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Tarot for Atheists? - oudler
Tarot for Atheists?
Why non-believers can have the most fun with Tarot cards

We must keep in mind that Tarot cards were originally made for trick taking card games long before they were used in esoteric or occult practices. If there's any real religion in the original Tarot, it was in the use of themes of the popular Catholicism of 15th century Italy to illustrate the trump suit. The actual underlying Tarot card game of which there has been numerous regional variants across continental Europe is suitable for anyone regardless of creed.

I also wish to mention the fact that all these Rider Waite Smith knock-offs we see in our popular media are not the only kinds of Tarot deck. In the 18th century, German card makers began making a type of Tarot using the same French suit signs as our Poker deck. The trump illustrations varied considerably from the earlier Latin suited design. French suited Tarot cards may depict animal or genre scenes and they are currently most often used in countries such as Austria and France. It would be good if more Americans were familiar with these cards. It would be especially good if more American Tarot writers were familiar with French suited Tarot cards as these writers seem to be only aware of American made cards and this parochial outlook cripples their ability to write on the topic from a more global perspective.

As an atheist game player myself with several blogs, forums, and groups concerning the Tarot family of card games, I have found that the rather small number of Tarot players in countries such as the United States and Great Britain, are often atheists or agnostics. This is due no doubt to the culturally biased context in which the Tarot is presented to most people living in the English speaking world.

Fundamentalist Christians tend to view the 78 card deck with much apprehension and are arguably more superstitious than the gullible folks who actually believe in the future predictions and too many of the fluffy Pagans and Tarot readers believe the common false histories of the Tarot and consider game playing to be a sacrilege to their cardboard Kabbalah and a threat to the virtual monopoly that some in the Tarot reading community wish to maintain over these cards. One of my main beefs against how the Tarot is presented is how too many of those promoting the use of Tarot cards for divination deny the existence of any other Tarot culture besides the divinatory Tarot. It is this promotion of cultural ignorance to which I most object.

It might sound arrogant to some but atheists, agnostics and other free thinkers are not as hindered by these Christian or Pagan prejudices and would therefore be free to enjoy the Tarot as the type of card game it was intended to be. I'm not claiming that non-believers are more knowledgeable than others about these cards but that they are free from the fundamentalist and fluffy ideologies which tend to oppose the use of Tarot for its original intended game playing purpose. While the Christians and Pagans play their ideological football game with the Tarot, my non-believing self will sit on the sidelines and enjoy the Tarot as a quite enjoyable trick taking game.


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5 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 10th, 2011 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)

oudler - Post a comment

Incredibly beautiful!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 20th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

very nice !

thank you for thir topic. so; very interessting !
horoscope (http://www.etoiledevenus.com)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 31st, 2011 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)


Приветствую всех


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С уважением ваш друг Валерий
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


You wrote that nonbelievers are more free from "the fundamentalist and fluffy ideologies which tend to oppose the use of Tarot for its original intended game playing purpose."

I have to protest your sloppy reasoning and global statements that rarely have anything to do with the actual perspectives of the "masses" you are referring to.

An ideology cannot "oppose the use of Tarot" — only a person can do so. I personally know thousands of tarot readers, since I lecture at every major Tarot readers conference and teach around the world. I don't know a single tarot reader who objects to the use of Tarot for playing card games (although the decks we use are not ideally suited for this).

You seem to be furious that tarot readers in the United States are unfamiliar with Tarot Nouveau and Jeu de Tarot-style decks and, yet, you never address the issue of 'where a person in the United States is going to see one of these decks in their daily life.' Instead you should be protesting the dime, drug and toy stores who refuse to carry them. Wait, how should those shop owners even know they exist? And, why aren't you furious with the casinos and poker halls that don't offer the customer a Tarock game??? Isn't that a better and more fruitful place to start your campaign?

You are covering your own prejudices with a ridiculous and misplaced anger at how the world is, that seeks to put other people in the wrong.

Mary K. Greer
(I only posted as anonymous because I don't want to give livejournal access to all my personal information!)
oudler From: oudler Date: August 11th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Objection

Thanks for your reply, Mary. While they may not exactly represent the majority of Tarot readers, there are those who do feel threatened by the use of Tarot in games. It appears that gaming in their view would somehow cheapen the use the Tarot in divination.



As the moderator of some Tarot game forums, I've noticed a tendency for English speaking players to be atheistic or agnostic. The purpose of this entry is an attempt to explain why non-believers in countries such as the US and the UK might be attracted to Tarot card games.
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