Although the playing cards and their symbology date back to antiquity, they suffered a long period of obscurity as their energies were funneled into “games” to hide their secret teachings from the ruling Church leaders of the past millennium. However, in the mid-1800s, the secrets were revealed to a Michigan man during the United States’ painful civil war.
This man, Olney Hawkins Richmond, brought the knowledge back to the world’s consciousness and taught and wrote about the mysteries for those who were ready to receive them. Our playing cards thus shed their cloak of gaming tools and revealed their true meanings.
Olney Richmond became initiated into the Order of the Magi during the Civil War. In the spring of 1864, in Nashville, Tennessee, while on campground duty with the 14th Michigan Infantry, Olney was approached by a stranger who called him by name and told him his birthday. Curious, Olney began talking with him. The stranger, a tall, thin, hollow-cheeked Frenchman invited him to his home, wherein Olney was initiated into the high order. The Frenchman also gave him articles to study and told him of how he had learned of the secrets while in India. When Olney voiced his concerns of making it through the war alive, the Frenchman assured him, accurately, no harm would befall him during the hostilities.
In 1871, Olney received an unexplainable urge to go to Chicago for a period of time. In looking for a boarding house, he was attracted to one in particular where he met a gentleman by the name of Dr. Hamilton from Charleston, South Carolina. This man eventually showed Olney an old book that had been a family heirloom and contained within it some of the mysteries that the Frenchman had originally discussed with Olney. The man gave Olney the book. Over the next 18 years, this book and others that Olney acquired along the way, opened the doors of knowledge for him and enabled him to begin writing and lecturing on its mysteries.
Olney H. Richmond published information about the true meaning of the playing cards in 1893 in his first book, The Mystic Test Book Or The Magic Of The Cards. It was given this title because everything inside could actually be tested for its validity. He gave some miraculous demonstrations for the newspaper reporters who came to see and understand his work.
The following articles from his second book, Temple Lectures (also known as Religion of the Stars), offer us a glimpse into this fascinating man. It contains Richmond’s metaphysical/occult lectures and biographical articles. Click on the links below to read these some of these intriguing articles. Some include original etchings from his book, The Mystic Test Book:
Richmond writes the The Order of the Magi was the star religion of the ancient Chaldeans. He said that this tradition existed 20,000 years before the birth of Christ. Indeed, it was held that the three Magi of the Bible were members of this order and that Christ himself later became an initiate. Richmond held that the Order had centers in not only Chaldea, but also Egypt and Persia. Moreover, he held that Pythagoras was a Grand Master of the Order (by way of the Egyptian temple.)
Temple Lectures contains a collection of lectures delivered by Richmond on the history, philosophy, and practices of the Order. Richmond’s extensive use of magic squares and playing cards in divination shows him to have been a natural mathematician of considerable ability.
To read Olney H. Richmond’s, Temple Lectures, in its entirety online for free, go to: http://www.scribd.com/doc/105757322/Temple-Lectures-of-the-ORDER-OF-THE-MAGI-Olney-H-Richmond
The Mystic Test Book by Olney H. Richmond is the foundation of the ancient mystical science that is today called Cardology. You can read and/or hear (click audio button in upper right hand corner) his book from the Georgia Public Library Service online at: https://archive.org/stream/mystictestbook01rich#page/n7/mode/2up
You can also read it online at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/72714210/Olney-Richmond-The-Mystic-Test-Book Downloads are available for a fee.
Free downloadable PDFs are also available at: http://www.pdftitles.com/author/Olney+H+Richmond
The book’s full title is “The Mystic Test Book; or, the Magic of the Cards. Giving the Mystic Meaning of These Wonderful and Ancient Emblems in Their Relationship to the Heavenly Bodies, Under All Conditions; with Rules and Processes for Reading or Delineating the Emblems”
Richmond’s third book, Evolutionism (Temple Lectures Vol. 2) was published in 1896. It contains Richmond’s views and ideas on the science of evolution and the possible outcome for the Earth and the human race. Most of the book is available online for free at: http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook/Evolutionism_A_Series_1000768708#0
Introduction to “The Mystic Test Book” by Olney H. Richmond
“The publication of this work was, we might say, forced upon us by the demand, before even a page of manuscript was prepared for the press. The demand was caused by members of the Temple, who recognized the necessity of a printed text book, from which they could study the meanings of the cards and their indications under the seven planets.
