The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with a list of procedures necessary for you to understand and complete prior to spreading the cards for divination. If you have thoroughly absorbed the information in the preceding chapters and have practiced the exercises faithfully, you should be ready to commence reading the cards seriously—either for yourself or for another person.
I have arranged this information in the form of nine simple steps, which should make it easier for you to commit them to memory, so that they become second nature to you before each reading.
During the course of explaining these steps, I may repeat some of the material you have studied earlier. Bear with me—the repetition will do no harm and will serve to imprint even further in your subconscious information which will aid you during divination.
Here are the nine steps you should complete before beginning any divination:
1. Arrange for the proper atmosphere.
2. Assume the proper seating position.
3. Prepare the Tarot deck, table and cover.
4. Have the client write out the question.
5. Recite the Prayer of Invocation.
6. Break the pack.
7. Have the client perform the preliminary procedures.
8. Perform the Ritual of Solidification.
9. Commence the spread.
If possible, try to arrange a special area or corner somewhere in your home to be used for Tarot study and divination and nothing else. This place should be quiet and undisturbed by outside activities and distractions. Your Tarot table, cloth and cards should be kept here when not in use. Whenever possible, fresh flowers add a positive and relaxing note; it is good to have them on the table even when you are not using the cards.
Another pleasant aid to concentration and relaxation is incense. It should not be so strong as to be overpowering, but a light fragrance that lends a mood to the situation, making it different from the normal routine of home or work. If you use it consistently, your subconscious will learn to associate the fragrance with your desire to probe the Higher Consciousness, and the incense will thus become an extra tool to aid you in your spiritual endeavors. Incense has traditionally been used as a spiritual cleanser by religions all over the world for thousands of years.
A person who has developed his inner awareness to a high level or is considered to be "intuitive" is similar to a battery that has been fully charged. Such a person can tune in to the higher vibrations at any time and at any place, absorbing cosmic energy, storing it and releasing it whenever necessary for his own benefit or the benefit of others. Such a "release" of energy occurs during a divination.
The magnetic and psychic energy currents of the earth are said to flow from North to South and back again. The esoteric "Seat of Authority" is considered to be in the North, so you should arrange the seating for yourself and your client to line up NORTH and SOUTH. You should be sitting on the NORTH SIDE of the Tarot table, FACING SOUTH; your client should be sitting on the SOUTH SIDE of the Tarot table, FACING NORTH. This arrangement will align you and the client in the most harmonious position with the earth currents.
However, it is important to note that if you are using the Tarot ALONE, you should sit FACING EAST, the direction of the rising sun. This was considered especially beneficial by ancient scholars, as facing the direction of "the most pure representation of the first emanation from God."
This esoteric law of magnetic alignment is not restricted to the practice of Tarot. It should be used for any kind of spiritual study or divination. You will also find that you achieve a deeper, more restful sleep if your bed is aligned North-South; try it and see. I believe you will find a definite change in your studies and consultations if you adhere to this rule of the esoteric compass.
Prepare the Tarot Deck, Table and Cover
A natural wooden table — or at least, one with a wooden top — about two feet square is ideal for divination and study. When not in use it should be covered with a "Tarot Cover," a piece of cloth about two feet square, preferably silk. Keeping the surface of your table covered will protect it from attracting other vibratory influences. Natural wood is a good conductor of psychic energy and draws it like a magnet. By constantly working on your table, you "season" it favorably to your own vibrations, just as you do with your Tarot deck.
So you and your client are now seated at the table, facing North-South. Your cards have been unwrapped from their protective cloth and laid on the table. You are almost ready to begin the reading, but first there are a few more steps to accomplish.
Always have a small note pad and pencil available. The pad should be just large enough for the client to write a question on; three inches by five inches is a good size. Keep the pad exclusively for Tarot use and use a wooden pencil, which is much better than a ballpoint pen. Choose a color pencil that you associate with the Tarot, perhaps one that is the same as or harmonizes with the color of your Tarot Cover.
There is a very definite reason why it is desirable to have your client write out the question. The ordinary human mind finds it very difficult to hold only one thought for any length of time; one thought leads to another, and another, flitting from subject to subject, triggering a kind of mental chain reaction. This is one of the initial difficulties the student of occultism discovers when attempting meditation for the first time. Now all of this additional mental activity can be very disturbing and confusing to the reader's concentration and can cause negative vibrations to influence the Tarot cards. If the client's thoughts are not focused on one question, it is possible to have a reading which is incorrect but not untruthful. In other words, if the reader is misled by negative or conflicting thoughts in the client's mind, the reader may give the wrong answer to the question but still be right, based on the information psychically received from the client's wandering thoughts. So, to avoid the possibility of this kind of situation, always have the client write down his question clearly and simply. Then have the client tear off the page and place it before him. Ask him to concentrate only on what he has written while he is shuffling the cards.
Note that the above procedure applies only when the client has a specific question to ask. If there is no specific question, and you are satisfied from talking with him that he is not withholding a question of some sort, you may ask for general spiritual guidance for him by requesting the "Wisdom of the Tarot." When this is the case, it is the same as saying, "Thy will, not mine, be done." Preconceived ideas and the need to receive answers do not fit into this method of divination; asking for this type of guidance is an expression of spiritual need. You should do two things to prepare for a spiritual divination:
1. Ask the client to write "Wisdom of the Tarot" on the pad and place the sheet in front of him.
2. Extract the Minor Arcana from your deck and commence the reading using only the Major Arcana, as they directly pertain to spiritual matters.
The type of spread suitable for the "Wisdom of the Tarot" is limited because of its profound nature; in the next chapter we will study the different spreads in detail.
. After the reading, you should destroy the paper with the question or the "Wisdom" request on it. This will reassure the client and also remove any existing vibrations left in the ether concerning the question.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.