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Tarot, a sin?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 30 Jan 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Mateo06  30 Jan 2002 
I just wanted to hear this boards views about tarot and it being a sin. The only reason i don't expand my tarot learnings is that i am a practicing christian (not one that goes to church, but u know what i mean) and now I just read about how tarot can be used for magik and such and now thats scaring me away more, so i just wanted to hear ur views about it. Thanks alot 

Persha  30 Jan 2002 
I remember that my scripture teacher in primary school told me that astrology, palmstry and handwriting analysis was a sin, which may put things in perspective for you. And sometimes I think it can depend simply on what names you give things e.g. is using the tarot 'magick' or 'prophecy'?
Oh yeah, and have you ever read Pilgrims Progress? 'Cause I just have and it's amazing how comparable it is to the Fool's Journey in Tarot; the Pilgrim is the Fool, Evangelist is the Magician, the Celestial City is the World etc. It's really cool.
- Persha 

Thirteen  31 Jan 2002 
Mateo06 (31 Jan, 2002 11:34):
I just wanted to hear this boards views about tarot and it being a sin.

You need to take a look at Connolly's books on Tarot. She's a practicing Christian, and a very devout one, also a long-time Tarot expert, with three books (at least) on the shelf and her own very Christian deck.

I tend to believe that all so-called-magic comes from the divine. It's only called "magic" instead of a divine gift by the narrow-minded. But using only the Bible, you'll see that all "magic" comes to people through God. Saints, prophets, healing, salvation from lion, all thanks to God. So if the cards inspire you to see into people's hearts, then it is thanks to God and for God's purpose. It can only be evil if you choose--with the freedom of choice God has given us all--to use it for selfish or evil purposes. Which, alas, some people do, and corrupt the blessing they've been given.

That said, unless you can trust that tarot is a wonderful thing, filled with stories like stained glass windows, and the gift of insight to help you help others, that it IS a blessing from God, then don't make use of it. Not at all, not ever. Such things, like belief in God, rely on faith. And if you don't have faith in it, it won't serve you. 

tarotbear  31 Jan 2002 

What do you mean by 'sin'? What defines 'sin' for you? The Bible says that you should not wear red (do you own red clothes?), should not eat shellfish (do you eat lobster?) and lumps women in with cattle and property (Do you belong to someone - like a car or a chair?)

If you are reading this, you are probably sinning because it is written by a gay man.

My point is: Tarot is a tool. How you use that tool is up to you.

When my Catholic brother married a Protestant girl, after the ceremony my mother commented to me " Gee, the wedding was 'just like ours'." I said "What? You were waiting for the Devil to pop out from under the altar and splash blood on the bride, or something?" As a young Catholic, I was told that the Devil lived in the Protestant church, and should never walk into one! These are the same people who told you that Tarot is a sin, and tell young men that if they 'play' with themselves that they will go blind.

If you think we are sinners, you've definately stumbled into the wrong web site!

If you want to learn more about using Tarot - stick around and join us sinners! 

MeeWah  31 Jan 2002 
Persha, Thirteen & Tarotbear have expressed eloquently & succintly their understanding of Tarot.
Consider this a vote for Tarot as a tool, a means for spiritual guidance, even divine intervention & inspiration.
It is in the nature of Man to aspire & to strive for greater things; to find meaning & sense in the face of the unknown or the absurd. Tarot serves all of those searchings if approached in faith & reverence. Like anything that is appropriately approached & used, it can be a boon; otherwise, it is far less & at worse, a travesty of the knowledge it holds.
This is something you need to find out for yourself; experience & determine for yourself. We can only testify from our own individual experiences, but we cannot dictate to anyone else something that is of an inner revelatory nature & understanding.
As suggested by Tarotbear: you are free to hang out with us & see what you shall see. 

divinerguy  31 Jan 2002 

Have you ever seen a nice car and wished it was yours?
Had a sick friend and hoped they got better quickly?
Were those wishes a sin, because you didn't invoke them in the name of Jesus?

Meditation, tarot reading, prayer, spell casting, and hoping for a pay raise are all essentially the same thing.

They are a focusing of your personal energy or spirit, in the hope that a desired result will occur. You can get doctrinal or dogmatic, but deep down, its all about using your personal energy for a defined purpose.

Tarot reading is my form of prayer.

I believe in a God or Goddess as a creator of all things, and I hope to someday commune with God in a physical plane. Until then, I'll read the cards.

