Cartomancy is fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. The history of cartomancy goes back many centuries. The Romans already had a system of tablets on which symbols were written. Cards appeared in the 8th century. The technique of divination with cards is quite simple. Each card has a specific meaning, e.g. 7 of hearts: love card, 10 of hearts: wish fulfilment, 10 of spades: lucky card. With 32 cards, there are thousands of possible combinations. As far as cartomancy is not just an evil money-making scheme, but involves paranormal (unusual) abilities, telepathy (mind reading, mind tapping) and subconscious communication play a role.

Another form of card reading is based on genuine mediumistic abilities. The word medium is derived from the Latin word „medium“. Mediumship refers to the mysterious, hard-to-describe ability of some people to initiate or perceive processes that seem to go beyond the realm of the five senses. When questioned, one fortune-teller explained that she was controlled by a strange force at the moment oft the fortune telling. A strange spirit would come over her. She would have to say things that she did not know. The feeling would take over her, as if she were being possessed at the very moment of the fortune-telling. Afterwards she would be completely normal again.

Experiences from the book „Christian Counselling and Occultism“ by Dr. Kurt E. Koch:

Some examples from pastoral care are intended to illustrate the psychological effects of passive and active participation in card reading.

1) A young woman came to a Bible week and shared the following experience: She had been brought up in a Pietist home. At the age of 16 she moved to another town to take a job as a housekeeper. On a free Sunday afternoon, a friend took her to a fortune-teller in a neighbouring town. It was the first time the two girls had ever seen the woman. The fortune teller read the cards and said to our reporter: „In eight days your father will die. The girl laughed out loud and said: „My father is perfectly healthy. I don’t believe it.“

The girls returned home. In the evening, the the reporter picked up her Bible to read and pray, as she had done at home since childhood. Suddenly, she felt an oppressive feeling and pressure in her throat. She could neither pray nor read the Bible. At the same time she heard humming, buzzing and rustling in the room around her bed. She left the light on out of fear. These strange, haunting phenomena repeated every night. The climax came after eight days, when she received a telegram from home summoning her to her father’s coffin. Her father had been suddenly torn from his work and life by a heart attack.
Shaken, she rushed home, thinking that the fortune teller had been right. After her father’s death, more apparitions began. Every night, her late father would appear in her dreams and reproach her for what she had done to him by listening to a fortune teller. For six months her father appeared regularly in her dreams until one night he said: „That’s enough now. After that she could read the Bible and pray again.

2) At the beginning of the war, a bride wanted to know if her groom would return from the field. She went to a fortune teller, who told her that her wish would be fulfilled. The young man did indeed return from the war in good health. The bride, however, had been depressed since her visit to the fortune teller and was suffering from life-weariness. When the bridegroom returned one day, she cut her wrists and the veins in her thighs. Fortunately, she was saved. From a medical point of view, there are no findings in this example. The girl comes from a healthy, good Christian family. Parapsychologically there is nothing unusual. From a pastoral point of view, the typical picture of occult attachments and effects emerges again.

3) A young woman whose husband had been missing in the East went to a fortune teller to find out if her husband was still alive. The fortune teller told her: „Your husband is dead.“ The woman waited a quarter of a year and then went to another fortune teller to find out about her husband’s uncertain fate. Again she received the answer: „Your husband will not return.“ In despair, she went home and poisoned herself and her two children with illuminating gas. The next day, the husband returned from Russian captivity to find the three bodies of his loved ones. It is a harrowing example from the post-war period that demonstrates the unreliability of fortune-telling and calls for a state ban on this dark trade.

From a pastoral point of view, the curse of occult activity becomes visible here once again. The young woman did not receive precise information from the fortune-teller, but rather the decision to commit a triple murder.

These examples of passive occult activity are now followed by an example of active chiromancy.

4) A man who worked as a fortune teller and card reader fell into a deep depression, during which he lay down in front of a train one day. His wife and daughter, to whom he had also often read cards, were both depressed. In counselling, the psychological effects of Manticism repeatedly manifest themselves in the form of suicidal thoughts, thoughts of blasphemy against the Trinity, outbursts of rage, fits of rage, suicide, complete dissolution of concentration of thought and the feeling of going mad. Kurt E. Koch was repeatedly told in counselling that the visit to the fortune teller had been out of ignorance or curiosity. They didn’t believe her and didn’t take her seriously. In response to these arguments, he used to summarise his pastoral observations in a parable: „Whether I drop a hand grenade out of ignorance or curiosity, in jest or in earnest, the effect is always the same.“

5) An 18-year-old girl was told her love fortune. The fortune teller said to her: „You will not live to see your 20th birthday.“ For two years the girl lived in fear of her early death. As her 20th birthday approached, a tremendous tension grew within her. The date set by the fortune teller passed without incident. However, the girl did not survive the mental stress test. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital the next day and died two years later.
From a psychological point of view, the case is clear. The girl fell under the spell of the fortune-teller’s suggestion and, obeying the unconscious compulsion, helped to fulfil the prophecy. What happened here was also analysed by Schmeïng in his study: The recipient of a prediction or prophecy sets himself a date by his willingness to believe the prophecy. A reversio causae et effectus takes place. The fortune-teller does not recognise the impending death, but contributes to its occurrence through her psychological influence. From a legal point of view, many cases of manticism, such as manslaughter, belong before the courts.

From a pastoral point of view, this reveals the curse of divination – or, more precisely, of lying. The lie that is believed becomes true. The words of Jesus: „It shall be done unto you according to your faith“ are also fulfilled in their reversal. The so-called revelation of the future by the mantics only proves to be an enormous emotional burden that many are unable to cope with, especially as the fortune-telling usually turns out to be arbitrary fantasy products or the subconscious wishful thinking of the person seeking advice.
It is quite remarkable when an experienced neurologist reports that up to 60% of mental illnesses of all kinds are triggered cum grano salis, i.e. somehow in connection with fortune-telling and the interpretation of the future. If the alleged revelation of the future through magical practices has such an effect, then the veiling of the future is the wisdom and mercy of the one who has placed an opaque veil over the future.