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Thank you for this post, Cheri. I grew up Catholic and was one of the lucky few who didn't have a bad Catholic experience other than thinking it was boring and the parishioners were hypocrites. I had a lovely priest who one time said that "many of the great saints were mystics" and this always stuck with me so I had never had a conflict with tarot reading and Catholicism.

My parents were both extremely religious but my mother and her side of the family were also very psychic - so there was never any issue with psychic stuff or any occult things in my family either. It was an odd way to grow up. I was lucky that none of this stuff was ever treated in a negative manner or as "devilish". The first time I encountered a person who thought the tarot was the work of the devil was when I went professional. I was truly shocked that anyone could think that way. It just never crossed my mind because this was not part of my upbringing.

I find it fascinating that there are so many viewpoints on tarot and spirituality. Thanks for this post,


For my part, the term divination is not useful at all. It implies an ontological existence of a Big Guy in the Sky who has his nose in just about everything. Discernment seems far more appropriate: what choices embrace the narrative of my personal myth?

The Bible is full of divination and sundry spookiness. Did Saul not conjure up Samuel? Did the disciples not draw straws to replace Judas? What is prophecy if it's not divination/discernment?

Frankly, Tarot provides far more useful spiritual direction (when used properly) than does fundamentalist religious doctrine, which leads to far more mischief and human misery.

Cheri Gaudet

Thanks Theresa and Toney for your comments!

Theresa - Yes, there is a long tradition of mysticism in the Catholic Church. Tarot and Catholicism have another thing in common, which you alluded to - although many people perceive them each as single spiritual viewpoints, they are both multidimensional and beautifully complex!

Toney - Discernment is a great word, and I use it myself to describe what I'm doing with tarot.


Here is something I learned a long time ago. Limited individuals who read what they want out of spiritual text, only see what is written on the pages in front of them. We who discern that which is invisible, see between the lines, what is behind the words, and know how to challenge outside opinions. So many, who interpret the text, known as the Bible, neglect to accept that this discussion refers to charlatans and thieves, not authentic psychics and prophets. I think it is a common trend to accept palmistry as divine because it is of the body. Astrology is obviously connected with the Christian Bible, as is evident in the Twelve tribes of Israel. The Tarot is the bible in pictorial form. Look at it is as a Nemonic devices for teaching the ideologies, lessons, and myths associated with the Christian tradition. It is so much so, in decks like the Waite-Smith imagery, that people thought it was making fun of the Christian religion. Sad, you know, Christianly truly has a great deal of power in it, at least all the parts they decided to remove.

Personally, my mother bought me my first deck of Tarot. I was very young, not even ten. She had not yet found her religo-spiritual path yet and happen to read cards and study Astrology, at the time. Now she is a born again fundamentalist Christian, who wishes she never bought me the most significant tool of my life. It is her refusal to open up her mind, see how powerful the imagery in Tarot is, totally in synch with every spirituality all over the world, least the Christian one, that a wedge has become forced between us.

I think combining ones spiritual practice with the reading of Tarot simply empowers it. It adds to the entire practice of the connection to God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Once you see how the cards emulate them, you can actually become one with them. It is always better to read cards with the hand of divine to assist you. This truly makes for more accurate, remarkable, and detailed readings.

Also, remember when it comes to interpretations of the Bible, it is just one persons interpretations. I have become inclined to study hebrew, so that I could translate the bible for myself. King James was considered a Woman Hater, Witch Hater, and a Homosexual Hater, even though that degree of hatred often represents repressed issues. If your going to read the bible word for word and take it for face value, why read cards? Of course, I know you are not like this.

When it comes to the 5 of Pentacles, please remember the Christian religion is one of scarifice and the path of least resistance, as the middle pillar of the tree of life. It is the charity of your soul that gets you the coveted spot on the throne God sits on. And remember the Catholic view is one of the repeated versions of the old sacrificed God myths like Tammuz, Osiris, Buddha, and Christ. It is often thought you can find God by giving up your attachments to the material world. Hey if you want to, its your prerogative to give all of your material possession away and become a popper.

I do love the Hierophant. It certainly does represent the tenets of Christianity and is Exodus in pictorial form. I would like to say I just recently began to read the bible. When I began reading it, I was blown away! It is the best story I have ever read. I immediately recognize the Fool in Genesis, along with the High Priestess, The Empress, and the Emperor, as well in Exodus, the Empress and the Emperor again, and the Tower of Babel. So many cards, so much valuable information. No wonder they don't want you to study such a system. It tells you everything they left out.

