Masters of Magic. The precarious art of Prediction, and when psychics stay schtum…

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There is a saying, if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all.

This holds true in many situations and is often the wisest thing, as well as the kindest thing, as expressed by the Hippocratic principle of medicine, ‘first, do no harm.’

But if you see someone is about to make a big mistake, and if you care at all about that, and don’t want to stand by and watch them fall in a hole, you’ve got a problem.

Messengers do sometimes get ‘shot’ and their warnings disregarded. The curse of the princess of Troy, the seer Cassandra, was that, although she was truly gifted in prophecy, she was never believed, and could not save her city, her people, or finally, her son or herself. And she knew it. No room for hope.

Here we see Cassandra having a rotten time with that thug Ajax, and it’s only going to get worse.

Painting by Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, 1806

Greek myth suggested this was an act of spite on Apollo’s part. Cassandra was a priestess of Apollo, and he wooed her with the gift of prophecy. When she turned him down, he couldn’t withdraw the gift, so he made it a curse so that whatever she said, people just thought she was loopy and took no notice, and this in itself might be enough to send someone a bit crazy, don’t you think?

To shout into the wind. To see approaching danger, and not to be believed, unable to save your loved ones? One might say, well, no one was actually any worse off, because even if she saw it, that didn’t mean it could be changed or averted. True enough, but a truly powerful gift for prophetic foreknowledge is liable to become a curse to anyone; a burden whose only value is in the potential to use it actively in order to influence events and avert undesirable outcomes.

To use it in this way is a practical approach to Tarot reading. So, this seems to be the current situation, the reader might say, as indicated by the cards. These are the stakes and these seem to be the options. So what happens if we choose option A? Heck. That doesn’t look good. OK then, what we go with Option B? That doesn’t seem to turn out too well either. OK, so what can we do, that might work better?

But the person may decide to go with Option A anyway, and one might say well, there we may it, proof that our lives are governed by free will. Or one might argue it is equally a proof of the power of fate or destiny, that they are destined or fated to do this thing, whatever it is.

The truth may hurt, but beyond that, can it, assuming it is indeed the truth, do any good? That depends on someone’s readiness to consider the warning, or whatever other information you might have to share. Is it within their nature, and their capability at any level, to use it? Does it sit sufficiently credibly with their own assessment or their private misgivings? Everyone wants to be the bearer of good news but this is not a popularity contest. This is not about the reader’s niceness or saintliness or ego – or it had better not be.

Unsolicited advice often falls on deaf ears (as does actively solicited advice) People are working things out their own way, according to their own needs and understanding and resources available to them at that given time.

Making predictions in public may be regarded as solicited or unsolicited, depending on the circumstances. Some astrologers and psychics are media figures -Mystic Meg comes to mind. Others sit in quiet corners, available to those who approach them directly. Others, like me, are somewhere in-between, though I slightly favour the quiet corner.

Journalists have approached on occasion, seeking a soundbite, eg; about Brexit, but really, what reader needs the aggro that would undoubtedly follow, unless they are aiming to build a publicity profile. I have spoken with journalists before, and learned they do not necessarily quote one verbatim, while the archives here are available to browse anytime.

‘A word to the wise,’ we may say, when offering advice. Assuming the advice is good advice, it can take a wise person to be able to listen, let alone act on that advice in timely fashion, especially when the advice really isn’t the thing they want to hear.

When you work as reader in whatever field of divination; Tarot, astrology, medium-ship etc, you are responding to a direct invitation, a request, to look at that other person and their situation. You have been granted permission to look. Working in confidence, talking privately one to one is one thing. Addressing a wider audience is another matter.

When you share predictions or other commentary on public affairs in the public domain, and your commentary has not been directly solicited, you may be on a hiding to nothing, even with the best intentions, and regardless whether subsequent events prove you to have been at least broadly correct.

  1. Everyone has an opinion. The readers, is not better, more valid than theirs. Nor is the reader saying so. They are simply saying what their divinatory system is saying on the matter, directing this to an audience who is interested in the workings of such systems. One can take it or leave it. But people may think they are saying so, and no-one likes a know-all while a degree of scepticism- is generally healthy.
  2. Such people, it is to be noted, may not feel equally challenged at similar statements made by anyone who is designated a ‘recognized expert.’ But they may respond to a practitioner of divination if they have won the Lottery yet? The implication here being if they are any good, they will surely have won the Lottery long since, in which case, why do they need to be doing this stuff anymore? (Ha ha gotcha!) In fact, psychics, professional and not professional have been known to win the lottery, and we are not talking about modest wins. There are many such stories, and in one reported case this win was specifically consequent upon someone drawing of a Tarot card, The Wheel of Fortune, and she went straight off to buy a lottery ticket which she did not do on a weekly basis. Links to other stories HERE
  3. If you say nothing, people who are curious may wonder why you are staying silent when all around us, people are issuing their own predictions left, right and centre. The state of the country, the state of the world, management of the Covid situation, and so on. We are all broadcasters now, and publishers, such is the easy reach of social media, the global village pump on multi-billion steroids, which meanwhile is farming us.

