The World of The Supernatural has always had a close relationship with the skills or natural born gifts of those who can predict or foretell the future. The Delphic Oracle, The Pythia (see picture below by the artist John Collier in 1891 and now on show at the Art Gallery South Australia), was one of the most famous examples of those who were asked to see into the future, with ill-fated Casandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy being the most tragic example of someone with this gift.
I think it would be a good idea for me to explore this art, for the purposes of ‘filling out’ my background knowledge of the subject should it ever be an inherent facet of the stories I write. My knowledge of prediction? More or less nil, so follow me as I explore the various methods and devices used in this ancient art. I hope at the end of our journey both you and I will have benefited from a thorough and objective examination of the techniques used to tell the future, at the very least, we should be a hit at dinner if the scintillating table conversation dries up!
This is my first port of call in my journey through the World of Prediction and Foretelling the Future. Why? Well, it’s the first one I thought of and that ‘sprang to mind’. It is a relatively old and intriguing way of foretelling the future, used both in the past and today. Tarot cards apparently date from the 15th Century and a brief outline of their history and use can be found if you click on the following Wikipedia link – TAROT
In Action – November 2015
Here’s a picture of me in action a while ago, when I attended a craft fair and did fifteen or so readings at my table. My clients were lovely people and I hopefully satisfied their curiosity once they had crossed my palm with coin.
It was a really interesting evening with the cards working their usual magic for my delightful enquirers. The deck I use by the way is the standard Tarot of Marseille, Major Arcana only. I limit the spreads to the three-card a past, present, future spread and a three-card Veil spread to answer one question at the reading’s end.
Obtaining Your Instruments of Prediction
So first steps, you need to buy a tarot deck and I purchased the full sized Major Arcana of 22 cards of the Tarot of Marseille on Amazon, I just liked the look of it. There are many other designs of decks you can use and you can also obtain them online at Waterstones or at your local Waterstones, ‘New Age’ or ‘Occult’ shops. These outlets will usually have a good selection of both cards and instruction books for you to choose from.
At the moment I’m not going to use the 56 cards of the Minor Arcana as this is just too much detail for me to take in right away and I’ve decided that the Major Arcana will do just fine, until I have got the hang (pun intended) of simple small spreads.
A Three Card Reading
I’ve read Tarot card reading instructions and help on several websites and I’ll be placing links to these on the site in due course. Opinion on how to do a reading, is overall quite diverse with no standard or definitive system is held up as a benchmark for the would-be practitioner.
The following is one example of card reading I gleaned for a simple ‘Three Card Spread’ that gave me a snapshot on what ‘The Fates’ – ‘The Moirai’ had in store from me.
I asked the cards for an indication (as far as ‘The Fates’ were concerned?) of what My Past was or was believed by them to have been, What My Present Status is and lastly, the most important question…What Did The Future Hold For Me?
Here is the simple method I used: –
- I turned all the cards upside down in a heap and then just shuffled and turned them around and around face down on the table
- Keeping them face down, I brought them together into one deck
- I then dealt the cards out into three equal piles, still keeping them face down
- I then joined the three piles (mini decks) together one on top of the other. Do this in any way you feel inclined to, i.e. whatever takes your fancy or whim at the time but keep the cards face down at all times
- I then dealt out just three cards from left to right, face up this time and read them from left to right, i.e. from the past to the future. Note that this methodology can vary from reader to reader
- I then read and interpreted the spread using the key in the pack’s instruction booklet along with the Wikipedia page on the subject.
The Cards’ Meaning
So you’ve done your spread, what did the cards you’ve dealt out mean? What does the future hold for you? The answer seems to be, whatever you personally believe they reveal. The meaning obtained is a totally subjective one arrived at by the reader, or the client consulting a reader, using the information in the links I’ve provided and their skill (or lack of it?)
Cost wise, it’s not too expensive, provided you shop around for the cards and the books that can you give instruction on their use.
If you are thinking of consulting a reader, do check them out thoroughly via reviews and feedback etc. on the web. Like every other skill or gift, readers will vary from the competent and skilled practitioner to the incompetent charlatan, so the axiom ‘let the buyer beware’ most definitely applies.
Here is a quick video guide by a tarot reader Kate that I found on YouTube, which might be of help to you and there are plenty of other websites that give information about the cards. She does a three-card reading in a pleasant and easy to understand way and there are several links to other sites at the side of Kate’s reading that show techniques associated with the reading of Tarot cards. Kate is using a different deck to my one, with cards like the VII being the ‘Eight of Cups’ in her deck and ‘Justice’ in mine and you will find that cards vary from deck to deck. So click on this YouTube link Kate’s Lesson to listen to her advice.
Here’s an example of a hand I dealt myself. I read my own cards, using a three card past, present and future spread and the following sequence appeared:-
According to this fortuitous hand, I should:-
1) The Fool (past card) – be experiencing a new opportunity or challenge with
2) The Sun (present) – have achievement and success and…
3) The Wheel of Fortune (Future) – an unexpected stroke of luck, with a fortunate change of circumstance, huzzah!
= a dashed good hand!!
I did say that I’d be trying out the Major Arcana, ‘three card one question hand’ and here is the result of my investigations into this burning question (pun intended)!
This methodology comes from the very good Biddy Tarot site. I have actually used it at public readings and it seems to work well, so it’s worth a go if you are after the answer to a ‘specific question’ e.g. will I get that job, be lucky in love, gain world domination a week next Tuesday etc. This reading is also know as the ‘veil spread’ or ‘veil reading’ and it goes like this:-
Shuffle the cards using a standard shuffle or a messy shuffle, whichever you prefer. Here’s Biddy’s advice on tarot deck shuffles, just click on the word shuffle – SHUFFLE to watch her YouTube tutorial video.
Lay your cards out this time horizontally, the top card being the situation or question you are asking. The card placed directly below that is the problem, i.e. the veil (hence the reading’s name) or obstruction that is preventing you from seeing a clear answer to your question. Finally, the bottom (last) card, is the advice the cards are giving you on the action you need to take, to remove the obstruction and resolve your question successfully.
It’s then up to you to use whatever decoding system or book you prefer, to interpret the question’s answer and work out your future strategy, based on what the cards you’ve just dealt have shown. It’s an interesting one and if doing it for someone else (they shuffle first of course), it helps if they tell you what their question is, otherwise it can get a bit drawn out and complicated on the interpretation front.
Here is a clip to another video of Biddy’s that gives a mini tutorial on the methodology for the veil reading, just click on the word veil – VEIL, good luck!
O.A.Dip. (Tarot & Cartomancy)
O.A.Dip. (Rune Divination)
© Paul Fitz-George, 2013-2021
The names English Ghosts and englishghosts.com are the sole property of Paul Fitz-George and any unauthorised use or copying of these terms is forbidden.