In this method of divination the ashes remaining from the fire that has burned victims in sacrifice are used. A.G.H.
This is one of the three ancient methods, the other two are gematria and Netrikon, used by the Kabbalists to rearrange words and sentences in the Bible to derive the esoteric substratum and deeper spiritual meaning of the words.
Temurah has a second meaning also when pertaining to Judaism, particularly Hebrew mysticism, which is in association with the art of word-changing. This entails the changing of letters in certain words to create a new meaning for a Biblical statement. A.G.H.
Source: 2, 300.
A divinatory form of fortune-telling by reading tea leaves. It is also known as tasseography. Tasseomancy originated in the Middle Ages stemming from ceroscopy and molybdomancy. In the 17th century, the West Dutch Indies merchants introduced tea from the Orient. Tea drinking became a popular custom which gave rise to the divination of tea leaves that remained in the bottom of the cup.
Tasseomancy is largely dependent on psychic intuition. Tea is poured into a cup without the use of a strainer. The one seeking psychic help, the inquirer, consumes all of the tea in the cup. If any moisture remains it is shaken out onto a napkin.
The leaves remain in the bottom of the cup which the diviner observes to see what patterns are formed. A letter, heart shape, or a ring might be observed. There are some standard symbolisms which are observed when interpreting the patterns: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey or hindrance), house (change, success).
Another method is to leave a little moisture in the cup. This allows the leaves or dregs to be swished around. The cup is the upturned into the saucer. The reader picks up the cup and begins examining the formation of the dregs. As in the above described method, the dregs can form patterns such as letters, numbers, geometric designs, straight or wavy lines or shapes which resemble animals, birds or objects. Again, various symbols have particular meanings: straight lines indicate careful planning and peace of mind, while a cup shape indicates love and harmony. Time frames are also indicated by estimating the proximity of the leaves to the rim. Dregs closer to the rim and handle represent the immediate future, while those at the cup’s bottom indicate the far future. Some diviners say they can only predict twenty-four hours into the future.
Due to technical modernization tea bags have arrived, but readers have circumvented this by cutting the bags and dropping the leaves into the cup. In some instances coffee grounds are used, but the practice is less common.
Italians, in the 18th century, claimed they invented the coffee-ground form of the divination. Also, they believed the prophecies came from demons so the diviners recited incantation during their practices such as: “Aqua boraxit venias carajos,” “Fixitur et patricam explinabit tornare,” and “Hax verticalines pax Fantas marobum, max destinatus, veida porol.” It was believed that if such incantations were done incorrectly, the reading would be inaccurate.
Tasseomancy is currently conducted in England, Ireland, and Europe. In the United States it is primarily practiced in larger cities in “Gypsy tearooms” and in restaurants and other establishments which furnish back room fortune-telling services. Some occultists practice it too. A.G.H.
Tasseography, otherwise known as tasseomancy, is the art of tea leaf reading. Tea leaf reading is an ancient fortune telling art interpreting patterns made by tea leaves in the cup. In addition to the reading of tea leaves, the tradition of tasseography includes the reading of coffee grounds and wine sediments.
Although tasseography is most commonly associated with Gypsy fortunetellers, the tradition of tea leaf reading arises independently from ancient Asia and Ancient Greece. Modern tasseography, popularized in the Victorian era as a parlor game, has also been associated with the Scotch, Irish and cultures throughout Eastern Europe.
TEA Use a loose, black tea. Do not attempt to cut up a teabag because the tea within is too finely cut. My personal preference is Earl Grey. You may also sprinkle some coffee grounds in a cup of coffee.
VESSEL Use either a traditional asian or european tea cup. The bowl of the cup will fit in the palm of your hand. Select a light colored cup without decoration. You will also need a small plate or saucer.
MAKE TEA Without a strainer, sprinkle the leaves into a teapot. Add boiling water and steep until it is your desired strength.
BEGIN Keep a pen and pad handy. Inhale deeply and quiet your mind. Pour the tea into your cup. Leaves will flow into your tea cup along with tea and aroma. Remain calm and contemplative as you wait for your tea to cool to a comfortable temperature.
