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Thinking About Thinking – Part 2 Of 2

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Thinking About Thinking – Part 2 Of 2

Like many of my clients, I am always looking for ways to speed things up – to produce more results with the same or even fewer resources. We probably agree on this. The key is certainly not about working harder; it may not even be about working smarter. But there are definitely ideas which work, and those ideas need to be uncovered. Often you can find them through analytical thinking. In my last article I discussed this: a process of asking deliberate questions, and in a disciplined, even rigorous way, coming up with answers. Asking and answering, that’s the analytical thinking process. Do it enough and you will likely come up with something useful.

But there is a whole other process, a “something” that goes on in the mind. Many people call it intuition. Others call it “gut feel,” or “tapping the universal spirit.” In contrast to rational, linear left-brain thinking, it is sometimes called “right-brain” thinking, synthetic, or holistic thinking. I’m going to call it unconscious thinking. What I mean by this cumbersome phrase is that this kind of ideation is based on removing the linear, rational, questioning, conscious thinker from the equation, and tapping into the results when they come.

How do you do that? Everybody has their favorite way. Several people, responding to my last article’s caveat that I was not referring to the thinking that goes on in the shower, wrote that their best ideas occur in the shower. For others, unconscious thinking occurs while driving their car. Or working out in the gym, riding a bike, or jogging. Gardening seems to be a hot spot for hot ideas. And sybarites I know report getting great ideas while being massaged and sipping wine in the hot tub.

Some people put themselves in a trance state via meditation or actively listening to music. Others go into a trance watching TV. I get great ideas when I’m at the movies. (Curiously, it doesn’t work while watching a movie on videotape — I think the level of concentration is too low — which may be a key to the way these processes work. For the car people, it only works while driving — not as a passenger. The logic behind this is similar.)

What is this spontaneous generation of unconscious ideas? I must confess that, really, I have no idea. But I do know how to make it happen. Spontaneously. The key is to loosen the grip of consciousness on the mind, and get the logical, linear, Q&A thinking process out of the way.

Spontaneous generation comes in two basic flavors –fortuitous and deliberate, both of them “unconscious”. An example of the fortuitous kind is what happens when you are driving your car, and an incredibly useful thought just “comes” to you. If you are not prepared, you are likely to lose it as quickly as it came. On the other hand, if you keep a voice recorder or notepad handy, you can capture this potential gem. Plus, being prepared to capture these “fortuitous” intuitive pearls, seems to be a very important part of having them more often.

An example of the deliberate version is when, upon retiring for the evening, you tell yourself (with feeling and conviction) you want to dream the solution to a particular problem. If you get lucky (back to fortuitous), you will. If you do this repeatedly — program yourself with a problem — you will start to dream solutions regularly.

Analytical types may scoff at this “telling yourself” bit. But recent research in cognitive science indicates a possible model for the mind as a series of unconnected agents, each with its own limited function set. Some of these agents may be linked by well-worn pathways. Others, however, have never communicated, and as yet have no way to do so. “Telling yourself” what you want to think about has the effect of sending a broadcast signal throughout the agent population, which may enlist them in your unconscious thinking process.

Whether by happenstance or intention, the available techniques, if you can call taking a shower a technique, are interchangeable. The only difference is whether you set out to generate a specific idea or whether random ideas comes unbidden.

Two habits will make unconscious thinking work more effectively for you. First, prepare your environment to capture ideas as they come. I put 3×5 note cards and pens everywhere — in my car, my night-table, the medicine cabinet, next to my favorite reading chair, my suit pockets, gym bag, even my under-the-seat bike storage pocket — just about everywhere I am, I can find a note card. Plus, I carry a voice recorder in my briefcase. The new one has a digital interface to my computer and transcribes notes automatically.

The second habit is to deliberately plant seeds of ideas in my unconscious mind. I regularly “re-mind” myself of the areas where I could use a creative flash. For instance, if I am working on a book chapter or an article, or if I need a new solution for a client’s business problem, I put that into my mental hopper and let it sit. Often ideas come to me, and if I am prepared to capture them — voila!

So — what are some ways to stimulate unconscious thinking?

We’ve mentioned a number already. One way to stimulate unconscious thinking is to engage in physical exercise. Jogging, swimming, biking, hiking, weight-lifting — all of these activities are great for idea generation. The key is they are all sort of mindless – not requiring much detailed thought. This may seem paradoxical — if you are trying to shut down your conscious mind, wouldn’t you want to distract it with a conscious thought process? No — it seems you want to have the opposite effect– you want to lull the conscious questioning thinker to sleep, and simple repetitive physical work seems to do that. Likewise, playing a rhythm instrument like drums or bass, or any sort of rhythmic chanting or dancing, will produce a similar result.

These activities, along with morning showers, afternoon massages, and evening hot tubs, may be considered strange in the corporate setting (except in California.) Here are some more corporately flavored, “structured” ways to generate unconscious thinking.

Mind mapping is an excellent technique for tapping the unconscious. Tony Buzan, the inventor of mind mapping, has a book called The Mind Map Book which details this technique. Mind mapping seems to unlock certain expressive mechanisms not available by writing. Drawing representations of your problems and possible solutions, however crudely, also works well. For truly graphically challenged, try collages made from cutout images. Sometimes just flipping though magazines will stimulate ideas. Get a big stack of publications — ones with good pictures — and start flipping.

