Updated: Apr 6
This article will show you:
The truth behind the tarot cards' power
Tarot cards are merely tools for guidance through everyday life
the innocuous origin of tarot + the root of its stereotypes
all religions and non-religions can use tarot cards if they wish
Before We Start...
A note from the writer:
The intention with this article is to bring comfort, not to step on anyone's toes about gods, goddesses, religions or anything else that seems to easily ruffle feathers these days.
However, in the name of fairness, here is a brief Disclaimer:
Deanna Rose is bias to this subject being that she is a professional tarot card reader + does not personally think of herself as evil.
Moving forward, the intention is to present the facts supporting tarot's non-threatening actuality facts that support anyone, no matter what religious or agnostic lifestyle followed, can receive a tarot reading with confidence, security, and pride.
Because of this, we will attempt to stay off the topic of any one religion or deity. Being personally raised by Catholic parents, baptized as such, and having gone to Catholic elementary school, Catholicism happens to be an easier place of reference for me.
This isn't an attempt to prove anyone wrong.
It's a presentation to explain the belief that tarot is not and cannot be evil, as well as the truth of where their power comes from.
If any reference is wrong or off, please let me know by email or in the comments!
I want to understand as much as I want to be understood.
Last thing before we start...
As a professional tarot card reader + someone who has genuine interest in things of this nature, I am pressed about that all too often. We will expand on the subject, I promise, but that needed to get out out of the way first.
Glad we did.
Now... on with the show.
I can't speak much on what's quoted in the Bible or Quran or other religious texts but for many, it is unwelcome to seek answers about the future from outside that religion's deities. What I can say is that tarot cards aren't only about peering into the future.
A session with the tarot can explain what it is you can do in this moment to create the life you desire;what can you start or stop doing to breakthrough blocks. It's guidance, not predicting the future.
An Innocuous Beginning
Many historians and experts still argue the accurate origin of the tarot, with much evidence unfortunately lost to history. But what most do agree on is that tarot cards started out as innocent playing cards in Italy, with its residing city of Milan at the heart of what we know as modern tarot.
There have been all kinds of roles for different playing cards and games throughout time. But labeling tarot cards' origins as demonic is comparable to saying that the same card decks we've all played modern games like Go-Fish or poker with will summon the devil or evil spirits. It's just not going to happen.
The origin story of tarot, in a nutshell:
The original cards did not even start out as divine fortune-telling, spirit summoning, or spiritual guidance in any form.
When tarot cards were introduced in 15th-century Italy, they were originally referred to as Tarocchi and used for a game of the same name.
The game was played at parties and social gatherings where each player was randomly dealt a small hand of the 16-card deck. The game would then turn into one of improvisation. Based on each player's hand, they would put together an individual life story or timeline — all meant to amuse and entertain.
(if you've ever played the kids' game M.A.S.H., it's a similar idea.)
It wasn't until 1415 when secretary to Duke Fillippo Maria Visconti in Milan decided to commission new flair to the playing cards.
The duke asked his secretary, Marziano di Tortona, to add new cards, suits, and other elements to the original collection of 16 cards, with the help of artist Michelino di Besozzo— Italy's most expensive artist at the time.
The duke must have wanted to express his interest in the metaphysical and angelical, as one of Visconti's requests to the secretary was for the new artwork to depict spiritual deities such as Greek gods and other esoteric aspects from around the world.
Additionally, Secretary di Tortona happened to be a man of astrology;perhaps knowing his interests of the arcane was why Duke Visconti chose him for the job.
Upon the new deck's debut, the duke, members of Italy's High Families and noteworthy nobles admired the mystical qualities of the artwork and additional details to the set.
This new style became quite popular among Italians and other Europeans. The metaphysical properties caught the eye of many Italian society at the time and beyond when Italian lord Jacopo Antonio Marcello described the new Tarocchi in this letter to his Queen Isabella of Naples, Duchess of Lorraine. His words won the queen over, further spreading the trend around France and Germany.
Despite this popularity, things took a turn for the Tarocchi when reigning popes of the 15th and 16th centuries banned the cards from being used. The church, with the mighty legislative power they held, refused to believe in guidance that didn't stem from the bible.
Now condemed and criminalized by the church, tarot cards "went underground" held by those unafraid of holy law and criminal charges — hence why tarot cards carry the stigma to this day that only sinners and evildoers use them.
Bringing us to what we know as tarot cards today.
Unfortunately, the original set done by di Tortona and Michelino di Besozzo is also, as I understand it, lost to history.
Only the guide book created by the Duke and his secretary exists on display in Paris's Bibliotheque Nationale. Much of the original artworks still available to us reference the Kabbalah other religious traditions — with nods to Christianity with angels, the pope, and biblical scenes.
Who doesn't love a good history lesson? Now, you can stop worrying that demons are going to start hanging out under your bed if you receive a tarot reading or own tarot cards.
👏Good 👏 for 👏 you
Tarot Cards are Tools Not a Stereotype
Tarot interpretation is shaped by the needs and intuition (connection between source and human) of individual readers and inquirers.
The cards serve as tools to dive deeper into the inquirer's needs and spiritual connection.
Think about a hammer being used to hit nails into wood. The hammer is a tool for building, contributing something.
Unfortunately, sometimes tools can be used to do bad things too. A hammer can be a tool to hit someone with, to injure them gravely. That doesn't mean hammers are evil. It is the intention behind the use of the tool.
Some don't think they need tarot cards or any other tools to hear the voice of God. That's great for them. However, tarot is another way to "hear" from the universe, from that God energy. It's a question of preference and personal choice.
As for creating more negative stereotypes than positive, we can blame Hollywood and the rest of the film + entertainment giants for setting up the stereotype of evil witches and demonic forces coming out from an ancient seance table when seemingly innocent people start playing with tarot cards. It's an old, un-educated setup that needs to be put to rest.
If something is mysterious, it does not make it evil or threatening. That's simple common sense.
While on the subject of common sense, tarot cards are exactly that — cards. Physical objects are not evil. Cards don't create bad energy, people do with their personal low vibrations + intentions. So if you're not solely using tarot to deliberately betray your god or religion (how would one even do that by the way?) you are good to go, friend.
in the end YOU give them the power (or not)
We experience what we believe to be true. It's my belief that tarot cards provide guidance;that is my belief, therefore, I am giving that power to the cards. When dealing a spread for myself, a loved one, or a client, it is my intention, belief, knowing, that the cards will indeed provide guidance. And so that becomes my experience and hopefully the experience for the recipient. Now, I would say that's a pretty compassionate, loving, inoffensive power to believe in.
It's the same thing for the opposing side of the spectrum. When it is your belief, or when you allow fear to take over your belief system, all you will see is darkness, evil... to varying degrees — the harder you believe, the more evidence manifests to confirm that (most likely subconscious) intention.
If you find yourself in the middle of this spectrum, maybe you you feel tarot cards are meaningless. That would make any experience you have with the tarot cards just that — meaningless, a misinterpretation of you.
Remember, all beliefs — no matter how deeply rooted — can be altered with enough inner work.
We give things power, that's the gist of it. Despite what some may think, we do have control over what we give power to and why. It's called being mindful;mindful of why you believe the things you do, what conditions and traumas you still carry around with you, and many more factors — both intrinsic and extrinsic.
If you're curious about the details of the tarot card history, the role they played in 15th-century Italy and eventually the modern world, stay tuned for the upcoming article: "Filling in the gaps: A Taste of Tarot History"