DIY Research: The Lost Art of Divination with Oracle & Tarot Cards

Last updated: July 22, 2021 at 21:07 pm

People who are already familiar with divination know that the oldest divination text/tool known to man is the I-Ching, which is usually translated as the Book of Changes. I started studying the I Ching when I was in college (which is forever ago), and it has indeed been an incredible source of wisdom for me personally.

Last August I bought a book about the Rider Waite Smith tarot titled 'Llewellyn's Complete Book of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot', after I watched a tarot reading for my sun sign on YouTube just for fun, but it turned out to be astoundingly accurate. I'd never given any time or attention to tarot as a credible divination tool, which is why I did what I always do when something intrigues me, namely a deep-dive and in-depth study of the subject.

After nearly a year of research into tarot and oracle cards, buying many decks, and doing many readings for myself, I can only confirm that tarot and oracle cards are indeed an incredibly useful tool for meditation and divination. What I also learned is that even people who have worked with them professionally for many decades, can't explain exactly how and why readings often turn out as accurately as they do. Even though tarot cards look quite simple, tarot as a system of divination is incredibly complex, as the symbols carry many layers and meanings. You can get a lot out of it though even if you don't study the symbols in-dept. 

Here's an excerpt from chapter one of Llewellyn's Complete Book of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot (RWS):

The RWS deck is the best-selling tarot deck in the world to date. The RWS deck is referenced in literature and used in all forms of media, including film and television.

If you're asking huh?, in television?, I've never seen it used in television, the answer is yes, you probably have but you just didn't know what you were looking at. Look what shows up after the closing credits in every episode of the tv series Mad Men:

It's the number 19 card of the RWS tarot, titled the Sun. You can look this up yourself if you find a stream of the show online and go straight to the credits.

Excerpt from chapter one of Llewellyn's Complete Book of the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) Tarot, continued:

It (RWS) is often a beginning readers' first deck. History, evolution, and circumstance created an extraordinary device that people use for fortunetelling, self-knowledge, and art. Tarot decks with new themes are created by the hundreds, maybe thousands, each year. New decks with differing themes are usually called RWS clones. Clone decks' illustrations are derivative of Pamela's RWS illustrations. […]

The RWS deck is an enigma. It is a complex tarot deck filled with esoteric symbols and secret meanings, yet the illustrations are surprisingly simple. A beginner can use the deck as easily and deftly as a professional. The deck is a perfect artifact of the year of its creation, 1909, yet remains shockingly modern and perfectly usable over a hundred years later. The RWS deck is a Modernist art object as important and impactful as Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon or Edward Munch's The Scream, also painted in 1909, yet the RWS deck does not haunt history by hanging on the wall of a museum. Anyone in the world can buy, borrow, or own a copy. The RWS deck is tucked into backpacks, wrapped in silks, consecrated on alters, stored in college dormitories, and stocked in bookstores around the world.

What I was most surprised to find out is that tarot and oracle cards are indeed widely used by many as a divination tool, to this day. There are thousands and thousands of decks available, and an equal amount of reviews of tarot and oracle decks on YouTube by amateurs and professionals. These reviews are very useful because you can have a look at all the cards before you buy a deck, to see if the artwork on the deck and the card quality are appealing to you. Even though I don't support Amazon in any way, shape, or form, it is fair to say that you can find almost every tarot and oracle deck and book you could possibly think of there, and the customer reviews are often helpful to get a first impression before a purchase. Get your decks from your local bookstore/online store though if you can.

There are also countless YouTube channels where readers (male and female) provide online readings and some of them are also run as a business. Many professional readers provide free readings (for specific sun signs or about other subjects), and extended readings can then be purchased for a (usually) small price. There are tarot readers on YouTube with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

I strongly advise you however to be careful with readers on YouTube and in general. There are many readers who can be contacted for personal readings which they provide for a fee, but this is a double-edged sword. If you find a reader/readings that strongly resonate with you, but you don't know how to interpret tarot cards yourself, you leave yourself wide open to manipulation and deception. Let's say you're in a relationship or married and the (or a) person you are involved with (could also be a friend, relative, colleague you-name-it), knows which YouTube channels are your favorites. It is very easy for them to contact those readers and have them say whatever they want, which you will probably take as good advice, to get YOU to do whatever they want. I'm not saying this is a frequent occurrence, but it has been known to happen so be careful. That being said, watching several random online tarot/oracle readings can give you a good impression of how to shuffle and interpret the cards.

Below is a shortlist of online readers that are worth checking out to see how readings can be done but once again, and I can't emphasize this enough!, don't believe everything they say. Get into your own readings and see what comes up.

