In his work, 'The Mystic Test Book',
Olney Richmond explains the way in which a standard deck of playing
can be used for divinatory purposes.
For you to understand the writings of Richmond, it is best that
you understand a little about his background.
Olney Richmond was an astrologer and mathematician. Most of
the first writings appeared after he was involved with the forming
of the Order of the Magi in Chicago, 1889. There a temple
was created where he lectured. In 1892 he compiled a number
of the 'Temple Lectures', which were published.
But it was in 1893, in his publication 'The Mystic Test Book', when
we saw the introduction to the "Magic of the Cards".
According to Richmond, the playing cards (which they have been referred
to since the Fourteenth Century) have a very ancient origin.
Many of the most ancient of nations claim their invention (Egyptians,
Persians, Chinese, etc.). The deck of cards is referred to
as a 'book' and he claims it to be the oldest book known, dating
to a time before the modern written languages were conceived.
According to the writings, the Egyptians were not the originators of the "Test Book". It appeared, said Richmond, over 15,000 years ago in Atlantis. Atlantis was a continent existing in the Atlantic Ocean that was segmented into 4 quadrants by 4 rivers flowing to the sea from one source, a mountain lake. Upon a large rock in the center of the lake was built The Palace of Kings - where the 4 kings ruled this ancient continent. Around the palace was built The Garden of Atlantis within which was planted every tree or fruit to delight the human senses.
Atlantis supported a civilization of highly evolved beings, nourished by the efforts of their advanced scientific and metaphysical communities. About 15,000 years ago when Atlantis was in the height of its civilization, colonies were established in Egypt and South America. The tradition of the Cards was brought to those colonies where the priests built temples for study and practice of that amazing science.
As is typical in our human history, improper use of these advanced opportunities paved the way towards its destruction. A great tragedy occurred and Atlantis sank into the Atlantic Ocean. Only the temples in Egypt and South America remained where the tradition of the Cards was kept alive. There is speculation not only as to the reason that Atlantis crashed, but also about whether it even actually existed.
One thing should be stated clearly:
If you do not believe in the existence of Atlantis, the science
of the cards will be of little use to you and you should
look for another form of divination. I am convinced that
belief in this fundamental historical principle is necessary
for the intuitive mind to be aligned with the cosmic mind from
which the science of the cards originates.
From my own discoveries and memories, one of the fundamental issues that arose when Atlantis crashed
was that much of the daily practical use of this system was lost.
Even though the priests who colonized both Egypt and South America
built temples and continued to practice the system, it was not a
feature of daily life for the typical person in those colonies.
It was kept, rather, as a sacred science where it was mainly practiced
by the priests and their proteges. In Atlantis, practical
use of this system had been widely spread throughout the culture.
Therefore, there was a great reservoir of psychic awareness available
to those who practiced the art.
We are again faced with similar circumstances that were present
in both Atlantis, and its distant ancestor Lemuria. Both Atlantis
and Lemuria perished during great catastrophes which occurred at
the height of their civilizations. Our civilization today
is at a technological high point as well, especially in the area
of genetics. Interestingly, this was one of the main failures
of the Atlantean science towards the end of its reign. The
main failing was essentially a misaligned association with the accumulation
The science of the cards as presented in 'The Mystic
Olney Richmond brought this science to us in 1893 with his book,
'The Mystic Test Book'. In short, it revealed:
- How the science
of the cards was first brought to us from Atlantis, where
four rivers flowed from one source and four kings ruled in one
capitol. This was the Garden of Eden, where the Religion
of the Stars was the only religion known or practiced.
- The formula for how the 52 playing cards are represented by
the 52 weeks in the year, with the Joker taking up the remaining
portion of the year.
- Each card is assigned a 'spot value' based on its number,
Ace being 1 and King being 13.
- The 'suit value' (emblem value) for the cards are: Hearts=0,
Clubs=13, Diamonds=26 and Spades=39.
- The 'solar value' of each card is the spot value added to
the suit value, where
is 1 and the
- The number of cards in the deck = the number of weeks in the
year, and the number of suits = the number of seasons in the
- Each day of the week is related to one of the seven planets.
- The spot values of the cards added together=364, which is
the same as the 7 planets multiplied by the 52 cards in the
deck. The joker takes up the remaining 1 1/4 days, making
it equal the number of days in the year (which takes into account
- The way in which the deck is laid out and the manner in which
to 'quadrate' the deck were described.
- The formulation for associating each day of the year with a
card was described as a purely mathematical phenomenon.
- Olney stated that the layout of the deck (in its perfect order)
was purely arbitrary, and it was not until the client shuffled
and cut the cards, using a specific set of rules, would one be
able to do a reading for the client. This is an important
concept that we will discuss later.
- He placed the planets to the right of each row to represent
the planetary ruler for that row. In his readings, the columns
were described as follows:
- The rightmost 2 columns (and a portion of the 3rd column from
the right) were presented as energies relative to the past.
- The leftmost 2 columns (and a portion of the 3rd column from
the left) were presented as energies relative to the future.
- The remaining 3 columns in the middle (not including those
positions delegated to either the past or future) were to be
taken as the present.
Olney had a way of describing the phenomena of the mechanics of
this card science
that is quite revealing. For a person to understand the esoteric
meaning behind much of the symbology and workings of this science,
it is best to become acquainted with this original reference.
I have only touched on the most basic points described in 'The
Mystic Test Book'. There is quite a bit more content available
in this reference that may awaken the inner thinker.