There are activities which you can do in groups. You can play word association games. The game will usually have a context — the idea you’d like to explore. Start with a list of words which relate to your central idea, and free associate. Speed matters in this process, so record these games on audio tape. Another version is to use one of those magnetic poetry kits. Give people the kits and let them go to work. Also, you can mind-map in groups. Or gather a bunch of great images on a projector and let your group play off them.

I mentioned this in my last article: you can use structured information sources in an unstructured way. Use the Oxford English Dictionary (really any dictionary will do, the OED just seems better.) Pick words at random and establish connections with your central ideas. Or use a Tarot deck, or the Taoist I-Ching. You used to be able to do this with fortune cookies but the message quality has gone downhill. Pick a passage from your favorite inspirational literature such as the Bible or Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and invent a connection to your central idea — see what new things come up.

Try attending a seminar when you need new ideas. The seminar need not even be on the subject of concern. Just being in the seminar room, removed from your controlled environment, can cause your conscious mind to let go a little — just enough for spontaneous ideas to creep to the surface and make themselves available. And for those of you who don’t – read some books. On anything. Reading books always stimulates random thinking if you let it. Remember to keep note cards and pens handy.

Bring in outside speakers or consultants to spout off their ideas. (I know this might seem like a shameless plug.) Or cross-over people from departments who normally don’t work together. That always gets the juices flowing. Take these mixed-up groups and do any of the above.

Try game playing — simple things like checkers, go fish, touch-tackle football, Lego, plastic model building, even pickup sticks. Even home or office renovation work, which is simply another game to play. Try something community minded -a neighborhood cleanup program: lots of sweeping, lawn mowing, and trash pickup. All of these “games” distract the conscious mind. Do a session, gather everyone together, and ask what ideas came up. They will.

Do you get the idea? Do you have any other ideas?

Here then are your first two assignments. One: Make a mind map of all the ways you currently do this. Two: Focus your intention on developing some new unconscious processes. Walk around for a few days with this thought deep in the back of your mind. See what you come up with during the week.

The steps are:

Identify the area in which you want new ideas.

Create a diversion for your conscious mind. Lull it to sleep using any of the above methods, or one of your own.

Keep handy a way to record your ideas. This is critical. Use a pocket recorder or note cards. It’s a good idea to always carry one or the other.

Take your unconsciously generated ideas seriously. Pay attention to them: you may not use every idea, but at least evaluate it. Your unconscious mind likes that and you’ll get more.

Divining The Future

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Divining The Future

Whether in movies or books or in life, it is human nature to be curious about “what happens next”, what the future holds in store. Because of this curiosity divination methods were developed, some even centuries old. There are several tools and ways to divine the future. Forms popularized by gypsies (as related in tales) are crystal (ball) gazing, tarot card reading, palmistry, tea leaves, bones, etc.

Divination is anything but an exact art or science. People who have the gift of divination are often called fortune tellers. This is actual a mislabel, because it really isn’t fortune that the diviner sees but possibilities of a person’s future live, love, finances, etc. All these based on decisions that a person makes now. In the Filipino language, diviners are called manghuhula which literally translates to “guessers”. Essentially, this means that fortune tellers are supposedly just guessing. Amazingly, their guesses hit the mark often enough that divination became a thriving business.

Despite its many forms, the one that appears to be most trusted is astrology. There are different types of astrology but the ones most popularly known are the Chinese astrology (one of the oldest divination techniques created centuries ago) and the western astrology (created by Babylonian astronomers).
Chinese Astrological signs change on an annual basis, based on the cycles of the moon. Hence, their year starts with the first full moon of the year. The Chinese zodiac is based on 12 animals. Your animal is based on the year of your birth. The twelve animal signs are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.

The zodiac that people are more familiar with is the one that changes by the month. Depending on your birth date you could fall under the sign of Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, or Capricorn.

Nowadays divination nuts (whether diviners or those who want to have their future read) seem to be everywhere! From the café at the corner, to bookstores, to the funny section in newspapers, to radio, to TV, to websites, and even, yes, to call centers. Psychic hotlines have been all the rage for many years now. One notable personage to get on the band wagon is Dionne Warwick and her psychic circle of friends.

Diviners who use astronomy employ a lot of math and research before they give their predictions. The result depends on the position of the stars and the alignments of the planets plus the date and time of your birth for them to feel that they can come up with a more or less accurate prediction.

The diviners of the 21st century are more than fortune tellers. They also act as counselors or advisers to their clients. They provide more than advice; they also provide comfort, and an attentive ear at a very affordable price. Your favorite diviner becomes a part of your life and at times transforms from being a simple diviner to a good friend.

Cartomancy

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Cartomancy

Cartomancy is a method of divination that utilizes a deck of cards. While the practice has been popular for hundreds of years, it has seen a recent surge in commercial popularity with the sale of Tarot cards on the popular market. They have become a party prop as much as a tool of divination. This is a fact that is met with some consternation amongst true psychics who value the truth in their trade. They value the art in their psychic gifts, and the idea of girls at a slumber party playing at divination is frowned upon.

Initially, cartomancy was done with basic playing cards. In many places it still is done that way today. While the popularity and mysterious nature of Tarot cards have somewhat negated the practice of reading standard playing cards, the principles are much the same. Though different cultures have all managed to create unique sets of playing cards, adaptations have been made which allow readings to be done using a variety of decks. When it comes right down to it, cartomancy can be done with the poker deck that you have in the junk drawer. Tarot cards can be fun and enlightening, but you needn’t feel like that is the only way to get a good reading or to get accurate guidance.

