Don’t Fear Your Cards!
Over the past year, I have seen an alarming increase of fear-mongering about tarot. Sure, some of this has come from the usual suspects; religious fanatics who are sure that evil forces will enter us through our decks. That doesn’t bother me at all – I’m used to fear-mongering from ill-informed and misguided folks.
What bothers me is fear coming from tarotists themselves and being presented as fact to new tarotists. I see this in posts on social media and videos on YouTube. I don’t see it as much on tarot blogs, perhaps because readers who are dedicated enough to keep written blogs are also experienced enough to know better.
There are two types of fear-baiting that I am consistently seeing. One is fear of particular cards, usually cards like Death, The Devil, The Three of Swords and the Ten of Swords. This shows a simple lack of knowledge and technique that is easily remedied with study and practice.
The second and more egregious is a fear regarding the idea that the use of tarot is somehow unsafe if we don’t use specific energy-clearing techniques with our cards.
For example, our cards will somehow hurt us, or not work correctly, if we don’t smudge them with sage or store them with specific crystals.
There is nothing wrong with having meaningful rituals with our cards that include smudging, crystals, Reiki or other tools. There is nothing wrong with innovating or teaching these techniques. Yet, to suggest that there are specific techniques that must be used lest our cards become unsafe is straight-up misinformation.
When reading for others, good psychic hygiene is imperative. There are many ways to practice psychic hygiene, and none of those ways need to include particular tools. While many of us use tools such as stones, feathers, candles and incense, the only practice required to achieve good psychic hygiene involves meditation, breathing and affirmation.
Further, should one not practice good psychic hygiene, the worst thing that is likely to happen to them is that they might become tired, not feel like reading for their clients, or get a headache. There is no serious danger to the reader, the client, or the cards.
I have, over the course of my career, seen in clients a few rare cases of a spiritual attachment that caused a great deal of psychological harm over time. None of these cases were caused by reading tarot, or by performing any other type of psychic work.
I have also, from time to time, felt that a particular deck of cards had acquired a certain unpleasant psychic schmutz that needed to be removed. Yes, smudging and crystals could be part of that removal process, but so could a good shuffle, accompanied by a satisfying bang of the deck on the table. Never was I (nor my cards nor my clients) in danger from that schmutz.
We all have different theories about our cards and the reasons they work so effectively. That’s all well and good. Yet, when we start propagating false information that frightens and misleads newer tarotists we are doing our growing community a huge disservice.
When we, ourselves, harbor fear around our precious tools, we are doing ourselves a disservice.