Once upon a time there was a fertility festival called The Lupercalia. Men in wolf masks ran about the streets of Rome, and in honour of the fertility god Lupercus and in memory of the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, would symbolically thrash (lightly touching) any women they met of child-bearing age. Any woman not wanting to be fertile had better stay indoors. But some would deliberately loiter in the streets, hoping to encounter the wolf men.
Later Christianity claimed the festival, originally held on February 15th, renaming it in memory of poor Valentine, a physician who was cruelly beheaded in Rome after doing many a good turn to other people, including the daughter of his jailer, whom he apparently cured of blindness.
The violent death of a well-disposed person on religious grounds. What could be less romantic?
What’s the difference between premonition and precognition?
Precognition is a sense of foreknowledge arrived at by “paranormal” means; e.g., via card reading, or a psychic dream or clairvoyance. On the other hand, a premonition is simply a feeling, however powerful, that something is about to happen – usually this means something bad.
The Premonitions Bureau tells a story that started with a tragedy.
Background: Aberfan 21 October 1966
Aberfan is a mining village near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. There was a huge colliery tip on a mountain slope above the village, Tip Number 7, and this tip had a natural spring rising up underneath it, bubbling out in a stream that flowed down into the village below.
Heavy rain had led to a build-up of water inside the tip, until one morning it suddenly collapsed and went sliding down the hill. A thirty foot wave of coal slurry hit not only a row of houses but Pantglas Junior School, and killed 116 children and 28 adults, of whom 5 were the children’s teachers.
The following inquiry firmly placed the blame on the National Coal Board, who had received multiple previous warnings about the instability of this particular colliery tip, Number 7 after it was created in 1958 against regulations which said no coal tip was to be raised on top of a spring, but the NCB, although they knew this, had taken only sporadic maintenance action.
After this tragedy a high profile psychiatrist and psychologist called John Barker went to Aberfan to try and support the bereaved. Then he started receiving reports of people who had had premonitions of this disaster. Most tragic of all was a premonition experienced by one of the children who had died in the school and who had been worried, telling her mother about a dream she had had the previous night.
“Mummy, let me tell you about my dream last night.” Her mother answered gently, “Darling, I’ve no time. Tell me again later.” The child replied, “No Mummy, you must listen. I dreamt I went to school and there was no school there. Something black had come down all over it.”
Two other children had done drawings of the avalanche before it happened.
John Barker, who was the resident senior psychiatrist at a sadly run down mental hospital which he was working hard but with mixed success to modernize, went to Aberfan to offer counselling support and was deeply struck by some extraordinary reports received in the aftermath. He decided, with assistance from a newspaper, The Evening Standard, to make it his mission to collect and collate other premonitions. How common were they? How did they manifest? Could they be logged and used to give an early warning of impending disaster?
“A more predictable existence is, in theory anyway, a less frightening one,” writes Sam Knight of Barker’s motivation. “Societies have always craved prophets, or people who claim to see round the next corner.”
But unless we can do something about it, maybe sometimes we would really rather not know. One day, John Barker received two premonitions which were about him, himself, and which seemed to suggest that his own death was imminent…
I won’t provide spoilers, except to say that these premonitions were proven correct.
“It is a story both elegant and eccentric, cleanly capturing that brief moment in the 1960s when extrasensory perception verged on mainstream acceptance. It is also quietly terrifying, a reminder that even those who can see the future have no hope of getting out of its way.”
Coming back to the question of preferring not to know, as a useless burden, the so- called gift of prophecy- assuming we accept there is such a potential, is likely to feel more like a curse. It is not known as The Curse of Cassandra for nothing.
Cassandra (or Kassandra) was a tragic figure in Greek mythology; a Trojan princess, a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and a priestess of the sun god Apollo. Apollo had given her the gift of prophesy but when she subsequently rejected his sexual advances, he could not withdraw the gift but he turned it into a curse, such that Cassandra would see and speak the truth, only never to be believed.
Cassandra warned the Trojans to send Helen straight home again after Paris eloped with her and brought her to Troy, taking her away from her husband Menelaus in Sparta. Cassandra had warned the Trojans it would bring disaster down upon them all. They didn’t listen. Then the Greeks came and laid siege for ten long years.
Cassandra then warned them not to bring the giant wooden horse into the city. Again, they didn’t listen. There were Greek warriors hiding inside it, and in the night they crept out and opened the gates and let in all the other Greeks. A massacre followed; the Sack of Troy. The city fell. Cassandra was first raped in the temple of Athena by Ajax, then dragged away to become the slave of Agamemnon, and together with him, was later murdered by his queen Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus on returning to his kingdom of Mycenae.
The takeaway here is that while Cassandra knew her own fate, she could do nothing to save herself. Helen meanwhile, was forgiven by her husband Menelaus, and, restored as his queen, led on board his ship, passing the wretched lines of the other surviving women, now homeless, stateless and bereaved, all slaves and captives now.
It could be said that it was Helen who was really the Trojan horse.
The name of Cassandra has therefore come to mean a person whose accurate prophecies, generally of impending disaster, are not believed.
Cassandra by Evelyn de Morgan: Public Domain
This ancient story, like this new book highlights a big problem with prediction. If the future exists, what can be done about it? If the future doesn’t exist, how is prediction possible?