There are many superstitions about the cards themselves that are used for cartomancy. One of the most widely held beliefs is that the deck which is used for readings should never be used for anything else. The act of playing with the cards can ruin the fine edge of their accuracy. Some purists even say that no one except the owner of the cards should ever lay a finger on them. They must protect from the aura of other people so that the connection between the cards and the medium is undisturbed and clear.

The argument over what is and is not cartomancy can become heated when discussed. Though they may agree that various methods are forms of divination, many from the older schools of though refuse to bestow the title of cartomancy on any reading that does not involve a standard deck. In other words, they believe that cartomancy does not include Tarot readings. There are other types of oracle cards which they also feel do not meet the standards of true cartomancy.

The Tarot deck is much different than the regular decks of cards that you and I may be familiar with. For starters, it has more cards. They are also divided up differently. The Tarot decks include 22 “major” cards that do not have an equivalent in a standard deck. The remaining cards are somewhat similar to your standard poker cards in that each suit represents something significant. Clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades each equate to one of the major elements that make up the world. They are earth, air, fire and water.

Of course, there are also the numbers on the cards that carry meaning. This is particularly true with the face cards. What causes many problems, and likewise many to doubt its relevancy, is the dispute over the meaning of cards in identical decks. It can be difficult to engage people for an accurate reading if they are aware of these differences. One possible answer is that the cards play themselves out in accordance the way the interpreter will draw them. Could it be the cards will be played in the right way, no matter how you interpret them. Many cartomancers believe that this is the case, and thus the reason why disputes over interpretation aren’t a big deal to them.

Unfolding The Mystery Of Black Magic

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Unfolding The Mystery Of Black Magic

Magic is defined as a supposed natural prowess of making the impossible seem possible. It can give a person the power to control someone else.

In ancient times, a person who possessed the skills to perform magic tricks also used it for healing purposes. It was also used to keep away bad spirits, to seek the truth when injustice occurs and lastly, used to seek revenge.

‘In Black & White’

There are several types of magic but basically, it is subdivided in two categories: black and white magic.

You have seen a lot of movies which depict the good triumphing over evil. This is the same scenario between white and black magic.

White magic is done or performed on the “good” side. It is supposed to be used for the greater good and kindly or harmless methods are employed with this type of magic.

Black magic, on the other hand, is immediately associated with evil purposes. It is said that the evil spirits are called upon when a magician performs black magic.

‘Sorcery & Witchcraft’

Because of the shady or not-so-good reputation of black magic, it is often referred to as sorcery. It is also known as witchcraft, though most of the individuals practicing black magic are actually harmless and they do not have evil intentions.

‘Modern Black Magic’

Nowadays, supposedly there are several procedures and skills that one can learn through the art of black magic.

1. predicting the past and seeing the future through fortune telling

2. searching for a person’s innermost secrets through divination

3. casting a spell on a person by invocations

4. seeking revenge for an enemy through curses

5. having a spirit appear through evocations

6. creating procedures to sharpen one’s wit and further enhance concentration

7. using black magic to heal diseases and end ailments

8. ceremonies and seals to call, evoke, command, or reward spirits

Modern witchcraft or black magic has a major misconception of being performed for evil purposes.

By learning about the history and development of black magic from the ancient era to modern times, one will eventually see that it is not something to be afraid of.

Believing in magic can leave you with a sense of wonder about the intricacies of black magic or modern witchcraft and finally put an end the ancient misconception that it is no different from Satanism.

Modern black magic actually teaches about love of nature and harmony between opposite genders and love of nature and one’s self.

At the same time, it still leaves us wondering about ceremonials, spells and curses, which make us further appreciate the mysteries of the art of magic.

Divining with Ordinary Playing Cards

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Divining with Ordinary Playing Cards

