I follow neither of these three schools. I believe tradition has great value and I have paid my dues by studying Golden Dawn correspondences and Jungian Tarot archetypes… But it was when I started studying the Tarot de Marseille while simultaneously reconnecting with my Christian faith, that the Tarot finally started making sense as a complete system for holistic healing (which I always knew it could be). Now I was able to begin connecting the dots between the cards, my faith, and what they are actually trying to teach us about living in the world.
Studying the lives and writings of two phenomenal devout women, Hildegard von Bingen and Julian of Norwich also helped get me inside the minds of Medieval people, which is the key to understanding the ethos under which the Tarot was created. (My husband got me the Hildegard t-shirt I’m wearing in the picture above for Christmas, by the way :)) As Janina Ramirez, author of Julian of Norwich – A Very Brief History says:
The ideas of heaven, hell, purgatory and the Last Judgement were not something medieval people chose to believe in or not – there was no alternative.
The Christian model of the world ruled the day, and as much as some would like to claim that the Tarot is Pagan, essentially what it shows us it the redemption story, through to the Last Judgement and with the grand finale of the World card, where the Dancer is flanked by the four evangelists: Luke is the Bull, Mark the Lion, Matthew the Water Bearer and John the Eagle.
This said I would not deny there is more than one way to read the Tarot. I know some who successfully choose to ‘read like the Devil.’ I guess what we need to ask ourselves is what kind of usage ultimately benefits our soul the most. Do we look at the virtues found in the Major Arcana and try to make our lives better, more a reflection of divine light and love… or do we simply use the Tarot to satisfy the base desires of our ego. The latter is the kind of Tarot usage the Devil most assuredly applauds, whether you believe that the term devil is just a pseudonym for the ego or something rather more sinister.
To be quite blunt, my own usage of the Tarot has been crooked at times and sometimes even deplorable. New Year, New Tarot Journey for me (and in the Year of the Star) means that I will seek to align my Tarot Practice with my newly refound faith. ‘So what does this mean in practical terms for the blog, Lisa?’ I hear you asking. Well… here are some of the things I won’t be blogging about this year (unless explicitly directed by the Holy Spirit to do so):
- New Age-y type angel stuff (I find the New Age angel industry fuelled by greed and I’m ashamed I fell for some of it too in the past. New Age angel teachers seem more interested in stroking people’s egos than in inspiring faith in God. Because let’s face it the New Age ‘because you’re worth it’ marketing BS works! In New Age lala-land Angels obey our every command because they like to support our sense of entitlement.) Angels are the messengers of God. Remove God from the equation and what you have is a perversion.
- crystals (This one is even worse in terms of New Age ka-ching) Except, I might share some stuff Hildegard wrote about crystal healing.
- magick other than divine magick which is nifty ways of manifesting more of the Kingdom here on Earth.
- Tarot spreads or articles to help you ‘manifest your desires’ (anyone who has studied the smallest smidge of Buddhism knows that desire is the root cause of all evil)
- other inane shit that I sometimes posted because I knew it would generate page views.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Instead, I will seek to inspire you, dear readers to journey deep within, using the Tarot to bring back treasures of faith, hope and love. I call this new journey with the Sacred Mysteries ‘Tarot for the Way.’ My Tarot work is for the journey of life and for him who referred to himself as ‘The Way.’ Early followers of his teachings were simply known as ‘followers of the Way.’
This doesn’t mean I’ll be bashing people over the head with the Bible. While I have zero doubt about Christ being the Son of God or in the redemption offered through his sacrifice on the cross, I do doubt the veracity of chunks of the Bible. I have studied the canonisation of scripture and realised that it was a political process. Unfortunately, where there are politics, there are also lies.
I will share spiritual wisdom from the Bible though, as well as from other holy books because I believe God moves in mysterious ways and divine wisdom is not found exclusively in any one book.
Let me finish by sharing three quotes by great Christian teachers to illustrate how I feel about faith, hope and love:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
― C.S. Lewis
This is why faith will always trump other ‘spiritual’ practices. True faith is the lens through which we see our world. Learning to read the Tarot or how to use crystals for healing
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Tarot doesn’t shy away from life’s adversity but if accept the truth behind the ethos under which it was created, we will always have hope. The Tarot teaches us that there is grace for the journey.
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”
― Thomas Merton
The Tarot teaches us about this journey to love.
I hope you will enjoy following along on this new journey and no hard feelings if not.