FLITTERFLOP: Well, lets suppose that the tarot, I-Ching, or the tea leaves in my cup predict theres a high probability that if I go in to work on Wednesday, I will be involved in a car accident and break both my legs. So I stay at home. On the face of it that seems like a lucky breakpun intended. But, lets suppose that I ignore the prediction and I go to work and it comes true. While Im in hospital I meet a nurse who is the woman of my dreams. We fall madly and deeply in love and live happily ever after! Unless we are able to see all the possible results of every action we might or might not make, it seems to me that relying on divination to guide our decisions in life is fraught with peril, especially when it comes to the really big choices.
This card was originally calledLa Papessethe Popessa possible reference to the legend of Pope Joan. From this, some scholars have concluded that the card symbolises the Catholic Church, a view, I hasten to add, not shared by the Church itself. So you pays your money and takes your pick: Isis, a female pope, the Church, Mother Nature, Wisdom, Mystery, or if youre that way inclined, even LGBT rights!
This applies to the HIGHER Self of man,notto the lower self, which, bereft of the guidance of its Higher Self, is little different to a thinking animal. As the mental capacities of the Higher Self are vastly superior to normal, waking consciousness, it is capable of apprehending material conditions and events with a speed and acuity far greater than mere intellectual reasoning. From this it follows that foreseeing future events of any sort is no more than a series of extremely rapid calculations on the part of the Higher Self (though the lower self is generally not aware of this process), of how the acts of many people will lead inevitably to certain results.
BOMBAST: Is there anything in the tarot, you mean?
If Bombast and Flitterflop have convinced you to pay a littlelessattention to fortune-tellers and rathermoreto theWords of the Wise, their investigation will not have been in vain. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
BOMBAST: It came from France by way of bored Italian aristocrats who played a card game calledTarocchinia 15th century forerunner of Bridge and Whist. The story that it was invented in Egypt is nothing more than wishful-thinking, unless, of course, someone has discovered a wall-painting of an ancient Egyptian playing Whist? The same applies to the fantasy that it originated in China or that Gypsies brought it to Europe from India. The latter myth was the invention of one Court de Gbelin, who first made the claim inLe Monde Primitif, published in 1781. It has since passed into tarot folklore and formed the basis of at least one 20th century occultists fanciful teachings.
FLITTERFLOP (playfully): Well…the pattern of the leaves does rather resemble a palm tree…and what looks like a bird flying toward it. So I was…um…wondering if it might mean that I was going to take a trip to some tropical, sun-kissed island?
FLITTERFLOP (stiffly): I meant unfair togypsies.
BOMBAST: Because Doreen Smith doesnt have quite the same cachet.
BOMBAST: So the book tells us. And not only your past incarnations, but yourfutureones too.
BOMBAST: You must have crossed hers with more than silver.
You can find a complete list and brief descriptions of all the conversation between these two colourful occult studentson the introductory page to theseAstral conversations. Although these conversations can be read on their own, they arebestread in chronological sequence.
As in previousAstral Conversations, our two investigators dispel a great many cherished misconceptions to arrive at the truth behind divination. Along the way, the reader may expect not a few shocks and surprises, which are sure to upset those who fondly imagine that Truth can be found in a greasy pack of playing cards or by consulting a quasi-gypsy.
From a stone to a star, and a mouse to a man, everything in Nature has its signature, which reveals what it is, whence it came and whither it is headed. To those who can read these signs, all of Nature is an open book. Not only the hand, but the eyes too, contain a map of the man or woman they belong too, which the discerning can read. But this takes a great deal of skill, much practise and the ability to seebeyondthe limitations of the physical senses and intellect. Very few possess these qualifications to theirfullestextent. Those who do not are legion, and the pages of New Age magazines and the Internet are filled with advertisements promoting their extravagant claims.
FLITTERFLOP (laughing): No, theyre an insoluble enigma. I meant tarot cards.