A New Era

Nicholas Ashbaugh

Universal Intuition

Secret Shaman Oracles

Ali's Tarot

Although the videos can be very helpful, YouTube is certainly not the only source where you can learn more about tarot and oracle divination/meditation. There are also innumerable websites that explain the history, meaning, and use of tarot and oracle cards. The cards are used for career and financial readings, any type of relationship advice (husband, wife, friends, family, colleagues, potential love interest, you-name-it), and advice for every other situation you can think of. That's why they're so popular and widely used. A deck that I found particularly interesting for business and financial tarot readings is the Money Tarot Cards. A review can of course be found on YouTube.

A few sites that are nice to start off with for general orientation are:

* benebellwen.com

* biddytarot.com

* tarotgoddess.com

If you decide to start exploring tarot, I highly recommend that you start with an original RWS deck and resources that give good explanations for the cards.

From my own research and readings, there are currently only three sources that I can list with regard to detailed meanings of the cards, which also give highly accurate readings, but you'll have to explore and decide what works for you.

Tarot Card Meanings:

1) Llewellyn's Complete Book of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

2) TheTarotGuide.com's Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. This site is my absolute favorite with incredibly accurate meanings for the cards. Unfortunately, the descriptions aren't available in printed form so you'll have to look the cards up online. (or copy/paste the various descriptions to a text file and print it out)

3) The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings

Recommended RWS based decks to start with:

1) Original Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

2) Golden Art Nouveau Tarot

3) Radiant Wise Spirit Tarot

4) Vice Versa Tarot Kit  (note: if you get this deck make sure you get the kit, as the regular version doesn't have the elaborate guidebook)

5) Gilded Tarot Royale Deck

***Recommended Viewing*** 

An excellent tutorial about the (historical) meaning of the cards in the original RWS deck. It was posted in February 2013 and to date, 22 July 2021, part 1 has had 1,581,953 views. Part 2 has had 306,846 views.

Learn The 78 Tarot Cards in Two Hours – Part 1 of 2

Learn The 78 Tarot Cards in Two Hours – Part 2 of 2

Recommended oracle decks to start with:

1) The Psychic Tarot Oracle Cards

2) The Quantum Oracle

3) Wisdom of the Oracle Cards

4) The Akashic Tarot

5) Mystical Healing Reading Cards

6) Astrology Reading Cards

7) The Tao Oracle  This oracle deck is a very accessible and easy way to get acquainted with the I Ching. The guidebook is very detailed and stands well enough on its own, but if you would like to know more I can recommend the I Ching translation by Hua Ching Ni titled 'The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth'. Be mindful though that given the age of the I Ching some of the views, particularly with regard to women, are very outdated so use your discretion when it comes to interpretation.

8) Spirit of the Animals Oracle

9) Keepers of the Light Oracle

10) Goddess Power Oracle Cards The meanings of the cards in this deck apply to both males and females.

***Recommended Reading*** What is the difference between tarot and oracle cards?

A deck that is currently on its way to me from the UK is the Bright Future Tarot deck incl. Workbook and Journal and I can't wait to do a reading with it. The Tower card in the 1st edition is represented as the Twin Towers on 9/11, which could not be more appropriate given the meaning of the Tower card in the original RWS deck. The 1st edition is almost sold out and some of the cards, including The Tower card, are different in the 2nd edition. If you want to get the 1st edition, contact the store before you buy this deck to check if it is still in stock. By default, the 2nd edition is currently shipped.

Tower card in the Bright Future Tarot (image is from a review on YouTube)

Other decks that are contemporary versions of the original RWS deck, which I didn't get because the artwork/images don't particularly appeal to me, but which nonetheless deserve to be mentioned so you know what's out there, are:

* The Light Seer's Tarot

* Elemental Wisdom Tarot

* Heaven & Earth Tarot Kit  (note: if you like this deck and want to buy it make sure you get the kit. Like the Vice Versa tarot, the regular version doesn't have the elaborate guidebook)

* Modern Love Tarot

* The Everyday Enchantment Tarot

* Pocket of Peers Tarot

* Next World Tarot

* The Corporate Tarot and Companion Book

Once you feel you've mastered the images, symbols, and meanings of the traditional RWS enough and you're ready to move on to something more abstract, there are two contemporary decks with silhouettes that are interesting to check out:

* Spirit Within Tarot

* Healing Light Tarot

Don't forget that for all the aforementioned decks the traditional RWS meanings still apply, and very often the creator of a deck adds his/her own understanding and interpretation of the cards in their guide as well. When it comes to selecting decks the only thing that really matters is which images and artwork appeal most to YOU.

These are some of the most popular publishers of tarot and oracle decks (but there are countless others):

Lo Scarabeo

Llewellyn

U.S. Games Systems

Tarot and oracle cards reflect the energy and (hidden) undercurrents of a particular situation, and/or the character and intentions of the individuals involved. Yep, no kidding, you can learn things about people and circumstances you didn't even know were true, but which later turn out to be spot on. I will not go into details about my own readings but you can explore this yourself, with your own readings.

