Converting-Can It Be Done Without Disparaging the Previous Religion?

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Apparently not in Doreen Virtue’s case.

The first oracle deck I bought was Doreen’s Goddess Guidance Oracle. I bought it because it includes Mary Magdalene as a goddess and at the time, I was deep into studying the “Grail heresy.” And I still do believe that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were married and had a child, and that she escaped the Holy Land and lived out her life in southern France. But the quest for Mary Magdalene became a source of confusion for me, and there are just too many things in the Bible that I can’t accept. I felt pulled towards Wicca again. I stumbled in going back into that, but I went with what I felt and realized, as I tended my little garden this summer, that that was where I felt closest to the Goddess. I do have affinities for two particular goddesses, but the earth and the changing seasons are to me as God and church are to Christians. Even though I’m allergic to so much of the earth, which is a sad irony.

So I can certainly understand a person’s spiritual journey changing and evolving, and Doreen has obviously been growing towards angels and Christian themes in her oracle decks, but her actual conversion leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

From the linked article: “Doreen told listeners she will be changing some of her previously published books and card decks . . . . She will be taking out some of the deities she wrote about and created cards for . . . . The book and card deck will then be re-issued.”

That’s not okay. It’s misleading to her new followers. It’s erasing part of her spiritual journey, the opposite of what a spiritual teacher, which is what she calls herself, does. She’s now removing deities she considers dark from her classic decks, basically besmirching those of us who follow or at least respect those deities.

My theory is that she found her niche market in angel and Christian-centered oracle decks and wants to erase the parts of her past career that doesn’t fit into her new baptized and born again persona. Anne Rice was an atheist, went back to the Catholic church for a few years, wrote a trilogy about the life of Jesus, even said she was done with the Vampire Chronicles, but she didn’t alter the books or pull them off the market. And then she went back to them.

(Please forgive me for drawing a parallel between Anne Rice and Doreen Virtue.)

Doreen can’t erase her pagan past. I have the Goddess Guidance oracle. It’s not my  favorite deck, I rarely work with it, but it was my first oracle deck. I can’t see me using it again because I’ll always associate it with someone building a career on people like me, then spitting on us and turning her back on us.

Edit: I just read this on Doreen’s site, and it’s highly problematic for those of us still using her decks and materials who do not share her “Christian” views.

What about Jesus? 
Doreen was raised as a Christian, and she continues to talk to God, Holy Spirit, Jesus and the angels. She consults them before, during and after every one of her readings and sessions. However, she realizes that many people are turned off when Jesus is “shoved down their throats.” She also knows that many people have suffered painful experiences in organized religious settings. So, Doreen prefers not to “push” Jesus upon people. She respects everyone’s right to worship in whatever way they prefer. She does, however, believe that everyone benefits from having a spiritual path and a belief in a loving God. 

People of all faiths and cultures believe in angels.

This is a flat-out lie.

There are so, so many “faiths and cultures” in the world, and while some may believe in angels, and others may believe in beings that resemble angels, every faith and culture does not believe in angels. Or unicorns. Or fairies.

When I was a broke pagan, I tried using angels as goddess figurines on my altar. Even the semi-pagan autumnal angels did not work for me because I couldn’t associate them with anything but Christianity in my mind. Altars, of course, are another hotly debated subject in the pagan community, with some saying they aren’t necessary, or should be as simple as possible, or can be whatever you wish. I went with “whatever you wish.” I added two miniature fairy figurines to my nature goddess altar. Fairies are not angels. Angels are not fairies. Many “faiths and cultures” believe in nature spirits that may be friendly towards humans, ambiguous, tricksters, teachers, or decidedly unfriendly. Those unfriendly “dark” fairies are the ones Doreen has decided to erase from her materials. That’s crap, because she’s deciding which fairies are okay and which aren’t, and she’s telling us that EVERYONE believes in angels.

Again, Doreen found her niche selling angel oracle decks, and she seems quite determined to force that down our throats, and I am not okay with her behavior. I am so glad that I only bought one of her decks because I won’t be using it again except maybe to frame a couple of the cards as art, and I’m glad I did not waste more money on this charlatan.

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A look into the future

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Or maybe it’s the power of suggestion, a positive reading giving you subconscious cues to change your attitude and behavior, telling you what you already know, giving you the incentive to make it come true.

I’m an amateur amateur (yes, I meant to type it twice) at Tarot. I don’t do any type of card readings for anyone but myself. I haven’t yet worked up to the Celtic Cross spread. I still prefer my oracle cards, particularly Les Vampires, featuring the art of Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. Vampires are one of my favorite things. I find the Les Vampires oracle cards pragmatic, comforting, and a pleasure to the eyes.