BOMBAST: The 22 trumps of the major Arcana, such as the hanged man, the juggler, the fool, the lovers, justice, the devil, and so on and so forth, are all pictograms, or more properly, emblematical symbols, which may mean anything or nothing depending on the occult knowledge and skill of the reader and their ability to tune in to the meaning behind them. To take just one example, the card known as the priestess is often taken to represent the Egyptian goddess Isis, yet this is an entirely modern interpretation arising out of the publication of the Rider-Waite tarot deck in 1910, which combined the tenets of Freemasonry with the teachings of the popular occult orders of the day to create the image we see today.
Until we hear from our two colourful friends again, we wish them, andyou, dear reader, the understanding to use good fortune wisely and the patience to bear bad fortune with equanimity, secure in the knowledge that everything that happens to us in this illusory world is for our ultimate good.
BOMBAST: He made a pile of cash and was courted by all the celebrities of the time, if thats what you mean. But he also served a term of imprisonment for embezzlement, when, in 1909, he skipped Paris after two disgruntled American clients accused him of making off with $500,000 worth of stocks and bonds. Thats around 12milliondollars in todays money. After his release from prison its said that he kept neither his money nor the rich and powerful friends who had once beaten a path to his door.
BOMBAST: Only by the ignorant who base their criticism on the Sun-Sign astrology found in the pages of newspapers and magazines. If we know the exact time and place of birth of any individual and takeallthe factors in a birth chart into consideration, such as the rising sign, or ascendant, the house positions of the planets and the angular relationships between them, the number of possible permutations runs into millions. Consequently, as there are only about 150 babies born every minute, the number born at the exact same place and time is reduced to almost zero. Which is why astrology can and does accurately predict character and destiny, but numerology cannot. Not that this will convince the numpties who believe in life path numbers.
BOMBAST: Cheat, you mean? Invariably!
FLITTERFLOP: It seemed the quickest way to get rid of her.
One of the most common characteristics of NDEs is the expansion of consciousness experienced outside the body by patients considered to be clinicallydead. If this demonstrates nothing else, it demonstrates that the brain has arestrictingeffect upon consciousness, and that when this hindrance is removed or paralysed, such as during deep meditation, mental activity is immeasurably increased and expanded. We might liken everyday, waking thinking to the modest computational power of a smartphone and higher consciousness to the power of a million super-computers all working together. If you have any personal experience of extension of consciousness, you will know this is true.
BOMBAST: Yes, it does. The I-Ching takes into account a host of different factors, not just the date of birth. It uses the full name too, as well as the full names of the parents, so arriving at a final number, or numbers which are virtually unique to any given individual.
Gypsies, thieves, trumps and leaves
BOMBAST: I shouldnt think so as Ive never bought a lottery ticket in my life.
FLITTERFLOP (laughing): Well, that too…but I meant those who regard the tarot almost as a religion and connect it with the Kabbalah and Egyptian magic. They wont be too pleased to hear its nothing more than a rather exotic version of ordinary playing cards with no more magic in them than a dead sheep.
FLITTERFLOP: She was more of a crab-apple than a rose; otherwise I might have given her twenty quid!
So, if a person was born on 23 October 1972, you add 1972 to 10 and 23, making a total of 2005. You then add 2 and 5, to arrive at the life path number of 7. As the best statistics tell us that no less than 300,000 children are born every day of the year throughout the world, if we are to believe in this rubbish, all these individuals will share the same characteristics and have similar life paths, which is clearly poppycock.
BOMBAST: In a similar manner to palmistry and astrology, though the I-Ching or Y-King as it is also called, is considerably more accurate in its predictions in the hands of an inspired expert than any other system of divination. Numerology, as it is popularlymisunderstood, is more of a pseudoscience than anything else.
As we have seen in so many of our articles, mans understanding is weak at the best of times, and doubly so when he reasons with hisunaidedintellect about the mysteries of the Universe. For intellect alone, however well-developed, can never arrive at the truth about anything. In order to find the solution to the seeming contradiction of fate versus free will, we need to consider how prophesy, divination, fortune-telling, scrying, call it what you will, actuallyworks. What happens when a man or woman suddenly has a glimpse of things to come is really very simple, and thereforenotobvious to the intellectual, who relies on cold reason to arrive at what he or shethinksis the truth.
