Superstition vs Experience
There are many who argue that tarot cards are a tool of the devil. They say that tarot reading is an evil practice akin to witchcraft, and that people who read tarot cards are in communion with demons. They claim to know much about the subject, despite the fact that they avoid tarot cards like the plague.
On the other side of the fence, a lot of people do tarot reading with no worries. There are plenty of readers of various backgrounds. Some take a scientific or psychological approach to understanding the cards, and others think that they should rely on their intuition. A lot of readers even consider themselves to be psychic. Despite their differences, people who don’t fear the cards agree almost unanimously that the cards are not good or evil, but just a tool.
Mythology vs the Consequences of Reality
It is far easier to believe in popular mythology rather than to take the time and effort to analyze a subject thoroughly. Not only that, just because such mythology is popular, one runs the risk of taking a very unpopular stance if it is discovered that the story they were told is not true. Most people would rather go with the flow than battle the current. Being ostracized by one’s peers is not very pleasant. Beyond that, many values are passed on from generation to generation, inculcated in the young while they are still forming their earliest mental pathways. Second hand information of this nature is practically impossible for children to defend themselves against. They ultimately are forced to believe what their parents passed to them, which their parents passed to them, and so on, ad infinitum.
It has been said that condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance. After all, how can a person even form a judgement about something before knowing anything about it? Yet this is precisely what happens with certain subjects such as tarot cards. Ancient religious dogma that was corrupted due to mistranslation rears its ugly head when these kind of arguments take place. There is simply nothing that can be said in defense of things which are condemned without analysis. No rational argument can compete with emotional convictions.
We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them. – Charles Caleb Colton
Tarot cards can be and unfortunately are often abused, which fuels the outrage of their opponents. Experienced readers who are totally benign sadly end up getting condemned along with phony psychics who steal money for a living, unscrupulously taking advantage of the weak minded. For example, the whole tarot industry had to pay for the sins of the phony “psychic shaman” Miss Cleo in one way or another.
Much controversy surrounding the subject of divination comes from the mistranslation of the King James Bible. While certain forms of divination including cloud-divining were condemned as evil in the Torah, the King James translation did not take such specifics into account. Instead of condemning only what Moses condemned, James took the broad stance of condemning divination in any form. Of course this translation makes no sense, as the priests and prophets commonly performed divination themselves, in forms such as dream interpretation. Thus to condemn all divination is to condemn the entire basis of all Judeo-oriented religion. The words of Christ, “Judge not lest ye be judged” ring true, for to condemn the art of divination in the name of “God” is to ignorantly condemn the same God that one supposedly honors.
In order to really know something, even a little bit, one really has to experience it for oneself. This is not to say that second hand knowledge can’t be highly valuable, but there are some topics that are filled with so much disinformation that it becomes extremely difficult to find a trustworthy source. Because of its occult (secretive) nature, tarot is one of these subjects. Even the most famous proponent of the tarot deck, the notorious A. E. Waite published books that were loaded with nonsense and false facts. In one of his misinformed quotes, he claimed that the Greek word for God to be “Abraxus.” Such over-simplifications border on malicious, as he seemed to enjoy deceiving his readers — either that, or he just didn’t know any better. The god he mentioned was in fact named Abrasax, and while the misspelling is easily forgiven, this deity’s name was certainly no simple approximation to “God” in the Gnostic world. If even the most famous advocate in the history of tarot should spread such nonsense concerning his own profession, one can imagine the reasons why this subject is so controversial.
Can a Tool be Evil?
In the same manner that people who condemn divination are convinced that they are indeed the good guys, most tarot readers are convinced of their own benevolence. Who is to say who is right? In reality, there may not even be such things as good and evil, except from the point of view of those who believe in them. In the same way that guns can not really be good or evil, there is no such thing as evil tarot cards. The person who makes use of such tools is ultimately responsible for his own actions.
Those who would blame a tool for how some people would misuse it should consider the fact that pacifism is not often a very good defense to an attack. If a person sets out to con the world with their knowledge of tarot cards, then most of us would probably say that person is evil, the same way that a mass murderer would be viewed as being evil. That person’s weapon of choice, whatever it may be is just that, a weapon. A weapon can be used for defense or to attack; what counts is the will of the individual who uses it.
“It depends upon what the meaning of the word IS is.”