For starters, by Christians, I mean every Christian. Even though Tarot has been particularly connected to particular Christian sects during it’s past, I don’t think that means Christians from worldwide, recognisable churches have nothing to learn from the Tarot. Quite the opposite in fact!
Many Christians nowadays have a very closed-off spirituality. They’ve grown up and grown into a culture of ‘no’ and have lost touch with the rich history of Judeo-Christian spiritual practices.
For example, if you said to most Christians I know, “do you think there are any spirits in the world?” They would say no. Until they remembered about angels… And demons…
Most Western Christians, most Westerners, have grown up in a culture with an “excluded middle”. There’s humans, and maybe a God, but nothing in between. Whereas most cultures throughout history have acknowledged the many things in the middle. No wonder Pagan spiritual, pantheism, panentheism and Wicca have made such a strong comeback in our culture. We’ve excluded the middle too long, to our detriment.
The world of the Bible does have God at the top, and He created everything in the universe, including angels, fallen angels, and every place and means of spiritual significance in our world.
When other Tarot readers talk of being in touch with their Spirit Guides, I would say that many of them are more in touch with Christian spirituality than many Christians! I don’t intend that as an insult by the way, or an enforced labelling. Simply trying to demonstrate that many Christians are out of touch with the spiritual world, and usually, Tarot readers are IN touch with it!
So, our starting point is acknowledging the God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are not the only spiritual beings. They gave US Spirit for starters. Souls. And they’ve created other beings who also act as messengers.
Ok, but what about Divination and Sorcery being bad?
Well, yes, there are several famous incidents in the Bible where a certain form of Divination and a certain form of Sorcery is condemned.
This is the point at which Christians may part ways from some of our Tarot/cartomancy crowd in a theological way, but I don’t think that has to mean parting ways altogether. I’d invite you to keep an open mind as you read, and know that I extend an open hand of friendship in what I speak.
But for those still with us, let’s turn to the incident in 1 Samuel 28 where King Saul goes to a witch to summon a dead person. Even though many commenters on the passage try to twist the meaning, shy away from the reality of the spirit world and/or state that the text is too confusing, a simple reading shows the truth.
What are the things Saul does wrong?
Disguises himself physically and with lies. God is a God of truth. We don’t need to hide in this way.
Seeks advice from another source when He’s allowed to go straight to God, and has told everyone else to do so.
What else happens in the passage?
A Spirit IS summoned from death, Samuel, and he speaks truth from God. The truth echoes his previous words and is confirmed by future action. This is the future-telling aspect of prophecy we can easily recognised if we read our Bibles.
Samuel confirms that there’s a reason God wasn’t answering Saul by other means.
What else happens in the passage? Saul expected God to communicate to him via other means including; dreams, prophets or divination. That’s right, divination. The approved version of the time, the Urim and Thummim (1 Sam 28:6). The Jewish priests used these stones to get answers from God. They’re mentioned multiple times in the Old Testament (Ex 28:30, Lev 8:8, Num 21:27, Deut 33:8, 1 Sam 14:41, this passage, Ezra 2:63 and Neh 7:65) and are also often represented by ‘casting of lots’, which occurs in the New Testament as well, even in the choosing of a replacement Apostle (Acts 1:26). This stone casting and lot casting can provide affirmative or negative responses to guide decision making, and was given to His people by God as a way of receiving guidance from Him.
As Saul’s experience shows however, God does not always choose to speak. Card readers from other traditions also acknowledge that sometimes there can be blockages. Saul’s ongoing poor treatment of God resulted in God effectively saying, ‘talk to the hand’ Saul. He could use divination or dreams or prophets if He wanted to. In the end, God uses a witch to communicate with Saul. Because He can. He is the Supreme Being. The Creator. The King. He can use whatever means He chooses to communicate with His people.
Why is the practice of witchcraft and mediums condemned in the Bible? Obviously not because it’s not possible. I think the main reason clear from this passage is that our purpose is key. Are we seeking to communicate with and hear from God? Or are we going to try to ask a lesser being, who, like us, is only here because of Him?
I’d say a secondary reason is to protect His people from charlatans, but that’s a rant for another time!
And indeed brings me to a second famous passage that many Christians ignore when they’re seeking to understand exactly what is being condemned when the Bible speaks of witchcraft, mediums and sorcery, the story of Simon the Sorcerer.
In Acts 8, we come across a charlatan. He’s been using his “powers” purely for greed, and wants to get in on the Jesus thing for money! He sees the power the Apostles have and wants it for himself to increase his own reputation, his own acclaim. And Peter’s reply? A very firm no.
Peter says that Simon’s attitude is all wrong. He doesn’t want ‘magical’ power to serve others and serve the church, to bring acclaim to God for His goodness and mercy. Simon wants his own reputation to be great, and that is what God, through Peter condemns.
If we do seek out this path as a reader, it’s not for our own acclaim, our own reputation. Peter himself gained a reputation because of what God did through him, but he wasn’t in it for the rep. He was in it for Jesus. And I think this has implications for us as readers and as supplicants. Is your heart right before God? Are you genuinely seeking His will and His plan and His glory? Are you willing to say ‘yes’ to Him even if it hurts?
If you are, He is willing. He’s promised wisdom to all who ask, and what else is card reading for if not the seeking of wisdom?
The Bible condemns those who are into divination just for the money, or into faking divination for the money, or into pointing people away from God.
But in many places, a practice of divination is in itself endorsed, as a way of seeking God’s guidance.
So where does that leave Christians today?
In a great place! We’ve been given the Spirit of God to live in us, not distant from us, and we can seek His voice every day and in every circumstance. By what means will He speak? In so so many ways. Yes, primarily through the word, the Bible, the testament of God. But we’re encouraged over and over again to call on Him every day, and even the Apostles cast lots to find out what to do.
God may choose to speak to you in dreams, through other Christians, through messengers of His word, through the cards. He does not promise always to speak (see Saul!) and He wants us to come with the right heart (focussed on Him and ready and willing to play our part), but He can use whatever means He so desires to speak His love, truth and guidance into your heart.
Can you still have your cards read by a Christian? Really that’s up to you! I’ve spent a life-time walking with the wisdom of the ages, saturated in a beautiful faith handed down through endless generations, and speaking to a God who is through all, above all and in all. If you’re open to what I have to offer, then I’m open to reading for you!
It may be a little different to what you’re used to, but that’s ok, new experiences can often reshape our comfort zone in very good ways, and you may be surprised by what you hear through me.