• Nov 18, 2012
  • Robert Lee Camp

Magical Wonders

Another visit to the Temple

Explanations of Cards – Their ancient origin and uses

On the reporter’s second visit to the Temple of the Magi, made a few days subsequent to the one narrated heretofore, he was met at the inner door by Mr. Richmond, who evidently was expecting him. “Now what investigations do you wish to make this evening?” inquired the professor. “What I want most,” replied the reporter, “is to witness some of the occult phenomena which I have seen accounts of in the papers; the Egyptian card mysteries and other exhibitions, such as you have given on several occasions.”

The Mystic Triangle of the Magi“Before showing you these mysteries,” said the Professor, “allow me to give you an insight into the history of playing cards. Generally, the very name ‘playing cards’ brings out a sneer on the face of most people, who have visions come before their eyes of gambling rooms, drinking and late hours, or thoughts of tricksters and legerdemain. Now this is not to be wondered at, considering how cards have been used for hundreds of years past. But, on the other hand, ask those who have had most to do with cards, and you will find that, without knowing a single things about the philosophy of it, every such person is a firm believer in ‘lucky suits,’ his ‘lucky card’ or his luck running good and poor at different times.

Now, at first sight, this looks like bosh to a thinking person, and I once thought so myself; but facts are stubborn things and will upset any number of fine-span theories. For instance, take the theories of Ptolemy and his followers relating to the motion of the heavenly bodies. How quickly they had to fall before the facts discovered by Copernicus. I should say rediscovered though, for the same facts were well known thousands of years before Copernicus.

But I started to explain about cards. It has been claimed by many historians that the French invented them, about the fourteenth century or later, and that they were made to play games with and to amuse the French court and people. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this account of their origin and purposes. If they were so invented, why is it that the court cards bear upon their faces even to this day, not only the likenesses of ancient kings, queens, and courtiers of Egypt, but also secret symbols of the magi and priests of Isis?

These symbols have been handed down and reproduced by each generation of engravers and printers, as it were, unconsciously.

The wandering tribes of Gypsies have preserved the secrets of cards as emblems of planetary motion, time, etc., without having preserved the higher knowledge that enables is to explain why and how it is that they have these properties.

I am myself if the opinion that playing cards had their origin even farther back than Egypt. Even upon the Island of Atlantis, a remnant if what was once an immense continent where the ocean now rolls.

But, let this be as it may, they were used by Egyptian priests in their sacred astronomical mysteries, as abundant evidence shows. They regarded them as sacred emblems of astronomical time, and combinations of the solar system.

Says Ammon, “The religion of the Egyptians was wholly based on astronomy, and these cards were constructed with perfect mathematical and symbolical reference to time, planetary motion, and the occult calculations and mysteries of the Magi.” Thus the fifty-two cards correspond to the weeks of the year. The court cards to the months and signs of the zodiac. The three court cards symbolize in each suit the three houses of one-quarter of the zodiac. Hearts in the first quarter symbolize spring, also love and friendship. Clubs in the second quarter, summer; also knowledge, learning, religion, heat, temper, quarrels, law suits, etc.

Diamonds in the third quarter symbolize fall, when the crops are gathered and sold, and therefore represent wealth, power, and trade. Spades rule in the fourth quarter, and stand for winter, cold, darkness, death, hardship, labor, etc.

Every aspect has its ruling or emblematic card, and every day and year its ruling card. Even the minutes have each a card called the ‘minute card of time.’

In ancient times they only recognized three hundred and sixty four days to the year, the odd day being regarded as waste time, and used up in pleasure and amusement. Now, as each card rules a day under each of the seven planets during a year, you can see that they exactly fill out the year, seven times fifty-two making 364.


Even to this day we have no ruling card for the 31st of December, and I cannot perform many of the mysteries in these books on that day in consequence. The ancients, it is true, knew not the existence of Neptune and Uranus, but they counted the sun and moon as planets, which made up the seven.

You know seven has always been a sacred number among all nations and in all religions, the center, so to speak of all symbolic numbers. The seven is also the center of each of the four suits of the cards, whether counting from the kind or from the ace. The thirteen cards of each suit is also astronomical and indicates among other things, knowledge of good and evil.