You don’t necessarily need an expensive Tarot deck to divine the future from cards. You can use a regular deck of playing cards. All you have to remember is that the four suits equate to the following
Hearts represent love or equate to Cups in the regular deck Diamonds represent money or Coins or Disks Spades represent hardship or Swords Clubs represent opportunity or Wands
Perhaps the simplest layout is a three-card spread that represents past, present and future. Or you can choose one card from the deck and meditate on its meaning for the day. I have found that an ordinary deck of cards is also easily adapted to the Celtic Cross, as well as the Horoscope Spread (which involves laying twelve cards out in a circle with each card representing what is going on in each house). Below is a quick guide to the meaning of the cards.
Hearts (Cups)
Ace: triumph in love, perfection, union, happiness
King: Honesty and affection. A generous, temperamental, and passionate man. Usually fair haired or fair complexion – card can also mean unreliability or a bad decision.
Queen: A loving and attractive woman, fidelity, devotion, usually a fair-haired woman. Can mean vanity or delusion.
Jack: A good friend or close friend. Can mean a reunion of separated lovers. Usually a fair-haired young person.
10: good luck, satisfaction, balance, peace, happiness in family or home.
9: good news, relief, the desires of the inquirer will come true,
8: an approach, invitation or proposal (traditionally to a party or celebration.)
7: a severe disappointment, broken promises, cancelled promises
6: sudden windfall, good fortune, generosity (can also mean unwelcome guests)
5: indecision, insecurity, jealousy, and obsession
4: postponement of a date or important matter, can also signify a delayed or canceled marriage
3: a warning to be sensible, watch for deception, bad decisions
2: friendship, a positive connection, a loving trusting relationship
Spades (Swords)
Ace: bad news, a separation or split, conflicts, a doomed love affair, endings, death. Can mean an ambition but thoughtless man. Usually dark haired.
Queen: betrayal, gossip, sabotage, malice, treachery. Can mean a widow or divorcee. Usually signifies a dark haired woman
Jack: obstacles, laziness, and hindrances. A lazy, but indolent, young man. Self-destructive.
Usually dark haired
10: emotional anguish, cruelty, worry, grief, and a turn psychologically for the worse
9: delays, quarrels, opposition, conflict, bad luck,
8: secret enemies, disappointments.also a rival pretending to be a friend
7: loss of friendship, loss of trust, and a battle not worth fighting
6: gradual improvement, ambition, discipline and the efficient carrying out of plans
5: being at the threshold of a project, anxiety about money, financial exchanges.can sometimes indicate great success in business
4: delays, emotional issues, troubles with business or money, illness
3: infidelity, a love triangle, a love or marriage that is ending
2: division, scandal, and deception gossip
Diamonds (Coins)
Ace: new job, promotion, cash windfall, an engagement ring,
King: an old regime, the patriarchy, inescapable boundaries and rules…can mean a stubborn but powerful man. Usually fair haired man
Queen: sophistication. society, control. Can mean a mean spirited woman or a flirt. A vain woman. Usually fair haired woman.
Jack: bad news, unreliable or shaky circumstances. Unwanted visit from a relative. Destructive or
sullen young man usually fair-haired.
10: life changes, a move, a trip for business or money reasons
9: a happy financial surprise or opportunity and surprises, travel, adventure, excitement
8: a new relationship, a renewal of vows late marriage or new relationship, reunion
7: gossip, lies, rumours, , criticism, sarcasm, and bad luck at gambling or love
6: reconciliation, early marriage; sometimes premature end to a relationship.
5: business success, happy news, unexpected windfall, patronage, a loan
4: power, an inheritance, good fortune…sometimes betrayal in business
3: divorce, legal or domestic battles, quarrels, violence
2: a love affair thriving despite great odds, a soulmate
Clubs (Wands)
Ace: artistic talent, inspiration, a love for life, achievement, honour, professional success,
King: prosperity, good business, faithfulness, and philanthropy. An honest, reliable, generous man. Usually a dark haired man.
Queen: Intelligence, flexibility, fairness. Organization.An attractive, caring soul. Usually dark
haired woman.
Jack: a reliable friend, sincere but impatient
10: unexpected gift, money or good fortune, a silver lining in a cloud
9: an affair, an infidelity, a new romance..Sometimes disagreements with friends
8: bad decisions, opposition, bad luck in gambling, a loan that is not repaid,
7: success, prosperity, competition, can sometimes mean dealing with rivals in romance
6: a profitable business or partnership, a successful project
5: aid or support from a friends or family, sometimes marriage with a wealthy woman
4: interference, unexpected ill will, failure of a project, bad planning
3: marriage or union…sometimes a long engagement or sex without marriage
2: opposition, disappointment, lack of acceptance in business or social circle.
Have fun!

The Origin Of Baccarat: The History Of This Fun Card Game

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The Origin Of Baccarat: The History Of This Fun Card Game

The word Baccarat is derived from the Italian word “baccara”, meaning zero, and refers to the zero value given to all of the face cards and tens. In Europe, the game of Baccarat remains one of the most popular casino games. The game of Baccarat is enjoyed by all social levels and can be found played in locals cafes as well as the most prestigious of royalty events.

An early version of the game was played with a deck of Tarot cards dating back to the middle ages. While Baccarat originated in Italy around 1490 it became the game of choice for the French nobility by the early 1950’s. Baccarat evolved into the French game “Chemin De Fer”, which translates as “Street of Fire”. The French game introduced the words “Banco” – which means they are betting the total value of the bank’s funds and all other bets are withdrawn, “Cheval” – which means other players at the table may bet on either hand, as well as “Non” for standing and “Carte” which means the player would like one more card. Many American casinos have adopted the French terms used in the game to further the image of Baccarat as a glamorous game. European Baccarat is another variation but follows the same rules as the other versions of this game.

What is known as American Baccarat actually originated in England and spread to South America. The version of the game that is played today came from the Capri Casino in Havana, Cuba.

When Baccarat was introduced to Nevada in the late 1950’s, local casinos attempted to instill the glamour associated with the European game. In most casinos, Baccarat was played in a roped-off area and was closely monitored and sometimes even guarded

A number of casinos have installed a smaller version of the Baccarat game, called Mini-Baccarat and it is played on standard blackjack-sized gaming tables using the same rules. The table is staffed by one dealer who is responsible for handling the cards. The layout, however, conforms to the regular Baccarat table and each of the seven seat positions correspond to a number and betting box with spots for banker, player, and tie. Lacking the formality and large group of players, Mini-Baccarat is played fast and is an ideal place to get familiar with the game. While Mini-Baccarat may not be held in the same esteem as the parent game it still enjoys great popularity with the novice players.

The Tarot – An Introduction

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The Tarot – An Introduction

What is the Tarot?

The tarot is a deck of 78 cards, featuring illustrations that can be interpreted in various ways. The deck is divided into two sections, called the major arcana and minor arcana.

The major arcana features the 21 trump cards, and the minor arcana is divided into four suits (wands, pentacles, cups and swords) each with cards featuring the numbers 1-10, an ace and four court cards (the Page, Knight, Queen and King).

Origin of the Tarot

The oldest known tarot cards originated in 15th century Italy. The tarot appears to have started life as a card game, and was at first restricted to the wealthy upper classes, although after the invention of the printing press, the cards became more widely available.