God or Goddess has given me a gift. I can read cards, and in so doing, I can help people. I do it better than I do most other things in my life.

If I'm a sinner for doing so, I accept that condemnation. However, I think that my God will be pleased that I have not squandered that gift.


fairyhedgehog  31 Jan 2002 
Tarot cards are pieces of cardboard with pictures on. They are not guns, bombs or defoliants ;) Now those I could understand if they were called 'sinful'.

Some Tarot cards are miniature works of art. Many of us find them useful for reflection and for offering a different perspective on our lives.

What the others have written in reply to you seems to me to be very helpful. I tend to take a slightly different view, in that I don't find that I need faith in the cards for them to 'work' for me. I tend to have a very playful attitude to the Tarot. I find that 'playing' is almost like exploration or research and I find out things better that way. I know this isn't true for everyone. But then I believe that what I see in the Tarot is a reflection of what is inside me, not something supernatural.

You see, there are lots of ways of viewing Tarot cards and as far as I can see none of them deserve the label 'sinful'.

Hope this helps,


Jeanette  31 Jan 2002 
I have a very strange book, "Instructions in the Catholic Faith" by Parish Priests, Copyright 1976, revised 1980. One of the things it says about divorce is:
Let's consider the case of a very good wife and mother. She has many children. She has a drunken husband who beats her, runs around with other women perhaps and does not support the family. Suppose that she meets a fine man who would be a wonderful husband and father; yet not even in this case does God make an exception. Even if your partner is in an insane asylum, or if he marries again-you cannot marry again. No one wants to marry a divorced woman with children. We would like to say that there are no "impossible" marriage cases. If the Church cannot solve the case, old age or sickness or death will.

This book goes on to say: Superstition is equivalently giving adoration to others besides God. Anyone who puts belief, trust and confidence in superstitious practices is breaking the First Commandment. Why? Because he acts as though creatures had power that belong to God alone. The book goes on to rant and rave about faith healers, astrology, palmistry, crystal gazing, ouija board, automatic writing, and so forth; spiritualism or spiritism, and dreams as being classified a mortal sins. Venial sins of superstition are chain prayers, lucky and unlucky numbers, lucky rings, coins or emblems, superstitious use of votive lights and lucky or unlucky practices. Catholic medals have a good purpose. However, Catholics should be careful to avoid the superstitious use of medals. They have no power of themselves.

I do not agree at all with much of what this book has to say and keep it only as a curiosity. 

Diana  31 Jan 2002 

Thirteen  31 Jan 2002 
Diana (01 Feb, 2002 00:18): Maybe you'll even find a doctrine out there that says it's a sin to be born!!

;) Now you're just being cute here, aren't you? Cause you know, in Christianity, it is a sin to be born. We're all sinners at birth and if a child isn't baptised, it won't go to heaven.

And then there's Calvinism which says that only a few choosen are born to go to heaven anyway, so almost everyone who's born, no matter what they do, is a sinner.

Don't ya just love these depictions of God as a nasty old lady with a ruler in hand ready to smack you for, well, just about anything? What ever did happen to that loving, forgiving, and seemingly mature view of God...? 

destinyawaitsme  31 Jan 2002 
Here's a thing to consider:

Christianity is a relatively new religion (only about 2000 years old). And if you've ever taken an anthropology class or read up on it, you would know that Christianity (along with other religions) have been constantly changed and twisted to fit social norms and expectations. (You know that verse in the Bible that says"the meek shall inherit the earth"? it originally said that the Israelites would rule the holy land, but after the Romans conquered Israel, way back when, the Romans decided that they would just change it to "the meek.") So although I believe the Bible is a great book, wiht some cools stories in it, I take it with a grain of salt...remember most people who get swallowed by whales, don't come back out.

When I was younger I remember seeing psychic hotline commercials and thinking that people who called that would be going to hell!!! I thought that because it was what I was TOLD. I never thought to actually read or something and figure out my own beliefs. To tell you the truth, nobody knows what's right or wrong....I don't know if we are all going to burn in the fiery pits for owning tarot cards, I doubt it, but I dont' know for certain. Maybe we are all supposed to be Mormons or I said no one really knows. Unfortunately we won't find out until it's too late. So, here's my advice to you. Keep an open, talk to people (that know what they are talking about), take it all with a grain of salt. Decide what YOU believe...not what will be accepted. Because if you think about it, there are millions of religions out there...and in my opinion no one has it right yet. I'm not out to bash any religion...I used to be a strict Christian myself. All religion is:some dude thought up this idea of how the world works...and everyone else caught on.