If you are right-handed, lift your tea cup with your left hand. If you are left-handed, lift your tea cup with your right hand. If you are ambidextrous, reach for the vessel as you normally would, stop and use the other hand.
DRINK When the tea has cooled to a comfortable temperature, drink until the cup is nearly empty. If you see a twig or little stick floating in your tea, that is an early sign representing an imminent visitor. There will be a little liquid and remaining leaves within your teacup. Swish them about as desired.
ASK YOURSELF You will get a general fortune if no particular question is looming in the forefront of your consciousness (other than: does this really work?).
SPIN 3 You many either walk your body slowly in three circles, pass your hand three times over the cup and/or count to three aloud.
DUMP Remain quiet and meditative while you pour out the remaining liquid into the saucer. Pour slowly so that some of the tea and most of the leaves remain in your cup. Leave your cup turned upside on the saucer. After a minimum of three breaths, you may turn over your cup. The remaining liquid will have drained from your cup, leaving a leaf pattern behind.
SEE 3 Imagine three levels on your cup. Remember when the cup was full? The surface area of your tea when you began to drink and above is the Rim Section.
Remember the amount of tea you left in your cup before you dumped it out? That is your Base Section.
Visualize the area of the cup that exists between the rim section and the base section. That is your Middle Section.
ZONE In a relaxed and dreamlike state of mind, watch the inside of your cup. Allow patterns to drift into your consciousness. Interpreting the leaf patterns and shapes is like taking a Rorschach Inkblot Test. Allow your imagination to wander.
IDENTIFY If your vessel has a handle, read clockwise from the handle. If you vessel does not have a handle, read clockwise from 12 o’clock.
The first pattern you see is the symbol representing your dominant character, quality, state of mind or question. Jot down your observations on a piece of paper.
READ RIM The rim section of your tea cup represents this moment in time. From your own inner quiet and open minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ MIDDLE The middle section of your tea cup represents the near future — usually no more than a fortnight. From your own inner quiet and open minded sight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ BASE The base section of your tea cup represents further away in time. From your own inner quiet and open-minded insight, do you recognize any symbols or patterns? View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. Jot down your observations.
READ THE REST Bubbles represent money. Little twigs or sticks represent people. Horizontal twigs warn of untrustworthy people; vertical twigs represent straightforward people. Drops represent tears or sadness.
INTERPRET Study your list of observed patterns and symbols. What do they mean to you? Seeing a dog can mean one thing to one person and quite another to someone else. View a symbol lexicon for some ideas to stimulate your imagination. More symbols are defined at www.tasseography.com. The patterns in the rim section apply to your present. The middle section patterns are speaking to your near future. The images you see at the base of your cup relate to your distant future or the ultimate conclusion of your question.
REMEMBER The power of tea leaf reading comes from your own subconscious and imagination, identifying the patterns you see. The patterns you recognize in this process are unique to your own personal state of mind. You can also use this process to see and describe patterns thereby stimulating the introspective imaginations of your friends and family. With compassion and kindness we learn to link ourselves together in this precious cosmic dance.
Tarot is a deck of cards with which you can play and also allows you to guess the future. The Tarot cards are full of symbology of all kinds. See best tarot decks.
The etymology of the Tarot is very controversial and there are many different versions. Some say it comes from Hebrew (they say it derives from Théraph = tables of the Jewish oracle) or from Chinese or Greek (they say it derives from the word eratoi = mates) or the Arabic (they say it derives from the word tar = enemy) or From Latin (they say it derives from the word terere = shuffle) or according to the Court of Gobelin (which derives from the Egyptian word tar = path or path and rog = king or real). For others it comes from the Doctrine of Coth. According to Papus and Guillaume Postel, it comes from the cabalistic tetragrama of the Jews. For J.A. Vaillant comes from the Phoenicians Ashtaroth, which means the goddess mother progenitor of the living series.
As you can see, the conjectures are many and varied. Possibly some are right, but what is certain is that all the symbology that these letters are loaded comes from religions, philosophies and very ancient cultures. This fact shows that from ancient times the sages were interested in the divinatory methods.
