See your dreams as if they were real
And real life as if it were a dream.

Zen proverb

Divination is a way through which one can be reconnected with this alienating cosmos. It offers a language that joins the spiritual realm to the material one, a hidden mechanism through which one can glimpse the workings of the cosmos. It allows the 'strange participation between things supernatural, immortal, intellectual, simple and indivisible: and things natural, mortal, sensible, compounded and divisible'. (John Dee)

The beauty of using 'ordinary' postcards as a divinatory tool is that they can 'speak' directly to most of us: we don't necessarily require someone else - like a Tarot reader - to translate their meaning to us. And yet to understand 'the workings of the cosmos' one has to differentiate between the literal meaning of a postcard and its symbolic meaning. Symbolism and Synchronicity are the grammar and the syntax of the cosmic language. Take this postcard of these two crocodiles basking in the sun:

It's a scary photograph - because they are crocodiles. But if you look longer, it's also a serene and loving scene; even crocodiles apparently feel deep affection and tranquillity. And so, if I asked the question How is this week-end going to turn out? and I picked this card at random (while concentrating on the question) from my pack of postcards I'd feel really good about spending it with my partner and also good about the 'reptilian level' (You'll have to imagine what that is!) of our relationship. I'd also get a sense whether the cards were 'speaking'. Occasionally with some people the cards one draws don't seem quite right. Some people find it difficult to enter the timeless space beyond understanding where synchronicities happen. In addition one also needs to slow down to get to the meaning of a symbol. Look at a card long enough and the meaning of the symbol(s) will eventually come.

I used to feel anxious when I first picked this card from my pack:

I still don't particularly like it when I 'get' it, but now I see it as a disaster which has already happened and which I've got used to - look at all those people 'visiting' it. It's already a reality in my life, not something about to happen.

Over the years, as I've learnt to trust what the Postcard Pack 'says' to me, I've used it to make better decisions. Most of the time I'll start out by picking just a couple of cards to answer an either/or question. For instance:

One card for: How will my Sunday be if I accept this invitation and visit M?
Second card: How will my day be if I spend it at home?

If these two cards aren't clear to me, or if I'm unconvinced, or if I don't like the answer (because I feel like visiting M, but I thought I'd just check because I know it can get difficult there; and anyway there are things I need to do at home too and also I don't want to afterwards feel I'd wasted my time there) and these first two cards are obviously 'telling' me to stay home… then I'll start building on the first two cards in much the same way as I'd have a discussion with someone about the same issue:

A card to clarify the first one: How will I feel at the end of the day, after visiting M?
Another card: How will it affect tomorrow if I go?

And similarly cards to clarify the second: How will I feel at the end of the day if I stay home?
And: How will it affect tomorrow if I stay home?

Quite soon it becomes obvious which the better decision is. Contradictions in the imagery - and it really is wonderfully surprising how consistent themes build up - tend to be rare, but occasional ones beg further questions:

What will the short-term effect be if I do ……?
What will the long-term effect be if I do……?
What problem /obstacle will I have to deal with if I do…..?
What would be the best way of dealing with it?

So, most of the time using the pack takes the form of a conversation. Often one card will lead onto the next one:

Describe my relationship with ….
What is the difficulty I'm having with her?
What is the best way forward?
How do I see her?
What's she really like?
How does she see me?

Or, always an interesting line:
What will this next period ahead bring?
What's the week ahead going to be like?


For more serious issues, or where-is-my-life-going type of questions I may do a 10-card Celtic Cross spread (see below). But even here I might find myself picking a further card or two out of the pack to elucidate anything unclear.

The pack itself comes together randomly and is not based on any pre-set design. The only criterion I have is that a card has to 'speak' to me before I'll add it. I used to buy postcards constantly, but now friends who have used the pack often send me post-cards that they think should go into it. Usually I agree. The result is a pack that is far too large and always growing. The positive side to this is that I'll lend someone a few cards if I think they're significant and it would help them to live with the images for awhile longer. Or, if I'm going away, I might randomly take about half the pack with me, knowing it will serve almost as well as the full one. I enjoy this flexible flow into and out of the pack. If any cards have significance for me during a certain period (Where is my life going now….?) I can easily remove them from the pack and stick them up on the wall for a time without feeling that the pack has been compromised.

Unlike the Tarot the joy of using post cards with other people is that they can relate to the images directly. And although each card, from frequent use, has a deeper meaning for me, I'll always wait for someone else's interpretation before adding my own (if necessary). I'm amazed again and again at what I learn from other peoples' interpretations. I've also learnt to respect their interpretations and won't necessarily insist on mine unless I think they're totally off the mark. After all it's their own subconscious that is trying to get through their maze, not mine.


This is a ten card spread used for deeper questions like, Where is my life going right now? or What's happening in this relationship/at work? You could choose each individual card at random from the pack. I prefer to mix the pack (while holding the question in mind) and then draw the ten cards, one after the other, from the top. These are the positions they go into:


Position1: symbolises the energy at the heart of the issue asked about
Position 2: symbolises the energy which 'crosses' - for better or worse - the issue
Position 3: what you know about the issue
Position 4: what is hidden about the issue
Position 5: where you're coming from with regards to the issue - the past
Position 6: where you're heading towards with regards to the issue - the future
Position 7: who you are with regards to the issue
Position 8: the situation surrounding you
Position 9: your hopes, dreams, wishes or fears with regards to the issue
Position10: 'final outcome' - how your issue interacts with the cosmos

Someone once asked me: Do you ever wonder who or what does the choosing? Obviously the images correlate with the situation in a 'synchronous' way. What generates the 'synchronicity'?

Psychics talk about spirit guides, tribal peoples talk about the ancestors. Do individual entities actually exist 'out there' or are these just concepts which attempt to describe intelligent energy fields? I'm not psychic enough to 'see' the answer to this question, but I've come to realise that intelligence exists everywhere in everything. The engineering feat of planets spinning continuously in perfect orbs around the Sun and life existing on one of them is already beyond comprehension, never mind the flight of the bumble bee or hummingbird. The way synchronicities happen is pure magic. It takes geniuses like Copernicus, Newton, Darwin and Einstein to discover - not invent, but uncover - the innate genius already present in nature. From the timeless space beyond the ever-ticking clock of life holistic patterns never stop flowering forth.

©Stephen Frank, February 2002

Almost everything you need to know about building your own Postcard Pack is presented here.
But should anyone want a reading I'm available in NW London.

You can call me, Stephen Frank, on 0208 450-4226
Cost: £50/hour, £65 for 1½ hours.

"What do the stars say?"
Desire and the Stars
Darby Costello