Is Tarot Reading a Sin?

Many people around the world believe that tarot reading is a way to connect with the spiritual realm and gain insight into one’s life. However, there are also those who view tarot reading as a sinful practice that goes against their moral and religious beliefs. In this article, we will delve deeper into the topic of tarot reading, exploring its history, how it works, religious perspectives, ethical considerations, and its portrayal in popular culture. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of tarot reading and whether or not it is a sin.

Understanding Tarot Reading

Before we discuss the religious and ethical implications of tarot reading, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of what it is. Tarot reading is a form of divination that uses a deck of 78 cards to gain insight into one’s life and future. A tarot deck consists of two main types of cards: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent significant life events and lessons, while the Minor Arcana consists of four suits (Cups, Swords, Wands, and Pentacles) that correspond to specific areas of one’s life, such as emotions, intellect, creativity, and finances.

When a tarot reading is conducted, the reader shuffles the cards and lays them out in a spread, with each card representing a different aspect of the reading. The reader then interprets the meaning of each card and how it relates to the question or situation at hand. Tarot reading is often used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth, as well as to gain insight into one’s relationships, career, and other areas of life.

The History of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards originated in Italy during the 15th century as a card game called “tarocchi.” It was not until the late 18th century when a French occultist named Jean-Baptiste Alliette, also known as Etteilla, began using the tarot cards as a tool for divination. From there, tarot reading grew in popularity and evolved to become the practice we know today.There are various theories about the origins of tarot cards, including that they were derived from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics or that they were created by the Knights Templar. However, these theories are largely unsubstantiated, and the true origins of tarot cards remain a mystery.

How Tarot Reading Works

There is a lot of debate among tarot readers about how exactly the cards work. Some believe that the cards have a mystical power that allows them to tap into the spiritual realm and reveal insights about one’s life. Others view the cards as a tool for accessing the subconscious mind, allowing the reader to gain insights and clarity that they may not have been aware of otherwise.

It is important to note that tarot reading is not a science or a guaranteed way to predict the future. Rather, it is a way to gain different perspectives on one’s life and explore potential outcomes based on the current circumstances. The interpretation of the cards is highly subjective and varies depending on the reader and the person receiving the reading.

Common Misconceptions About Tarot Reading

There are many misconceptions about tarot reading, which can contribute to the stigma surrounding the practice. Some of the most common misconceptions include the idea that tarot reading is evil or demonic, that it can predict the future with 100% accuracy, or that it can be used to control others.

In reality, tarot reading is not inherently good or evil and has no power to control the actions of others. It is simply a tool for gaining insight into one’s life, and any ethical considerations around the practice come down to the intentions and actions of the reader and the person receiving the reading.

Religious Perspectives on Tarot Reading

Christianity and Tarot Reading

In Christianity, the use of tarot cards is often viewed as a sin or a form of divination that goes against the teachings of the Bible. Some Christians believe that tarot reading is a way to connect with evil spirits or Satan and can lead to possession or other negative consequences. Others view tarot reading as harmless but still do not condone the practice due to its association with divination and the occult.

However, there are also Christian tarot readers who view the practice as a way to connect with God and gain spiritual insights. These readers often approach the cards from a place of prayer and contemplation, using the symbolism of the cards as a way to deepen their understanding of God’s guidance in their lives.

Islam and Tarot Reading

In Islam, the use of tarot cards is generally regarded as haram, or forbidden. Islamic teachings prohibit seeking knowledge of the future through divination or magic, and tarot reading is seen as falling into these categories. Muslims who practice tarot reading may face criticism or disciplinary action from their communities or religious leaders.

Judaism and Tarot Reading

In Judaism, the use of tarot cards is not explicitly forbidden, but it is also not widely accepted. Some Jewish communities view tarot reading as a form of divination that goes against Jewish teachings, while others see it as a neutral or even positive practice. Jewish tarot readers may interpret the cards through a lens of Jewish theology or ethics, using the symbols and imagery of the cards as a way to deepen their understanding of Jewish teachings.

Other Religious Views on Tarot Reading

Other religious perspectives on tarot reading vary widely depending on the tradition and beliefs of the individual. Some Eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, view tarot reading as a way to access spiritual insights and connect with the divine. However, other religions, such as Sikhism and some forms of Paganism, may view tarot reading as inappropriate or harmful.

Ethical Considerations of Tarot Reading

The Role of Free Will in Tarot Reading

One of the key ethical considerations of tarot reading is the role of free will. While tarot reading can offer insights and guidance, it is ultimately up to the individual to make decisions and take action in their life. A responsible tarot reader will make it clear to the person receiving the reading that the cards are not a guarantee of what will happen and that they still have agency in their life choices.

Tarot Reading as a Tool for Self-Reflection

Another ethical consideration in tarot reading is the potential for the practice to be used as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth. A responsible tarot reader will approach the cards as a means of helping the person receiving the reading gain insight and clarity, rather than as a way to make decisions for them or control them in any way.

Potential Dangers and Misuse of Tarot Reading

Like any spiritual practice, tarot reading can be misused or abused. Some of the potential dangers of tarot reading include the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, misinterpretation of the cards, and the use of the cards to manipulate or control others. A responsible tarot reader will conduct themselves with integrity and avoid these potential pitfalls.

Tarot Reading in Popular Culture

Tarot Reading in Movies and Television

Tarot reading has been a popular theme in movies and television for decades. From the classic horror film “Rosemary’s Baby” to the modern-day hit TV series “Penny Dreadful,” tarot cards and readings have been used to add mystery and intrigue to storytelling. However, these portrayals often perpetuate myths and stereotypes about tarot reading and the occult.

Tarot Reading in Literature

Tarot reading has also been featured in many works of literature, from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” comic book series. These portrayals often use tarot cards as a metaphor for fate, destiny, and the unknown, adding a layer of depth and symbolism to the story.

The Influence of Tarot Reading on Art and Design

Finally, tarot reading has had a significant influence on art and design over the years. Many artists and designers have used the symbols and imagery of tarot cards in their work, from Salvador Dali’s “Visions of the Tarot” to the modern-day designs of tattoo artist Austin Maples. The enduring appeal of tarot cards as a source of inspiration and creativity speaks to their power as a cultural phenomenon.


In conclusion, the question of whether tarot reading is a sin is not a straightforward one. While some religious traditions may view tarot reading as a violation of their beliefs, others see it as a neutral or even positive practice. The ethical considerations around tarot reading come down to the intentions and actions of the reader and the person receiving the reading. Ultimately, tarot cards are a tool for gaining insights and perspectives, and whether or not they are seen as sinful depends on one’s individual beliefs and values.