Tarot cards are mass-produced pieces of card stock. They don’t have any inherent power to them. Yet some people think they’re evil and can destroy you. Can tarot cards ruin your life? Let’s talk about it.

A moody, dark photo of The Magician, Wheel of Fortune, some rune stones, and flowers with the text "Can Tarot Cards Ruin Your Life?"

Once, at a blogging conference, someone accused me of summoning Satan because I brought tarot cards.

Firstly, if I could summon Satan, I don’t think I’d bring him to a blogging conference. They can be torture even under the best of circumstances and I don’t think Satan would alleviate that.

Secondly, I brought the Smith Rider Waite deck, a deck many tarot readers refuse to use for it’s overtly Christian symbology.

Regardless, theres a lot of worry and hand wringing over the tarot. There are many reasons for this, and none of them have anything to do with the cards themselves.

Can Tarot Cards Ruin Your Life?

Some of the earliest references to tarot come from the 1440s when it was a game played in Italy. From there, the cards slowly evolved into the deck we know today, and became less of a game and more of a tool for connecting with your intuition and subconscious mind.

In 1909, William Rider and Arthur Edward Waite commissioned art from Pamela Coleman Smith. Thus, the Smith Rider Waite deck was born.

Since then, they’ve been printed and replicated so many times. The images for every card in the deck can be found on Wikipedia, and this deck is the basis for many more modern decks.

So, can tarot cards ruin your life? If you purchase a mass-produced deck from U.S. Games, will you suddenly be beset with misfortune?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Stop listening to youth pastors who use scare tactics to keep you from questioning anything the church has told you. Fear of tarot cards has nothing to do with tarot and everything to do with control.

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Tarot cards aren’t magical. They simply show you symbols. From there, you use your intuition to determine what that symbol is telling you. And guess what? You already do this in your everyday life.

If you’ve ever looked at a building with a cross on it and determined it was a church, you’ve used your intuition to read symbols. If you’ve ever seen a building with a red cross on it and were able to understand it was a hospital, you’ve used your intuition to read symbols. And the same goes for looking at a building with a green cross on it and knowing that’s a dispensary.

Tarot cards are simply tools that help you connect with your intuition. And if you want to get a little deeper into that, read this post about how does tarot work.

Do Tarot Cards Ruin Your Life?

You can’t throw a rock online without finding a “tarot cards ruined my life” or a “dangers of tarot cards” post somewhere.

These posts fall into two main categories:

  1. People who believe tarot cards predicted their future and led to their misfortune.
  2. People who believe tarot cards let evil forces into their life and caused them to suffer.

So let’s address these two issues.

One: Tarot cards don’t predict your future. They’re just pieces of card stock that have images on them. Those images help you connect to your subconscious mind, and you interpret the meaning of the card based on the question you asked. If you’re asking questions about the future, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you have freewill and the future isn’t written.

Two: Tarot cards aren’t evil. They also aren’t good. They just are. Like most things and most people. So, the idea that a deck of cards bringing bad stuff to you isn’t very likely. I mean, unless you got a deck with a special card in it that said “trade this card for one demon,” the tarot isn’t bringing anything into your life.

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Also, I’m not sure where you’d even take a free demon card to trade it in.

Why Does This Myth Persist?

I’m so glad you asked.

People fear what they don’t know. They also fear things they’ve been told to fear. There are many faith communities around the world in general, and here in Oklahoma in particular, that vilify anything that falls outside of the church.

I will speak to my experience here in Oklahoma, a very evangelical red state full of many, many protestant sects.

Rock music, dancing, yoga, Dungeons and Dragons, and so many other things have been perceived as evil or satanic over the years. Not because they actually are, but because some churches have extremely weak messages and they need to create fear in their communities to keep them engaged in their weak messages.

So, every so often we get a new satanic panic, where some lackluster pastor wants to make a name for themselves by drawing a clear delineation between “us”–the members of his church, and “them”–everyone else who they promise will burn in eternal hellfire.

It’s nothing new, and I suspect as long as pastors choose a message of fear to create social control, we will continue to hear this nonsense.

Is It Bad to Use Someone Else’s Tarot Cards?

Now that we have all that talk about can tarot cards ruin your life out of the way, let’s talk about some real stuff.

There are a lot of so-called rules you’ll find about tarot. And like everything else in life, I say ignore them. What works for one reader won’t work for another. And again, the cards aren’t inherently magical, so it’s not like you’re going to do anything that opens a pocket dimension or turns you into a newt.

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Rather, think in terms of normal social behavior. Many people want to know if it’s bad to use someone else’s tarot cards. If you have permission to use them from a person you know, then it’s totally fine. If you don’t have permission, then don’t touch them.

This isn’t because of some magical reason. It’s because you shouldn’t use stuff that doesn’t belong to you if you don’t have permission to use it.

That said, not all decks are created equal, and each reader doesn’t connect with every single deck. To find the best deck for you, check out this post on what makes an essential tarot deck.

Can Tarot Cards Be Wrong?

Tarot cards aren’t right or wrong. They just are. The questions you ask and your motives behind pulling cards can be wrong, though.

At the end of the day, the cards aren’t telling you anything. You are looking at pictures and interpreting their meaning. Your interpretation can be wrong, but the cards are just cards.

So keep that in mind when you ask what is the worst tarot card or what is the best tarot card to draw. That all depends on the question you’re asking and your intentions when you’re pulling the cards.

Put Your Tarot Fears to Rest

Remember, with the tarot, you’re always in the driver’s seat. The cards aren’t sentient. And you could get a lot of the same connection to your intuition through bibliomancy or rune casting or stream of consciousness writing.

And know that the only one who can truly ruin your life is yourself.

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