The Dark Side

Tarot is often considered dark and mysterious, it conjures up images of shadowy rooms where people sit around a table and tap into dark forces in order to feed some devious evil scheme. The ancient art of tarot reading carries with it a myriad of out-dated and completely unwarranted superstitions, such as being an evil plague brought on by Satan to confound mankind.

It is easy to see why some people are so opinionated. The church has for centuries been in self-preservation mode, giving itself the monopoly on spiritual guidance whilst not only failing to recognise any alternatives but openly condemning them. As one lady said to me, I worship nature, the sun and the moon, I share my love, devotion and my body - so who am I harming?, the answer of course is no one.

The tarot has its roots in many belief systems including early Christianity and particularly paganism, alchemy and astrology. Anyone wanting to look deeply into the history of the cards will find influences in many aspects of medieval society. Christianity on the other hand was invented out of necessity by the Emperor Constantine, in which he combined the ideas of Paul the apostle with the traditions of Mithras to win favour with Roman generals.

Thankfully we live in an enlightened age where questioning the establishment is now socially acceptable. Ask any theist why they believe what they do and many will simply say that was the way they were raised. Their parents would say the same and their parents before them the same. If we go back far enough anyone speaking out against the church was considered to be committing blasphemy and often condemned to death! So it's not really that surprising!

Tarot and Religion
As the saying goes The devil offers secret information but do you really think it will be for free? Well if you can't scare people with a strongly worded sermon then maybe the devil will do the honours. Interestingly the saying inadvertently admits the power of the tarot but the real question is, are we not always trying to foretell the future? Everyone looks to the future, we try to get a job or qualification which will be in demand or invest in stocks which we believe will do well. Even Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the prophets of the old testament were full of future predictions. A tarot reading is not merely a statement of destiny which can never be changed but a projection relating to your current path taking into account the circumstances around you. If this does not lead to a desired outcome the reading provides pointers as to how you can make changes, just like advice from a doctor or financial advisor.

In the Bible God warned the people against divination when they were on the verge of entering the Promised Land. He lists divination among such evils as child sacrifice and casting spells (Deuteronomy 18:9–12). Tarot readings would definitely fall within the scope of this prohibition. The claim is that a tarot reading is guided by demons and such information is never given for free but has conditions. A payment has to be made in return! Of course it is not too hard to work out why the Bible would prohibit such questioning. Any competition to the words of the prophets or monopoly of the church is most unwelcome.

As with many things we can find quotes somewhere in the Bible to support virtually any point of view. In the case of Leviticus he makes a lot of rules such as not trimming beards or eating pork. So, if you find a critical priest who does not have a beard down to his waist or who has ever eaten a pork sausage then he himself has broken the rules, what right does this give him to criticise? Here are a few of the other rules set down by Leviticus, many of them are punishable by death:

Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)
Tearing your clothes (10:6)
Drinking alcohol in holy places (10:9)
Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (11:4-7)
Trimming your beard (19:27)
Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)
Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)
Selling land permanently (25:23)

Tarot and Witchcraft
Witches have had a special relationship with the tarot cards for centuries. Their lives have always been steeped in magic and mystery. Witches are natural clairvoyants and ideal psychic readers because they don't separate the spiritual from the mundane in their daily lives. While some psychics often tell of doom and gloom that we cannot avoid, Witches perform a unique and important role during tarot readings in that they aim to project only the positives that come to pass, and neutralise any harmful energies.


Witchcraft traditions such as Wicca are highly visible in the pagan movement when it comes to sexuality and sexual activity. Though pagan traditions in general see the body as a blessing, they hold a variety of views on what the proper relationship is between sexuality and spirituality. Wiccans and other witches however, embrace the holiness of sexuality as a central religious principle.

Tarot and Sex
Sexuality is all over the tarot and being realistic, tarot readings are really just for adults. The main subjects of readings often revolve around relationships, money, work and travel. However, many querents want to know about their love lives leading to very direct questions. Sexuality is a dramatic way to experience the flow of life force, however sensual communion with nature and nonsexual touch are also places where spiritual energy can flow between two or more beings.

