A robust divination system for the contemporary reader …

Doug Dyment’s



A Monograph on Divination
Using Zener (“ESP”) Symbols

Tarot cards dominate today’s divination landscape: a visitor to a typical “psychic fair” will find more than 80% of its readers using them. And this presents one of the reasons why tarot may not be the best choice for those who wish to do readings commercially: it’s a crowded, highly competitive field, making it difficult to differentiate oneself. Another reason is tarot’s strong identification with the occult: many people are quite frightened of these cards, and/or ascribe to beliefs that prohibit their use.

One option, of course, is for the reader to return to traditional (pre-tarot) playing cards. In addition to being a more historically accurate approach, this can be an effective solution, especially when using cards featuring older designs. Another is to seek out cards with different symbolism altogether; various types of special “fortune-telling” decks are manufactured for this purpose, though a preferable choice is one with a real-world history, yet still containing effective symbolism.

This monograph proposes instead the use of popularly-titled “ESP testing cards” (actually, Zener symbol cards) for this purpose: they carry an interesting “scientific” cachet, embody an anthropologically rich set of symbology, and can be framed in the context of a divinatory system that is steeped in both complexity and historical accuracy (dating back thousands of years). Even Hollywood has portrayed Zener symbol cards as divination tools (in the star-studded 2000 film The Gift, starring Cate Blanchett as a psychic reader).

Zenermancy offers a solid foundation for the understanding and interpretation of Zener symbolism and its use in divination. It provides not only a broad, detailed exploration of these topics, but a variety of reading methods and much helpful information for both nascent and experienced cold readers. The volume comes packaged with a set of business-card-sized Zener “flash cards”, to be used as a learning tool while mastering the system, and subsequently to deliver basic “symbological readings” (replacement sets of these colour-printed cards are available for gifting to high-value clients as a souvenir of the experience).

The book is organized as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Symbols: Introduction
  • Symbols: Interpretation
    • The Circle
    • The Cross
    • The Wavy Lines
    • The Square
    • The Star
  • Transitions: Introduction
  • Transitions: Interpretation
  • A Reader Prepares
    • First Steps: A Simple “Symbological Reading”
    • Mnemonic Aids for the Symbological Reading
    • Encouraging Dialogue
    • Sample Symbological Readings
  • Reading Dynamics
    • Ritual
    • Suggested Card Spreads (Layouts)
    • A Cleromantic Alternative
    • Reading Styles
    • The Extended Reading
    • A Sample Extended Reading
    • On The Validity of Readings
    • On Being a Perpetual Student
    • Some Supportive Tools
  • An Abecedarian Adjunct
  • Coloured Symbols
  • Bibliography

Even non-readers will find value here, in the form of rich patter material to inform Zener-symbol-based presentations.

::   R e a d   B e f o r e   O r d e r i n g   ::
The entire contents of the Zenermancy book are included in the more recent publication, Calculated Thoughts (which reproduces not only this, but almost all of the material produced by Doug Dyment in the first two decades of the 21st century). This original book remains in print primarily for the benefit of the psychic reader community, members of which may have little interest in the more broadly-based mentalism topics contained in the new volume.

Some readers’ comments:

“I loved it.” — [USA]

“Another well-thought out, thorough treatise from the mind of Doug Dyment. I’m especially fond of the association of the [Zener symbols] to the elements and subsequent mnemonic characteristics.” — [USA]

“I absolutely love it. I’ve read through Zenermancy three times and buzzed with excitement each time. It has tremendous value for me as a performer/reader (far more than the monetary one placed on it).” — [Switzerland]

“As usual with a Doug Dyment book, it is meticulously researched to give the correct credits of those that went before. It is a very innovative read, and provides the psychic with quite a new arsenal of bullet points in a reading. At last, something very well worth buying. Highly recommended!” — [UK]

Zenermancy is outstanding! I have studied/adapted for myself several reading systems; only a few end up as part of my personal collection. Zenermancy has just made it to the top of my list. It is truly incredible; rarely have I seen a system that allows you to go so deep with so little effort. I’m excited to be using this. Thank you for releasing this remarkable, breathtaking product!” — [Germany]

“I find Zenermancy to be a very inspiring book and an impressively deep system as well. Still being a nascent cold reader, I appreciate especially that [Doug has made his] concepts and ideas attainable without sacrificing complexity.

The mnemonics [provided] are excellent and enabled me to give a meaningful symbological reading within a few days of receiving the book. The business-sized cards are very useful indeed and have become constant companions.

There is still a long way to go until I will be able to give full length readings with one of the more complex layouts and the Wu Xing meanings, but I feel confident that [Doug’s] concise explanations will guide me along the way. Most importantly, I realized that this is just the right system for me, as it feels less occult than, say, Rune Stones or the Tarot.” — [Germany]

“I received Zenermancy yesterday and love it! This material goes far deeper into not only the symbolism but applications for readings than would be reasonable to expect for the price and the page count (and yes, I am very thankful for strong content that doesn’t waste words).” — [USA]

“This is fantastic! I searched in vain for decades for a system to read ESP symbol cards that I liked — [Doug has] delivered beyond my wildest dreams! The underlying thinking is priceless for all mentalists and readers!” — [USA]

“I love all the thought [Doug] put in to this … with terms and mnemonics that I could understand.” — [USA]

“This book is really good … better than mine. I like it a lot!” — [USA]

“If you are into doing readings, I would highly recommend Doug Dyment’s Zenermancy. He manages to delightfully incorporate the five symbols to work nicely into the Chinese five elements … he has put a lot of thought into it …” — [USA]

“It is great! Thorough and well thought out, Zenermancy takes Zener card readings not just to a new level, but light years ahead of any other system with Zener cards. Zenermancy has my highest recommendation!” — [USA]

“Utterly brilliant! The amount of work [Doug has] done to bring everything together … the link between the symbols and the Wu Xing … the excellent mnemonics … really a superb job.