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Everyone is psychic to a degree. How do we demonstrate or measure it? By direct witnessing, or journaling triggers and outcomes. Professional practitioners have usually had significant psychic experiences, and have then studied and worked to better understand these modes of perception or receptivity for directed use.

The Achilles heel of any reader is pride or vanity, or fear – performance anxiety, which can interfere with their ‘TV/radio reception’ and badly trip them up. This work demands moving rapidly between a relaxed alpha state, and a controlled, analytical beta state.

People want to behold a mystery. They also want mystery and poetry- they require – substance and specifics. The reader too.

To get specifics out of a reading, we need a context. We ask questions, aiming at a target, sorting the wood from the trees. So that, for instance, if I draw a ‘card of the day’ for sharing with the general public, for whom is the message actually intended?

It’s bound to make sense to someone, and it may even make poetic sense across a wider topical spectrum, but still, it is lacking a context and a directed aim.

In this scenario the cards are simply offering a message as a point of meditation, but hopefully this message will contain some sense of relevance or resonance for the time period it has been chosen to represent.

Yesterday I decided to try out a deck I have not used before, to pull a single comment card – a simple straw in the wind.

The deck I used was not a Tarot deck but an oracle deck, ‘The Masters of Magic’ by Severino Baraldi & Laura Tuan, and is published by Lo Scarabeo. Link HERE

This 32 card deck offers a miniature potted history of key figures in western magic, including the so called natural philosophies which were in their time regarded as sciences: alchemy, astrology etc. Their theories and works are examined in the little book that comes with this deck, affording the reader the opportunity of drawing down directly on a distillation of their knowledge and experience.

I asked myself whom I needed to consult on this day of the solar eclipse, 10 June 2021, shuffled and drew Card Number 20, featuring the astrologer William Lilly.

You can see the keyword that has been ascribed to this card is ‘Independency.’

Something in me reacted with, ‘why does it not just say Independence?’ But doubtless, I was just nitpicking. I’ll blame it on my Virgo rising sign. But we talk about dependency, so why don’t we use this other word, independency more?

‘Hey,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, ‘what do you think of this word, independency?’ He said, ‘never heard of it. I heard of dependency.’

American English? Back to William Lilly. With 21 June fast approaching, the proposed UK date long scheduled for the final release of lock-down, but always with caveats, data not dates and so on, and with feelings running high, this card struck me as timely.

People are upset, shaking their fists, shouting ‘no-one is going to tell us what to do.’

Well, sorry, yes they are. At least to a point, like it or not. Those doing any such telling are not free not to, or there would be no such thing as society, however imperfect at at times enraging, its various workings.

Our individual freedoms were already in hock when we were born, negotiated far, far back back, no-one around to blame, in exchange for the most basic safety and security, and later, for the benefits of modern life depending on a hugely complex organization of infrastructure. Habitation. Protection. Roads. Lighting. Water. Food. If we really want to be completely free, we’d go analogue and go off grid. But now we’d be dealing with the ‘zombie swarms’ in the forest. They’d find us soon enough.

Meanwhile the seasons would command us, and the weather, the cold, the heat, and the light, and the availability of all vital food resources, and every passing predator, animal or human. We’d have little free choice and little free time, just in terms of everything we’d have to doing to stay alive from one day to the next.

This dog is looking pretty relaxed, considering. Or maybe he is just undecided, wondering if he is running with the wrong pack, and should join forces with the wolves.

We are not like ants or bees. Short of annihilation, totalitarianism is the ultimate collective nightmare. We have witnessed it in action enough times to know what it means, in all its horror.

The human animal must have plenty of individual scope and freedom, personal agency. It is in our DNA, in our spirit, but it’s a balancing act and sometimes it has shifted this way and sometimes the other in response to the exigencies of the bigger picture at any given time.

