You may have already noticed that this site contains a lot of references to religion (particularly Catholicism), biblical passages, and news items affecting the Catholic-christian world. To many, this will seem antithetical and anathema concerning Tarot. It is not often that the two types of communities (that is, tarot-enthusiasts and followers of Catholic Social Teaching) interact or even especially appreciate the other’s world-view. But I’d like to (1.) assure you that both communities are intricately entwined with the particular focus of tarot in which I am interested, and (2.) exclusiveness has no bearing on any part of my personal philosophy—there are no judgments about tarot that will come from a religious viewpoint on this site, nor will religiosity be disparaged. The whole point is to cross barriers.
There will undoubtedly be many tarot enthusiasts who will be scared-off or even avoid this website with aversion as a blight on the free and creative expression of tarot and tarot studies. This is the farthest thing from my intention or from my perspective of the tarot. I feel that the explosive and varied schools of thought on the tarot only aid in its advocacy and potential and I admire the diversity that it represents.
I see my study of the tarot as only one little corner of its potential, and hope that anything posted herewith might only serve to add to the tarot’s multidimensional and diverse portfolio. Many in the tarot community have noted that there is no end to what can be learned about the tarot. Simply, the more we learn, the larger our card reading arsenal will become, and the greater the tool will be with which we can read for and help others. So—for tarot readers and enthusiasts reading this website—I hope you’ll allow any insight here to simply add upon your repertoire of knowledge, even if it doesn’t end up being your core philosophy of the tarot.
With this in mind, it should be noted, however, that some posts of this website will focus on Biblical passages and religious thought, particularly on Catholic social teaching. (I have a personal history, after all, with the Catholic Church as well as with a Benedictine monastic community of brother monks.) My fear is that many people in the tarot community won’t even entertain reading about such material. Such a stance can be compassionately understood when one considers that so many people in the tarot enthusiasts community have found solace in other forms of spirituality exactly because they have had hurt inflicted upon them by the church. In many cases it is very likely one of the reasons that those individuals found tarot in the first place! So I would like you to know that I, myself, am one of those people who has been hurt by the church in the past. I consider myself one of the marginalized. But the Bible and the Gospels are exactly about the marginalized—they are the people whom Jesus loved, held in esteem, spoke about, and with whom he associated himself.
So the very reason that this site will contain so many Biblical passages is because it is my way of reclaiming the message of the Gospels and our place at the table. The very reason that this site will contain so many references to Catholic social teaching is, in part, precisely to criticize those teachings that contradict the inclusive nature of the Christ’s example. Likewise, this site may highlight those social teachings and news items that reaffirm and celebrate this important message of the Gospels.
My intent is never to proselytize. I ain’t recruiting anybody—except tarot enthusiasts and historians who are looking for additional scholarship for their arsenal of tarot knowledge and sources of visual moral pedagogy. If I happen to quote scripture, it is to find links and reflection that can be found in that visual pedagogy from which the tarot originated. In truth, I may “reflect” on the scripture and give you my perspective on its meaning and value—as a religious scholar—if only to point out its kaleidoscope of interpretations, poetry, or various hermeneutical viewpoints.
There’s a reason that popular wisdom dictates that one shouldn’t discuss politics or religion in mixed company. And, I acknowledge that I may be setting myself up for it, but it’s possible that I may probably receive more criticism from a small segment of the Christian community, from a small contingent of people who are fearful of change and things that threaten their precious traditionalism. Regardless, all are welcome to explore here. Comments are only tentatively open on this blog and website. All comments will be monitored and reviewed before being posted. Over time I will adjudicate whether comments are useful or a hindrance to positive discussion and relationship building, and comment policy may be amended at my discretion. This website was NOT created as a forum to argue theological stance, entertain anyone’s inferiority-complex opinion of who can and cannot call themselves a Catholic, or to provide an arena for bullying of any kind (however subtle). None such topics are likely to be tolerated. If you don’t care for the things discussed on this website, or disagree with them altogether, then I invite you to visit one of the other 1.25 BILLION other websites currently online. Surely there is something there to placate your sensibilities better than I have been able to do here.
There is also a question to be made regarding whether this site contains “relativist” ideas (as Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI probably would have referred to it). What the emeritus pope really would have intended to mean in his cryptic language is that by his standards it reflects syncretic philosophies and social teaching. This is false. My premise is to address a scholarly dissection of why it is that the tarot and Catholic Social Teaching are born of the same beliefs and material; in their historical context they are one and the same, and not in contention one with the other.
There is a fine line to be made between definitions, however. One person’s syncretism is another person’s ecumenism. I consider myself wholly ecumenical in spirit, and believe that I am richer for it. In fact, my ecumenism reaches beyond solely Christian traditions; take that for what you may.
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all”
If nothing else, if you don’t feel committed to my research and interpretation of the tarot, then please feel free to use the information as simply another facet of the amazing multidimensional tool that thousands of tarot enthusiasts and I have come to love and from which we draw inspiration. There’s room as this [card] table for everyone.
[Read more about my tarot philosophy here…]