The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult
Ida B. Prangley
Sphere, 1975

This little volume by Ida B. Prangley is guaranteed to provide anyone who studies it carefully with many hours of pleasure.

Playing cards are often said to have originated at the time of Charles VI of France, who reigned from 1380 to 1422, but this is only because no earlier packs are known to exist. There is little doubt that games were played with cards in ancient Egypt, Babylon, India and China. They were introduced into Europe in the fourteenth century by the Moors who had inherited them, as they did chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and many other features of civilization, from Greece and Rome.

There are altogether seventy-eight cards, divided into two types: the Great Arcana, known as the Tarot, consisting of twenty-two, and the Minor Arcana, which originally consisted of fifty-six. This was because, in addition to our modern pacts of fifty-two, each suit had a Knight, since dropped, in addition to the Jack, or Knave. The Knight and Knave have been merged to represent the squire of the Lord (King) and Lady (Queen). Originally, too, the four suits, now diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs were coins, cups, swords and staffs, representing respectively commerce, love, war and agriculture.

The Tarot is so ancient that it is said to be the Book of Thoth, the ibis-beaked Egyptian God of Wisdom. But it is not dealt with in this book. Its mysteries are so profound and complex that to acquire even a limited knowledge how to interpret lay-outs requires a volume on that alone. In due course one will be included in this Library.

Here the author discloses the secrets of fortune telling by using cards of the modern, Minor Arcana. It is to be noted that there is a sharp division in ways to proceed. One is to use only the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s, 9s, 8s, and 7s of each suit; the other by using all fifty-two cards in the pack. She gives us a number of different methods, of both kinds of lay-out, including some used in foreign countries.

She also gives us various games with cards from which the future can be predicted; and seven ways of securing yeas or nays to specific wishes.

In the first chapter of the book the author gives the meaning ascribed to every card in the pack. For anyone who wishes to practise fortune telling seriously it is of the first importance that these should be learned by heart. The cards which come next to them in any lay-out will naturally increase or decrease their potential value, but those falling next to the card representing the enquirer will naturally have more influence on his prospects than any other.

One word of warning. If you see death or a major calamity in an enquirer’s cards never tell them of it. In any case you will cause them grievous anxiety; and you may have read the cards wrongly.

I think that people who frequently read the cards, particularly if they are psychically gifted, can often give valuable warnings and advice to those who consult them. But as I have often said in my own writings ‘all forms of fortune telling should be regarded as for amusement only’.