(RNS) — Brittany Muller didn’t intend to ask Christianity again into her life when she started utilizing tarot playing cards as a part of her each day non secular follow almost a decade in the past. As a teen and a trustworthy Catholic, she had even been informed that utilizing the playing cards might invite evil spirits.
However after leaving school, the place she mentioned her religion had turn out to be a casualty of the identical doubts individuals have wrestled with for 1000’s of years, Muller present in tarot the ritual and reflection she missed in faith. Finally, she discovered her means again to Christianity — and Christianity and the playing cards turned out to be, she writes in her new ebook “The Contemplative Tarot: A Christian Guide to the Cards,” a “pure pair.”
Muller, now 32, hopes to grant readers the identical permission she gave herself to include new non secular practices into outdated beliefs.
“I believe lots of Christians and individuals who grew up in Christianity are desirous about new non secular practices, and I believe that tarot generally is a little bit scary to individuals due to its associations with the occult,” she mentioned.
“I hope this ebook makes individuals really feel like this can be a protected factor to discover.”
“The Contemplative Tarot” explains the historical past of tarot and contains brief reflections on the Christian imagery and themes of every of the 78 playing cards in a tarot deck, accompanied by a Bible verse and questions for additional exploration.
Muller spoke to Faith Information Service about how she makes use of the playing cards and what she tells fellow Christians with considerations concerning the follow.
This interview has been edited for size and readability.
You write, “Whereas tarot led me again to Christianity, writing a ebook about tarot led me particularly again to Catholicism.” Are you able to discuss that journey?
It was such a humbling expertise. Catholicism may be very dogmatic, and I used to be taught that tarot was an occult instrument and simply not one thing you wished to mess with. Throughout a time during which I used to be not desirous about going to church or studying the Bible or speaking to a priest or a minister, I used to be pulling tarot playing cards day by day that basically mirrored a surprisingly Christian worldview. There are tarot playing cards named after Christian virtues like justice and temperance. There are tarot playing cards which are based mostly round biblical concepts, like judgment or the satan.
So, tarot led me again to Christianity by being surprisingly Christian. It gave me an area to type of reengage with religion and with Christian concepts in a means that felt protected to me that the institutional church didn’t.
Within the strategy of writing the ebook, I did lots of analysis that concerned lots of theology. I learn lots of papal encyclicals. I learn the writings of saints. I learn the lives of the saints. It helped me admit to myself that I actually missed the religion of my childhood, despite the fact that I don’t love the whole lot concerning the Catholic Church and I don’t all the time really feel tremendous comfy being a Catholic. I additionally really feel like that’s OK. I may be Catholic and never all the time really feel comfy in it, however there may be nonetheless a spot for me within the church.
Why does tarot have, as you say within the ebook, a “unhealthy popularity”?
Tarot originated in Renaissance Italy as a card sport for Italian nobles and had no affiliation with the occult. It wasn’t used for divination or fortunetelling. It was only a card sport. That’s the place lots of the Christian imagery comes from, as a result of clearly Renaissance Italy was a really Catholic tradition.
It wasn’t till a number of hundred years later, in the course of the occult revival in France within the 18th century, that tarot received picked up by occultists who fabricated a historical past of tarot as the important thing to this misplaced historic knowledge from Egypt. I believe that grew to become tarot’s affiliation for a very long time, even into the current.
How would you reply Christians who’re cautious of tarot due to this popularity or who level to passages of Scripture that warn towards divination and witchcraft?
I attempt actually laborious to be respectful. I’ve had so many conversations about this with different Christians. There are some individuals who I’ll discuss to, and I’ll clarify to them, “Right here’s the historical past of tarot,” they usually’ll say, “I perceive all that, however tarot clearly nonetheless has occult associations, so I simply don’t really feel comfy with it.” And to these individuals, I’d say that’s positive. If you happen to’re not comfy with it, it’s completely OK.
However, from my perspective, it doesn’t have occult origins, and so it doesn’t have for use in a means that doesn’t align with Christian educating on issues like witchcraft or divination or fortunetelling.
What are a few of the other ways one can use the playing cards? You employ them in prayer, which can be a bit of totally different than how others may consider utilizing them.
There’s been type of a revival of tarot simply on the whole within the final 5 or 10 years, and it’s been actually attention-grabbing to see the other ways individuals use tarot now. Even the non-Christians I do know who use tarot hardly ever use it for any type of divination. Most individuals I do know who learn tarot now, even people who find themselves not Christian, use it as a instrument for self-reflection. I’d liken it extra to remedy than fortunetelling.
That’s similar to the best way that I take advantage of tarot. I liken it to Visio Divina, a contemplative prayer follow that interprets to “divine seeing.” It entails praying with pictures — to take a look at a picture, to insert your self into the picture, to spend time with a picture in contemplation and to see if God is chatting with you indirectly via the picture.
Why do you suppose there may be a lot curiosity in tarot proper now?
Lots of people have both left organized faith or have by no means been part of organized faith. Even those that don’t need to be part of organized faith for any wild variety of causes nonetheless need some connection to a non secular life, and tarot is a method to try this, particularly the best way that tarot is getting used now as a instrument for exploring one’s inside self, reasonably than attempting to foretell one’s future. I do suppose it actually comes from a need for a deeper spirituality.
Are you seeing extra Christians desirous about it, too?
Yeah, I’ve positively observed this on social media and speaking to individuals in actual life. Possibly that is simply the individuals I work together with, however I’ve actually observed an actual openness to totally different non secular practices — issues like tarot, but in addition issues like yoga and the Enneagram. I really feel like I do know so many people who find themselves actually desirous about type of exploring their relationship with God via totally different non secular avenues, whether or not they’re a part of organized faith or not.