This is one of those things that I should probably just keep to myself but it’s bugging me and I need to get it out. Consider it an addendum to my post on spiritual shaming.
There’s a new-ish tarot deck that’s been making the rounds on YouTube and elsewhere whose creator made some odd, and (to me) disappointing comments in one of his YT videos. The deck itself has gorgeous art, he’s clearly a very talented artist, and so wanting to know more about it I found his channel and watched what I think was his first video. It started off great, talking about being excited to talk about Tarot with people who understand it and love it, but eventually he got to talking about the darkness in his deck, and said if you don’t have any shadow work in your practice “you don’t have a spiritual practice….that is f***ing crazy.” But also we “mystical” people need to support each other. The video is nearly an hour long and I’m not spending another hour rewatching it. He also took some shots at people who talk about physical characteristics of decks like card stock, packaging, gilded edges, etc., in reviews, saying none of that matters. His deck has gilded edges. Despite the fact that he has created a tarot deck, later in the video he said that tarot cards are a crutch in your spiritual development. I guess I’m ranting about his ranty video.
Someone who bills himself as a medium and mentions how he’s been doing this all his life since he was a small child kind of sounds like he’s trying to set himself up as a guru, and if you’ve read my blog recently you know what I think of gurus.
I don’t think it’s up to him or anyone to decide what does or does not constitute a legitimate spiritual practice. As a witch, I do honor the balance of light and dark in myself and each person. But my way is not someone else’s way. If someone needs to focus on the light, that is their path. Perhaps they’ve had enough dark already and need to balance it out with light for a while. As a Tarot reader I admit I am not attracted in the main to what people refer to as “fluffy” decks, although even that’s not iron-clad. I’ve recently acquired a couple of very cute decks, and have others coming from Kickstarter in the next few months (Way of the Panda, and the Weird Cat Tarot). I’m also considering getting the Dinosaures de Marseille deck, because sometimes I need something playful and fun and lighthearted. Wallowing in the dark and focusing on doom and gloom is not my jam. If it’s yours, so be it. Maybe you need to work through things, and that’s valid and that’s for you to decide. If you change your mind later and want to go all love and light, THAT’S FOR YOU TO DECIDE, TOO.
I worry that someone new to paganism or Tarot will see this video (or others like it and take what’s said as some kind of gospel. Speaking as an ex-Catholic, once these ideas take hold it can be very hard to shake them loose, and you just exchange one form of dogma for another. I struggled with undoing my Catholic programming, and then Wiccan programming for a long time. The first book I read on witches was Stewart Farrar’s “What Witches Do” way back in 1971. For years in my mind, that book represented to me the One True Way™ to be a witch. For those who aren’t familiar, Stewart and Janet Farrar were Alexandrian (Stewart has passed now, and I’m not sure what Janet is practicing these days) which is one of the more rigid Wiccan traditions. The point being, once you get something like that in your head, it’s very hard to shake it loose which is why it concerns me that young people who may happen upon that Tarot creator’s video may not have the wisdom to take someone else’s opinion with a grain of salt. (Please note, this is not a diss of Stewart Farrar, or the Alexandrian Tradition, as I still respect and like both. It’s a note to be cautious, as it’s human nature to seek out mentors or authority figures and sometimes we put too much stock in them). New seekers of all ages are usually looking for a mentor to show them the way, teach them, and someone who presents themselves forcefully and confidently is often mistaken for an Authority whether they are or not.
Anyway, do your own research, do your own thing. Take what resonates with you and leave the rest. We are all at a different point in the journey. I will quote Aleister Crowley again, to wit:
“A’s universe is not B’s universe.”