But prediction is rarer and premonitions are common. Barker reckoned that it was at least as common in the population as being left handed, the experience of premonition, suggesting we are all more connected than we understand or can logically explain.
The Premonitions Bureau is an intelligent, understated, quietly absorbing read. It raises big questions with many fascinating, if often deeply sad anecdotes.
It has been criticized by some reviewers for failing to provide clear conclusions. But this is in the nature of the subject, as it is in life, and there is at least one conclusion to be drawn from this story that is self-evident.
What is that conclusion? John Barker had hoped that a Premonitions Bureau might help save the countless lives through the interventions of a centralized psychic early warning system. But this was never a practical possibility. Why not? A premonition may be an intensely powerful feeling, but it lacks detailed information sufficient for anyone to act on it in any meaningful practical way.
A True Story
June 2016 I was staying away from home in Carlisle when I had a presentiment of a terrible accident or impact that was about to happen. I was shown in my Tarot cards that it would be involve a vehicle, anger and a fiery impact.
My first worry was that we were about to have an accident in the car. Then I decided no, I didn’t feel that was it. I said to my husband, “We will soon find out what this is. It will be on the news soon”.
Two hour later, we saw on the television, the news of the terrorist truck attack in Nice.
“On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and the injury of 458 others. The driver was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian living in France.  The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire, during which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot and killed by police”- Wikipedia.
This experience was neither a premonition nor a precognition. It was somewhere between the two. My feeling of unease did not hit me out of the blue. It came to me while I was looking, initially rather casually in my Tarot cards. I drew The Devil, The Chariot and The Tower cards all together in a row and knew I did not like it one bit.
But of what possible potential use was this to anybody? It lacked actionable specifics, and even had there been a whole ton of specifics, there was no outlet, no mechanism or avenue of action or follow-up, such as John Barker had once envisaged in creating The Premonitions Bureau.
May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
Date: 24 May 2022 at 7:27 pm BST
The night before, I was sitting up late in bed, reading. It was after midnight when I turned off the light and noticed a peculiar sensation, a fizzing, buzzing, tingling sensation that affected my head and shoulders, but only my head and shoulders. I first wondered whether it was a new physical symptom that was possibly affecting my ears or balance. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis which can affect organs as well as joints and muscles. But then the thought came to me, “what is this? Who is it? What bad news is this now, that is coming down the track?”
Was it a family member? I didn’t think so, but I had no idea was it was. All I knew was, and I said this to myself before turning over to go to sleep was, “there will be bad news tomorrow.”
How do any parents bear such a thing as this and it happened for what? One unhappy creature, empty of purpose and full of ugliness, grudge and spite, a loser in the true meaning of the word, was handed the means to indulge himself to the full, unleashing the grotesque horror of the Id, for mere dollars.
On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
I’ve been jittery for some weeks one way and another, and possibly so have you. Leo season, I feel, is going to be extra dramatic in world events this August, both the beauty and the beast.
“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,” said. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely”, wrote Edna St Vincent Millay
A Dirge Without MusicEdna St. Vincent Millay
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
But if there is hope for us all- and there is, then it is exactly this. That we have this shared, mysterious but entirely natural human potential to sense what may be happening to others, even over great distances, and to sense, to feel -to work for, care for, or even fight for people we have never met and never will.
It’s a natural magic but it’s not unique to us. Baboons have it. South African naturalist and poet Eugène Marais witnessed it in action. A group of male baboons attacked a stalking leopard in order to defend their group, and succeeded in killing it, but only one of them survived.
Marais also observed soldier ants racing up a tree and attacking and killing a praying mantis many times their own size, that was preying on their column,helping itself as the marching column passing under its tree. A lot of soldier ants died in the process but they stuck fast, swarmed on it and finally managed to bite off its head.
What we call courage or duty might be vainglory. It might be the Ego or the tribal Id. But what we call heroism is the readiness to put ourselves last in the service of some quest undertaken for some greater purpose, no fear or favour, no guarantee of success, reward, recognition or memorial.
Do you see him up there, the giant man in the clouds? See what he is carrying before him?
Here he comes. Aquarius.
Bridging water, land and sky
Cloudy, cool Aquarian eye
Pours, refills an empty jar
Learning, thirsty, leads us far
But Hope outshines all other stars.
Pluto in Aquarius
This year we entered the zodiac territory of Aquarius with the New Moon in Aquarius 21 January 2023.
Aquarius is even bigger news than usual in 2023, when Pluto enters Aquarius, leaving Capricorn where it has been since 24 November 2008, when Pluto, the lord of wealth, mining, death and the underworld made its ingress into Capricorn, the sign of money and property. This followed hard on the heels of the Stock Market Crash of 29 September 2008; a crash which had been building for a long time.
So let’s see what happens when Pluto leaves Capricorn and goes into Aquarius 23 March. There is the clear potential for massive if temporary effects, seen in not only high finance and technology, but in egalitarianism, ‘people power’ – for good or ill, with far reaching real world implications. Pluto -transformation to an extreme degree-here signifies a clear potential for revolution. Or at least mass unrest, civil uprisings and the abrupt unseating of more than one, currently hugely powerful or influential established autocrat or plutocrat.
But it has to be noted that Pluto will move out of Aquarius again 11 June 2023, moving in and out again before stationing there for the long duration 19 November 2024, where it stays until 8 March 2043 in a new ‘Age of Aquarius.’
