As I have been reading and listening to podcasts and researching blogs and other Pagan websites, I’ve come across some interesting superstitions in the craft. I am always interested in hearing/learning about myths and superstitions; I like to wonder or hopefully find out where they originated from and why. The majority of Pagans/witches seem to poo-poo the superstitions they mention, but I thought it might make for an interesting discussion.
So, basically I’ve discovered that some “witchy” items have myths or superstitions surrounding them when it comes to purchasing or collecting them yourself. Apparently, some people believe certain things must be gifted to you or else they won’t work as well or maybe something bad will happen. So I thought I would talk about one of the items that I’ve heard discussed on podcasts or read on blogs that has a number of rules that must be followed to own: TAROT CARDS.
(“Penny Dreadful” tarot deck.
Photo credit to technabob.com and possibly ThinkGeek.com)
- YOU CAN’T BUY YOUR OWN DECK: The beliefs behind this idea is that A.) they won’t work for you and B.) gifting means you were worthy of them, whereas there is no “honor” or something in buying them for yourself. I also read somewhere that receiving them as a gift is supposed to celebrate the fact that you have psychic abilities, but purchasing them will cause you to lose your ability. Like, the
Gods/Goddesses revoke your psychic membership essentially. This is the most common myth and, from what I’ve heard/read, the myth may have started long, long ago (possibly gypsies) where the gift was essentially passed down through the family with the family card deck; like an heirloom of sorts.
- YOU CAN’T READ TAROT ON YOURSELF: This myth is pretty straight forward: you can’t read tarot for yourself; mainly because it just won’t work. There’s argument about whether or not one can be truly objective when reading their own tarot and I can actually kind of see why this could be a valid point actually. Maybe Yes/No tarot is easier for self-reading, but something a bit more involved could be best for reading
- TAROT CARDS MUST BE STORED BY WRAPPING THEM IN SILK AND KEEPING THEM IN A SACRED PLACE: I don’t think I need to delve into this one too much. I imagine the reason for this superstition is that silk and a sacred place will keep them clean and safe (both from damage and other outside entities/influences).
- NO ONE BUT THE OWNER SHOULD TOUCH THE TAROT CARD DECK: This belief is pretty common as well. The idea is that another person could attach their energy to your cards which will mess with your own connection to them and screw up your readings. Also, if their energy is a more negative one then…well, that’s obviously not
These are the three most common beliefs about tarot cards I’ve heard of so far. And it’s funny, because there is another belief that you actually shouldn’t accept gifted tarot cards. This is because you don’t know if they’ve been properly cleansed or what energies or entities may be attached to the deck.
I actually only truly agree with the last superstition, but that’s probably because I believe the same as someone touching another person’s altar (at least without permission). Aside from being plain ol’ bad etiquette, once again it introduces the possibility of your magic workings being messed with. You don’t know what energies that person may leave behind. As for the gifting belief; I call hogwash (at least for me). On my new path, I’ve been taking a more “allowing things to come to me” approach. While I do want to use tarot someday, I won’t until I happen upon a deck that calls out to me; a deck that chooses to be used in my craft and when/if that happens, my wallet is opening (same goes for my future athame, chalice, Grimoire, etc).
Do you follow or believe any of these super
stitions about tarot decks? Or better yet, what other superstitions/myths have you heard of when it comes to witchcraft or the tools used?