The Four Gospels
There are “some” references made between the Four Gospels and Tarot. The Pope, (a religious figure, as well as a Tarot card character), is one example.
It can determined that entertainment from asking why that particular selection was made, and whether there is any symbolic meaning to the order in which they were placed; and we may or may not come up with a plausible or illuminating answer. (If we do not, that may not indicate that we have failed to solve the riddle; there may be no riddle to solve.)
This summa salvationis is presented via traditional medieval concepts such as the three estates, the Fall of Princes motif, and Revelation’s eschatological triumphs over the Devil and death. Deciphering that original moral subject matter, the meaning of the cards and their sequence, is the riddle of Tarot: interpreting the images and their order in such a manner as to make sense of the whole, honoring the “author’s message” rather than rewriting it. That is the purpose of this essay.
To Catholics, it is remembered that the first commandment states, “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have any gods before me.” When asked what was the greatest commandment, our Lord Jesus Christ, repeating the precept found in Deuteronomy, said, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with all of your strength” (Matt 22:37). While God can choose to reveal the future to His prophets or saints, we as individuals must always have trust in His divine providence. St. Paul reminds us, “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree” (Rom 8:28). While we may have that passing curiosity of what will happen in the future, we anchor our lives in the Lord, trusting in His love and care.
The New Testament also addresses this issue: In Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul at Philippi encountered a slave girl with a “clairvoyant spirit” who made money by fortunetelling; St. Paul exorcized her of that spirit (Acts 16:16ff). In other passages, we find condemnations of sorcery and occult practices in general: St. Paul condemned sorcery (Gal 5:19). In Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul rebuked Elymas, the magician, calling him “son of Satan and enemy of all that is right” (Acts 13:8ff), and St. Peter rebuked Simon Magus, a magician, who wanted to buy the powers of the Holy Spirit to make himself more powerful (Acts 8:9ff). In the Book of Revelation, Jesus declared, “As for the cowards and traitors to the faith, the depraved and murderers, the fornicators and sorcerers, the idol-worshipers and deceivers of every sort– their lot is the fiery pool of burning sulphur — the second death” (Rev 21:8).
However, adhering to the revelation of Sacred Scripture, the Church has over the centuries formally condemned witches and witchcraft, and has judged fortunetelling, tarot card reading and the like as sinful. The Didache (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, c. 80) warned, “You shall not practice magic.” The Council of Ancyra (314) imposed a five-year penance on anyone who consulted a magician or fortuneteller. Early Irish canons penalized with excommunication anyone engaging in sorcery until forgiveness had been sought and penance performed.
So, I guess it’s an issue which is the choice of the individual as to what relevance one wants to give to the practice of Tarot.
Further exploration may reveal facts and/or information that is other than what we already know, (or are told), though I am not as informed, (where someone else may be).
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The ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I’ve been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.