Incidentally, Gbelin also claimed that the name Tarot came from the Egyptian wordTarmeaning path or road, and the wordRo,RosorRog, meaning King or royal, so that literally translated tarot meant the Royal Road of Life. This sounds very profound and even convincing to the uncritical eye. Unfortunately, Champollion did not decipher the Rosetta stone which provided the key to the ancient Egyptian language until some twenty yearsafterthe death of Gbelin. Egyptologists now know that the word for road in Egyptian isuatorwat, not tar, nor is there any word in Egyptian resembling Gbelins ro or rog meaning kingship or royalty. So another pretty fantasy bites the dust…
FLITTERFLOP: No. She insisted on reading my palm as well.
BOMBAST: Yes and no. Although cheiromancythe proper term for palmistrywas widely practised in Europe as early as the 11th century, it mainly owes its popularity to one man, a colourful Irishman, William John Warner, who adopted the rather grandiose title Count Louis Harmon but is better known to history as Cheiro. He claimed to have learned palmistry in India in the 1880s from a Brahmin astrologer, with whom he is said to have studied for three years. Make of that what you will, it seems a rather brief apprenticeship to me, though I suppose its possible to pick up the rudiments of divination quite quickly if youre sufficiently motivated and possess innate psychic abilities, which Cheiro was and did.
Bombast and Flitterflop discuss divination and discover why a nice cup of tea beats the Tarot at telling your fortune
BOMBAST (magnanimously): OK, I concede youre notthatdim.
FLITTERFLOP: tarot fanatics wont like to hear that.
FLITTERFLOP: You still havent answered my question.
The fact that many predictions fail to come to pass, is simply because few have the ability to concentrate and extend their consciousness very far, or for extended periods. There is also a further complication which results from the ability of the lower self and brain to correctly receive and faithfully preserve the memory of what the Higher Self beheld whilst it was freed from the body. So you see, the subject of prediction is not so simple after all, though the laws themselves are straightforward enough.
BOMBAST: You wont find a single sceptic who maintains their disbelief in divination when it directly concerns theirownpocket, career or love-life. Mankind has always been fascinated by fortune-telling and always will be. The Egyptians,Druids, and Hebrews all practised divination. The Greeks were addicted to it; and among the Romans no important decision that affected the wealth and security of the Empire was made without the advice of diviners and soothsayers. Belief in divination has existed throughout human history, among primitive as well as so-called civilised nations, and continues to the present day. Presidents, their wives, tycoons, Church leaders, and even dictators still consult oracles today, as we may read in the media from time to time.
BOMBAST: Why should that surprise you? I read palms too and did a bit of astrology and graphology. Or do you imagine I obtained all my diplomas and limitless occult knowledge from watching YouTube videos and consulting psychics?
BOMBAST: Only in the hands of an inspired expert. A birth horoscope can give tendencies only, and even then only for a very short time. In ancient times astrologers used to make a map at the moment of birth and replace it with a new one when some drastic change occurred in the life, such as a severe illness, sudden riches, sudden poverty, and so on, and these showed new tendencies for a while. Much the same procedure was followed by those who employed the I-Ching.
BOMBAST:Numbers are the cloak of Divinity, which, if studiedscientifically, reveal all the secrets of creation and evolution, both in the macrocosm and the microcosm, but they cannot be used to tell fortunes, however much the believers in the modern pseudoscience of numerology would like them to. It is not generally known that the students of Pythagoras spent sevenyearsstudying the occult science of numbers in the famous college of Crotona, which at once demolishes the claims of those who purport to teach it in a few short weeks, or condense it down to a thin book of 100 pages! The calculation and employment of so called life path numbers, lucky and unlucky numbers, destiny and master numbers is complete bunkum, which anyone can easily demonstrate for themselves by comparing the contradictory methods of the purveyors of this poppycock with the actual system taught byPythagoras himself. For instance, the most popular method of calculating your life path number according to one of the leading proponents of this pseudo numerology is to add up all the numbers in your date of birth.