We’re not there yet. 2023 marks a prelude.
The zodiac sign of Aquarius is named after the constellation of Aquarius, The Water-Bearer. Aquarius is an air sign and its quality is Fixed, rather than Cardinal or Mutable. The other Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo and Scorpio.
Why is Aquarius an air sign and not a water sign? The clouds carry water. The water of Aquarius is airborne. To the ancient Mesopotamians this time of year, in the season of Aquarius was known as ‘the curse of rain,’ and meant the very real and present risk of potentially devastating floods as the clouds and then the rivers tipped forth, especially as this was liable to coincide with the time of snow melt in the mountains way upriver.
Many of the world’s great flood myths (of which there are many) are thought to come from the real life story of the worst that Aquarius can do, as seen from the human point of view at least, from Sumeria and Gilgamesh, to ancient Greece, the story of Deucalion, and the Old Testament and Noah’s Ark.
And now Aquarius stands also for space exploration and travel. Our spacecraft are the new Arks, if only for exploration and not rescue. Earth is our one true home.
“If you can see a thing whole … it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…. But close up, a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. You need a distance, interval. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, is to see it as the moon. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death”.
– Ursula Le Guin
Planetary aspects: Saturn and Uranus
The traditional ruler of Aquarius is the same as Capricorn. It is Saturn, stern planet of order, finding one’s place in the order, self-reliance, self-discipline, duty, responsibility, conservation, patience, limitations and restrictions. Not all astrologers accept modern planetary rulers but for those who do work with them, the modern ruler, Uranus, planet of innovation and rebellion, is Saturn’s opposite, reflecting an essential polarity or apparent contradiction in these natives; at the same time conservative and fixed in their habits, and somewhat quirky or even eccentric in presentation, communication or behaviour.
The Aquarius Archetype
The Teacher, The Reformer, The Revolutionary, The Truth- teller/Preacher, The Exile, The Scientist.
Card Meanings: A New Hope, the spirit of Humanity, a lone star, independence, a new vision, inspiration, healing, Hope, recovery, intellect, the collective, technology
All the zodiac signs represent archetypes, meaning something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing.
The zodiac signs paint a ‘typical’ portrait of a person born at a particular time of year, in a particular season. A baby born in summer arrives into a different physical environment from a winter baby; with differences of temperature, hours of daylight, maternal diet during pregnancy and so on, with potentially different effects on the baby’s physical makeup, constitution and temperament.
The major arcana Tarot card for Aquarius is The Star. This beautiful card stands for Humanity itself, and for Hope, Inspiration and recovery from sickness or despair. The figure is unclothed because she is in a state of innocence, natural, honest and unashamed.
Aquarius is communicative, humanitarian, progressive, fraternal, optimistic and idealistic. The shadow side? Every sign has one and Aquarius is no exception. Aquarius can be a groupie, or a crusading zealot, self-righteous, utterly self absorbed and mulishly obstinate.
Aquarius likes to dispense good advice, and indeed, they can be very shrewd and they will give excellent advice. But they are notably resistant to receiving it themselves.
“The good news is that she is one of the nicest people in the universe. The bad news is, that’s because she always does exactly what she pleases. An Aquarius female is rebellious, headstrong, and contrary. She can be selfishly independent and exasperating, especially when she is running through the house screaming, “freedom!”
The appearance is generally good. Aquarius signs tend to have rather long, slim straight bodies and clear, strong but fine features (ears, noses, mouths). The posture can tend to be droopy when they’re not paying attention. Their legs are often sturdy in comparison with the torso and they have a distinctive way of standing with their lower legs and calves set rather far back and can be susceptible to trouble with their hamstrings.
The King of Swords
Card Meanings: a mature man of knowledge and authority, a ruler, adviser, judge, military leader, lawyer, doctor, surgeon, scientist, teacher, technician, engineer, IT expert, diagnosis, authority, law, medicine, logic, impartiality, metrics, statistics, cool, remote, observant,
This is the court card of the sign of Aquarius, while in the Thoth deck he is called The Prince of Air. Note that he is seated. He has arrived, that’s why. All the kings in the Tarot are seated, while the Knights are on horseback.
Aquarius is the sign of fixed air, denoting a certain fixity, but this is more to do with temperament than anything else. Aquarius is famously quick to learn new things and to adopt new ideas and technologies.
“Lots of people like rainbows. Children make wishes on them, artists paint them, dreamers chase them, but the Aquarian is ahead of everybody. He lives on one. What’s more, he’s taken it apart and examined it, piece by piece, color by color, and he still believes in it. It isn’t easy to believe in something after you know what it’s really like, but the Aquarian is essentially a realist, even though his address is tomorrow, with a wild-blue-yonder zip code.” ― Linda Goodman,Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
President Zelensky is an example of a King of Swords in real world action. He was born at 2:00 p.m. on January 25, 1978, in Krivoj Rog, Ukraine and very much embodies key aspects of the archetype; intellectual, determined, single minded -yet agile and forward thinking. Here, the coolness and detachment of pure Aquarius is warmed by a hospitable Moon in Leo and sociable Gemini rising. He also has Venus in his chart, conjunct his sun in Aquarius. Here is the man who looks younger than he is, notwithstanding stress and strain. Here is the charm. Here is the arch-communicator. There may be some widely noted breakthrough, however slight or temporary, 30 January-8 February, as signified by the Tarot’s Six of Swords, indicative of healing or progress after trauma.