The Tarot consists of 78 cards divided into: the Major Arcana and the Lesser Arcana. The reading of the Tarot can be done with the Major Arcana alone or with both together.
The Major Arcana are 22 cards, in which the universe is represented from its creation and the earthly world to the spiritual world. The Tarot cards are full of symbology of all kinds. Apart from the meaning that each figure represented in each letter, there are other types of symbols: numerology, the meaning of colors, the reading of gestures and the positions of figures and elements.
The Minor Arcana are 56, the triumphs or cards, like those of a Spanish deck: Ace, to the X, Sota or Valet, Queen and King.
Tarot is very famous. Free online tarot reading is one of the most searched topics on the internet.
There are several different types of Tarot: the Gringonneur or deck of Charles V, Yale, Colleoni, Brera or Brambilla, Magtegna, Minchiate (Florence), Etteila, Visconti-Sforza (1880 Piedmont, Italy), Besançon, Arthur E. Waite 1910, Aleister Crowley of 1944, the Dalí, Erotic of Lucca Raimondo of 2000, …
The most successful Tarots were Marseillaise, Italians and Spaniards.
The Tarot of Marseilles is the most used in the world. It was born in France in the XV century and beginning of the XVI and varies a little with the Italians. B.P. Grimaud contributed to this in the nineteenth century. In France they changed the four clubs of the Italian cards: golds, cups, swords and clubs for diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs respectively. From there was born the game of Poker. From these the Tarots of Etteilla and the satirical Tarot were born, to mock the nobility and the politicians.
With the Tarot de Marseilles you can play cards – in fact it was done – although its primary purpose is the diviner.
The Major Arcane, as a whole, represent the universe and are divided into 3 groups: the letters of knowledge, those of action and those of emotion. In other words, they represent the 3 planes: material, spiritual and soul. Each card has its meaning, but will always be conditioned by the cards that surround it to draw a conclusion. All cards can be positive and negative depending on your position in the roll.
A number of requirements are needed to take the cards. For many, it takes a few minutes of meditation and concentration before throwing the cards. A purple carpet (the color of mutation and transgression, of change), a white candle, incense, not crossing the legs so that the energies flow … all this contributes to create the appropriate climate . Then, you have to intuit which is the roll that must be chosen to respond to the needs of the consultant.
The Tarot as originally created stemmed from life as it was experienced during a certain historical period – the Renaissance. Since that time, the distance between the original purpose of the Tarot as it was created, and what it has evolved into today, continues to diverge. During the course of this short article, I will attempt to bridge that span so as to give the reader a comprehensive view of this fascinating card game.
Much speculation exists as to the origins of the Tarot. Popular myths and rumors abound of their beginnings in ancient Egypt or with the Romanian Gypsies. However, actual history shows a somewhat different story.
The earliest record of a deck of cards carrying tarot symbology can be traced back to Northern Italy, where for the first few centuries they were used as a parlor diversion called “Cartes de Trionfi”. According to tarot historians Ronald Decker, Thierry Depaulis and Michael Dummett (“A Wicked Pack of Cards”), the earliest surviving set of tarot cards is the few remaining hand-painted cards created in approximately 1441 for the court of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan. A hundred years prior to this, packs of 52 playing cards bearing the suit symbols of Cups, Coins, Swords and Polo-Sticks could be found in Islamic countries, from whence they migrated into Europe via the British. It was only with the addition of the 22 trump cards sometime after the 18th Century that the pack came to resemble what we now recognize as the modern Tarot deck.
Speculation about the Egyptian origins of the Tarot springs almost exclusively from the conclusions and assertions of one person – Antoine Court de Gebelin, a Protestant pastor born in 1695. Caught up in a period of wide-spread fervor over the mystery of all things Egyptian, Court de Gebelin’s essay in his work “Monde primitif” says that he discovered this mysterious work while visiting a Lady acquaintance occupied in playing with the game of “Tarots.” Within a short time (15 minutes, the essay declares) he pronounced them to be a mysterious book of knowledge of Egyptian origins which had survived the ravages of time. Similar conclusions were drawn in another essay by Court de Gebelin’s peer Comte de Mellet. The belief that the Tarot originated with the Gypsies sprung from the same fount of speculation based on the mistaken idea that the Gypsies originally came from Egypt.
