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“Ask a Priest: What If I Received Tarot Cards at Christmas?”
Q: A parent of mine has been into New Age and occult stuff lately, and at Christmas I was gifted a tarot deck. My first thought was to leave it unopened and set into some faraway corner of my home never to be used. My second thought was to throw it away. My concern is that I disrespect my parent in some way if I throw the gift away. Obviously, I will need to address the root issue in a discussion with them someday, and I have been educating myself to make counterarguments. – J.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It would be good to take the tarot deck outside the home, sprinkle it with holy water, then burn it and bury the ashes, preferably on holy ground. Objects already used for divination attract demonic attention and can also undergo demonic infestation.
Your pastor could help you in all this, so it would be good to speak with him soon.
It’s no disrespect to your parent to destroy the deck. Tarot cards are a type of divination, which is an offense against God. Your first duty is to the Almighty.
The Catechism in No. 2116 says: “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.”
The best thing you can do for your parent is to witness to the Catholic faith.
This means intensifying your prayers and sacrifices for your parent, and approaching him or her in charity – sooner than later. Ignorance is not bliss in these matters, since divination can be dangerous.
If the parent thought that tarot cards were a good Christmas gift, that might indicate that there are other dicey things in your home already.
In that case it might be good to keep some holy water around and discreetly sprinkle it around your home — and pray hard for the protection of the Holy Spirit.
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