Some writers have claimed (despite the apparent lack of evidence) that the imagery of the tarot cards suggests a more ancient origin, and have connected the tarot with such cultures and traditions as the ancient Egyptians and the mystical Hebrew Kabbalah.

Later Developments

It was not until the 18th century that the cards became associated with the occult and mystical activities for which they are often known today. This began in 1781, when the freemason Antoine Court de Gebelin made the claim in his work ‘Le Monde Primatif’ that tarot cards contained hidden meanings (which he associated with the ancient Egyptians) that could be used for divinatory purposes.

Since then other mystic and magical traditions, such as the Order of the Golden Dawn, have claimed that the tarot has ancient roots, together with hidden wisdom to impart to those seeking enlightenment. The tarot was especially popular among such groups in the 19th century.

The tarot became more widely known with the publication of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot in 1910. Arthur Edwards Waite was a Golden Dawn member, and in this new deck, drawn by the artist Pamela Colman Smith, images with occult symbolism were included on the numeric cards, as well as the trump cards. This deck was very successful (and remains popular today), and since then, hundreds if not thousands of diverse new decks have been published, with many enthusiasts creating their own.

Uses of the Tarot

The tarot has several distinct uses, including:

1. Games
This was its original use, and it is still used for gaming purposes in some European countries.

2. Psychology
Carl Jung was the first mainstream psychologist to attach meaning to the tarot cards, when he associated them with the fundamental archetypes that he believed to reside in the collective human unconscious. Several therapeutic tecniques involving the tarot have developed from this insight.

3. Inspiration
Many artists and writers have produced works inspired by the tarot.

4. Divination
Fortune telling is perhaps the most common use associated with the tarot. The images on the cards may help the person seeking the reading to tap into their own subconscious knowledge. Others believe that the cards themselves hold some kind of inherent divinatory power, which may be read by a skilled person. For this reason, handling another person’s cards is generally frowned upon in
occult circles, as their energy could become contaminated.

Doing a Reading

There is no set method for performing a divinatory tarot reading. However there are several popular layouts or ‘spreads’, with perhaps the most well known being the Celtic cross. This is usually the first method taught to beginners, although it is by no means the most simple. Experienced tarot readers will often invent their own spreads, with their own means of interpretation.

Once the cards are selected by the person receiving the reading, the reader lays them out in a spread and analyses them, taking into account the positions relative to each other, the symbolism of the individual cards, and their position (upright or reversed).

Meaning of the Cards

There is no generally agreed upon interpretation of the tarot cards. They all have imagery of varying degrees of compexity, and the wide range of decks available makes the situation even more difficult. Nevertheless there is a huge amount of writings available on the symbology of the tarot, and on the most basic level, the 22 major arcana cards are thought to represent the journey of the Fool from ignorance to enlightenment.

In addition, the minor arcana cards have their own symbolism. The numbers are most obsviously associated with numerology, and the suits are linked to the four elements (Swords=Air; Cups=Water; Wands=Fire; Pentacles=Earth). The tarot has also been linked with other mystical and occult systems such as the I Ching, astrology, and the Kabbalah.

Choosing a Tarot Deck

There is a huge range of tarot decks to choose from. The symbolism-rich Rider-Waite deck remains extremely popular, as does Crowley’s Thoth deck. The early Marseille deck (used by Gebelin to illustrate ‘Le Monde Primitif’) is another important deck, also. There are also many less conventional decks to choose from.

Feminists, for example, might like the Motherpeace Tarot with its round cards and exclusively female imagery, whereas some of those interested in Paganism might enjoy the Witches deck or the DruidCraft tarot. Tarot decks can be found representing animals too, as well as various sports, natural imagery and
other common activities. In fact, there’s a tarot pack available to suit every taste, and most can be bought online as well as from bookstores, new age shops etc.

Where to Start?

If you’re interested in learning more about the tarot, I recommend checking out some of the numerous excellent tarot-related sites on the net, as well as online and local book stores and new age stores. One thing’s for sure – there’s no shortage of information available!

Copyright ©2006 L. A. Knight

A Wedding For All Seasons

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A Wedding For All Seasons

In times gone by it wasn’t uncommon for young couples to consult the Tarot as to what month of the year according to the stars would be their best time to wed, this would depend on what time of year their sun or moon sign was inline with Venus the goddess of love, which I would take as a positive sign, and so on. Personally I would like to think that the longevity of a marriage would depend on the love of you and your partner and not on the date you get married.

These days the factors that make us decide differ a little. Each season brings its own style and flavor to a wedding. The time of year you choose to get married will indeed affect the style and economics of the wedding in many ways including location of the reception, honeymoon destinations, wedding theme and price. Whatever type of wedding you desire there will be a season to suit you.

An autumn wedding brings to mind golden and copper themes through the fabrics and the flowers. Flowers this season are earthy yet rich. Take bold colors in purples russets, yellow and reds. Add a natural twist with dark leafy foliages and wood containers. If you choose flowers that are in season this will bring down the cost a little.

Seasonal fruits that you can include on the menu are Apples and Pears; these are in season all year round. All these factors combined will bring a nice autumn breeze to the day. Bear in mind that August is quite popular for weddings, if you are having the reception in a hotel book well in advance. The weather is also superb if you are thinking of honeymooning in Europe. Stay clear of south East Asia though as these are experiencing their monsoon seasons.

The winter wonderland wedding, a very romantic setting of Burning log fires, mulled wine receptions and Christmas card settings. This would defiantly be an indoor wedding, maybe in a castle or Hotel adorned with rich reds and golden glowing candles.