I believe in God, that's about all I know. (In fact, I think you would have to believe in God to work with tarot) I know it isn't evil...or it isn't satanic. It is a beautiful thing...that has helped me and many other people through problems. They are jsut It's what you make of it.

May God be with you,

Thirteen  31 Jan 2002 
tarotbear (31 Jan, 2002 16:42): The Bible says that you should not wear red (do you own red clothes?)

Hm. I know about the others, including my favorite (it's a sin to urinate against a wall--you could probably get most folks in biblical days to agree with this, as walls were made of sand and mud--and those who risk being stoned to death), but where's the "Wear Red" rule? Never heard of that one.

Oh, and about keeping Kosher, I got that explained to me once by a Catholic friend who eventually became a nun. You see, all those old Testament rules don't apply because Jesus's gospel was meant to be spread to non-Jews and so they're exempt from laws in the old testament because they're considered, um, non-Jew converts. So whatever they were practing before (like eating pork) they could continue it but had to follow Christian Doctorine.

I *think* that's how she explained it. It's been a long time and I didn't quite get it. 

Mateo06  31 Jan 2002 
Well thanks for all ur views, i think u have all changed my mind for the best, but i won't know until a few weeks for my mind changes so often and so quickly that i don't know what is what until a thought stays with me for a few days. Tomorrow i may decide i will give up on tarot all together, then the next i'll be doing readings for my friends, so thanks for ur help. 

january  31 Jan 2002 
What about the prediction of the birth of the Christ child? Wisemen following a star? Isn't that astrology? And I've read several accounts that hypothesized Jesus must have been born in late March making him a Pisces, marking the Age of Pisces and whose universal symbol is the fish. Hmm... Or Elijah the Prophet who told of the birth of a savior. He was using his divine intuition, was he not?

I feel that there is much in the Bible that is blatantly ignored by some Christians - especially by those denominations which claim to have the whole tome memorized. Some people seem to be generally content (and safe) to follow some pre-ordained idea and, out of fear, criticize and ban anything that is unfamiliar, which is then labeled a "sin". And if Jesus' message is "love and forgiveness" why the fire and brimstone?

Just some thoughts

~ january 

tarotbear  01 Feb 2002 
Peeing against a wall is a sin? That makes most males with full bladders into sinners! Most of the laws about pork and shellfish were for sanitary purposes..after all, living stuck in the desert for 40 years without clean water or trash collection must have been a joy for all involved. The rules were for the good of the group; the individual did not enter into it.
In Levitcus , there are admonitions against women mating with animals...makes you wonder if it was such a widespread problem that it had to have laws passed against it! 

Diana  01 Feb 2002 

Kiama  01 Feb 2002 
The only thing I shall add to this is that for me, when I was a Christian, Tarot and magick were ways of getting closer to God. Magick, in essence, is the same as prayer. You petition to a Higher Power for something you need. When your church says 'magick' I think they see a magician, with all sorts of diabolical tools and pictures in front of him, using spells to make someone ill, or force somebody into submission. This is not what most people use magick for. Mostly it is used for positive self growth, spiritual growth, healing, etc... If I did a healing spell for my sick mother, it wouldn't be any different than saying a prayer by her bedside for her safe recovery.

Tarot cards are just cards. They are not imbued with any evil or super powers: Only our own energies when we use them. When I use the cards, I do not depend on them to give me the answers, I do not hold them as I would superstition. In fact, I am not superstistious. Instead, I use the cards in much the same way as magick, for self growth and realisation. The cards act merely as picture prompters for me to explore what I really feel about a situation or change or person. From there, I make my own decisions.

With those two practices sorted out for you, I can say that I do not think healing, prayer, and spiritual growth are sins at all.


Scorpion  01 Feb 2002 
As you can see, sin is an endless subject!

So, where to begin?

My personal view is that sin is a state of mind. For instance, you could have headed this "Being a Doctor - is it a sin?" (Sorry, Valerio, if you're reading!) Normally we regard doctors as the pinnacle of self-sacrifice for the good of man. However, over here we've had the serial killer Dr Shipman (I think they're still unsure how many he did kill - he was so cunning) and a whole spate of accusations against male doctors that they've used their position to sexually abuse female patients, doctors who've killed patient after patient by performing operations they weren't qualified to carry out and nobody twigged, the scandals where babies who died through doctors' blunders in the first place having to be buried in, say, three separate ceremonies because someone else had decreed that they could keep various organs and tissues without consent and nobody would notice or care etc etc. There are obviously some "bad apples" out there but you could end up regarding all of them suspiciously.