Sex is intrinsic to our existence, whether we choose to express it or not. Although the tarot has a heterosexual focus, the cards need to be considered as archetypal energies and not literal expressions. For example, the phallic symbolism on the ace of wands doesn't exclusively appeal to the desires of women, rather, we can view it as a representation of multiple forms of sexual energy.

Male/Female Suits
The four suits can be classified as either male or female as follows:

SuitGenderMeaning of the Ace
WandsMaleThe wand is a representation of the penis, an incredibly phallic symbol with a sprouting wand that rises to attention
CupsFemaleThe cup is a representation of the vagina and if placed along side the ace of wands then all is in place, not only for sex but also for conception
SwordsMaleSwords are more intellectual, but can represent sexual intensity, fantasy and secret desires
PentaclesFemaleThe pentacle is an egg waiting to be fertilised, this is the suit of home, marriage and families

Each card of the major arcana has a sexual meaning and these are briefly listed below:

The FoolLosing virginity, having an alternative view of sexuality, rebellion against sexual taboos and eroticism
The MagicianStruggling to control sexual destiny and giving in to willpower. Using skill and intelligence to obtain sexual gratification
The High PriestessEmbracing sexual energy and using it to explore spirituality. Seeing sex as a higher or spiritual calling. It can also relate to the renunciation of sex or maintaining virginity
The EmpressFertility, passion, indulgence and strong sexual attraction within a solid relationship
The EmperorSexual power, stability, authority and willpower. You have become a master in the dominance over and satisfaction of sexual partners
The HierophantSex within marriage and conforming to religious customs. This represents conventional, unadventurous or passionless sex. Can also relate to religious advice on marriage or relationship counselling
The LoversUnadulterated love, attraction, beauty, lust and marriage. The desire for virginal love and sexual expression, it may also predict a third person in a relationship
The ChariotDominating or controlling sex with out-of-control behaviour. Victory in pursuits and strong levels of gratification are also indicated
StrengthA passionate love affair. Demonstrating willpower in affairs of the heart, and a positive attitude of mind and body over matter and obstacles
The HermitA secret lover, passion or obsession for someone or the feeling that you are very much alone. Gaining an understanding of the needs and desires of the opposite sex
The Wheel of FortuneEver-changing sexual partners and activities, never feeling totally satisfied. Can represent risky behaviour or cheating on a partner
JusticeEquity in passion and sexual fairness. Can also relate to legal aspects of sexuality such as marriage, divorce or child support arrangements
The Hanged ManSuffering in silence or making sacrifices for a partner who for example, may have no interest in sex. Fruitless waiting for the desired person to come into your life or denying your true sexual orientation
DeathThe death of an intense relationship. Can represent the ending of an affair, relationship or marriage, or the realisation of moral wrong
TemperanceMaintaining good sexual health and practices. Relates to taking control of your body and getting regular checks for STDs and other preventative steps
The DevilAn intense or suffocating relationship, sexual obsession, bondage or blindness to the needs of others. Can represent being in the sex industry, group sex or swinging. This is the card of the Marquis de Sade and Lucretia Borgia
The TowerA dominating, violent, oppressive or abusive relationship. Discovering shocking aspects to a partner’s sexuality, past behaviour or unfaithfulness
The StarAspirational sex. Desiring a love affair with a friend or acquaintance, flirting, finding a new lease on life or having hopes of sexual prospects
The MoonDeviant sexual fantasies or phobias, confusion about sexuality and relationships. Possible infidelity, illusionary love or deceptive sexual partners
The SunHappiness, triumph and success in sexual endeavors, strong orgasms, taking pleasure in a healthy wholesome relationship
JudgementRegeneration or renewal of sexual drive after a period of suffering and neglect. Renewed interest in sexual exploration, passion rekindled
The WorldErotic fulfillment, triumphant sexuality and sexual desires fulfilled. Experiencing flights of erotic fantasy
Updated: 18/11/2023