President Putin is his counterpart, a native of Libra ruled by the Queen of Swords. There is almost something fated about this dreadful encounter, on a personal level. This Queen is mightily powerful, and crafty, but viewed in terms of simple cartomancy, King trumps Queen. Nemesis.
The point here is that our sun sign is only the keynote of the astrological portrait. There is no such thing in reality as THE Aquarius personality. You are a unique individual. Your zodiac sign (sun sign) is a major keynote, but there are many other factors in play, your rising sign, your Moon sign; the planets in your houses, your decan and the degree of the actual day you were born. If you don’t feel like a ‘typical’ Aquarius, perhaps you are a second or third decan Aquarius, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Aquarius.
The idea of the decans comes from the ancient Egyptians c 2100 BC, and was later adopted by the Greeks.
The Zodiac is a belt of sky we see from earth, tracking the path of the sun across the sky over the course of the year. We call this pathway of the sun ‘the ecliptic,’ and the zodiac belt shares this same pathway extending 8 degrees above it and 8 degrees below it. The paths of the Moon and visible planets can be tracked within the belt of the zodiac.
The Greeks divided this belt into twelve sections, using twelve for ease of arithmetic, and named them after twelve constellations: Aries, Taurus, Gemini Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Aquarius and Pisces.
Each of these zodiac sign represents a 30 degree section of this belt which can then be sub-divided into three blocks of ten degrees, each of about ten days in length with slight variations. This gives us the ‘decans,’ from the Latin meaning ‘ten’.
They have been nicknamed ‘the thirty-six faces of astrology,’ adding more faces to the portrait gallery, breaking down the story of the zodiac signs into further chapters.
First Decan Aquarius
Dates: 20 Jan -29 Jan (approx.)
Planetary rulers: Saturn-Uranus
Tarot card: Five of Swords
Card meanings:Victory, defeat, ruthlessness, a pyrrhic victory, not worth winning, chagrin, humiliation, resentment
These are complex individuals, containing an innate contradiction. On the one hand ruled by Saturn, they are serious, intelligent, hard- working, responsible and conservative by nature, obstinate even. On the other, they are co- ruled by Uranus the innovator and rebel, and this might mean they are a rebel either with or without a cause.
They are well meaning, likely to sign up to good causes, keen to contribute, and kindly unless they feel emotionally challenged when they are easily wounded, and their recovery may be very slow. They have courage but bouncing back from disappointment is not their forte. They are kindly and affectionate but partners may complain of their detachment.
They strive for excellence and often achieve it, whatever their field of work. They are well suited to the academic life, with a logical, or scientific but visionary turn of mind, and a talent for abstract thinking, and for research and analysis.
They can also be a lot of fun, but while they readily grasp complex and abstract concepts, their emotional intelligence is sometimes in conflict with their intellect, resulting in misunderstandings with loved ones.
Famous first decan Aquarius subjects: Mozart, Lewis Carroll, Ellen Degeneres, Nicholas Sarkozy, Oprah Winfrey
Dates: 30 Jan -8 Feb (approx.)
Planetary rulers: Saturn and Mercury
Tarot card: Six of Swords
Card Meanings: convalescence, mourning, recovery, progress, relocating, a voyage over water, distance learning
This is one of my personal favourite cards. She captains her own boat, steering a course towards the rising sun.
The second decan of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, planet of communications, the ruler of Gemini. These natives have the gift of the gab. They are charming, and socially in demand, but while they are generally very pleasant, they are in some ways rather aloof, cool in temperament, not deeply interested in the feelings of others. They are creatively talented but rational with it, analytical in their approach, more interested in ideas, technicalities and activities than in comfort. This does not mean they don’t have deep feelings. They certainly do, and when they are upset they can lose their cool big time and turn very quarrelsome indeed, even vengeful. They are however, eminently civilized and humane in their general outlook unless they are encountered when they are off balance; much concerned with big issues affecting humanity on the highest levels.
Famous Second Decan Aquarius subjects: Charles Dickens, Jules Verne, Rosa Parks, Bob Marley, Boris Yeltsin, Ronald Reagan, Ashton Kutcher, Michael Sheen,
The third decan is generally appealing and attractive, and generally somewhat more easy-going than Aquarians born in the other decans. The personality is charming yet mysterious, affable yet elusive with an acute sense of humour which they use to defuse and manage challenging situations. They can be something of a court jester, but with many a serious thing spoken in jest. These quirky, sharp but friendly Aquarians are like shooting stars, nice to have around, and they are easy to approach but may be less easy to understand.
Famous Decan 3 Aquarius subjects: Galileo, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Paris Hilton, Mia Farrow, Sheryl Crowe.
Many Happy Returns, Aquarius, stars in the firmament of Mankind!
First let’s take a minute to consider what is meant by this word, ‘psychic.’ It comes from the Greek word psychikos (‘of the mind’ or ‘mental’) and the Greek word ‘psyche’ means ‘soul’ or ‘breath.’
That’s pretty vague, but we’ll broadly understand what we’re talking about here. It is the (sometimes spooky) experience of feeling you know something, without knowing how you know it or why you feel it, and then getting the proof, and finding out you were right, though you still don’t know how.