I take the view that as long as you're not out to hurt anybody and, where possible, help them, you can't be going too far wrong. I don't doubt that Tarot cards in the wrong hands isn't a desirable thing, but these people would find something as their tool.

I see from your profile that you're young, so you've got plenty of time to learn what's right for you and what works for you and there's no need to come to any firm conclusions until you're ready. If you can, I suggest you stick around for as long as you need on this site and post questions and chip in when you feel like it.

Good luck! 

melikka  01 Feb 2002 
Mateo06 (01 Feb, 2002 08:05):
Well thanks for all ur views, i think u have all changed my mind for the best, but i won't know until a few weeks for my mind changes so often and so quickly that i don't know what is what until a thought stays with me for a few days. Tomorrow i may decide i will give up on tarot all together, then the next i'll be doing readings for my friends, so thanks for ur help.

[my mind changes so often and so quickly] the only thing constant is change.;) 

northsea  01 Feb 2002 
Since you mentioned you're a practicing Christian, I'll respond with reference to the Bible. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy and Exodus and elsewhere, there are passages that state that divination and the like are abominations and you shall not suffer a witch to live (1610 King James version). In the New Testament, Jesus himself never commented on divination (as far as I know). 

Thirteen  02 Feb 2002 
tarotbear (01 Feb, 2002 16:16):
there are admonitions against women mating with animals...makes you wonder if it was such a widespread problem that it had to have laws passed against it!

Makes me wonder, if the admonitions was against women, does that mean that men are allowed to get away with it? Does get lonely out there with the sheep ;) 

sif  02 Feb 2002 
hi all,
I used to be Christian a couple of (long) years ago, and hopefully this offends nobody, but, I was led another direction. Anyway, I know what it's like to be in the Christian world, especially of the "narrowest" sort, Pentecostal Protestantism, which is extraordinarily orthodox and anti-ritualistic, anti-superstition, anti-magic, anti-other-religions-since-anyone-else-is-worshipping-Satan, and I had to put in: The replies, varied as they are, deserve applause. I've rarely heard such tolerant, versatile, open-minded and welcoming views before in terms of religion. Bravo everyone.

There's hope for this world. 

kayne  02 Feb 2002 
Forget sin... listen to your conscience - if it feels wrong in your heart, don't do it.

8-) K 

Kaleidoscope Eyes  02 Feb 2002 
What ever did happen to that loving, forgiving, and seemingly mature view of God...?

They hung his ass up on a cross! They're still doing it, all the time, those "religious" folk. 

purplelady  05 Feb 2002 
Mateo06 (31 Jan, 2002 11:34):
I just wanted to hear this boards views about tarot and it being a sin. The only reason i don't expand my tarot learnings is that i am a practicing christian (not one that goes to church, but u know what i mean) and now I just read about how tarot can be used for magik and such and now thats scaring me away more, so i just wanted to hear ur views about it. Thanks alot

One can also use a candle, a piece of bread , a glass of wine or fruit juice, a rock , or a bowl of water for<<< "magic">>>
Are you going to stay away from any and all of these items too? 

Liliana  05 Feb 2002 
John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do

Jesus says we will do greater works tan him in his name, so I do practice whire magick for heling in his name. The deck (rider Waite) is filled with Christian imagery, like the final judgement on the Judgement card. Besides, think the prohibition on divinition refers to the type that say something WILL happen, no changing it, as it steps on free will, or the kind that consults with evil spirits. I started an email group on yahoo groups for Christian Tarot, you can join if you like, I just posted a longer response there to this question 

Mateo06  05 Feb 2002 
i think i might just join your group. thanks a bunch 

Soraya  06 Feb 2002 
Dear Mateo06,

Glad to see that you're coming round. I just wanted to say that a religion not a science. It is not based on facts and you do not HAVE to believe and stick in everything it says and prescribes, unless you choose to. (Our ancestors had fewer choices but thank God these dark days are over, at least in the West.)

A religion is supposed to do something for you, you should not be a slave to it. It should enrich you, make you happy, help you along, answer your spiritual qustions. (It should be the Star card to you, not the Devil.)

The same is true of tarot: it is also a system of beliefs, not based on fact. It is also a way to help you along, to answer (spiritual) questions.

