Quest For The Afterlife - part 7
Tarot and Other Games People Play
Accepting the idea of clairvoyance being an ability inherent in all humans opened the door to other psychic abilities being so. I realized I had already experienced a bit of clairaudience when I was able to hear my great-grandfather speak into my ear. I learned the feeling of knowingness I'd always carried within me was called claircognizance. I thought of the many times I'd had a very real sensation of a heavy, sinking feeling in my stomach just before an unpleasant incident transpired. This would be an example of clairsentience.
As the weeks rolled by, I became absorbed in experimenting with my newly understood abilities. As usual, I read everything I could to gain a better understanding and to learn to utilize them to the fullest. Some folks might become enamored of the idea of being psychic. It has always carried an air of the mysterious and forbidden, often being linked to those things of the dark underworld. The idea can be very exciting for those people. For me, it conveyed a message of hope through enlightenment.
I stated earlier in Quest For The Afterlife – part 5, that I felt as though I stood at the end of a hallway lined with open doors waiting for me to step across their thresholds. I stepped through many tentatively, sort of checking things out. One of the doorways I entered, opened into the world of Tarot and using imagery to gain an understanding of my place in the world.
When I was ten years old, my mother purchased a couple of books in a series calledMan, Myth and Legend. I was an avid reader of every thing. I spent hours playing hard with my brothers followed by hours of reading when I should have been sleeping, often defying orders to turn off the lights. There was a chapter in one of the books which discussed the application of a regular deck of playing cards as a tool for divination. Being ten years old, I beheld the information with awe and immediately set out to try my hand at it. My “clients” at the time were my age and didn't have any deep desires for learning the meanings of their lives. They wanted to know if they would be rich or famous. Sometimes they got specific in wanting to know if they were going to get that new bicycle they'd been angling after. I don't remember if I was ever correct in my readings, but we had fun with it until my mother took away my book. She didn't want me dabbling in the “dark arts”.
When Lindsay was about seventeen, I purchased a Tarot card gift set as one of her birthday presents. I didn't regard Tarot as anything more than a game meant to amuse, and thought she and her friends could have some fun with the cards. I discovered the unopened gift set about the same time I was being presented with so many choices of exploration. I was just beginning to become aware of the synchronizations playing out in my personal quest but I hadn't yet made the connection to this one act of discovery.
I was taking a break from all my reading and soul searching to find something relaxing and enjoyable to do as a hobby. When I came across the box still in its original cellophane wrapper, I decided it was just the thing. The set I had purchased was not a very colorful one. It was based on the oldest known surviving deck from the 14th century and is known as the “Marseilles Deck”. It definitely was not a deck to be used with ease for beginners, but I wasn't yet aware of just what I was getting myself into. I still mistakenly believed I was playing an amusing card game.
To begin I used the “little white book” of card meanings in order to interpret what the layout was conveying to me. I quickly managed to memorize many of the meanings simply because I was playing with the cards quite a bit. My daughter was my main source of practice, though I had several friends who were game. It was during a session of play with my long time friend, TT, that I began to understand the significance of my decision to learn Tarot.
TT was experiencing relationship difficulties that were bleeding into her ability to enjoy her job. She was tired and fed up. Her long term relationship was sliding away from her at a rapid pace and she didn't know what to do about it, or even if she was interested in doing anything. I laid the cards out expecting to cheer her up with a few laughs and chuckles. For the first time ever, the cards seemed to tell a story. I stared at them intently wondering if my knowledge of her situation was coloring my understanding. Was I the one writing the story, or was it a mere coincidence that the cards I had pulled appeared to relate to her life and the questions surrounding her circumstances? If it was neither, how did it come to be?
I read the cards for her, taking time to explain each and every one. I truly wanted to see and hear her reactions to the cards. I didn't attempt to place a humorous spin on what I was seeing, though that was usually how we “played”. I arrived at a card representing the obstacles in her life which were halting her from moving forward. I had an overwhelming feeling about this card. I knew, without a doubt, the message was about TT. She was her own worst enemy. Her methods of dealing and coping with the events in her life was what was bringing her so much pain.