Despite the lack of hard evidence as to the “mystical” origins of the Tarot, the symbology of the tarot can be traced to the ancient Greeks as well as to the myths and legends of other ancient cultures. From these convergent and divergent points, a school of thought developed that compared the cards to the intricate Judaic system of Qabalah and the Tree of Life, an important component of the early development of modern hermetic magical systems, developing further into the founding of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry. Early hermetic Tarot scholars, including Papus, MacGregor Mathers, Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, and Arthur E. Waite contributed vastly to the body of mystical knowledge which comprises the basis of modern Tarot – Crowley and Waite being the creators of the two most popular systems extant today – the “Thoth” and “Rider-Waite” decks (respectively).
While Crowley’s Thoth deck developed to incorporate Qabalistic theory along the lines of the developing OTO (“Ordo Templi Orientis”) and Golden Dawn systems, A.E. Waite’s interpretation of the Tarot stands today virtually as the standard by which all Tarot decks are judged. Prior to this, the minor arcane (or “pip” cards) of the Tarot were illustrated with various geometric arrangements of the four suit symbols – Cups, Swords, Batons and Coins. With the aid of artist Pamela Coleman-Smith, Waite incorporated scenes, symbols and imagery into the pip cards, which, although continuing to be of hermetic/qabalistic interpretation, assigned a more graphic meaning to the cards, bringing them within a more accessible reach to the general public, or at least those with an interest in the occult. In the process, he also changed the suits of Batons to Wands and Coins to Pentacles to realign them with his ideas about their connection to the magical disciplines. Crowley’s deck, oriented more toward the hermetic tradition, continued with the geometric suit design of the pips. However, his “Book of Thoth” written as an explanatory text for the deck, is considered basic required reading by Tarot authorities.
The creation of the Waite deck began a veritable avalanche of new decks into the marketplace. Many artists saw the medium as a way to present variations of artistic genre, creating decks which were veritable galleries of miniature artwork. The occultists saw it as a way to broaden and further the study of other magical/spiritual traditions, and began to assert a universal connection between Waite’s assigned meanings and their own traditions. Thus, today we see decks containing images from many spiritual paths and historical time periods, including Native American, mythological, Celtic, Arthurian, pagan, aboriginal, Renaissance, and even combinations thereof into a single deck.
However, despite the variations in presentation, the basic structure of the standard or archetypal tarot deck consists of two groups of cards known as the “Major Arcane” and the “Minor Arcane” (“arcane” meaning “secret” or “hidden”). Briefly, the Major Arcane deal with images that represent the broader, universal, often spiritually-oriented issues, ideas, beliefs and experiences of life. The Minor Arcane deal with the more mundane themes of everyday living. The Majors contain 22 cards numbered from 0 to 22. The Minors contain 56 cards divided among four “suits” – Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles. Each of the suits have their own over-arching associations, and the cards within each suit have a their own meaning.
The standard method for “reading” the cards involves the use of a “spread,” which means the card or cards chosen from the deck are placed in a certain position that has a designated meaning and interpreted from there. Methods of choosing the cards vary widely from reader to reader. Some allow the querant full range to shuffle and choose the cards and place them where they please, relying heavily on the random aspect of chaos to reveal the issue at hand. Some never allow anyone to touch their cards, and insist on placing the cards in a certain design in specific ways, feeling more comfortable in a highly structured reading environment. Readings can fall anywhere between the two extremes depending on the card reader.
Spreads, of which there are hundreds, vary widely as well. The most widely used spread is called the “Celtic Cross” (the origins of which are a topic for another dissertation) consisting of ten positions for the cards which are generally labeled as follows:
Readers have come to rely on this spread as an all-encompassing containment of information that provides the querant with answers to most of the details surrounding the central issue of the reading. If questions remain after reading this set of cards, additional clarification cards are sometimes pulled from the pack and read as a part of the session. Most all Tarot readings follow this same simple structure, with little variation.