Get an original RWS deck that you like, and ask your Higher Self a question like, what should I know today?, or what should I know about [relationship/person/situation/problem]?, or what is the best course of action with regard to [relationship/person/situation/problem]?, or what is the most likely outcome of [name situation X]?, or what will be the most likely outcome if I [do X]?.

Shuffle the deck like you would any other deck of playing cards and then pull 1-3 cards in your own way. Some people take the first three cards, some people take every seventh card, some people fan the cards out in front of them and pull the ones they are most attracted to. There really is no fixed system; you can experiment with this and find out which way gives you the most accurate reading/advice. It's all very intuitive. Sometimes 1 or 2 cards spontaneously fly out of the deck when you shuffle, and they provide the perfect answer to your question. Nearly all decks come with guidebooks that also provide examples of spreads.

As this is another DIY Research article I will end the introduction here by saying, have fun exploring and prepare to be amazed!. 🙂

Daniel Schmachtenberger on Sensemaking, Narrative Warfare, The Importance of a Healthy Information Ecology and more

 

Sensemaking is the ability or attempt to make sense of an ambiguous situation. More exactly, sensemaking is the process of creating situational awareness and understanding in situations of high complexity or uncertainty in order to make decisions. It is "a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively" (Klein et al., 2006a).

To understand what is being explained by Daniel Schmachtenberger in the videos in this article, you need an above-average intelligence and command of the English language, and an equally good understanding of philosophical concepts, science and technology, and finance and business terms. If you have none or only some of these but want to watch the videos anyway, I recommend that you write down the words you don’t know and pause the video to look them up or look them up later.

If you’re capable of and actually enjoy critical thinking, this dialogue will truly be a delight for you. It was for me. Daniel Schmachtenberger’s outline of sensemaking, narrative warfare, the importance of a healthy information ecology and other related topics is simply brilliant.

In this day and age, few people have the mental and intellectual capacity (or even the will) to deeply and, more importantly, correctly analyze complex concepts and situations which, if it doesn’t change and change soon, is an existential threat to the human race.

Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue. The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had a particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.

The War on Sensemaking – Part 1

The War on Sensemaking – Part 2

If We Don't Fix Sensemaking, We Won't Survive

Source: Rebel Wisdom

Handbook to Higher Consciousness

If you've reached the point where you're saying to yourself, "..okay, I get it now, I can have a happier life if I manage to raise my consciousness/the frequency that I think on and act from to a higher level, but how do I do it?, reading this book is a good place to start.

Handbook to Higher Consciousness was written by Ken Keyes Jr. and it was first published in 1972. It's still available in bookstores though sometimes only in used versions. To my surprise, it has also been made available online and if there ever was a time or need for this book to be read it's now. This is the link to the site that I am referring to and I included the PDF below. I'm not saying this book will give you all the answers you seek, but it might be a place to start.

Other books that came to mind to recommend (for the holidays) are Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton and these 3 books by Barbara Marciniak in this order: Bringers of the Dawn, Family of Light, and Path of Empowerment. 

You can read a few excerpts from Bringers of the Dawn on this page on Barbara Marciniak's website, but please take this to heart: if what you read doesn't resonate with you, you're not ready for this material and/or these books are not for you. And that's ok! If you want to know more about this author before diving into the books, you can watch a workshop she gave in 2007 in this article: Pleiadian Wisdom For Challenging Times.

THRIVE II: This Is What It Takes

COVID-19 is a Tale told by an Idiot, Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing.

 

William Shakespeare, if he had been alive in 2020

Foster and Kimberly Gamble have made a superb sequel to the THRIVE movie, and they premiered their much-anticipated film globally on September 26th, 2020. You will get the most out of THRIVE II if you have also seen the first film which was released online for free in 2011. In this very timely follow-up, the Gamble's present the results of their investigation into the most promising solutions in energy, health, consciousness, and non-coercive societal structures, that can and will make the planet and its inhabitants truly thrive if these solutions are made available on a global scale. They also show which institutions are going to extreme lengths to try to prevent this from happening.

You can watch THRIVE II online on THRIVEOn.com for a very small price and in case you're wondering, No, I don't get a fee for promoting the film. Compared to the small fortune that was spent on creating these 2 feature-length films, $12,09 (incl. tax) really isn't a lot to ask for a 72-hour online rental and I strongly encourage you to watch it. 

You can either spend 2,5 hours watching, reading, and/or listening to the garbage that is being spewed by the mainstream media (..which actually goes on 24/7), OR you can spend 2,5 hours engaging your mind in some truly inspiring, highly informative and uplifting information. The choice, as always, is yours and this is the trailer of THRIVE II to help you decide.