Tuesday, May 15, 2018

OUIJA - More Woo-Woo

What lies behind the purpose of a Ouija Board is definitive "woo". Contacting spirits of the dead links to lots of other woo-ish bits and pieces: ghosts, past lives, divination, prodigies....and on, and on.

Having never used the device myself, I can't vouch for its efficacy or otherwise. My delving into woo stops short at astrology and tarot now (that is if they are labelled as such), and they sometime are), I only do what I'm drawn to do. When younger I did experiment with spiritualism by attending a few spiritualist meetings and churches, but didn't continue along that route. I'm not a complete skeptic when it comes to Ouija, just a curious bystander who has never been drawn to experiment.

In its current style the Ouija Board originated in the late 19th century, in the USA. It was, however, an extension of a much older tradition of contacting spirits of the dead. Such tradition has reportedly been traced back to China, centuries before the birth of Confucius (circa 550 B.C.E.). Fu Chi or Fuji, an accepted form of Chinese spirit writing, is what's known in the west as automatic writing. Spirits were thought to guide a pen or stick, in sand or on paper, to form letters or glyphs. Some have tried to make a link from Ouija Boards to ancient Greece, and Pythagorus, but that idea seems to have been discredited.

We can safely say that it was an upsurge in spiritualism and theosophy in late 19th century USA that led to the spread of "talking boards". There's some evidence, though disputed, that a Maryland cabinet/ coffin maker, E.C. Reiche (or Reichie?) , designed and constructed the first board that came to be known by the name Ouija. He is said to have sold the rights of manufacture to Charles Kennard; the first patent was filed in 1890. These days rights to The Ouija Board are held by Parker Brothers who acquired them in 1960 - just in time for a New Age/hippie era?

The Ouija Board has acquired some particularly bad press, notably after the 1973 movie The Exorcist which many wrongly thought was based on a true story. Ouija has long been labelled a "tool of the devil" by certain factions. It's certainly a tool, but a tool for what purpose is up to its user. You can use a hammer in constructing a useful piece of furniture - or you could use it to kill or maim another living creature. Intent is key. Having said that, I don't consider it wise for young people to dabble in Ouija Board use. While I do not believe in demons or anything akin to demons, we don't know whether impressionable minds, fed these days more than ever with tales of horror, violence, war, vampires, and such could conjure up something harmful via their own consciousness. If Ouija Boards and similar methods of divination work on any level at all, we have still to discover how. Until this is known, it's best to tread lightly.

How to link astrology to a post on Ouija isn't clear. The businessmen who initiated bulk manufacture and sale of the boards were interested mainly, or only, in profit. I doubt they had any serious interest in the spread of occult learning or experience. Perhaps E.C. Reiche, if his part in Ouija's history is true, was the most likely of them all to have had a true interest in the occult.

Searching for birth data on E.C. Reiche I found it on this site. Born 27 December 1831, died 6 January 1899.

Curiosity led me to look at a natal chart, using as location the town in which he lived (probably born there): Chestertown, Maryland, chart set for 12 noon. How appropriate it'd be if he actually had been born around noon! Pluto, planet of the occult and hidden things, secrets, darkness, etc. sits on the ascendant angle - the strongest point in a natal chart. But chances are he wasn't born around noon.

Anyway, I still see this chart as a good fit for a craftsman who had an interest in occult matters. His Sun was in Capricorn, which I think of as a craftsman/businessman sign. Neptune conjunct Mercury also in Capricorn: creativity, illusion and/or psychic ability married with his planet of communication. Uranus is unadulterated in its home sign, Aquarius along with Jupiter, adding a good helping of inventive talent to the mix.

From New World Encyclopedia:
Whether one believes that the Ouija contacts spirits or is merely a vehicle to probe one's own subconscious, there are psychological risks to using the board. During Ouija sessions, it is common to receive vulgar or vile messages, as well as messages that tap into the users' fear of death. These messages can be highly disturbing to some, no matter what their source, and have the potential to exacerbate any existing mental disturbances. It is well advised that those with emotional or psychological disturbances refrain from the use of the Ouija.


Wisewebwoman said...

I often ponder on the artifacts around such woo. If there's authenticity surely such man made gizmos would be unnecessary?


Twilight said...

Yes - good point! Mediums (are said to) do it, but they don't ask questions, far as I know. It was a money-making scheme of the creator at the time when theosophy etc was all the rage,

A Casual Reader said...

We had a board at home in the early 60's. We didn't use it much, but once, when we asked it the name of my sister's (well-into-the-future) husband, it spelled out Mulf Qrum, which became an on-going joke for several years afterward.

She's still waiting for him to show up and regularly curses the guy she actually got stuck with.

On the other hand, Jane Roberts and her husband Robert Butts began their 'Seth' writing careers by starting with a Ouija Board in 1968(?). They only utilized it a few times before Jane began going into trance, but still - it was their springboard to a large degree of literary and psychic success.

Twilight said...

A Casual Reader ~ Might Mr Mulf Qurm still blow into her life? Hm ( Ouija doesn't do good spelling q and u.) And... if it hears you tittering it can become quite mean! Let's see - could it be Wolf Quaresma ? LOL! (Kidding - on all!)

The two writers did rather well. Interesting. She was already a self-proclaimed psychic and medium though - if that is a fact, she would have accessed the information without benefit of Ouija, I guess.