I leafed through the list of meanings until I found the card in question. Sure enough, my meaning matched the printed one. There was a great difference. The printed meaning was flat, sort of generic, while mine seemed rich and layered. I was so clear on the meaning I felt as if I could touch and lift the layers, sifting through them and finding a connection to each of the events that were destroying TT's peace of mind. I came away from that experience with a new understanding of the Tarot and the many useful ways it could be utilized in self-discovery, not to mention as a guiding tool for decision making.
I was now looking hard at the Tarot as a means to discovering more about myself and the people in my personal world. I purchased a beginners deck in an effort to integrate my understanding of symbols in relation to images and imagery. The more astute I became at the practice of Tarot, the more possibilities my maturing sense of awareness was picking up. When I visualized a picture of my quest I saw an image with me at the center. Possibilities radiated out from my center, connecting to each other much like the points and strands on a spider web. With each new discovery, the web grew larger.
I was still engaging in ghost hunting activities using photography and EVP, but the nature of my interactions had changed. Since I had accepted the reality of spirits being a part of our physical lives, I began to interact with them on a different level. I saw them as the masses of energies which make up our souls when we are in our physical bodies. There was no reason to be afraid of their existence in my world. I couldn't find any logical reason to assume our souls become evil and demonic on the advent of physical death. If they were ordinary people with ordinary human traits when living, there was no reason these same traits would not be evident in their spiritual aspects of themselves.
The changes in my understanding of the spirit world brought about changes to my physical world. I believe it was because my awareness was becoming stronger, ever wider, more open to accepting ideas beyond the strict confines of what was widely acceptable to most of humanity. When I arrived at the Gettysburg battlefield, I was able to sense a shift in atmosphere, a sort of thickening which heralded the coming of my new friends. I was beginning to see things with my heart and consciousness rather than my eyes. I remember the first time I saw a spirit.
I was at Gettysburg at the Virginia Monument with Cathe's group. Lindsay had accompanied me to the gathering. The heavy darkness was interrupted by flashing cameras, one after the other, across the field that was the scene of the Confederate's annihilation. I turned to snap a picture in the direction from which I heard Lindsay's voice speaking to me. In the brief flash I saw one forlorn confederate soldier standing behind Lindsay. He was so close that if she had taken but a half a step back, she would have run into him. The moment lasted a mere fraction of a second but the memory of this young man's expression is forever etched in my mind. He was so very young, not more than 17 or 18. He was looking at Lindsay with longing and confusion seered into his countenance. The air was permeated with the sadness of defeat and death. I knew in that moment he was one of the thousands of lost souls who didn't understand what had happened to him, why he was stuck in a sort of limbo, unable to return home to his loved ones. My heart ached for him. I didn't know what to do to help him. I prayed that he would be guided to the light after so many years of wandering.
That same night, not far from my first sighting, I was able to see again. This time it was a group of five confederate officers sitting astride their horses seemingly posing and smiling at me. I raced over to the spot I had seen them and began snapping pictures. I was rewarded with a picture of five bright orbs at varying heights.
I came to understand there were different reasons why ghosts might be found in a location. As with the young soldier, they may not understand what had happened to them, especially if they are brutally and without warning, ripped from the physical world. Others are here because they choose to be for whatever personal reasons they may have for it. I believe they simply visit as the whim strikes. I suspect that for some of them, the chance to interact with us is an enticement. What better way to teach the unwary of the mysteries surrounding death? I also suspect there may be a few who simply like the attention received.
Now that I had been granted a few moments of “sight” I was determined to hone my skills. I took a moment each day to close my eyes and allow my mind to float, letting any image that popped into my head to expand and take me to places I had never dreamed. At first it was very uncomfortable for me. Images of people I didn't know would flash so fast I got nauseous. It felt like these people were crashing into my mind, pushing and pulling the previous person out of their way. I didn't know how to control it and would end up pacing the floor in an effort to get my equilibrium back. Before long it wasn't a matter of letting them in by opening my mind. Apparently my mind was so open I couldn't stop them. The only way to close the door was to open my eyes.
At night when I crawled into bed for a much needed rest, I was plagued by rapidly flashing faces. After several nights the images no longer flashed, but seemed to just morph, one into the other. This method was much less likely to cause nausea, but it wasn't any more conducive to getting a good night's rest. I didn't know who these people were and I didn't know how to slow them down so I could sort out why they were coming to me.
I was almost at my wits end when I stumbled through another doorway which provided me with a wealth of information about why we live and die. It also provided me with a means for dealing with the onslaught of images.
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