All these various systems of divination work in slightly different ways, though all depend to a large extent upon theintuitionof the querant, such as in the tarot. As we have seen, astrology, augury and palmistry are mainly concerned with the interpretation of patterns and signatures, whereas crystal-gazing depends upon the ability of the mind to extend its consciousness into other dimensions.
There is a universal chain that, link by link, connects the thoughts and acts of humanity. The present is the near end of that chain; the future a series of farther links. Few can see further than the single link that confronts them, which is NOW. But there are times when an inner light blazes forth in our consciousness, and we behold the next link, and the next, and at times the link that is very far along the chain of destiny; and then we gasp with astonishment, and if we tell what we have seen, and we and those whom we tell live long enough, then it will be seen that we were true prophets. Now, you maythinkthis is predestination but it isnot.
FLITTERFLOP (musingly): When you boil it all down, isnt all divination just a rather grandiose form of selfishness? I mean, whatever our circumstances, and whether were a dictator or a dustman, life is short. Whatever riches, power or fame we may amass during our lifetime is taken away from us at death. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things that thanks to acting on a lucky prediction we got a particular job, dumped a potential bunny-boilerbeforeshe potted our favourite teddy-bear, or avoided a financial speculation that may have emptied our bank account? Has it also occurred to you that, assuming a predictionisaccurate, and assuming we choose to act upon it, and so and so happens, what guarantee is there that the outcome will be to our advantage?
FLITTERFLOP (astonished): However did you guess her name was Petulengro?
FLITTERFLOP: I dont think theres much chance of that. If weve learned one thing today its that there will always be a future in telling the future and no shortage of fools who are happy to part with their money to know it.
BOMBAST (sipping gratefully): Thanks, I needed that. There is divination by dreams, by names, divination by casting runes and of course, the Ouija board or planchette, but that comes under the category of mediumship as much as divination since the questions are invariably directed at the so-called spirits. I believe the Ouija board is still immensely popular with American teenage girls hell-bent on learning whether their current squeeze is going to cheat on them or not!
If you require proof of this, here is a simple experiment anyone may try. It is not an experiment in futurity or pr
FLITTERFLOP: Ive been had again, havent I? Though Im puzzled how she knew so much about me.
FLITTERFLOP (leaning forward excitedly): Thats amazing. All those things are true! Except the bit about a jealous friend putting a curse on me. I suppose thats the opener to asking for more money to lift the so-called curse?
FLITTERFLOP: True. What about palmistry. That is much older than the tarot, isnt it?
FLITTERFLOP (astonished):Youused to read the tarot?
FLITTERFLOP (enthusiastically): Will you? Are you?!
FLITTERFLOP: Isnt that rather unfair?
BOMBAST: There was nothing magical about them other than the purpose to which they were put. Many past and present occultists have written about such mirrors without the least idea how they were used, some writers going so far as to give the most elaborate and fantastical descriptions for their manufacture. Actually, any mirror will do for this purpose as we can read in chapter 16 ofThe Quest of Ruru.
PART TENofAstral Conversationsan unusual series of investigations into the occult with a humorous twist.
BOMBAST: Thank goodness for small mercies. Now, if shed told you that you had a mole on your right buttock shaped exactly like a crescent moon, it would be safe to deduce she was clairvoyant or had hacked your mobile.
FLITTERFLOP: You cant altogether blame them given the fatal attraction fortune-telling has for almost everyone, even those who dont believe in it.
BOMBAST: That depends on the mentality, sensitivity and intuition of the practitioners. Generally speaking, what is obtained from an Ouija board is gibberish, especially when the questions are frivolous, or the participants are simply having a laugh to while away an idle hour or two. If there is a strong mind present which is able to concentrate, and if one or more of the participants are remotely psychic, definite words and messages may be received. But if that happens, the messages either arise from the minds of the participants themselves, or from low-grade, elemental beings who like nothing better than to play tricks on human beings. Some of these beings are definitely malicious, if not actually evil, and the Church is quite right to condemn the use of Ouija boards for that reason alone.