A December wedding is a good idea as the wedding reception price is dropped in many hotels in the first few days after Christmas. The holiday spirit that is still lingering at this time will add to the atmosphere. Snowdrops, Tulips, Amaryllis, and White geisha include some of the winter blooms. Seasonal fruits to be enjoyed include winterberries, Apricots, Cherries and dates.

A New Years Eve wedding can be a good idea, ringing in the New Year with a festive and fun time for all involved. Honeymoon destinations for the winter months vary, you can opt for a skiing holiday with a romantic log cabin accommodation or maybe head for the sun kissed beached of Thailand. Keeping in mind flights are usually scarce and pricey around Christmas so book your honeymoon well in advance.

Spring / Summer sun will provide for beautiful garden weddings adorned with all of mother natures glory, a fabulous season for a wedding. The colors and flowers to choose from are in abundance from roses to the petals of the cherry blossom, the look of this season is relaxed and simple taking bold flowers and strong colors softening them with driftwood or delicate wisps of grass and raffia. Some of the fruits in season are Peaches, passion fruit, and Citrus fruits, and Quinces.

Freshly picked chocolate dipped strawberries would go down well with a champagne reception. A marquee would be a wonderful idea for this season allowing everyone to soak up the atmosphere, remember to include catering and furniture hire as part of the costs if you are watching the budget. The world is your oyster as far as honeymoons go but remember our summer is winter in most of the southern hemisphere including Australia.

Whatever your plans don’t stress yourself and take as much help from friends and family to make the big day one to remember for all. Booking your honeymoon online including accommodation and avoiding travel agents can save time and money.

