Asking, ‘Do I need to stop using tarot cards when I become a Christian’ is a bit like asking, ‘Do I need to stop using money when I become a Christian?’.
The reason many people receive the advice to repent of tarot card usage and get rid of any decks is, at least in part, due to the misunderstanding, mislabelling and misuse of the term occult.
Anything ‘occult’ has to go when you become a Christian. Or so they say. That’s because the occult is dark, evil and most likely Satanic. Right? I’m not saying that there are no elements of darkness and even Satanism within the occult. But let us define the term properly so we know what we are actually dealing with when it comes to tarot and occultism.
Defining the Occult
“The occult, in the broadest sense, is a category of esoteric supernatural beliefs and practices which generally fall outside the scope of religion and science, encompassing phenomena involving otherworldly agency, such as magic and mysticism and their varied spells. It can also refer to supernatural ideas like extra-sensory perception and parapsychology.”
The above definition is probably how most people understand the occult. It is from Wikipedia which doesn’t mean this is the correct definition of the term. In the example above, I especially do not agree with mysticism having anything with spells. In most cases, and definitely, within a Christian framework, mysticism has nothing to do with spell-casting. Or at least not unless you consider prayer spellcasting.
Additionally, I strongly disagree with all things supernatural falling into this category since they belong just as much inside the scope of religion and even science (hello, quantum physics and spooky action at a distance).
So the definition above reflects the general confusion about what the occult actually is.
Essentially, to occult something simply means to hide it from view. It can indicate secrecy but does in no way automatically indicate evil. Traditionally, things are occulted for one of two reasons:
- It is ‘not safe’ in the hands of the general public/the uninitiated
- It needs to be covered up due to criminal or shameful activity
The tarot tends to fall in the former category but was actually created as a game of playing cards initially. So not only was the tarot not originally an occultist tool; it is a medieval pack of playing cards that contains much Christian imagery.
In the case of some Satanic occultism, you get a blend of those two reasons since human sacrifice is also clearly criminal. But this kind of occultism has nothing to do with the kind of occultism that most people associate with the tarot. Yet, in the minds of many Christians, it all seems to bleed into one. Let’s just put that down to ignorance, shall we?
Many Esoteric Christians through the ages have used and continue to use the tarot as a tool for contemplation and spiritual edification. A wonderful example of this is Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism by Valentin Tomberg.
Occulting the Tarot at Church
After I shared this article, I was reminded by a Christian friend that there is another reason that the tarot may sometimes need to be hidden. When dealing with Christians who are not as open-minded and/or well-informed, we may need to hide our usage of the tarot so as “not to cause them to stumble.”
While this is an option to most churchgoing Christian tarotists, it is obviously not an option to someone like me who is public in their usage of the tarot. Though I must admit, I sometimes wish it were.
Before you come to Christ, there are a lot of things that you do that you hide from other humans as well as God. That is because of guilt, sin and shame–the things that Christ liberates us from.
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
Let’s take the example of the hidden (occult) dealings of a children’s charity accountant siphoning donations off to finance his yacht. Everything he does, the Light of Christ will eventually reveal to everyone. He can wait for that to happen at the final judgment. Or he can make a confession and make restitution for the funds he has stolen once he comes to know Christ and repents of his wrongdoing.
Does this mean that he should never touch money again? No, it means that he should lay down all financial dealings at the foot of the cross. That way, God can bless the money the accountant uses and show him how to be a good steward.
A.D. Usage of the Tarot
How does the example above translate into tarot before and after coming to Christ?
Let’s be honest, most people start using the tarot for egoic reasons. Some even wittingly call on spirits (not realising they are demonic) to help them use the tarot that way. Others, through ignorance (see how important gnosis is?) unwittingly attract dark spirits through ego-gratifying usage of the tarot.
In the same manner, very few of us are good stewards of our money. If we are honest, we do not often consider the Highest Good of All when we spend our money.
Using the tarot in a way that the enemy loves and God abhors is using it to manipulate/predict fate and fortune for personal gain. This indicates a spirit of rebellion and witchcraft. You need to seek help with deliverance if that is the case. There are also deliverance videos on YouTube that you can pray along with if you cannot find help locally.
The Spirit of Python
“As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.“
This is an age-old way of using divinatory tools that led to their condemnation in Scripture. However, not all tools were used that way back in Biblical times. Some, such as the Urim and Thummim were sanctified for use by the Priests at the Temple in Jerusalem.
If you have been or still are using the tarot cards in ways that you are not willing to share with Christ or other believers, you are probably better off putting them to one side. At least for now. Find another way to earn a living and repent.
That doesn’t mean that they or your usage of them can never be sanctified.
Sanctifying Your Tarot Practice
Start by confessing your wrongful usage of the tarot (and any other divinatory tools you have been using). Then get rid of any tarot decks and other tools that you directly associate with working with spirits, deities and demons.
Take any remaining decks and symbolically place them at the foot of the cross. Pray earnestly for the tools to be cleansed, blessed and sanctified to only provide guidance from the Holy Spirit for the Highest Good. If you have been charging for readings, take a break. Regroup and pray about if this is right for you. Ask if/how you can do this in a way that honours the Lord.
Stop using the Tarot to predict the future
Instead, use the cards for contemplation, decision-making and problem-solving. If you get a prophetic word concerning timing when you are problem-solving, pray over it so that you know it is from God. God is the author of peace and clarity, not of confusion. God wants us to trust Him enough to walk in faith.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The Bible contains many examples of people asking for a sign and the tarot is just one way of allowing God to speak through signs. In other words, you do not need to limit the usage of the tarot to that of, for example, a daily journaling or Examen prompt. However, if that is how you prefer to use the tarot from now on, I highly recommend The Contemplative Tarot by Brittany Muller. If you are interested in learning more about how divination was used in the Bible, I recommend Divination in the Bible: A Practical Guide to Talking with God.
You can still use the tarot as a tool for spiritual guidance with clients, as long as you are clear about boundaries. The main difference between B.C. and A.D. usage of the tarot is that you stop catering to egos (your own and that of your clients) and you read only for the Highest Good (which is love) and the glory of God, without predicting the future.