Everyone is psychic to a degree. It’s fascinating, but it’s natural. It might be uncanny, and often it is. It really, really is, but that doesn’t mean it’s supernatural. It is you. It is nothing to do with the occult. It is nothing directly to do with religion or witchcraft, though these activities are connected to or derive from that aspect of the human mind/psyche.
It’s about your innate animal intelligence, your instinct and intuition, and is simply a more acute manifestation of these natural functions of the human mind -your sensory capabilities. Intuition is acutely heightened instinct. It’s built in to your software, maybe even your hardware and is a key element in your survival tool-kit.
So you took an instant dislike to someone but you don’t know why? Don’t simply dismiss that feeling; the reasons may become apparent later. Meanwhile, give it the benefit of the doubt but tread with care.
So you feel an overpowering reluctance to do something, but you don’t quite know why? Trust yourself. You have your reasons.
Feelings can be wrong, of course, in which case we can always reassess the situation or our reactions, and change our minds. But far more often they are right, and they work faster than conscious reasoning. Far, far faster, and it is this very speed that can save our life. That if something feels bad, it probably is.
But if we’re all psychic, why do people pay to go and consult someone else, or go to a professional psychic practitioner for readings?
They are looking for a service, and that depends on skill and a specific kind of experience. Professional psychics can not rely solely on their intuitive ability in order to deliver a service on demand. Psychic experiences happen when they happen, but the psychic reader needs to respond on demand, and to do this they have trained their abilities, developing specific skills, possibly involving many years of individual study, time and practice so that they can deliver insights that are relevant and that mean something to a total stranger, right here, right now.
But everyone had to start somewhere, and that doesn’t mean we can’t try it for ourselves.
Sometimes we might find ourselves undecided whether to go route A or route B. Using the playing cards might well give us a response that simply reflects what we already knew, or guessed, or suspected, but that is largely the point of doing such readings, and validation can itself be helpful in letting us know we read that situation correctly, whether or not it’s what we were hoping for.
Points to consider
Professional psychic readers are not permitted by law to take payment, reading for people aged under-18.
Or at least, it is not allowed in the UK without the authorization of a parent or guardian. There are good reasons for this, to do with maturity and vulnerability, and a word of caution applies here too, in reading for yourself if you are under 18.
There is a risk is you will not get it rightand misunderstand the message. Beware wishful thinking or fearful thinking. Calm your mind. Try and place yourself in a neutral frame of mind.
You may for instance draw the Death card and get frightened, interpreting this as a prediction of imminent death. What is far more likely is that the Death card is reflecting back at you something that has been on your mind lately. Perhaps there has been a death in your circle or perhaps you have been thinking of leaving a job or ending a relationship or other connection, or leaving one area to move away. Professional readers do not always get it right either. Until, and unless you are getting correct answers more than 55% of the time, your results are statistically no better than lucky guesses. Getting it wrong doesn’t mean you don’t have psychic ability, but this ability builds with practise and confidence.
Stay humble or you will be riding for a fall. This is not about power. No-one knows it all, and no one likes a know all. No-one has a 100% accuracy rate.
Is is unwise to make decisions based solely on the turn of a card.
The cards are to be regarded as an opportunity to pause, reflect and maybe think again. Start with easy but specific questions that you can quickly and easily validate, e.g. ‘will it be sunny here outside my window at 10.00 tomorrow morning?’
You might not understand or like the answer.
This is the very real risk in consulting with oracles, even your own – or especially your own. It needs discipline. Words matter. Be clear in your mind what it is you are really asking. Avoid repeating the same questions over and over in hope of getting the answer you want. You may get that answer in the end, but this is not conducive to accuracy, and if it becomes a compulsion, and you find you are doing it A LOT, or if you are experiencing, or have lately experienced depression or anxiety, you will be well advised to leave such activities alone for the time being. It could make matters worse.
Now let’s look at how to get an advisory yes or no answer using just one playing card. That’s all it is, an advisory answer; no court of law could treat this as admissible evidence.
The One-Card Spread
Ordinary playing cards have been used in this way since at least the 1600’s and probably longer. A deck of playing cards is readily affordable and easy to obtain in many shops and online if you do not already have a deck.
The One- Card Spread is the simplest spread of all, but can do the job perfectly well, delivering an accurate yes or no answer.
First, for simplification and for the avoidance of confusion, remove the Joker. The Joker is a complex card. It correlates to the Fool in the Tarot and may mean a yes, no or maybe depending on a number of factors, so is not ideal for our purposes today.
You need somewhere quiet, no distractions. Some people like to use rituals, smudging, candles etc. I don’t use those myself in doing card readings, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.
Doing the reading
First you need to decide the code or system you will use for your one card spread. How are you going to interpret the answer?
Classical cartomancy uses this system:
Any red suit card, Hearts or Diamonds, will mean yes, irrespective of its meaning
Any black suit card, Clubs or Spades will mean no, irrespective of its meaning
There are no rules except that you decide your system and then stick with it.
Consistency and repetition is crucially important. This is what professional card readers do. They ‘self-programme’ by telling themselves that this card means X and this other card means Y until with repetition and practise – it actually does.
They do it till they make it so.
Consider the question. It needs to be clear and unambiguous, asking for an answer that will serve your highest good, harming none.
You remain in charge, using the cards for advice only. You could, for example, ask questions along the lines of, ‘Is it a good idea/plan/will it work out well at this time (meaning is it in my best interests) to go here, go there, speak to, do this, do that…?” etc.
