A Snowland Sun
A Snowland Emperor Plays the Fool

Are Christianity and Tarot Incompatible?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: I've come across quite a few Christians who say that "Tarot is against their beliefs". When pressed, they usually can't say why. Or, they'll default to what their minister told them: Tarot cards are evil. The devil's work. Witchcraft. 

5 of Coins Cropped
5 of Coins from the Snowland Deck

Well, unless you also consider Joseph the Dreamer, the Old Testament High Priests and the disciples themselves devil's spawn...you might want to read on.

I consider doing intuitive readings as a part of the prophetic gifting that is mentioned in the Old and New Testament of the Bible, which is often known as word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and prophecy. The New Testament lists the office of Prophet as one of the 5 fold ministry gifts given to the church for "the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" (Ephesians 4:11-12).

In the Old Testament, the priests used what is called Urim and Thummim. In the Hebrew, Urim means "light", and Thummim means "perfection; completeness; innocence". Some translators believe the words mean "revelation and truth" or "lights and perfections." It was an oracle used by the priesthood, and was known among the prophets among all Semitic nations. The Urim and Thummim were located in the vicinity of the sacred breastplate (known as the "breast plate of decision" or "breast plate of judgment") of the priests. It is not known whether the 12 stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel "lit up" when a question was asked, or whether it was sacred dice carried in a pouch near the breastplate that answered yes or no questions as a form of lot casting. 
 
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "Through their (Urim and Thummim) use, the nature of which is a matter of conjecture, the divine will was sought in national crises, and apparently the future foretold, guilt or innocence established, and, according to one theory, land divided."
 
In Numbers 27:21, Joshua was going to go before Eleazar to find out what the Urim predicted: "Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation."
 
Urimthummim2It appears that Joshua also used this tool when deciding a matter concerning Achan in Joshua 7:14: "In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man."
 
It is interesting to note that the High Priest would have a rope tied around his ankle when he made his yearly trip inside the Holy of Holies in case he was struck dead by being "impure". If divination and the use of the Urim and Thummim were so "evil", why did God speak through that tool? And, more importantly, how did the Priests who used this divination tool end up alive and well?
 
The Prophet Samuel apparently used the Urim and Thummim to choose the next King of Israel: "Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot." (I Samuel 10:20). It is believed that David used the Urim and Thummim frequently during his wanderings (I Samuel 23). There are many additional references to lots in the Old Testament. 
 
In II Samuel 5: 23-25, King David asks God about an upcoming battle with the Philistines. God answers: “‘And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.' And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer." David is engaging in a form of divination known as Botanomancy, which is receiving answers through plant life. Some theologians speculate that David was listening for angelic marching, a sign that the angels were going before the Israelites in battle. 
 
Matthias
Image Courtesy The Brick Testament

The practice of casting lots was also used in the New Testament when the disciples were deciding a replacement for Judas--either Barsabas Justus or Matthias. Acts 1:24-26 says "And they prayed and said, 'You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.' And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

 
I find it fascinating that Jesus' disciples chose to cast lots for finding the replacement for Judas who hanged himself after betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. I mean, Jesus was just with them, showing them miracles, promising the coming of the Holy Spirit who will lead and guide them...and yet they cast lots to replace one of the 12 original disciples? The equivalent for flipping a coin? Why couldn't they hear from God without the aid of a physical tool? Was it for their benefit...or the benefit of others? These are interesting questions to ponder. 
 
Ironically, some individuals--especially Christians--open up the Bible randomly, eyes closed, and then point at a line or passage, believing that God will speak to them from the first verse/chapter/book that they see. Guess what? This is known as Bibliomancy, a form of divination that uses sacred texts.
 
Teaching 400
The Hierophant from the Snowland Tarot
As far as role of a Prophet...well, this calling can manifest a little oddly anyway. Perhaps this is why many prophets have live in "caves" just like in the Old Testament, or hang around their own in a "School of Prophets". Prophets like Jeremiah, for example, were directed to do unusual, symbolic acts that prophesied future occurrences. Unfortunately, most prophets were not, and are not, welcomed, especially among religious groups and establishments. (These ones are usually who Prophets are called to, anyway.) Jeremiah himself was excluded from the Temple, scourged, mistreated, and put into stocks by a Priest named Pashur. 
 
In the New Testament, Hebrews 11:32; 36-38 speaks about the experiences of the OT Prophets: "And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets...and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground."
 
