Do Zener Cards Really Work for Intuitive Development?

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    Zener 3-2

    If you’ve watched the movie Ghostbusters, then you’re probably familiar with Zener cards.

    Perceptual psychologist Karl Zener created Zener cards in the early 1930s for ESP (extra sensory perception) studies conducted with his colleague, parapsychologist J. B. Rhine.

    Zener cards have now become the standard for ESP tests, specifically clairvoyance. These tests can be carried out by using a closed deck of cards (5 groups of each 5 cards) or an open deck (cards are randomly selected from a deck shuffled at each turn).

    The original Zener cards consisted of the following symbols: a hollow circle (one curve), a Greek cross (two lines), three vertical wavy lines (waves), a hollow square (four lines), and a hollow five-pointed star. There are a total of 25 cards in the original deck, 5 of each design.

    However, you can also use an alternative deck that consists of 6, 7, or 8 repetitions of each design. As long as each symbol has an equal number of cards in the deck, it will be effective. Plus, the more cards a deck has, the more practice you’ll get in.

    How do Zener cards improve your intuitive abilities?

    Several things happen when you consciously work towards honing your intuition. First of all, you’re setting an energetic intention and informing the Universe that you wish to become intuitively receptive.

    When Spirit senses your commitment, they help you reach this goal by working with you and providing guidance in your intuitive development. So when you start using Zener cards with this clear purpose, you’ll be supported in every step of the way.

    I’ve mentioned in previous posts that your imagination plays an important role in building a frame of reference in your subconscious that can later be used to receive intuitive insight.

    This is also relevant to how Zener card tests work because when you first observe each symbol in the deck, you’re storing this imagery in your subconscious. You’re also learning how to visualize and hold images in your mind’s eye, which is necessary for clairvoyance development.

    Visualization comes easy for some individuals, but it might be challenging at first for those with a rusty third eye. You can most definitely train yourself to become more intuitive though, no matter how developed or underdeveloped your intuitive gifts currently are.

    Even though Zener cards are known to work directly with clairvoyance and telepathy, they strengthen your other clairs as well. Whenever you work on a specific clair and master it, this usually has a domino effect on your dormant gifts and indirectly awakens them.

    It’s common to work with 2-3 intuitive clairs that complement each other. For example, if you become predominantly clairvoyant and receive information through images and symbols, sometimes you won’t fully understand what they mean, and your second strongest gift, maybe clairaudience, could help you probe for additional information and receive it in the form of words or thoughts.

    Another example of how the different clairs work with each other is if someone is predominantly clairsentient, they most likely sense Spirit presences through strong physical sensations, but if their other intuitive gifts are mostly dormant, asking for additional information on the reason for this Spirit’s presence might be tricky.

    How to use Zener cards

    There’s a lot of flexibility in terms of how Zener cards can be used for intuitive development.

    If you decide to try them out, I would recommend observing each symbol in the deck and taking turns in holding each symbol in your mind’s eye for as long as possible. Do this and sleep on it for one day before using the cards so that the symbols are stored in your subconscious.

    The reason it helps to sleep on it is because your brain stores and retains relevant information while you sleep. This is also why you have better recall whenever you learn something new and spread your study sessions throughout the week instead of cramming everything in one day.

    According to, theoretically, “a real test requires at least 25 picks to be statistically significant and a score of 10 correct guesses or more out of 25 is required to prove some degree of psychic abilities.

    Statistical laws dictate that there’s 1 chance in 5 of getting the card by pure chance (overall score of 5/25), along with a certain degree of variability (between 0/25 and 10/25).

    Scores over 10 would therefore be significant. For a thorough evaluation, one should take the test many times (10 or more) for truly conclusive results.”

    Just have fun with the process! Don’t take it too seriously, stay relaxed and view it as a game you’re playing. This simple approach will produce better results.

    You can use Zener cards by yourself or with a partner

    If you use them independently, first make sure you’re in a relaxed state. Take 3-5 deep and long breaths if you need to. Then, shuffle the cards and start drawing them one by one.

    Pay attention to any immediate insights and sensations that come up before drawing each card. If one of the symbols enters your awareness out of nowhere, trust it. Don’t second guess yourself, the second guess is usually wrong because it means your logical left brain has kicked in.

    This ESP test will not only train your intuitive gifts, but also help you figure out what your strongest gift(s) are. You do this by experimenting with different ways of perceiving the answer.

    For instance, you can try putting your hand on the card you’re about to draw to see if touching it physically is an intuitive gift you may be unaware of. You can also try visualizing the answer in your mind’s eye or thinking of the actual name of the symbol (star, square, waves, etc.)

    If you’re using Zener cards with a partner, you can do everything mentioned above and take turns guessing the cards.

    Another method is having one of you hold the deck and look at each symbol, visualize it in your mind’s eye and then mentally project the image to the mind of the receiver to see if they get it right and vice versa.

    Just like with any new endeavor, you might not get a lot of them right in the first few attempts and it’s completely normal. Practice, practice, practice. You will get better at it with time and consistency, trust the subtle insights you receive!

    Because of my background in visual design, I felt inspired to design a custom 36-card Zener deck consisting of 6 symbols (star, waves, square, triangle, cross, circle) with pastel colors, since I noticed that most Zener cards available are either black and white or colored with primary colors like red and blue.

    I thought to myself, why not create Zener cards that are softer on the eyes?

    Zener 3-2
    Zener 5-2

    If you’re interested in checking them out, I will leave my shop link HERE.

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