What follows is a tool or, better, a set of techniques that I've put together long time ago when I wanted to get the effect of a classic "three phases routine" with just one card.
I've always used for that a blank business / index card and in my impromptu performances I simply traced three circles on it, one in the upper-left position, one in the center, one in the lowermost-right position.
But of course, I was just experimenting and, without a good presentation and a good theme, the whole thing was a little bit too dry for my taste.
Some time later I had the idea of giving some sound esoteric justification to the symbols I draw and to cloak all the routine with an esoteric / ritualistic mantle.
In the updated version I came up with, all the symbols I drew during my performance were covered by some patter about how powerful those symbols have always been considered in all the magickal traditions.
For example, one of the most famous symbol or sigil is the pentagram, considered by ancients the union of the unequal things; the power made up by the synergy of different forces. According to the alchemist Paracelsus, the pentagram was one of the most powerful symbols a true magician could use.
The triangle, by many considered a symbol of perfection or, according to King Solomon, meaning the power of male energy and the fire element if pointing upward and meaning the feminine energy and the water element if pointing downward.
The circle has been always considered a powerful sigil for protection in magickal rituals and also meaning the infinitum, the endless going forward and simultaneously coming back to the origins of each thing and everything.
The square, one of the geometrical shapes more universally and frequently used in the language of symbols. It can be the symbol of the earth in opposition to sky but can also mean the space (while the circle means the time), stability, materialization (while the triangle can be also interpreted as the energy and intent that is ready to be materialized with the square).
The above given meanings were actually taken by different dictionaries of symbols and symbolism and, while some of those sources were not in agreement with the other sources, those meanings will help you to quickly establish your credibility in what you are about to do when in presence of people who know something about shapes and their possible ancient meanings.
These are the shapes I use now and their placement on an index card / business card
Having said that, this card could be used in any routine you want in which you need your participants to place their written info on specific areas of it.
You get the first peek at the info written in the SQUARE area through Acidus Novus methodology (briefly explained at the end of this book).
You get the peek at the info written in the CIRCLE area through a Center Tear (I warmly suggest you to learn some instant-read tear, but any Center Tear would do!)
For the info to be written in the third area, the TRIANGLE, you have two options.
You can ask your participant to write some information that can be logically deduced after you know one of the other two info OR you can force the info your participant will then write in that area.
An example of the first option could be having the participant write in the TRIANGLE area their zodiacal sign and in one of the other two areas their day and month of birth.
An example of the second option could be forcing a Tarot card and then having the participant write its identity inside the TRIANGLE AREA.
Again, I just gave you what I truly think is a good mix of methods, all in one card, to get multiple informations. It's up to you to come up with some routines that justify that card.
As I've already said, in the recent years, I've always framed it as an esoteric ritual and thus zodiacal signs and Tarot cards have perfectly served my purpose.
What I like to change is only the revelation of the secretly gathered info.
For example, I've been known to reveal the original info written into the SQUARE area by writing it backwards on a second card (the SQUARE could indeed symbolize a mirror!. This is, by the way, a little gem I've found in Corinda's 13 Steps To Mentalism book under the chapter dealing with billets).
I revealed another info, the one written inside the CIRCLE, with the classic "ashes on arm" (when the torn card is burning I go away and tell to the participant(s) to call me back when only ashes are left). A simple case of some Lip-Balm (Again!) to trace on my arm an outline of the info I secretly got!
There are, of course, some other stunning ways to reveal the info and I encourage you to seek them out or, better yet, to develop your owns!
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