The tarot is simplyoneway to focus the mind to allow it to see beyond the limitations of our physical senses and the physical plane. Unlike palmistry or astrology, there is nothing particularly remarkable in the cardsthemselves, you can get equally sensible, or nonsensical results from an ordinary pack of playing cards, a bundle of sticks, the entrails of a dead sheep, or the leaves left in the bottom of a cup of tea. Some might argue that tea is a much better divination tool, as it stimulates both mindandbody! Speaking of which, I think its time we had a brew. Put the kettle on and fill up the teapot, theres a good chap.
FLITTERFLOP: What about numerology and the I-Ching? How do they work?
BOMBAST: Well…Im very lucky atattractingthemthe problem is that none of them live up to my expectations.
FLITTERFLOP: I bought some lucky heather from a gypsy the other day.
FLITTERFLOP: Isnt the same criticism made against astrology?
BOMBAST: I hope you got your moneys worth?
BOMBAST: Very amusing. (Leaning forward to peer into Flitterflops teacup). The tree looks more like a chap frantically waving his arms in the air to me.
BOMBAST: Aside from the tarot, palmistry and astrology, which we have already discussed to some extent, the list is endless. There is divination by augury, such as the flight of birds, extispicy, which is the examination of the entrails of animals, bibliomancy, or divination by books, usually, but not always, religious texts such as the Bible and Talmud. Rhabdomancy, or divination by rods or lots, is mentioned several times in the Bible and is still practised today in the form of dowsing, where a rod, or rods are used to find water, minerals, or anything else that is hidden beneath the soil. Then we have gastromancy, or crystal gazing as it is commonly known. Scrying by any reflective object comes under this heading too, and the ancient Egyptians employed mirrors and still water for this purpose. Which reminds me, the kettle is boiling, do make the tea, Im gasping for a cup.
BOMBAST: Youve missed out flattery. Dont underestimate the effect of flattery, generously and judiciously appliedespecially on gullible people with low self-esteem who are a bit dim.
BOMBAST: What? That tea is better for telling fortunes?
FLITTERFLOP: Was he very successful?
BOMBAST: Is probably about to crap on his head from a great height.
BOMBAST: Perhaps, but Ive never met agenuinegypsy outside the pages ofSymphonie Fantastique, but I met a great manyfakeones when I was a practising tarot reader.
BOMBAST: Because time is not what wethinkit is on earth. Past, present and future are ONE, as you can read inThe Golden Starwhen Ma-u and Ma-uti ask how its possible to have heard the lectures they are attending in thepastwhen they contain the most modern, up-to-date scientific facts. You will recall that the answer they receive from the Divine Messenger is that the lectures you both heard may have been a blend of all past, present and future lectures…All is contained within the Consciousness of God, and therefore in the Soul of Man. If his Mind knows how to raise the Veil, or is helped to do so, he can attune with that Consciousness of God and Man. We may also regard time as a circle, without beginning or end. We, who are placed on one infinitesimally small point on the circumference regard a point ahead of us as the future, and that behind us as the past, but to a being who dwells in the centre of the circle, there is neither past, present nor future, but only an infinite NOW.
BOMBAST: You dont say? Who was this amazing prophetess? Not another genuine, direct descendant of the famous Romany family of Petulengro by any chance?
FLITTERFLOP: What are the main systems of divination and how do they work?
If you have followed Bombast and Flitterflops conversation with attention, you may well be asking yourself whether free-will exists, since, if it is possible to predict the future, no matter by what means, how can we have any free will at all? Is everything in life predetermined, so that no matter what we do, fate will take its course? Many philosophers, clerics and scientists have wrestled with this dilemma, and still do, without any of them arriving at a satisfactory conclusion.
Diviners, fortune-tellers and psychics have always existed. Nor has there been a time when people did not use divination to learn the future or seek help in solving their personal problems. As we shall discover from Bombast and Flitterflops foray into the strange world of fortune-telling, whilst itispossible to predict the future, it may not always be wise to do so.
BONBAST: Well, its obvious, isnt it? If you publish this conversation lots of soothsayers are going to be a bit cross with you for ruining their trade.
FLITTERFLOP (filling up the teapot): Magic mirrors, do you mean?