Some people also ask about "other spirits" and how do you know if you're hearing "right"? Well, you don't. This is why you "test the spirits to see if they are of God", as the Bible says. When you read a book, receive a "word", listen to a teacher, or even pray, you may receive information. Whether you listen to it and ponder it is up to you. Peace is the greatest umpire, I've found.
 
However, it can be tempting to reject something you don't understand, especially if information comes in a package you're not used to or challenges you in some way. We all have a choice whether to "have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying", to weigh whether something sits right with us or not, to listen and act upon what we hear, or to close ourselves off to Guidance if it doesn't meet our criteria or if it offends our beliefs. It's all comes down to choice and faith, and where we are at in our individual path. 
 
As far as the "evil" question, theologians and philosophers have debated evil for many years. It is interesting to note, however, that Jesus was accused by the religious leaders and Pharisees of having a devil, being possessed, and committing blasphemy because of His words, actions, and miracles. They even killed Him for it. The leaders were convinced that Jesus and his revolutionary teachings and gifts were "evil", especially when compared against their tradition, doctrine, and teachings. It gives one pause to wonder just what those leaders were so afraid of, anyway...
 
In conclusion, Tarot is nothing but a set of 78 pieces of paper. With people on them. And, sometimes, furry animals, Gummi Bears, snowmen, fairies and angels. Heck, even Jesus makes an appearance in many decks.
 
Tarot is what you make it. It's the individual user that makes a tool "sacred" or "profane"...not the cards themselves. And, as I've clearly shown through Biblical texts, Judaism and Christianity is rife with divination and divinatory methods. Thus, Tarot--or any other divinatory tool--is NOT incompatible with Christianity. 
 
-- Janet

Comments

Shaheen

Janet! This is so wonderful. I have had more than a handful of people sit down with me to get a reading and say, "I don't know if I should be here, but I really need guidance." or "Is this of God or the Devil?" or similar things... and I always tell them... if the Devil is talking to me then he must be a really nice guy because I don't get any bad feelings and he has lots of good advice!!

It always amazes me how people get so caught up in all the "evil" things that may be happening... learn to think for yourself, feel out your situation, you have to be a total dud to not be able to "feel" if something is good or bad! And, if the reading empower you how can there be anything evil going on?!

My mom has always told me that there are many path ways to the divine, and that we have to find our own and not judge the path that others follow. I wish more people could see it that way and stop reading into all the superstition. You are so right, at the end of the day they are just cards, pieces of paper with pictures printed on them. They are about as evil as the daily news paper (if that's possible).

Thanks for sharing this :-)

Shaheen

Aartiana.wordpress.com

Excellent post Janet!! There are more than a few passages that regard astrology in the Bible too actually, as I get the same issue sometimes. I think where the confusion comes in is where there was a problem with fake seers that just ripped off people, where the priests would tell people to avoid these con artists, but at some time, it got twisted to the church's benefit to avoid ALL counsel outside the church, even those who were good. Mistranslations of the Bible are also possibly at issue. Thanks for such a great topic! Shared!

Seraphsarah

This is exactly how I've always felt too. I think that in reality, if someone follows the word of the bible to a T literally, they will come across too many incompatibilities. Divination is written to be wrong in the bible, which is why many people fear they will be sinning if hey use the Tarot cards. Tarot derived from a game where people used them for gambling purposes, so they were forbidden by the church for that and not divination at the time.


I believe that so many of the people in the bible had gifts and it speaks highly of those gifts. The bible says a lot and I do believe it has been touched by people who wanted to add or make changes. This makes it very confusing for people who are still unsure about everything.

One women I did a reading for was very fearful of hearing from me and Spirit. She was so relieved when I told her that I heard her family member praising God and singing about him. She told me he was a priest. She learned then that Spirit is always around us and can be very good :)

Zannastarr

I totally agree with you. However, I also know that there will always be plenty of people armed with scripture to refute what you wrote -- for example, this guy: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/dangersofdivination.html

I think, to a large extent, it's about casting a wide "safety net." Churches that preach against drinking even one alcoholic beverage are trying to protect the flock from alcoholism. Based on that theory, if you avoid all divination, you will be safe from those who use it for evil purposes. Some people may be better at discerning which is which than others.

As the article at the link says: "...there are spirit beings out there who have been practicing the art of deception for many thousands of years. They are good at what they do. If we dabble in their world we will be deceived."

I'm not saying that view is 100% "right" or "wrong." But I think it is one explanation for the opposition of many Christians to divination.

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