Now shuffle the deck, keeping the cards blind, asking your question aloud or just silently to yourself.
Draw a card whenever you feel ready. There are no rights and wrongs here, but it is this act of stopping and choosing a card completely at random that is actually the psychic activity involved in the reading.
You have here a deck of 52 cards but you are drawing just one, and expecting it to be meaningful and relevant, more so than all the other cards that you didn’t draw, that have remained in the deck. The cards that are missing may be just as significant in answering your question, as the ones that appear.
What have we got here?
A red card or a black card?
No further action is required or even desirable at this point. Simply log the card. Make a note and allow time to discover if the answer is correct.
If you would like to go beyond the probable yes or no answer, and look at the reasons why you got that answer, you could look up the actual card meaning for additional feedback, to treat that as an extra comment or piece of advice, referring to this very basic key below.
In general, the higher the number of your ‘yes’ or ‘no card, the stronger the answer, except for Aces, which are the lowest number, 1, but are the strongest cards. So the strongest yes answers would be the Ace of Diamonds or Hearts, or the 10 of Diamonds or hearts. The strongest no answers would be the Ace of Spades or Clubs, or the 10 of Spades or Clubs.
Ace – new beginnings; the pure energy of their suit.
Two – partnerships, attraction, balance.
Three – co-operation, connection, growth.
Four – security, stability, foundations, inaction.
Five – imbalance, challenges, change, adjustment.
Six – sweet victory, harmony, attainment and peace.
Seven – spiritual discernment, magic, wisdom, turning point, options.
Eight – movement (or lack of it), organization, prioritizing.
Nine – Growth, understanding, integration, realization.
Ten – Culmination, completion, transition, endings, beginnings.
The Court cards (portrait cards)
Knaves/Jacks represent news or new situations, or young people below the ages of around 25.
Knave of Hearts – romantic, emotional, sweet-natured.
Knave of Diamonds – curious, grounded, sensible.
Knaveof Spades – witty, clever, focused.
Knave of Clubs – active, adventurous, risk-taker.
Queens are adults, actual people; usually female but not necessarily.
Queen of Hearts – kind, empathic, nurturing.
Queen of Diamonds – practical, down-to-earth, good in a crisis.
Queen of Spades – truth-seeker, honest, straight-speaking.
Queen of Clubs – ambitious, strong communicator, passionate.
Kings are adults, actual people; usually male but not necessarily.
King of Hearts – approachable but reserved, wise, calm.
King of Diamonds – wealthy, hard working, shrewd, lover of luxury.
King of Spades – analytical, calculating, dispassionate.
King of Clubs – leader, inspirational, temperamental, sees the big picture.
Late on Monday evening Il Matrimonio reminded me that the vote for the EU Repeal Bill was due to take place that night, and I reached for my playing cards. It was already 10.00 PM, just hours to go as I drew the cards illustrated below, asking, would the Bill be passed? I left the cards out on the table, made my initial assessment which was that it was a yes answer, then went to bed and tried to forget about it till morning.
These were the cards left out overnight. The top line contained the yes answer, but on what basis did I arrive at that interpretation?
To get at a yes/no answer, you lay out a row of cards using an odd number, 3, 5 or 7.
It’s a question of preference. On such a weighty and hugely multi-factorial question, 3 might seem too few, and by now I’ve trained myself to read in fives. That’s what this stuff is about. You learn your chosen system of divination, whether that’s playing cards, Tarot, runes or whatever. You study it. You learn and you practise, practise, practise until you internalise the code, the programme, or whatever you like to call it, until, if you persist, it feels like second nature.
You activate your internal oracular programme on request. The most psychic psychic in the world – whoever that is, and it isn’t me, doesn’t go round being psychic all the time. Do they heck. They wouldn’t be able to function. Prescience isn’t omniscience, with tools, you learn to manage, instruct and direct that innate human capability. So, how do you direct it?
If it’s cards you’re reading, you do it simply by stating your question aloud as you shuffle. Not for the purpose of enlisting any rogue, random spirits in the room (or, wait… no, are they…are they… aaaggghhh…imps of Satan come to steal your soul?)
No. It is just so that you will hear yourself say it. Then stop shuffling when you feel ready. That’s it. You just stop shuffling when you feel ready, then you take off the top five cards and lay them out from left to right, creating a story-board moving forward in time.
The red card suits are Hearts and Diamonds, simplistically read as supportive or positive.
The black card suits are Clubs and Spades, simplistically read as challenging or negative.
5 red suit cards represents a definite yes
4 red suit cards represents a probable yes
3 red cards represent a likely yes
2 red cards represent a likely no
1 red card represents a probable no
0 red cards says forget it. The answer is no.
So what did we have here? 3 red cards and 2 black cards, suggesting that it was more likely than not, that yes, the Repeal Bill would pass. But we had those 2 black suit cards. What else could be gleaned?
The first card out, the 10 of Clubs, is a card of business and far-flung travel and clearly represents the bottom line. Additionally, the 10 Clubs also represents the idea of a body of water. It might be a sink or a bathtub, or it might be a sea or a channel. For the first card out to say ‘The Channel! La Manche!’ provides quite a benchmark.