But back to the Tarot. I have three sets: a no-frills Rider-Waite deck I bought in middle school, The Victorian Fairy Tarot, and The Green Witch Tarot. I like a lot of lush imagery that creates a storybook world when looking at decks. I’ve had the Green Witch deck longer and used it more than the Victorian Fairy deck, and I’ve found the Green Witch deck to be accurate more than half the time.

Twenty-some years ago, I had a past life reading by a friend of a friend. I had never had a professional Tarot reading until last night.

Professional readings seem expensive until you’ve had one and understand how much time the reader spends interpreting each card. Almost all professional Tarot readers offer choices of spreads. You can choose a three card spread, a Celtic Cross spread, or one of many others depending on the reader. The more cards in your chosen spread, the more expensive the reading.

Last night, I was lucky enough to see that Sister Spell Binder on Twitter was offering $4 one card readings. I saw her tweet that the special offer was open for 30 more minutes. It took me 15 minutes to sign up to her site, but I got my request in and she contacted me via DM shortly after. She’s very nice, and she took enough time that I felt she really sat and gave the card she pulled a lot of thought. The card was in the suit of Pentacles. I immediately felt positive about that because I’m a Capricorn, an earth sign, and Pentacles are the earth suit of the Tarot deck. I found the reading very relevant to my life in multiple areas. I read it aloud to someone who isn’t at all familiar with or “in to” Tarot, and they were surprised at how personal the reading was. Sister Spell Binder sent me a scan of the card along with the reading. I forgot to ask her what deck she used; I’ll do that later today. The art on the card contained a lot of personal symbolism to me. I was more than pleased that I took a chance on the reading. It gave me some hope and motivation. When I can afford a more in-depth reading, I’ll go back to her.

If you’d like a professional Tarot reading but don’t have much money or want to see how you like a reader before you invest in a full reading, try a single card or three card spread, or follow a reader who interests you and see if they offer a special. It’s especially worth it if you’re a beginner at Tarot to get readings from others because that helps you in your study of the cards and preparation for giving your own readings.

Les Vampires

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I have half a dozen decks of Tarot and oracle cards. I’m no expert, and at this point I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a reading for anyone else. If I had to recommend one, it would be Les Vampires by Jasmine Becket-Griffith (art) and Lucy Cavendish (guidebook.) I just did a reading for myself and it was frighteningly accurate. I brought up underlying issues that weren’t part of my question.

Treat your cards with respect. Keep them in a neat place. Use a special cloth to cover the surface where you will lay out the cards. It doesn’t have to be expensive or occult-themed. I use a navy blue nightstand cover that I bought at a chain store. You could use a piece of fabric that’s important to you, like an old quilt, or you could buy a small table cloth. Some spreads take up a lot of room.

You can light a candle if you like when you’re reading your cards. You should turn off the electronics so you won’t be distracted. And you should keep a journal, recording the dates of your readings, the decks, spreads, cards, and note if a card was reversed. Reread the guidebook interpretations over the next few days. Study the cards. There are hidden meanings in the interpretations and the art. If one card in particular speaks to you, set it up somewhere that you can see it every day, and leave it until you do your next reading.

Upsy-Downsy

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I finally got around to trying a Past-Present-Future reading with my Vintage Wisdom Oracle. I think that the cards were unnervingly accurate in regards to the question I posed. I got basically the answer that I expected. I keep getting it with other decks, with slight variations.

I have a small cloth that I use for all my readings. I rarely do the big spreads. The friend who awakened my interest in Tarot and oracle cards told me that she doesn’t read reversed cards. At first I was shocked. Since I bought my first deck of Tarot cards, I’ve read the reversed meanings of the cards. It seemed wrong, somehow dishonest, not to acknowledge those cards that turn up upside-down. This deck’s guidebook, like the guidebooks for my other decks, mention reading reversed cards but state that it isn’t necessary, that they can be read as right side up. This is still confusing to me, because reversed cards can indicate a blockage in the subject’s life that needs to be addressed. I’m not sure about my Tarot cards, whether they specifically mention choosing to interpret reversed cards. I honestly have been in such a state of anxiety/panic/depression that I’ve hardly touched any of my cards for months.

That’s going to change. I’m at least going to draw a card every day. Then I’m going to work up to the more intricate spreads. And I’m not reading reversed cards.

The Past/Present/Future spread for today ended with a reversed card. The meaning of the card really doesn’t change reversed or upright. The reversal indicates difficulties/longer time in reaching the desired outcome. These delays and problems can be considered while reading the card upright.

To me, it’s a psychological block to encounter a reversed card, particularly as the outcome card in a spread. I get a sense of dread that keeps me from considering the spread as a whole. I focus on that one “wrong” card.

Until I learn much more about Tarot and about my oracle decks, until I’ve been studying card-reading for some years, I think that I would be better off thinking of a reversed card as a card with more in-depth information for me than the rest of the cards in the spread. Maybe focusing on that card and studying it will help me discover the answer to my question.