The divinatory system of Tarot, at face value, is quite simple. It’s a deck of cards with pictures, placed in positions that have their own meanings. The card reader interprets the relationship of the card meanings to the positions. Anyone can learn how to do it. The new student of the system should, however, realize that their study of this subject can quickly deepen and broaden, given the history of the cards and the symbology they contain. Given the potential breadth of the subject, experienced readers often urge beginners to choose the Rider-Waite deck to learn the basic meaning and symbo9logy of the system before branching out to other interpretations of the Tarot.
There are literally hundreds of decks on the market, with new ones being developed and published almost daily. Although definitely confusing for the new student of the Tarot, it is a collector’s paradise for those who are interested in the historical origins and further development of this fascinating activity. The study of the symbology of the cards alone has caught the interest of many scholars who have written reams on the subject. A suggested list of books, from beginner to authoritative commentary, is listed at the end of this article.
Harking back to the ancient symbology of the cards, another important influence on the understanding and interpretation of Tarot was the work of Carl G. Jung and his study of archetypal imagery arising from the human collective unconscious. In an introductory statement to Sally Nichols’ book “Jung and Tarot” Laurens van der Post stated that “He (Jung) recognized at once, as he did in so many other games and primordial attempts at divination of the unseen and the future, that Tarot had its origin and anticipation in profound patterns of the collective unconscious with access to potentials of increased awareness uniquely at the disposal of these patterns.” Nichols herself states early on that “It seems apparent that these old cards were conceived deep in the guts of human experience, at the most profound level of the human psyche. It is to this level in ourselves that they will speak.”
Many believe it is this view of the cards that explains the development of the cards for “fortune telling.” Waite himself despised this aspect of the cards, and took every opportunity to denigrate this idea. Yet for this topic, Jung’s system of archetypal psychology suggests that we reevaluate our definition of the term “fortune telling.”
Most people who hear the word instantly think of the rag-headed Gypsy with the crystal ball and smoking incense in the dark tent with a name preceded by “Madam.” However, modern uses for the cards has elevated this image from the darkened tent into the light of developmental self awareness, plumbing the depths of psychology and spiritual enlightenment. Today, “fortune telling” with practiced readers can more often be a participatory session with an active and dynamic interplay between reader and querant, with the reader helping the questioner divine their own sources of problems and solutions through the story presented in the images.
Given today’s rash of less-than-honest psychic pretenders, a good Tarot reader is a rare find. Anyone can learn the Tarot card meanings by mere rote memorization. However, the skill of a good reader becomes obvious when they can tune in to that numinous interface between the energies of the cards in the spread and the energies of the querant and the issues that need to be discussed. You’ll notice the word “need” is used, because inevitably the cards will most often speak to the issue of what the querant needs to know instead of, or in addition to, what the querant wants to know.
In a good Tarot session, the reader will develop a rapport with the querant and involve them in the reading, rather than listening to a “talking head.” According to Mary Greer, a good reader will be able to pull all the cards in the spread together to interpret not only the message of each individual card, but the spread as a cohesive whole, so that the querant can see the entire story.
The best Tarot readers today will often set up a dialog about the cards in the reading, asking the reader’s ideas about what “they” see in the cards, which almost inevitably acts as a “Rorschach” test of sorts that helps the querant reveal issues that might have been deeply buried within their unconscious. Many who seek the services of a Tarot reader or psychic are concerned with a “surface” problem that has manifested in their life, but refuse to deal with the underlying issues that cause the problem. Often, Tarot cards can reveal these issues and provide a forum where the querant can bring them out to discuss in an atmosphere of comfort and safety, much as in a professional counseling session.
The good reader will also be able to recognize when a problem surfaces that is far beyond their scope of practice, and suggest the querant seek additional counseling when the issue warrants this step.