The second card out, the 8 of Hearts, speaks of a gathering, a convocation. It looks surprisingly cheerful here, there would appear to be more goodwill than so much other evidence suggests. It is strongly suggestive of togetherness (huh? eh? really?) It is suggestive of total sincerity at least, on both sides, whichever side of the argument you personally happen to support.
The third and central card, the pivot or hinge card here, is the 3 of Clubs: a card of confrontation but also collaboration. Three way deals. My goodness, there have been some mighty interesting conversations behind the scenes both sides of the House.
The fourth card here represents a male figure, highly significant in this debate. It might be David Davis, Jeremy Corbyn, or both. Any one card may have multiple meanings. My initial impression was that while David Davis was, despite everything, within his personal comfort zone, while Jeremy Corbyn was faced with a perplexity; needing not to alienate Labour voters who voted to leave, whilst needing to reconcile opposing elements within his party.
The final outcome card, the 4 of Hearts, is traditionally a card of a settled home, indicative of a solid, foursquare outcome. Because this card falls in the final position, this swung the cards more strongly towards a yes answer, denoting a solid but hardly sweeping result, and we now know there was a majority of 36 votes, with 126 challenges and amendments already tabled.
And if you got this far, you might be wondering about those other cards. What were they about?
When a question is so heavily loaded, supra-personal and complex, I cross- reference, coming at the question from different directions, looking for repetition, pattern and breaks in pattern.
The second row is talking about Theresa May herself. I had asked, would she achieve the result she was looking for? Again, we had 3 red suit cards and 2 black translating as, yes, more likely than not. The 2 black suit cards here however, were spades, which are to do with intellect, focus, strategy, loss – and stress, suggesting that while Theresa May will hold her nerve going forward, she is acutely aware of past mistakes and errors of calculation (the jack of spades is bad news, tricky in the extreme.)
The 9 of Spades together with the Queen of Diamonds, speaks of stress and strain, loss, attack and grief, concerning a reserved, pragmatic woman of quick instincts and warmth. It also seems, interestingly, to have foreshadowed the challenge of the 9 Conservative MP’s now tabling amendments
There is no doubt the Prime Minister has felt the sad and terrible events of 2017 no less profoundly on the personal, human level than the rest of the general population, and if anything, more intensely because some of her responses were criticised, and, wherever the culpability lay, because these things happened on her watch.
The third row of cards was looking at those opposed to the passing of the Repeal Bill. Would they be happy with the outcome? We see here 4 black suit cards and only 1 is red. The King of Spades here is Jeremy Corbyn again, or Keir Starmer, but those who were disappointed can be assured that some concessions will be negotiated or obtained, especially and broadly pertaining to business affairs, as suggested by the outcome card on this line; the lively, mercantile Jack of Diamonds.
In laying out the final row, I had no specific question but was looking for a general sense of how things seem set to progress. The indications here are that the UK will leave the EU more or less according to the scheduled deadline. If there had been a spades card at the end of this row, it would have suggested delays, perhaps even significant delays, and if it had been the Ace of Spades, may even have detected an aborted exit process. The only spade card here however, is at the commencement of this row and it is the 6 of Spades; a positive if solemn card, denoting a departure; charting a new course. It represents progress, though of course, not without effort, cost or struggle.
Below: The Six of Swords (Spades) from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
The outcome card, the 2 of Hearts, suggests a 2 year time-frame, possibly accelerated by whatever is being flagged up here by the 9 of Diamonds sitting just in front of it. It looks as though, because of the electricity of the diamonds suit, that certain significant dealings in respect of transport or travel, and possibly also power stations, may be settled somewhat more advantageously to the UK than many fear. Let’s all hope so.
This is not about politics, promoting any political viewpoint. This is about learning how to read the cards in respect of public affairs, reading cold, developing skill of interpretation via benefit of hindsight.
The lessons of hindsight facilitate wider, deeper future foresight. Reading practitioners develop intuitive muscle by tackling questions. All kinds of questions. Exposition builds the reader’s vocabulary, and with it, the capacity for more in-depth precision of card interpretation, and context is king.
Meanings: Mature person, benevolent, an advisor, mentor, king of ceremonies, financial success, abundance.
The equivalent card in the Tarot deck is, appropriately enough as his team has won the FA Cup Final, the King of Cups.
So we’d just had a bite of lunch yesterday, a bit of psychic salad with spooky peppered mackerel, andIl Matrimonio said as he is prone to do from time to time, ‘I bet you don’t know who is playing in the final today?’
I said, ‘what final?’
He said, ‘you’re joking.’
‘Well, is it the FA cup final? Maybe there’s a European Cup Final for all I know.’
‘That’s next week,’ he scoffed, and you gather, I don’t follow footie too closely though I have the odd moment. Besides which, maybe I had other things on my mind.
‘So, who’s playing?’ said Il Sarky Bastardo.
‘Hallelujah. Who are they playing?’
‘Man United? No. Spurs?’
‘No, but it is a London Final. It’s Arsenal. So, what do you think? Will Arsene Wenger be resigning?’
‘Who’s the Chelsea manager these days?’
‘Antonio Conte. He’s fun. Lively, runs up and down.’