If your religious belief makes it hard for you to combine it with tarot it is too restrictive and not fulfilling it's purpose. It is oppressive instead of being helpful.

I assume that you are writing from a Western country so you are a free individual who can think for himself and make his own choices. If you were brought up strictly religiously this may be hard at first but it is possible and it is allowed.

Become a Hermit. Think things through. What does the tarot mean to you? Why does it mean these things? Where do your ideas about it originate? Who says they are right? The answers and the choices are all up to you.

Good luck with your meditations.


Ninly  12 Feb 2002 
Without going very deeply into a bountiful and multifaceted subjectů

Take a look into the history and work of the multitude of christian mystics and visionaries that have existed, mostly since (and before) the late middle ages. They have in many ways helped to shape christian belief and ritual, as well as preserve and influence traditions that have contributed to tarot imagery and practice. 

Jewel  12 Feb 2002 
It is interesting to see what socialization does to humanity. I remember once getting into a discussion with a roomate of mine that was Christian to the extreme. He believed that if you were not Christian you would go to hell, needless to say he was trying to save me. I once asked him the question, "do you mean to tell me that your God really wants persons that through no choice of their own (i.e. living in oppressed countries with no choice) to go to hell?" ... then I added, "well if your God allows this then you are right we do not share the same God."

What I was getting at, which many here touched on, is that religions are man made fabrications. They are designed to help mankind understand the devine, the mysetries and God. They are a form of expression. It fills me with sorrow at times to see how mankind has twisted religion, used it as a weapon, and killed in the name of God ... I honestly do not believe that God/dess would approve ... but he/she gave us freewill and in our ignorance we have misused it. When it comes to religions saying Tarot cards are sinful I say it is once again their ignorance regarding what these cards are. As humans many of us have a tendency to fear what we do not understand ... I think this is the case here. Such a shame ... 

Kiama  12 Feb 2002 
Jewel: I agree. I have a Christian friend who knew nothing about Tarot until I came along. He thought it was evil. However, when I explained to him what it is, and wat it is used for, he even asked me for a reading! He's totally fine with it now. The same with Paganism. Until I came along, he thought Pagans sacrificed babies to Satan! Now he's accepting of it!

Its interesting how much our beliefs change with knowledge!


burningbush  12 Feb 2002 
OK, children. You ALL need to know your 10 commandments and you need to know them IN ORDER so that your ARMED with THE TRUTH.
When you learn the 10 commandments and OBEY them, then you will be a MUCH BELOVED CHILD OF GOD AND YOU WILL WALK IN PEACE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

The 10 Commandments. (not the 10 suggestions folks.)

1. Thou Shalt Love The LORD THY GOD with all thy heart.

2. Thou Shalt Not Make For Thyself A Graven Image of ANYTHING OR ANYONE And Bow Down Before It In Worship.

3. Thou Shalt Not Take The Lords Name In Vain.

4. Thou Shalt Love Thy Mother And Father.

5. Thou Shalt Remember The Sabbath To Keep It Holy.

6. Thou Shalt Not Kill.

7. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.

8. Thou Shalt Not Steal.

9. Thou Shalt Not Pass False Judgments Upon Thy Neighbor.

10. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Ass. (or his ox or his wife so on and so forth.)

Reasonable enough, dont you think?
You obey these 10 Commandments and your journey will be protected.

the Burningbush 

tarotbear  13 Feb 2002 
Interestingly, this catholic boy-raised in the early 1960s learned a slightly different 10 commandments!

1) I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

2) Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.

3)Thou shall keep holy the sabbath.

4)Honor thy Father and Mother

5)Thou shall not kill

6) Thou shall not steal

7) Thou shalt NOT commit adultery

8) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife

10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Slightly different, wouldn't you say??? 

tarotbear  13 Feb 2002 
Sorry about the 8) - that's what happens when you follow the number 8 by a parenthesis and don't turn the emoticans off! 

fairyhedgehog  13 Feb 2002 
Well, that is two possible Christian views then.

Personally I prefer the simpler Wiccan rede, 'an it harm none, do as you will'. I suppose the Christian version is 'Love God, and do as you will'. But as a secular humanist, I can't follow there ...

All the best,


blumoon  18 Feb 2002 
destinyawaitsme said

"I believe in God, that's about all I know. (In fact, I think you would have to believe in God to work with tarot)"

not true, i don't and i can read tarot cards with no problems :-) 

The Tarot, a sin? thread was originally posted on 30 Jan 2002 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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