spirit[s] or voices that speak to them; 

the GD/Crowley 'angel of the tarot' is perhaps related here, yes.


# if this is so, it would seem to me that they would have the ability to 
# acquire or access that knowledge independently from the use of tarot,
# scrying, or whatever. 

it seems very logical to me that they might try to develop that into an
independent skill, or at least one related to different channels, yes.


# That they would use tarot as a source of inspiration (channel) that 
# would fuel their own abilities, rather than a primary means of acquiring 
# insight or information, that's all.

this is a very interesting point.  you seem to be discerning between not
only the ultimate source of revealed knowledge (angel vs. cards) but the
degree of reliance upon the tool itself, when making a distinction between
a 'psychic', whom you associate with spirit contact, and a 'tarot reader',
whom you seem to be identifying as 'anyone that interprets tarot in a
divinatory reading utilizing only the cards to arrive at the final result.'

I think there is a great deal of truth in the associations you've made,
though neither do all psychics think they are engaged in that kind of 
contact, nor is this contact necessarily all that unfamiliar to 
traditional tarot readers or occultists.

for example, in Crowley's book describing the deck he and Lady Frieda 
Harris created, he writes:

	2. Take the cards in your left hand.  In the right hand
	hold the wand over them, and say: I invoke thee, I A O,
	that thou wilt send H R U, the great Angel that is set
	over the operations of this Secret Wisdom, to lay his
	hand invisibly upon these consecrated cards of art, that
	thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things,
	to the glory of thine ineffable Name.  Amen.
	--------------------------------------------------------
	_The Book of Thoth_, by Aleister Crowley, Weiser, 1981; p. 250.
	_______________________________________________________________ 

one remarkable thing about this is that in the bulk of Crowley's works
it is fairly commonly acknowledged that his Main Objective, indeed 
the entire focus of his magick, was dedicated to what he called the
"Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel".  I don't know
who "H R U" is or was (I've never followed Crowley's instructions in
using his deck ;>), but it seems quite clear that the description you
gave regarding "psychics" is reflected very strongly by at least one
very well-respected tarot-originator (angelic source of the knowledge).

one might say that Crowley is 'calling the angel into the deck', and
yet it is only HRU's hand which is layed upon the deck.  that is, he
is using the deck as a "channel" (by your language) to "obtain the
knowledge of hidden things", precisely the description you gave of a
'psychic tarot reader'.  matters get even more comedic when, from
_Moonchild_ we come to understand how much Crowley seems to have
disliked 'spiritualists' (mediums), no matter how much he may have
enjoyed of Blavatsky.

 
# I hope to learn enough about the subject (through study) to be able to 
# effectively read and interpret the symbolism on the cards....

consider the possibility that 'study' may include 'doing readings' in
which you begin to assimilate the symbolism of the cards in the context
of interpretation, regardless of whether or not you utilize traditional
associations.  I gathered that you were lending your voice to Jess's,
indicating that solely the historical association-schema was the correct,
and that 'psychic readers' might develop their own, but that this was
something of a different process (and worthy of a different categori-
zation).

in such a case it would be easiest to start out with small amounts of
cards, 1, 2, 3, and designate their signficance before seeing their
face.  such as: 'what is the general character of my present?'  then
read some about the card you select.  there are a number of very
lovely tarot-layout configuration in a REF lying about if you need
them, and I'd post them if you can't get to it in the alt.magick FAQ.


#># I am somewhat intuitive, but would not consider myself a psychic or 
#># particularly gifted in that area. 
 
# ...reading tarot would not necessarily *require* clairvoyant ability.

typically 'clairvoyance' includes what is called 'far-seeing', and is a
type of 'extra-sensory perception' within the field of the paranormal.
it would not ordinarily be a necessary skill of tarot readers, even
those who considered themselves 'psychics' or to be possessed of what
are traditionally called 'psychic skills'.  

an example of clairvoyance is if I were to begin seeing through your 
eyes and look around at all the objects and events which occurred in 
your room.  later I would (according to this ideology, I have no 
evidence for it) be able to describe what you saw in detail.  it does 
not require that I have been using your eyes, however.  some people 
explain it through an association with 'astral travel' (spirit travel 
to other physical locales).


#># Most of the books I have read on the subject appear to assume that 
#># their reader *is* psychic, to me, anyway. 
 
nagasiva :
#> really?  could you elaborate here?  what did the books presume you were
#> able to do that you were not?  could you suggest some of the books which
#> gave you this impression?

# *Fairfield's "Choice-Centered Tarot," in the introduction, primarily
# discusses using tarot as a tool to tune into psychic capability. 

using tarot to tune into psychic ability is not the same as having a
prerequisite of being psychic in order to read.