BOMBAST: Theres no mystery in that. I expect she told you that you had an accident involving water when you were young, someone close to you has been taking advantage of you, youre currently experiencing some financial difficulties, and you have been worried about your health. She may also have told you that you are mostly rather shy and retiring, but when the mood strikes you, you can easily become the life and soul of the party. Oh, and someone close to you hurt you badly in the past but you have now forgiven them. If you had been female and not exceptionally ugly, she would almost certainly have added that a jealous friend has put a curse on you, and thats why youve been unlucky at work and in your relationships.
BOMBAST: Well, firstlyastrology is not a fortune-telling device, though many people regard is as such, for which we must thank the odious Sun-Sign columns in newspapers. Its possible to make accurate predictions using astrological methods, and more than one famous astrologer of the past has done so. Dennis Elwell predicted a major car-ferry disaster in 1987 which resulted in the loss of nearly 200 lives. But this isnt themainpurpose of astrology, which has to do with unravelling the enigmas of Occult Science through an understanding of the universal principles and laws connected with the planets, stars and constellations. Yet palmistry and astrology do share something in common, and that is their mutual study of patterns and signatures. In palmistry, these are found in the hand whereas in astrology they are found in the heavens.
FLITTERFLOP (handing Bombast a cup of tea): What other divinatory arts are there that are still practised today?
BOMBAST: If you want that holiday the sooner you start reading tea-leaves the sooner youll earn the money to pay for it. Now…where did I put my old deck of tarot cards?
FLITTERFLOP: Do the I-Ching and astrology predict actual events?
FLITTERFLOP: Pity…I should think you would be sure to win seeing as youre so unlucky with the ladies!
FLITTERFLOP: So its all a matter of psychology, deduction, fishing for information, auto-suggestion, guesswork and such?
FLITTERFLOP: And is it really possible to see yourself in your past incarnations in this way?
FLITTERFLOP: Or you,theirs. But seriously, how do they actually work?
FLITTERFLOP: Well, I gave her a tenner actually.
FLITTERFLOP (laughing): And the bird?
BOMBAST: Youre probably right. Put the kettle on again.
BOMBAST: KaCHING! Got it in one! Look, theres nothing amazing about any of the statements I made or the flapdoodle Gypsy Rose fed you.
FLITTERFLOP: No, I meant discover the answers to their questions.
(Flitterflop complies, carefully spooning loose tea leaves into the teapot).
BOMBAST: You make some very good points. I would say that divination has its place provided we dont allow ourselves to be ruled by it to the detriment of our spiritual progress, which is, after all, what were here for. If, by the judicious use of astrology or any other art, we improve our lot in life and have the charity to share whatever we may gain in the way of good fortune with others not so fortunate, I would say there is some merit in it. But if, like one chap I know, we never step outside the door without casting the runes, twirling a pendulum or laying out the tarot, then I think we have taken a step too far and risk ending up as a neurotic, self-obsessed lunatic! Speaking of which, I cant help noticing that while weve been talking you keep looking inside your teacup.
FLITTERFLOP: Does this apply to the I-Ching too?
BOMBAST: That depends. If you mean is it a book of occult lore dating back to Solomon and Moses, the key to the true Kabbalah, or avade maecumfor would-be Magicians and Adepts, then the answer is an emphatic no. If you mean can it predict the future, in my experience it can showtendencies, but that is not the same thing as predicting an actualeventlike me winning the EuroMillions jackpot next Wednesday.
FLITTERFLOP: So tell me, is there anything in the tarot? Did it really come from ancient Egypt?
FLITTERFLOP: Her reading was remarkably accurate.
FLITTERFLOP: How does palmistry differ from other systems of divination like the tarot and astrology?
Consciousness, as we learned in aprevious Astral Conversation, remains largely an enigma to both science and religion. If you doubt us try to feel your brain thinking. If you try the experiment you will quickly discover that it cannot be done. The reason for this is that the brain does not think, it only processes the messages it receives from either the lower or higher self. Neither of these two selves can be detected, measured or analysed by any method presently known to science. Indeed, science denies there isanyconsciousness outside the brain, despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, notably from near-death experiences, otherwise known as NDEs.