Holy and Unholy Numbers

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Holy and Unholy Numbers

Many of our great religions hold that numbers contain hidden meanings that in turn hold the mysteries of the universe and God within them. Ancient Hebrew mystics referred to this as Gematria. Numbers are also given corresponding associations to various deities, colours, plants, gemstones, and superstitions. Here are a brief list of associated correspondences and lore for the numbers 1 through 13.
The Number 1
In the faiths of Islamic, Jewish and Christian cultures the number 1 is associated with the unity of God. For medieval alchemists and metaphysicians the number was associated with the Philosopher’s Stone, the unknown catalyst that was thought to transform base metals magically into gold.
The number 1 is also associated with Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love; Apollo, the Greek God of Beauty and Truth; Diana, the Roman Goddess of the Hunt; Vesta, the Roman Hearth Goddess; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility, and the Chinese God Pangu.
The number 1 is associated with the colors red, crimson, scarlet and cherry. Gemstones associated with the number 1 are ruby and garnet. Flowers associated with the number are red roses and red carnations.
Common superstitions about the number one are:
Break one egg and you will break a leg
It is unlucky to walk around the house in one slipper
Only keep money in one pocket or you will lose it.
People with one hand are psychic.
A one-eyed person is a witch.
Seeing one magpie bodes a death in your future.
Seeing one white horse brings bad luck.
If you wash your hair on the first day of the month you will have a short life.
It is unlucky to get married August 1st or January 1st.
If you dream about the number 1 you have received a direct message from God.
The Number 2
In the Tarot deck, the number two represents duality, choices, decisions and partnerships. The Chinese believe that it represents the polar forces of Yin (the receptive, constrictive female energy) and Yang (the creative expansive male energy.)
Early Christians believed that the number represented the Devil or the division between soul and God. Similarly, the Zoroastrians believe the number represents the forces of good and evil locked in an eternal, yet equal, struggle.
The number 2 is also associated with the Ceres, the Greek Goddess of the Grain from whose name we have the word Cereal; Frigga the Norse Goddess of Hospitality and Wife of Odin; Freya, the Norse Goddess of Fertility and Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love.
2 is associated with the colors orange, gold, tangerine and peach. Flowers associated with 2 are freesias, orange roses and orange lilies. Gemstones associated with the number 2 are gold and coral.
Superstitions about the number two are:
If two crows fly over the house there will be a wedding in the family.
If two people sneeze at the same time both will have good luck.
If two shoots grow from the root of a single cabbage, you will have good luck.
Two people should never pour tea from the same pot.
It is lucky to have two holes in the same sock.
Breaking two eggs accidentally is a sign that you will find your soul mate.
Finding an egg with two yolks means there will be a death in the family.
If you wash your hair on the second day of the month you will have good fortune.
It is unlucky to get married January 2nd and September 2nd.
If you dream about the number 2 somebody is jealous of you.
The Number 3
Christians interpret the number 3 as representing the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The great psychologist Carl Jung interpreted as meaning the merging of the will with the heart and the soul. The ancient Babylonians and Celts interpreted this number to represent creation being born out of the union of 2 and thereby being a 3rd and distinct thing.
The number 3 is associated with Cronos, the Greek Titan who fathered the Olympians; Hecate, the Queen of the Witches and Goddess of the Crossroads; Pluto, the Roman God of Death; Saturn the Roman equivalent of Cronos and Tyr, the Norse God of Battle and Strength.
3 is associated with the colors yellow, lemon, beige and cream. Flowers associated with the number are yellow roses and orchids. The gemstone associated with 3 is topaz.
Some superstitions about the number three include:
A series of unlucky events always happen in threes.
It is bad luck to see three butterflies sitting on a leaf.
Spitting three times shoos away the devil.
It is unlucky to light three cigarettes from the same match.
If an owl hoots three times, there will be misfortune.
If a cat washes his ears three times you can expect a visitor.
A three-legged dog brings luck.
Try anything a third time and it will succeed.
If you wash your hair on the third day of the month you will have great wealth.
It is unlucky to get married May 3rd.
If you dream about the number 3, you will lose your lover.
The Number 4
For the ancient Hebrews, the number 4 was considered to be especially significant. This connects to a mystical understanding of YHVH, the four-letter name of God, which was traditionally never written down. The number 4 and its equivalent geometrical shape, the square, were considered to be sacred by ancient cultures that believed the world was flat.
Many modern Pagan religions find within the number 4 a representation of the four directions (north, south, east and west) as well as the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.
Deities associated with the number four are the fatherly Gods such as the Roman God Jupiter, the Norse God Odin and the Greek God Zeus.
Number 4 is associated with the colors green and emerald. The gemstones symbolized by 4 are jade and emerald. Plants associated with four are ivy, bamboo and baby’s breath.
Some superstitions about the number 4 include:
A four-leaf clover brings luck.
If four cookies fuse together in the oven while you are baking there will be a wedding.
Four ravens clustered together on a tree branch means there will be a wedding.
Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.
A house with the number 4 in the address is very inauspicious.
Keeping the four aces of an ordinary playing deck on your person is thought to bring power (spades), wealth (diamonds), love (hearts) and popularity (clubs).
Finding four colors in one pansy petal bodes health, wealth, happiness and prosperity.
If you hold the four of clubs while playing a card game, you will always lose.
If you wash your hair on the 4th day of the month you will go gray early.
It is unlucky to get married June 4th or October 4th.
If you dream about the number 4, you will soon be handed a lucky opportunity.
The Number 5
Pythagoras believed that 5 represented man in perfect balance with the universe and containing the sum of the male and female elements. At times this was taken to symbolize marriage. For the Sikhs, the number symbolizes the five sacred objects that are worn by all males.
The Chinese believe the number represents the 5 elements that are used in the divination oracle The I Ching as well as on the Pa’ Kua that is a device used for determining Feng Shui: earth, air, water, fire and metal.
In Wiccan circles, five can be found in the star shaped pentagram that symbolizes the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water surmounted or united by spirit.
Deities associated with the number 5 include Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine and Ecstatic Revelation; Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of Love, Sex and War; Mars the Roman God of War and Thor the Norse God of Thunder.
The colors sky blue and turquoise symbolize the number 5. The gemstones associated with 5 are turquoise and aquamarine. The flower associated with 5 is the anemone.
Some common superstitions about the number five are:
A five-leafed clover is even luckier than a four leafed one.
Wearing a five-pointed star turns away evil.
If five cookies fuse together while cooking a funeral will take place.
If you twist the stem of an apple and it breaks on the fifth twist you will be married within the year.
In the hoodoo tradition, a talisman featuring a hand displaying all five fingers is known as the Lucky Hand and is used to ward off misfortune as well as for luck in gambling.
If you wax your hair on the fifth day of the month you will go bald.
It is unlucky to get married on November 5th.
If you dream about the number five you will soon be famous.
The Number 6
For Christians, Jews and Moslems, the number 6 represents the day that man was created. Mathematicians revere the number 6 because it is the first perfect number.
Deities associated with the number 6 include Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom; Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine and Hermes, the Greek God of Communication.
The number 6 is symbolized the colors deep blue, navy and royal blue. Gemstones associated with 6 are sapphire and lapis lazuli. Flowers that symbolize the number are thistles and bluebells.
Some common superstitions about the number six are:
It is unlucky to purposely turn the number six upside down in jest as it means your projects will not be completed.
If you find a rose with six petals it means you will be lucky in love.
If you find a pansy petal with six colors in it, it means you will receive an unexpected visitor.
A talisman with the number 6 worn on it means you will be protected against hurricanes and tornados.
It is unlucky to get married October 6th or November 6th.
If you dream about the number 6 you will soon have sex.
The Number 7
The number 7 is equally sacred amongst Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions. According to Jewish and Christian mythologies it took six days to create the world with the seventh day being the holiest day – a day of rest. The Bible, Zohar and other religious texts also recommend that fields were to be left fallow every seventh year as means of allowing the earth to regenerate itself. Some Christians believe the number 7 represents the seven levels of hell.
It is Hebrew tradition to mourn, or sit Shivah, for a period of 7 days.
Deities associated with the number 7 include Frigga; Minerva, the Roman Goddess of Intelligence and Wisdom and Mithras the Sun God in Zoroastrian lore.
The number 7 is associated with the colors violet, purple and plum. 7’s gemstone is amethyst.
Flowers associated with 7 are irises and deep purple roses.
Some common superstitions about the number 7 are:
If your date of birth can be reduced to a single number that can be divided by seven then you will have a particularly lucky life.
Shattering a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.
If you sing before 7 am then you will cry before 11 am.
Wrapping her husband’s belt 7 times around a tree causes a woman to become fertile.
The seventh child of a seventh child is said to have psychic powers.
If you wash your hair on the 7th day of the month you will have trouble with the law.
It is unlucky to get married April 7th or December 7th.
If you dream about the number 7, you will soon meet a soul mate.
The Number 8
The ancient Greeks associated the number 8 with unhappiness and imperfection. The psychologist Carl Jung equated the number with the secret and dark movements of the subconscious that constantly folds into itself like a snake eating its tail.
According to the principles of Chinese Feng Shui the number 8 represents abundance and prosperity. It is considered lucky to have a house number that contains an 8.
Gods and goddesses associated with the number 8 include: Mercury, the Roman Messenger God; Gaia, the Greek Earth Mother; and Hera, the Greek Queen of Heaven.
The number 8 is represented by the colors pink and rose. 8’s gemstones are rose quartz and pearl.
Flowers associated with the number are pink roses and pink carnations.
Some common superstitions about the number 8 are:
If you fall ill eight days after a new moon, you will die by the full moon.
If you give 8 pennies away you will receive 108 times that amount.
Repeating your own name 8 times while staring into your own eyes in a mirror is thought to bring prosperity.
It is unlucky to give a person a bouquet with 8 flowers.
A house with the address 88 will bring you double happiness.
If you wash your hair on the 8th day of the month you will live to a ripe old age.
It is unlucky to get married February 8th and June 8th.
If you dream about the number 8, you will soon lose a great deal of money.
The Number 9
In occult circles, 9 is considered to be the number of completion and is closely connected with the Dead, especially one’s personal ancestors, and with the forces of the cemetery and the Underworld. The nine is also associated with Hecate, the Queen of the Witches.
In Chinese mythology, the number composes the lo-shi, a magic square that comprises the first nine single digits on the number line.
Gods and goddesses associated with the number nine include: Juno, the Roman Queen of Heaven; Luna, the Roman Goddess of the Moon and Odin, the All-Father & Ruler in Norse mythology.
The number 9 is symbolized by the colors white and pearl. 9 is associated with the silver, platinum, diamond and pearl. Flowers associated with the number are white carnations, white roses and lily of the valley
Common superstitions about the number 9 include:
You will be blessed if you find nine peas in a pod.
Tying nine knots in a strand of your lover’s hair will convince him to come to you.
Tying nine knots around a photograph of an enemy will cause them to give up the battle against you.
An address with the number nine in it brings you a long life.
If a young man wants to marry he should count 99 stars in the sky for 9 days. On the tenth day he will meet his soul mate.
Misfortune befalls the person who finds the Nine of Diamonds card on the street.
The moon that falls nine days after the New Moon in May is considered to be an unlucky day.
If you wash your hair on the ninth day of the month your marriage will be happy.
It is unlucky to get married December 9th.
If you dream about the number nine, your home will soon be blessed with a child.
The Number 10
For Christians, the number 10 symbolizes the Ten Commandments that were delivered through Moses from God at Mt. Sinai.
Deities traditionally associated with the number 10 include the Greek Gods Atlas, who bore the weight of the world on his shoulders and Uranus who was responsible for imagination and technology.
A common superstitious is that if you wash your hair on the 10th day of the month, you will receive a promotion at work. Another is that if you dream about the number 10 your mate is unfaithful.
The Number 11
The number 11 and in particular the number 11:11 (as seen on a clock) is considered, by many light workers and channellers to be a portal to other astral dimensions. The number 11 is also considered to be a ‘master number” in schools of numerology.
Deities associated with the number 11 are the Sea Kings such as the Roman God Neptune and the Greek God Poseidon.
A common Chinese superstition is that washing your hair on the 11th day of the month will improve your eyesight.
The Number 12
The number 12 is associated with the Twelve Apostles, the number of people on a jury as well as The Twelve Days of Christmas.
The number 12 is also identified with the Roman Two-faced God Janus.
A common superstition is that washing your hair on the 12th day of the month will bring you misfortune. Another is that if you dream of the number 12, a solution will soon be found to a nagging problem.
The Number 13
Usually considered an unlucky number, this double-digit represents Judas, who was the guest at the Last Supper who betrayed Jesus. As a result it is also thought to be unlucky to have a dinner party with 13 guests.
Many hotels are missing a thirteenth floor or have omitted the number from their room doors.
Gods associated with the number 13 are Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld and Pluto, the Roman God of Underworld.
The color associated with the number 13 is black.
Some common superstitions about the number 13 are:
It is unlucky to have an address with the number 13.
It is also unlucky to have 13 numbers in your name.
Friday the 13th of any month is said to be an unlucky day.
The moon that falls thirteen days after the New Moon in August is considered to be an unlucky day.
Washing your hair on the 13th of the month ensures that you will give birth to a son.