“These brothers and sisters naturally wished to perfect themselves in emblem reading as rapidly as possible, and they could not so perfect themselves, without a full and complete set of tables that they could study and refer to at will. The next trouble that arose was the question of expense, as, aside from the printing, engraving, binding, electrotyping and matters of that kind, the author’s time was, and is now so valuable that the item far overbalances those mentioned.
“It was finally decided that the most feasible plan, was to get out enough copies to supply more than our immediate membership and to sell them to outsiders under certain restrictions.
“We only intended, at first, to get out a book of about one hundred and sixty pages to be bound in cloth. But the generous subscriptions forwarded to us caused us to change our mind and we began writing additional copy. We are so occupied with Temple work, that this extra labor, together with superintending the publication and proof reading, has caused considerable delay beyond the time first set. We are sorry for this, but it could not well be avoided.
“Please remember, friends, that the price charged for this book is not for the size nor the binding, nor the number of pages, but for the matter itself. The emblem delineation department is alone worth more than the price charged for the entire work. We have placed much other information in the book in addition to the tables of readings, in order to compensate our kind friends for the patient waiting and the numerous subscriptions they have procured for us.
“We certainly undertook the work at a time when the conditions were extremely unfavorable. We have been overrun with work in the Grand Temple, and down town shops engaged in the lines connected with book making are all full of World’s Fair work. At last we have overcome the obstacles and here is the book which we hope will please you.”
More about Olney Hawkins Richmond, Grand Master of the Order of the Magi
Olney Hawkins Richmond was born on February 22, 1844 (Three of Diamonds♦), in Greenbush Township, Clinton, Michigan, to Lyman and Nancy Richmond. He had one sibling, a sister named Fannie E. Richmond. When Olney was about 4½ years old, his father died from diseases contracted during his sojourn in the War with Mexico. His paternal grandmother, Lois Pierce Stiles Richmond, was noted for her unusual powers of the mind, while her husband, David Richmond, is said to have predicted his own death.
After serving in the Civil War with the 14th Michigan Infantry, Olney returned to Michigan and started his own drug and homeopathy store. He married Cornelia Hill and had two daughters, Merta and Flora. In 1884, he became World Checker Champion, a field in which he was considered a master. Finally, in 1889, he set up his first Temple in Grand Rapids, then sold his business and moved the family and the Temple to Chicago in 1890.
Olney spent the rest of his life, until he died in 1920, writing, lecturing, teaching and attending to the Temple duties. He divorced Cornelia in 1899 and married Verona later that same year. In 1911, Pauline Goede (later changing her name to Arline Richmond) moved in with them and succeeded in driving a wedge between Olney and Verona. Pauline stayed with Olney until his death, helping with Temple duties and acting as his nursemaid.
There were many, including Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Francis, founders of the “Progressive Thinker” newspaper, who supported Olney Richmond’s work in Chicago and became members of the Order of the Magi. Below is a copy from November 25, 1893.
IAC Founder’s Comment: I trust that you will continue to research more about the Order of the Magi, Olney H. Richmond and others who have gone through some much to bring this magical ancient system to each of us today. Here you are reading about real people with their own karma and challenges; just like the rest of us with their own flaws and imperfections.
While none of us on Earth are perfect, what is important to grasp is the valuable system of Cardology and the work of Olney in bringing it from centuries of obscurity out into the light of world for all to see. This system of knowledge stands alone, apart from the mere mortals, like Olney, who have sacrificed so much to get it to where it is today…free on this website and on the internet.
If anyone reading this has any further information about Olney and the sacred science of the cards, please contact me at Gina@Cardology.org or contact historian/author Iain Mc-Laren-Owens at Astro-Cards Enterprises via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the history of Olney H. Richmond, his genealogy, local newspaper/magazine articles about him and the Temple, Temple odes and rituals, bio and adventures of Arline Richmond, Olney’s chess and checker career, the war years and records, Olney’s pension files and personal records, Widow’s Claim records and Verona’s attempts to acquire Olney’s war pension, letters and postcards, history of the Temple, and the astrological charts and comparisons of Olney, Cornelia, Verona and Pauline Goede (Arline Richmond), please contact Iain McLaren-Owens for a PDF of his book Articles on The Order Of The Magi & Its History (3rd Ed.). His book includes copies of actual documents.