If the querant does take the advice of the reader about seeking further counseling, they might just find themselves (if they’re lucky) with a professional who uses the Tarot as a basis for understanding their clients problems. In a foreword to Mary Greer’s book “Tarot Mirrors,” tarot author Rachal Pollack comments that a growing number of people “_.have realized that readings can serve as a primary means of penetrating into the layers of a person’s life – a way of exposing desires and fears, the conditioning of past experiences, the future developments that exist now in the immediate reality.”
A growing number of professionals in the fields of science and psychology are using divinatory tools such as the Tarot to help augment their attempts to define and explain what we heretofore have considered the “Unknown” and the supposedly unknowable. The symbols seem to make contact with something deep within which causes an opening up of areas of the unconscious which may have only been reachable in the dream state before.
A good example is Dr. Art Rosengarten, who presented a fascinating workshop at a 1996 symposium in Anaheim, California entitled – “Using Tarot as a Mirror into Domestic Discord” in which he discussed the results of his pilot study on Tarot Research Into Domestic Violence. In this study he was given permission to present “…a brief discussion of Tarot to five court-ordered treatment groups for Male Offenders of Domestic Violence and seek volunteers to receive Tarot Readings which would be focused on issues related to their personal domestic and marital problems.”
Among the many fascinating results of the study was the universal ability of the test subjects to look at the cards and spreads, and see their own stories – their own personal myths. The images enabled them to reach within to see and identify with the personality characteristics present or missing within themselves – to identify and name their own reality. The cards helped them make sense of what they could not heretofore explain or put into words – to take the clothes off the Emperor so they could see their situation as it really was.
Author Cynthia Giles speaks on this subject quite well in her book “The Tarot – Methods, Mastery, and More” when she says “Another important wellness aspect of Tarot is the reading process itself. The reading event offers an opportunity for profound connection between two people, and there is substantial evidence that this person-to-person connection is vital for wellness as well as for healing.”
We can see in these examples that the Tarot is not limited to the application of “Fortune Telling,” but has gone beyond into the realm of being used as a “healing tool.” As a channel into the world of internal archetypal images, it can be, and indeed is beginning to be, used more and more as a bridge between mind and body to aid in healing the sicknesses of modern society.
As in any field of study, one can choose to assimilate a cursory overview of the subject, and then either abandon it for other paths, or choose to delve deeper. In the field of Tarot, Giles makes the statement that “_Tarot brings with it its own invitations and its own initiations. Tarot can be pursued in many ways, at many levels. Beyond a certain point, however, one either chooses to enter the path of mastery or determines to remain a dabbler. Entering the path surely does not mean you must devote your life to Tarot _ but it does mean a change of attitude. On the path, Tarot becomes less an activity than a point of view.”
The Tarot’s unique development from its origins as a simple parlor game, to its evolution as a divinatory tool, to its more modern development as a means for self-development and awareness, provides a tempting, elaborate, and many-faceted subject that can engage the interest of historians, mystics and occultists alike.
Suggested reading list:
“A Wicked Pack of Cards” by Decker, Depaulis and Dummett
“78 Degrees of Wisdom” Volumes I and II by Rachel Pollack
“Dictionary of the Tarot” by Bill Butler
“Tarot: A Handbook for the *” by Eileen Connolly
“The Book of Thoth” by Aleister Crowley
“Complete Guide to the Tarot” by Eden Gray
“Tarot for Your Self”, “Tarot Constellations”, “Tarot Mirrors” by Mary K. Greer
“Encyclopedia of Tarot”volumes I-III by Stuart Kaplan
“The Game of Tarot” by Michael Dummett
“Pictorial Key to the Tarot” by A.E. Waite
For those savvy to cruising the World Wide Web, two of the best sites for Tarot study and reference are:
“Michele’s Tarot Home Page” at http://www.infi.net/~jacksn
Mary K. Greer’s web site – Tools and Rites of Transformation (T.A.R.O.T.) at http://www.nccn.net/~tarot
Contain vast amounts of information and resources, as well as links to other tarot sites around the web.
For those in remote areas who might not have access to either books or decks, Wolf Distributing is considered to be the largest distributor of tarot-related products. They can be found on the WWW at http://www.icanect.net/wolf/wtarot.htm or by calling their Order Desk at 1-800-377-6650 USA and Canada.
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