Fortune Telling Party Theme Ideas

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Fortune Telling Party Theme Ideas

I see a fun theme party in your future…
This popular theme party can be prepared in less than a day, or in only a few hours for those high energy hosts!
Activity Ideas
The central part of a fortune telling party is telling fortunes and reading tarot cards.
Have a least one table with a crystal ball. If you can’t find one, you can always use a large snow globe of some kind.
Other great games include a Ouija board and Magic Eight ball.
Decorations
*Hang beaded curtains at the door entry.
*Hang zodiac pinatas around the room for a fortune telling theme.
*Use lava lamps as table centerpieces.
*For a mystical effect, add plenty of glow products.
Costumes/Dress Attire
A gypsy type garb is perfect for a fortune telling party. Complete your outfit with scarves, lots of bangle type bracelets, and hoop earrings.
Invitations
Purchase decks of tarot cards and place an invitation inside. The decks can be mailed or hand-delivered to each recipient.
You can also create you own theme by drawing fortune telling themes such as a moons, stars, astrological signs, etc.
Food/Drink
Snack and finger foods are most popular, since they can be eaten while participating in games and readings.
The best drinks include popular mixed drinks with a neat blend of colors. Be sure to have soda on hand for the non-alcoholic set as well as water for all.
Have a mystical theme party!

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