THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
I probably should have written this article to coincide with Halloween although, to be honest, I receive letters of this nature all year round. The questions follow the lines of all manner of strange things happening around the home, nightmares, unpleasant heavy feelings, and weird coincidences, etc. Almost all start with “Since I received my Tarot cards…” and end with “Is it something to do with the Tarot, should I get rid of them or stop using them?”
Firstly, I can reassure you that it has nothing what so ever to do with your Tarot deck. The Tarot is a pack of pictorial cards and (unless you inherited your deck from someone else) came to you sealed as received from the printer, directly from the merchant you bought them from. ‘Hot off the press’ they go through a production process where they would rarely be physically handled so, even from that point of view, there is little opportunity for them to pick up any “bad energy.”
The biggest problem, I believe, is perhaps due to misinformation connected to the cards, starting long ago with religions of different stripes, and various authoritative or political figures through history, who sought to restrict or control particular popular practices. People of various faiths have written to me saying that their church or family have said the cards are evil and, if they’ve had a strong religious upbringing in their past, they admit it still sits uncomfortably in the back of their mind and bothers them.
The media often use Tarot as props: cue dark and spooky scene, atmospheric music for good effect, and guess which card appears? People seem to have a fascination with the darker images of the deck that prompts a vivid imagination. A number of years ago I was interviewed by the press and when the paper came out, dominating the middle of the double page spread was a massive image of the Death card!
These views and opinions seem to have become part of popular culture, and the church (per se) doesn’t tend to approve of anything connected to divination, etc. I remember a lovely elderly gentleman, with strong connections to the church, kindly advising me “to be careful what I got involved with,” once aware of my various spiritual interests. At the time I was too young and too polite to argue otherwise. With experience though, despite facts and evidence to the contrary, it’s not usually something the other party accepts easily either, since then it raises too many questions and uncomfortable truths concerning history and their own beliefs. Sometimes it’s best to just leave well alone and try to forgive ignorance and exercise tolerance. Change takes time…
In historical terms it is still relatively early days as it’s only sixty years since the Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951 in Great Britain, an Act first introduced through Parliament way back in 1542 - replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act, also then repealed in 2008, whilst 1824 saw the Vagrancy Act, a punishable offence that included any form of fortune-telling. A brief history can be found on the Parliamentary website here: Given the nature and severity of punishment, where innocent people lost their lives, maybe it’s not really surprising how the stigma and fear still lingers and takes time to pass, no matter how misguided.
As far as I’m aware, the Tarot isn’t capable of waking the dead or invoking malevolent forces; they’re not a ouija board, and you haven’t been using them to create evil spell castings, (have you?) But somewhere, lurking unseen and unguarded, is a seed someone planted in your memory, now resurfacing: A false belief, of unsubstantiated evidence, or perhaps just a different viewpoint given to you by someone else… and now it stirs. If there’s any form of “exorcism” or “cleansing” that needs to be done that belief would probably be the place to start, but the problem is most certainly not with your cards.
So rest easy in your bed, if anything goes bump in the night it isn’t connected to your new Tarot deck. Working with Tarot may awaken your subconscious and heighten your intuition, but it doesn’t move furniture, slam doors, make you feel ‘watched or followed by a dark force,’ bring bad luck, come with a hex, or invoke evil. Of course, if you think your house may be haunted that’s another story…but then you would have noticed it beforehand, and the presence of your Tarot wouldn’t set dark spirits roaming. It’s just a pack of cards – well, maybe not just – but a rather wonderful one at that!
I’ve tried to cover this subject with at least a touch of humour (even if you missed it) as I know it genuinely worries some people, but I hope it helps in some way to alleviate any doubts or false beliefs that may have been given to you by someone else over the years. We may complain about our freedoms today but I’m pleased I wasn’t born here in the 16th century!
For many cartomancers it’s one of the reasons why we promote the importance of ethics and responsible use, in the hope that one day such outdated attitudes will become a distant memory.
For Josephine Ellershaw the Tarot has been a constant life companion on a personal journey that spans almost four decades. Alongside her business background she has many years experience providing readings, healing, and metaphysical guidance to an international clientele. She's the author of the international bestseller Easy Tarot: Learn to Read the Cards Once and For All, and Easy Tarot Reading: The Process Revealed in Ten True Readings, published by Llewellyn. She lives in North Yorkshire, England, with her family and large menagerie of pets... READ MORE