# *Juliet Sharman-Burke's "The Complete Book of Tarot" (p. 8) states that
# "The cards are intended as springboards for the intuitive powers to start
# working from and feelings evoked by the images are therefore the final
# touchstone for good divinatory interpretation." 

exactly, as springboards, which means that you don't have to be able to
do psychic things in order to read tarot, but that they can be used to
inspire psychic ability.  note the association here with 'divination'.


# *Jana Riley's "The Tarot Book" (p. 44) states, "When you are interpreting
# the cards, you are listening to the conscious, the subconscious, and the
# superconscious. If you reach a certain degree of awareness, when doing a
# reading you will perceive the Force flowing from the archetypes to you,
# from you to the person being read for, from the person being read for 
# back to you, and around again."

I do not interpret any psychic skill required as prerequisite here either.
Riley is describing how it feels (and her explanation as to why) when one
does a good reading.  no 'psychic abilities' necessary.


# *Carl Japikse's "Exploring the Tarot" (p. 18) discusses the many levels of
# intuitive skill, from the simplest (fortunetelling) to the most profound,
# interacting directly with archetypal forces and our own spiritual essence.

I wonder if he was the one using 'fortune-telling' (some authors do, but it
seems somewhat unusual outside a very cheap line of books).  however, no
psychic skills listed as prerequisite in your text here either.


# They seem to infer that the intuitive ability will develop over a period of
# time; it might, I don't know for certain. 

yes, that is precisely what I think they are talking about, an enhancement
and development of the intuitive skill.  not only this, but a development
of an ability to engage divination, which can have all manner of objects 
as focal language.  the tarot is a popular focus because it is loaded with
both archetypal and rudimentary symbols, and once you have become accustomed
to reading the symbols from a tarot deck you can move on to other classical
divinatory systems as well as life-contextual 'conversations' with greater
agents (esp. if you begin to see all objects in your environs as symbols,
which Crowley and others have described as related to the 'Oath of Abyss',
and to the qabalah).
 

#># I have tried, with dismal results, the recommended meditation practices 
#># ("enter" the card, etc.) and pretty much given up on that route.
 
# Several of the books I have read give specific examples and/or exercises on
# how to do this type of meditation/visualization.

[books, (thanks for the list!) omitted]

# They refer to the visualization technique of imagining yourself entering
# the card, actually stepping into it, looking all around at the people,
# landscape, etc. and interacting with the characters depicted there,
# imagining what they would say to you, and so forth. As a matter of fact,
# *so many* of the books mentioned this technique that I just assumed I was
# exceptionally dull in not being able to practice this method.

actually I don't think it is by any means the only way to learn tarot.  I
have rarely if *ever* encountered tarot this way except during extended
periods of contemplation of certain cards.  as I have said already, it may
be as simple a matter as that you learn differently and would benefit
from just diving in and *doing it* without worrying about whether you are
doing it 'correctly', despite what any critics might say otherwise.

that you have some confidence in your own intuitive skill is an asset.
if you have such a library as you appear to at your disposal, it will
provide you with a rudimentary association schema from which to proceed.
I would advise you to attribute whatever meaning *you* find valuable to
the cards, perhaps varying this or informing it with study, but don't
let your lack of book-studies inhibit your use of the cards!  it may be
one of the most important things you can do to jump in and actually
DO READINGS.

I found it valuable to record the layouts and, at times, my interpreta-
tions, for later reference.  more often I just got a direct value in
using the cards to reflect on my own life situations.  I looked up
cards in books (cheapo books and the more 'classical') and took what I
liked from them.  this method has consistently served me well.  now I
only consult additional references when I don't feel I know a card
well enough.  over the years I have got a pretty good feel for what I
associate with each card, especially having done some analytical
review of the elements of symbolic structure in the deck and of the
field of symbolism as a whole.  these are *supplementary* studies which
allow one to deepen and broaden one's abilities beyond the real
experience which comes from getting in there and *handling the cards*.
  

#> take up some book (any book, since you seem to like them) 

# Ah, a little wry humor . I did read just about every book I could get my
# hands on in this past year.

then I'd say you are ready to begin with experiments if you like.
some people can't read for themselves, for whatever reason.  some ONLY
like to do so (I'm one of the latter).  exploring both can be helpful
in coming to realize from what you derive most value.  even if you
just play cardgames with the tarot cards, or just shuffle them and
look at them admiringly now and again while so doing you will be
on your way to assimilating their content on an unconscious level.

I'm trying to put this into words in part because I know that this
(alt.tarot) forum is sometimes overshadowed by the critics who don't
take my approach to the tarot seriously.  In part I want you to know
some of the alternatives available to you, however you understand the
deck(s) and your relationship to them.

thanks for your patience with our language-synch.

tyagi
-- 
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