That is why, I suppose, that thirteen has been assigned to the >Old Boy=, in the same category with the printing press and other wicked things, and regarded as unlucky.

The Magi of ancient times knew that the time would come when their sacred emblems would be prostituted to base uses. They predicted that the time would come when >these sacred emblems will be trampled under the feet of the ungodly, and become a reproach in high places, although, through all coming time, amid downfalls of empires, and kings, these emblems shall go on unchanged on value and effect.”

“It is singular,” continued Mr. R., “but it is fact, that many and many a time inventors and manufactures have endeavored to introduce packs of cards containing more or less in number, or with a change in the emblems used. But in every case they have met a flat failure; fifty-two they wee, and fifty-two they remain to this day.

The card called a Joker, introduced in late years, amounts to nothing. Its value is a cypher astronomically, and although placed in every pack made lately, it is thrown away by the purchaser as soon as he sees it. Still it rules on that odd day I mentioned to you, as you can prove by rule No. 1 in this book upon the Alter.

“But we will now come to some practical work, which will illustrate the occult powers of cards better than a hundred pages of argument would do,” said Mr. Richmond, looking at his watch. “I have made a few prognostications for this occasion which are contained in this sealed letter and this record book and now it is time for them to be fulfilled.”

Then followed some of the most astonishing exemplifications of the strange and even marvelous properties of those little pieces of pasteboard, that could be imagined.

Not to go into minute particulars, we will simply say, that prognostications made and sealed the day before, were fulfilled in the smallest particulars and the reporter found for the first time in his life, that no such thing apparently as “chance” exists. He also found that through all the handling and mixing which he gave them, they preserved a strange and unmistakable shadowing of his life which came out under the planetary laws in such a way as to show things that had happened and others that were to come; known only to the reporter himself.

It is useless, however, to give descriptions of these occult, or magic manifestations, for no man can understand or appreciate them without seeing them for himself.

The reporter had in a measure been prepared for some wonderful manifestations, but he had not really at heart believed it possible. Two other mysteries were then exhibited, the reporter performing the mathematical work himself, but full details are too long to insert in this article.

“Now Professor,” said the reporter, “as what I have seen, illustrating the laws of planetary effects upon luck and chance, so-called has been so satisfactory, I would be please to see some other manifestations illustrating the occult powers of the Magi.”

Mr. Richmond then gave the reporter one or two other private exhibitions of white magic, which were strange and marvelous and seemed to take one back to the days of Moses, Aaron, and King Pharaoh.

“These Oriental mysteries have been changed from age to age to suit the different circumstances and environments of the time,” resumed Mr. Richmond “knowledge of nature’s laws confers new powers and conditions upon later generations of men, and relegates to the domain of recognized science other powers formerly deemed occult.”

“To illustrate: Nowadays the powers of psychology, mesmerism, hypnotism and kindred manifestations of the mind transference are well known and recognized by the scientific world, so that phenomena based upon these powers are no longer ‘mysterious’ and therefore not ‘magical’. Consequently, the great feats performed by Moses and other Magicians in ancient times are of no use now in the advancement of mankind to higher planes of thought.
If the Magicians of Egypt should now appear before out President in such a Snake Contest as they gave before the king of Egypt ages ago, the President would say, >very good, very good indeed, these exhibitions of psychological powers are very interesting’ and he would be right.”

“Take the power of healing diseased conditions of the flesh by magnetic passes, mind force, or laying of hands. This is getting to be nearly as common now, as bleeding and blistering used to be fifty years ago.

Jesus had this power, but he belonged. From the age of twelve, to what was known as the Essence branch of the Magi, who believed more in elevation of the soul at the expense of the body, than in cultivating the intellectual forces.

His phenomenal powers took direction accordingly. Some of the Magi naturally developed one way, and others another, as all cannot be alike.

Jesus the wise-had his elders or twelve disciples of the outer circle, all with him during his travels, but not one developed into the same power as the master.

Perhaps if he had lived to found a temple at Jerusalem, as he wished to do, they would have become more fully developed.”

With many thanks for kindness extended, the reporter left, with a promise to call again.

History of the Cards

Other writings by Olney Richmond:
Magnetism of the Stars
A Mystic Temple

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