‘Give me a few minutes,’ I said and went into the study to sit with my deck of £0.99 playing cards. The Tarot is my oldest friend, my right hand man in divination, but lately I have exploring cartomancy, reading with ordinary playing cards. and practice makes – not perfect. There is no such thing, least of all in divination whether that means Tarot, Runes, Pendulums, whatever…
Ultimately, there is only doing. You can read up, you can swot all you like, and you better had, and I do. There is a lot to study, but theory is merely your start point and should never be the ending point. You only develop skill by doing, and that’s how you also advance the theory. Lots and lots of doing, falling on your face if that’s what it takes, and you certainly will, because you are human and the oracle too, is human, and its wisdom is the wisdom of ancestral understanding while its frailties are yours alone, the reader’s.
So this is what came up.
Will Arsene Wenger be resigning after today’s match?
Answer: the Four of Diamonds.
The Four of Diamonds denotes patience. The stability of the four did not suggest change, while Diamonds is the suit of business. It is literally, a foursquare card. The answer could have been read as a yes, therefore, according to this traditional colour system of interpretation but based on the individual card meaning, I did not see any change in Arsene Wenger’s role, or at least, no change for the ‘worse.’ Not if he doesn’t want to.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled blind and for the sake of an even handed comparison, asked the same question about Antonio Conte. Would he be resigning?
Il Matrimonio yelled, ‘no way! Stupid question!’ and I told him to shut up. I know diddly squat about any of it, which is kind of part of the interest in doing the reading, and how I work is how I work and requires a certain logic.
So I asked and bless my soul, I pulled out the same card: the Four of Diamonds. So perhaps then, I deduced, the cards were educating me that neither would be resigning, both were staying in post, and additionally, I could in future take the Four of Diamonds to translate as ‘a football manager.’
‘I don’t think Arsene will be resigning,’ I said to Il Matrimonio.
But who was going to win?
(A question of less moment than the forthcoming General Election, and I think the polls are probably on track THIS time.)
These were the cards.
The Top row represented Arsenal
The Bottom Row represented Chelsea
The bottom 2 cards were just additional comment cards.
The central and final cards contain the answer in a 5 card line spread. The other cards provide the premise of the question, and additional comments.
The first card, top left, made me smile. Two of Clubs, eh? Well, yes, this is a question of two clubs, right enough. Next to it, the Nine of Hearts is generally viewed as a highly auspicious card; wishes granted. The central card, the heart or linchpin of the answer, is the Nine of Clubs and is nicknamed by Romany tradition, ‘The Achiever,’ which speaks for itself. The 3 of Spades is a dreadful card. Sorrow. This card was surely reflecting the current mood of the nation; our grief as well as rage and frustration in the aftermath of the terrible crime and ensuing tragedy in Manchester.
The last card represents Arsene Wenger himself; a quiet man, looking back over the match, seeming pleased but in a rather quiet way.
Arsenal in summary: There were 3 black suit cards and 2 red suit cards which on the face of it didn’t look too optimistic. But the Club cards were both positive in translation and the terrible card, the 3 of Spades…rightfully belonged here somewhere in the story, with a minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of the game.
Arsenal could certainly win, but I couldn’t decide without also looking at Chelsea.
Chelsea’s cards on the bottom row were all black suit cards. First we had The Joker which could mean absolutely anything. It is a destiny card. A wild card.
On this occasion, I asked Il Matrimonio, was there a Chelsea player who was a bit of a maverick? A dark young man? (I was looking here at the Jack of Spades next door to the Joker) He looked as if he might prove significant to Chelsea’s chances. This might be in a good way or not.
That was probably Diego Costa, Il Matrimonio said.
The central card, a key card, was the Five of Clubs, nicknamed The Renovator, it can be a sporty card, but often indicates that some change is overdue. Perhaps to the line up or the formation? The Ace of Clubs seemed auspicious, I felt it might well represent a goal, but the final, outcome card, the eight of Spades, nicknamed The Workaholic, somehow suggested that Chelsea would get into gear too little, too late, and would end working harder than when they had started.
The two comment cards, drawn with no question in mind, just as an add on were both eights: the eight of Diamonds and the Eight of Hearts. Did Il Matrimonio know which player/s would be wearing a Number 8 shirt? Was it one of the strikers?
He was by now glued to the box and shouted through, ‘I hear your question.’
The match hadn’t started yet, but he was absorbed in the buildup, lots of yelling and excited voices, the testosterone was rising, and he was there, becoming part of it and didn’t want disturbing.
‘It looks like Arsenal to win,’ I said.
The player in a Number 8 shirt turned out to be Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (above) who scored the second goal for Arsenal after Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal, uphold after some controversy as to whether it was allowable after the ball had appeared to touch his arm.
Diego Costa (the Joker?) scored the Chelsea goal.
And he is a dark young man but perhaps the ‘dark young man’ detected by the Page of Spades was not only him, but I had also sensed another player, who was also a ‘dark young man,’ Victor Moseswho was, I found out later, sent off for ‘diving’. This Page is sharp, quick, clever, but sometimes controversy can attach to him (and in other readings, it might of course be a her)
Il Matrimonio said afterwards that my forecast had been out of step with most of the commentators and pundits, except for Ian Wright.
Ian Wright has warned Chelsea that Arsenal are beginning to find some form – just in time for the FA Cup final. (The Sport Review.com)
I’m going to keep on getting to know these nifty little cards. They are not nearly as visually interesting as my beloved Tarot decks, and some might say, who cares, if they do the job? And fair enough, though what price on beauty – wherever it is found?