Why is man man? As long as we have had minds to think, stars to ponder upon, dreams to disturb us, curiosity to inspire us, hours free for meditation, words to place our thoughts in order, the question like a restless ghost has prowled the cellars of our consciousness.” – Robert Ardrey –Nature of Man Series

Why should this card, William Lilly, seem particularly apposite, drawn 10 June 2021 on the day of a partial solar eclipse in Gemini, ruled by Mercury, planet of science, commerce and travel?

Lilly’s Plague and Fire Predictions

William Lilly was a practicing predictive astrologer, who famously foresaw a dreadful pestilence which turned out to be The Great Plague 1665, and a fire which turned out to be The Great Fire of London 1666. He saw these in his charts and wrote them up in a book published in 1651.

Lilly was well known by this time, following his prognostications during the Civil War, when he had seen intimations of the death of a king, and success for the Parliamentary forces, though in later years, after they had won and the king had been executed, he became increasingly disenchanted with Parliament and with Cromwell and spent two weeks in prison for his remarks. You can read more about that here in this article by Barbara Dunn, via the Urania Trust.

The plague and fire predictions appeared as a series of “hieroglyphic images” in his book of 1651 Monarchy or No Monarchy in England, meaning they were published fourteen years before the events they predicted came true.

Lilly used a coded astrological language, expressing concern that his judgement might be “concealed from the vulgar,” meaning he only wished those who understood the astrology to be able to decode them. He wasn’t addressing his predictions to the general public.

What would have been the response if he had? How could anyone have used this information? He was publishing for scholarly purposes, paying it forward

French astrologer, Andre Barbault, who died in 2019, predicted the 2020 pandemic back in June 2011. No. He didn’t call it coronavirus. He did not specify details. What he did was to identify the planetary patterns, which previous events in history suggested, correlated with these kinds of events.

Barbault identified notable times in history when the concentration or bunching together of the five slower moving outer planets coincided with epidemics, wars and natural catastrophes, eg, floods, earthquakes. For example, in 1347 the planets Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus formed a triple conjunction in the astrological sign of Aries while Saturn and Neptune, the other slow planets, were nearby in the signs of Pisces and Aquarius.

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Barbault noted that in January 2020, Saturn and Jupiter were in a tight conjunction aspect in Capricorn and Jupiter was relatively close by in the same astrological sign.

M Barbault was not a doom merchant. He pointed out that big things, good things could rise from the disruption of such events, and that the Renaissance had been the phoenix to rise out of the Black Death.

However…

“The slaughter engendered a terrible panic, which manifested in punitive self flogging and the massacres of Jews and lepers who were held responsible for the plague.”

When pandemics happen, as they have roughly every century, there is enough time in between them for people not to remember what it meant on the ground, attempting containment, and there has always been a conspiracy theory, different each timebut involving a powerful ‘they’ and sometimes a scapegoat- someone to ‘blame.’

Back to the theme of ‘psychics keeping schtum’ …. in one of Barbault’s books, Planetary Cycles Mundane Astrology, he explained why he often shut himself away “in a remote, faraway place where you can’t guess what’s going on in the world around you. I had to rid myself of illusions.” 

But in this modern, secular world, although Barbault may be disbelieved or his predictions dismissed as vague or coincidental, but at least he was not in danger of a criminal conviction on account of his published astrology. Unlike Lilly.

In 1666, after the fire, Lilly was summoned to appear before a Commons committee to explain himself, on suspicion of arson. If he was not an arsonist, how did he ‘know’ about the fire so long beforehand, to have published these predictions back in 1651? His book had come to the government’s attention following the discovery of an anti-government plot which had used an almanac of Lilly’s to identify their most auspicious dates for action.

He explained as follows: Source: Rubedo Press an article published 26 March 2020.

“I was desirous, according to the best knowledge God had given me, to make enquiry by the art I studied [i.e., astrology], what might from that time happen unto the Parliament and nation in general. At last, having satisfied myself as well as I could, and perfected my judgment therein, I thought it most convenient to signify my intentions and conceptions thereof, in forms, shapes, types, hieroglyphics, etc. without any commentary, that so my judgment might be concealed from the vulgar, and made manifest only unto the wise. I herein imitating the examples of many wise philosophers who had done the like. Having found that the city of London should be sadly afflicted with a great plague, and not long after with an exorbitant fire, I framed these two hieroglyphics as represented in the book, which in effect have proved very true.”

These seem pretty explicit, published so many years ahead of the real time events, but that’s easy to say with hindsight and without reference to the book in its entirety to see what was readily accessible to the understanding of contemporary readers not versed in astrology. Faced with an opaque text, and lack of apparent context the significance of the pictures may not have been apparent.