In a day when people get one half-baked idea, embellish it poorly, then publish a semi-illiterate e-book, with raves from their friends (god help us if everyone took the reviews on the Magic Café as the truth), a book like [Doug’s] (in fact, like all of his), really stands out.” — [USA]

Zenermancy was everything I was looking for and will be given many more readings; so well presented and much food for thought … Thanks again for an excellent job.” — [UK]

“Got to say that Zenermancy is the best reading system using Zener cards that I have seen. This book goes into full details, from history through a short easy reading to an extended/lengthy one. And the great thing is that the short reading can use five small business cards that you will always have in your wallet. Anywhere, anytime — can’t beat that. I recommend this one very highly: just love it.” — [USA]

“To date, Doug Dyment’s material for mystery performers has been uniformly brilliant, practical, and tailored for real-world performers and paying venues. But am I allowed to have a favorite? Zenermancy is mine. For the working reader, it transforms the ESP cards associated with J.B. Rhine’s parapsychology lab at Duke University into a divinatory tool that grants us an appealing and marketable edge in corporate markets too often allergic to the occult associations of the tarot.

By mapping the circle-cross-waves-square-star of Zener’s ESP symbols onto the Five Elements of Taoism, Dyment creates a robust (and easy-to-learn) system for creating readings of depth and style. Doug’s latest is delivered with outstanding clarity and wit (even the footnotes are delicious!) — a feature rare in books published in our discipline. As a bonus — and this is speculation only — users of Zenermancy interested in supercharging their divinatory prowess might find here an open door for using the sorts of clever subtleties with ESP cards that Doug has discussed in his previous books. Highly recommended.” — [USA]

“This is an outstanding book! I started using some of the valuable information the very next day. Thanks Doug! Bravo.” — [USA]

“Took the cards out to play and they made the day! Paid for the system in less than two hours! Fantastic, simple, and amazing fun.

Over the last 12 years I have read/entertained well over 17,000 people; I read every weekend and during the week, and am a very busy corporate entertainer. My reading record is over 120 people in a 14-hour day at an event in York. ESP is so intuitive, and — as a crossover where the skeptic doesn’t need to be left out — just perfect.

I did an experiment during my talk at <…> this weekend, using Zenermancy and a marked deck of Jumbo ESP cards; the result was a routine that left five people mesmerised.

Thanks Doug! Great system.” — [UK]

“Doug Dyment has done it yet again. In his usual clear and entertaining manner, he teaches you how to become an expert ESP card reader, explaining the meanings of each symbol and how to interpret them. As always, I love his footnotes, and the mnemonics that make learning easy.

Zenermancy takes ESP card reading to new levels, enabling the reader to provide a comprehensive, detailed, and satisfying reading using nothing but a deck of ESP cards. The detail and nuances that can be gained from reading Zener symbols this way is incredible. After studying this amazing book, you’ll be able to deliver caring, helpful, insightful, and fulfilling readings that your clients will remember for a long time. This is an essential work for anyone involved in giving readings, as well as for anyone thinking of entering this field. I love this book! Highly recommended.” — [New Zealand]

“1. This is a dense little book. The forty pages are packed slam full of information. The subject is readings with ESP cards, and it is covered as thoroughly as any system I’ve come across outside of the Golden Dawn writings on the Tarot. Without enumerating the contents (which I am too lazy to do) I can’t really capture everything in the text.

This is important because a. it’s value. I’ve paid a lot more for a lot less. And b. this blows other similar systems out of the water. To make an analogy, this is the difference between Riding’s Tarot in 7 Days and the entire BOTA curriculum. The readings possible with a given ‘system’ are only as effective as the capacity of that system to interact through its symbols with real life. Life is complex; the oracle must be also.

2. Doug is a sharp guy. No offense to the late and rightly lamented Joe Riding, but his approach to readings was to be the common man’s Norman Vincent Peale. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I believe our clients should be able to expect more. The task of the reader is not merely to interpret symbols for the client, but to deliver messages, born in the reader’s subconscious, through the influence of those symbols. That requires a greater level of education on the part of the reader, and thus requires a greater intellect on the part of the writer.

I’m not suggesting that smarter people are better performers or readers, but it helps, and Doug is smart. Intellect, when balanced with horse sense and experience, inspires confidence, and I am confident in recommending this text to any reader.

3. ‘You gotta get a gimmick.’ This is different. You won’t see the various new age rainbow heads at the psychic fair doing readings with ESP cards. If you work psychic fairs, you know this is a good thing.” — [USA]

“… the perfect adjunct to ESP effects … What better way to complete a performance than by giving a reading to the recipient? Short readings, long readings, it’s all in the book. Highly recommended.” — [Australia]

“This really is a wonderful work.” — [UK]

… Doug Dyment