If anything the Tarot proves God is real, in the way in which it works. By the way Christ did have the Tarot, he had the Hebrew alphabet. And never forget the Ace of Cups, is the womb in which Christ took physical form in the Virgin Mary. In essence he became the go between, God on one side, the Virgin Mary on the other, with himself in the Middle.

Stimulating Conversation!


If you did not click on the links embedded in this essay, you might want to read this article which gives further insights into this intriguing issue of the church's stance on divination.


You know I have a strong belief the HigherPower created everything. 2000 years ago, ideology and the current condition of man were synonyms. At some point, one must recognize how far the two have diverged. If the extremes of thought are not reconciled, then war occurs. I am still reading all of these hateful, biased, unbalanced and deceitful quotes. I always remember the bible was translated from Greek, I think. I am no bible scholar but I do live the Tarot and utilize all religious system simultaneously. I know the true creator, created everything, even the Tarot, inspiring men and women, just as it did the bible. Demons and Devil, are the flip side of the coin, as well as mans fears and intimidations. There are no literal devils in Tarot, unless of course you put them there. It is a neutral tool, just as the Bible is and can be use in a similar manner, such as reading the Lords Prayer Backwards is used. Narrow mindness comes out everywhere with different teacher of Tarot, as well as translations of the Bible. I do not even entertain the obvious fears interjected in some of these quotes. We are simple and real, the prophets of our modern age.

Still reading Links, when I have a break. Love the Banter!!!

Cheri Gaudet

Redpsychic, I like your perspective on the Ace of Cups representing the Virgin Mary's womb. Just lovely. The complexity and richness of Tarot imagery really captures me, and that's just the Rider Waite deck!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The selective use of Biblical (or any other Scriptural) passages to condemn divination disturbs me as well, as does any other practice that oppresses people. Churches do not need to fear the empowerment of its flock to directly connect with the Divine without them to mediate.

Toney Brooks

Above, Theresa wrote: "I had a lovely priest who one time said that 'many of the great saints were mystics' and this always stuck with me so I had never had a conflict with tarot reading and Catholicism."

Nor should anyone. We're all called to mysticism and instructed by the Holy Spirit, however one prefers to contextualize this mystical guide and teacher. The command "Be holy because I am holy," found in Leviticus and 1 Peter), is itself a clarion call to mysticism and Oneness, not necessarily to church bells.

The Western church seems much more concerned with "correct beliefs;" is now and ever shall be terrified of mystics. Mystics often were condemned as heretics; burned for their own 'good,' as was Joan of Arc. Today, mystics are expelled, as was Matthew Fox.

Tarot is a mystical path to Oneness par excellence. While still feared and and marginalized by the Church, tarot will unshackle the soul and free it for a heroic voyage of self-discovery, truth and formation of a higher interpretation of the Unseen World, a world within us, among us and eternally is Us.

[Shameless plug] Artist Holly Sierra and I hope to translate this as well as other tried and true spiritual concepts into our new deck, which will be published by U.S. Games in 2012. We are making good progress.

Thanks for your post, Cheri.

USGS Staff

Fascinating discussion. Thanks to everyone participating so far. It's good to see such a respectful discussion unfolding.

Toney, if you can't plug your work on your publisher's blog, where can you? :)


Good stuff! Thank you!

Jim Wickson

If there are any mistakes in this article it is in defining "Tarot" as divination when traditionally it is a gaming system employing Christian symbolism for its trump cards. The term "Christian Tarot" is actually redundant and not an oxymoron. However one defines divination or however one views it religiously, the traditional symbolism of the Tarot is rooted strongly in 15th century Christian culture. It should also be pointed out that Tarot cards were intended for playing certain card games which are still enjoyed in many European countries. It was only after the 18th century that people began using Tarot cards for divinatory ends. However one uses the Tarot, everyone would benefit if knowledge of its Christian and gaming roots were more prevalent in our culture.

Laura Colvin Brown

this is great, thank you! There was a guy who was asking about whether religion and tarot conflicted the other day on Yahoo answers. I'll send him your link :)
I just posted a similar-feeling article about tarot and Epiphany.

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great man :D

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