The committee, with reservations, accepted the Great Fire as an act of God.

Lilly didn’t ‘know’ of course. Not as such. Astrologers don’t know as such, any more than Tarot readers or any other practitioners of divination know as such. But they think they recognize something, and that they understand what they are looking at, and this is what they can share.

Lilly showed further ‘Independency’ when his landlord wished him to leave his house, being frightened of the poor people who had started coming to see Lilly for various help and treatments that he offered…like many astrologers of the time he had some apothecary’s knowledge.

Now I come unto the year 1665, wherein that horrible and devouring plague so extremely raged in the city of London. 27th of June 1665, I retired into the country to my wife and family, where since I have wholly continued, and so intend by permission of God. I had, before I came away, very many people of the poorer sort frequented my lodging, many whereof were so civil, as when they brought waters, viz. urines, from infected people, they would stand purposely at a distance. I ordered those infected, and not like to die, cordials, and caused them to sweat, whereby many recovered. My landlord of the house was afraid of those poor people, I nothing at all. He was desirous I should be gone. He had four children: I took them with me into the country and provided for them. Six weeks after I departed, he, his wife, and man-servant died of the plague.

Pandemics pass and change follows. This is a given. Historically, a pandemic lasts 3-4 years. We are in Year 2 and we have vaccines. But we also have air travel. My cards have indicated it is likely that we will still be dealing with this pandemic situation until March -June 2022.

How? I told myself to treat an appearance of The World card as marking the substantial ending of a pandemic situation, viewed on a GLOBAL not national level. I chose this card as my significator because The World card is the last of the major arcana cards in a Tarot deck, and marks the end of a cycle.

I allocated one card to one quarter of a year, laying out a line of cards until the World card appeared. The tail end of this pandemic comet may come far sooner but I doubt it. Or indeed, later. And the last country out of it may be in S America or the Indian sub-continent before it peters out to an ordinarily manageable risk.

The World card as shown here is from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, illustrator Ciro Marchetti

I was somewhat over-optimistic last April 2020, when the chances of a second lock-down looked about 50:50, and I was hopeful that we just might escape it. I tend to be a glass half full person and it looked pretty much in the balance at that juncture. Whether I am being unduly optimistic or pessimistic this time around, time will tell me and this is how I learn, and it’s a study for life.

I am living with a chronic health challenge, a form of autoimmune arthritis that started in my twenties. Sometimes I have less energy available for predictive exercises, unless reading for a client.

At other times, as with anything, a psychic practitioner may just feel, sufficient unto the day, why make a noise unless someone is asking?

Someone asked me recently, did I bet on the footie when Chelsea played Man City in the UEFA Champions League Final in Porto?

No, I didn’t. I don’t really follow footie, only now and then, and I don’t gamble. But I do look sometimes, other stories in the archives. Il Matrimonio shopped me once before, without my say so, and told other Dover Athletic fans what I had said to him about the result. The newspaper printed it, and fortunately I got it right, so it was funny, and all was well that ended well, but I don’t need that kind of pressure in general terms.

Il Matrimonio asked what I thought about Chelsea v Man City, just before kickoff.

I didn’t think anything. Didn’t feel a thing about it. Nah. Damned if I knew, so I looked in my playing cards and told him it looked like a win for Chelsea because

Chelsea drew the Ten of Hearts. Translation. Completion. We are in clover. A happy home aka in this instance a very happy home crowd. Joe Biden drew this card ahead of the Presidential election.

Man City drew the Three of Spades. Translation. Heartbreak. Injury.

As a north west England person, if I’d had a personal bias or partiality, it would have been for Man City.

The Joker reversed also suggested a fall or accident, I told Il Matrimonio and later on he said, did you say you saw a fall?

Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne, poor soul, had come away with a fractured nose and eye socket. Il Matrimonio says de Bruyne is a midfielder and he is probably one of the best football players in the world right now, but I never heard the name before, and what do I Know? Nowt. And I often don’t want to.

Score: Chelsea 1: Man City 0

Prognostication, psychic divination and forecasting requires you to look, then go down a hole, come up again and think. It is not the same thing as an unsolicited psychic experience which comes out of the blue, though psychic moments do very often arise on the back of conscious prognostication, which can open the door.

But in general, a psychic experience or insight comes AT you right out of the blue, and may seem entirely random and without purpose, at least, at the time.

Divination sends you in tooled-up, going purposefully into the blue. Or so you hope.

Until next time.

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Author: Katie-Ellen

Intuitive Tarot reader, consultant and writer.

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