Earlier this week Doreen Virtue came out as a Born Again Christian, denounced tarot as evil and asked her followers to burn her Ascended Masters books among other things.
I see my role as a witch is to help others, to have a voice, and to serve where I can. This post is written with the intent of offering a different point of view and potentially some advice for those feeling lost or hurt.
To give this post some context I must express that one of my core values is free speech. As such, I have no problem with Doreen Virtue putting forward her opinion. She has just as much right to express her beliefs and opinions as you and I do, regardless of her follower numbers.
It is important to defend free speech even when you don’t agree with what is being said. I am happy that she found Jesus and that she is on a path that she claims brings her peace. However, I also feel it is important that another view is put forward, and the consequences of being a ‘follower’ are discussed at this juncture.
Firstly, tarot in my opinion is not evil nor is the act of prophecy or any of the other magickal arts. Everyone is gifted with the ability for magick, whether they use that gift is up to them. Tarot and alike are tools of that trade. There is nothing inherently evil in the tools themselves or the use of them. It is your intent that matters. I do believe tarot decks have souls. I haven’t encountered an ‘evil’ one. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but it does mean that I certainly don’t see all decks as evil. The same goes for books.
When Doreen attacks the tarot etc., she appears to be drawing on the dogma of the bible. That is her truth, but not mine. I am more than welcoming of any religion or belief as long as it doesn’t cause harm. However, what I do find offensive is when people try and push their ‘truth’ on to others.
I am largely agnostic. I don’t claim to know the truth and I certainly don’t claim to know anybody elses truth. I am open to all. I follow my instincts and keep up with the latest scientific discoveries. (In my view, science is a vital part of any spiritual path. Science is the art finding the truth. It keeps us and our planet alive. I am always skeptical of paths that don’t incorporate and respect science.
Maybe the great mysteries sit in the sky and overlook our fate, maybe the end of the tunnel is just a big old blank abyss. It doesn’t really matter. I follow my instincts, keep my intent pure and focused, engage the energies that are right for me, and practice magick and rituals that work for me and my clients.
I believe my open mindedness and open heart is the seat of my personal power.
There are two reasons I wouldn’t push my truths and beliefs on to others. One, because it is not my style. I celebrate diversity and encourage people to walk their own path. Unless you are hurting people I think you should be free to explore whatever feels right to you.
I know evil. I was raised in it. I have spent my life fighting it. You know evil when you encounter it. There is no mistaking it. I have never encountered evil in a deck of cards or other magickal tool. And the evil I have encountered in people has never had anything to do with their beliefs. Evil is not reading a book and disagreeing with someone elses belief. Evil is not working with symbols and archetypes to catch a glimpse of the future. True evil is an experience that goes beyond words.
Second, I believe it is important for people to find their own truth. In all my readings and workings I strive to encourage and empower people to walk their own path, not mine. This is because following and being followed is an unhealthy spiritual and psychological practice.
It is important to look to elders and see what resonates for you and incorporate that into your own path, but the moment you become too dependent on their words, beliefs and emotions, the more you dis-empower yourself and render yourself vulnerable to destabilization and chaos. You give away all your power to who you follow. This is where the current controversy around Doreen may in fact be a good, albeit painful learning curve for many followers.
People have said Doreen has a responsibility to her followers. First and foremost, Doreen has a responsibility to herself. In the interview I saw with her she wasn’t unaware of her responsibilities but stated she had to put herself first. I support her in that. Everyone has to put their spiritual self-first otherwise they are not living authentically.
What I don’t support the conscious act of building a following or being a follower. It is a cycle of ego and co-dependency that stifles growth.
Change can strike at any time. Change can be big or small. It is important to be able to adapt, grow, and shift direction as necessary. But if you are committed to following the word of a spiritual leader your ability to grow and follow your own path is limited. You become a poor duplicate of your teacher’s ideal rather than discovering yourself.
People, spiritual leaders, elders, teachers can all abruptly change course at any time. They have a right to denounce much of what they and you believed as evil. As you can see, this has the ability to throw you into a huge amount of chaos, confusion, loss and hurt.
I am not and never was a follower of Doreen or her teachings, but I am watching a lot of close friends move through the feelings of betrayal and hurt. Although I don’t want to see people in pain, I do think that this is an opportunity for growth and freedom.
It can hurt to have a spiritual teacher turn on all the things you hold sacred, but it does give you the opportunity to step back and decide if you are going to follow Doreen into the world of Christianity (a beautiful religion in many aspects, but like any religion it has its faults) or, claim your independence and walk your own spiritual path and decide for yourself what is evil and what is not.
What comes dressed as chaos and betrayal is often an opportunity for growth, just like the lightning strike in the Tower tarot card. What you choose to do in this moment of free-fall is up to you. Keep following or find yourself and your own truth.
Doreen has the right to her opinion, beliefs and voice. Just as you have the right to decide if you want to follow her, or walk your own path.
This whole controversy will be a steep learning curve for many people. I have already seen a lot of ugly fights breaking out. People often lash out when they are hurting, but hopefully in time people will step back and reflect on what the greater lessons are of this situation and make the best of it.
In the mean time I will be here drinking tea and pulling tarot, ready to support anyone who is feeling lost and isolated. I don’t care what you believe or what you practice, we are all worthy of love and support when we are hurting and confused.