“But you’re an atheist!”

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now but just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to say. I still don’t know what I want to say, but at least it’ll get out there.

I’ll try to remember the exact scene and words but it was fairly quick and simple:

I was sitting in the living room doing tarot stuff, surrounded by books, decks, and doodles, while witching clips of Atheist Experience on YouTube. My boyfriend walks in and says something to the effect of “Aren’t you a hypocrite if you’re a spiritualist watching atheist videos?” (or maybe atheist was switched with spiritualist, but you get the idea)

(After writing this post I asked said BF if he remembers what he said. He claims he didn’t say “hypocrite” but something more like “odd combination”. I’ll concede that it was something of a mix of the two, but either way what was said basically was like him saying my beliefs were incompatible, in a way that kind of got under my skin and stuck with me)

Whoa there. Whoa. Hold. The. Phone.

I’ll skip past Obvious Problem #1 which is We’ve Been Together Nearly Five Years & It Sounds Like You Don’t Even Know Me because this isn’t a relationship blog.

Obvious Problem #2: I am an atheist. I pretty much have been all my life except for a few brief years when I was trying to be a Christian before I realized I was just faking it.

Obvious Problem #3: I am not a spiritualist. I like a lot of things that spiritualists and woo woo people like because it’s interesting as fuck to me, and fun. Not because I believe in them. I may have had “training” in things like aura reading, alternative healing, etc. But that doesn’t mean I put any stock in it. And on the rare occasion I do a reading for someone else I do it for the lulz or state that it’s not an actual fortune telling tool, it’s just to help them think about their problem.

Obvious Problem #3: One can actually be an atheist and an spiritualist. Or atheist and pagan (arguably of course), atheist and whoknowswhatelse. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in any deity. An atheist can believe in spirits and woo because those aren’t deity, it just happens to be less likely because skepticism appears to run deep in atheism.

It’s a rare day that someone calls me a hypocrite or anything negative along those lines. When it happens it (usually) shuts me down to think… am I really being a Insert Bad Thing Here? If I am, is it a problem to me? Yes? OK I’mma fix that right now.

But not in this scenario. I had to remind him him that tarot is a thinking tool for me. He seemed a bit surprised? I’m not sure what he was thinking at that point but he seemed to accept it and quietly left the room.

The point of all this is you can come from any walk of life, any belief, and use the tarot in one way or another.

Some people just collect the decks for their art or novelty. Some people just have one deck and use it for writing stories. Some people use it as a thinking tool. Some people use it to “predict the future”, and who knows what other things. These people are Christians, pagans, atheists, agnostics, preachers, doctors, writers, lovers, haters, etc.

I think that tarot can be beneficial to most people, if not everyone. Just because I don’t believe there is anything supernatural behind the cards doesn’t mean I’m a hypocrite for using them.

And I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

 

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3 comments

  1. Yes, of course a spiritualist could be an atheists. But it would be incompatible the New Atheism movement, which emphasises scepticism. If one actually believed the spiritual traditions and practices were true despite science saying otherwise, then it would be hypocritical to practice New Atheism and lambaste other religions and their beliefs.

    But people love films, novels, and other creative works and behaviours, just because it’s not real it doesn’t mean it doesn’t invoke a very real sensation with our minds. So as long as you remember that it’s not ‘true’ or ‘moral’ because it makes you feel good, there is nothing wrong with enjoying ‘spiritual’ practices.

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  2. So…I think you’re in denial a bit. Nobody gets training in aura reading and energy healing unless on some subconscious level, they actually believe it’s true.

    And sure atheists use tarot decks all the time for creative brainstorming and the like, but they deliberately pick cards out of the deck and arrange them deliberately. You randomize your deck by shuffling and then laying the cards out in spreads. Why do you bother randomizing the deck before drawing cards for your spread, if you don’t believe in “woo-woo”?

    There are non-theists who don’t believe in a Creator, but do believe in spirits, magic and that consciousness survives death. But from your writing, you seem to be an atheist, not a non-theist – someone who strictly doesn’t like belief in spirits, magic or “superstition”. Your reaction to the companion book of the Starchild Tarot definitely suggested that all “woo-woo” was off limits to you, so you don’t fall under the same category as spiritual non-theists.

    You have a right to have a tarot hobby, of course. But I definitely think it’s a way of having your cake and eating it too – “it’s all psychological stuff that’s just in people’s heads, but I definitely want to be a part of this silly, superstitious woo-woo community anyway even though I reject and scorn everything they believe in.” Life, and magic, doesn’t work like that IME.

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    1. Hey there! Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. In-laws visited, had a good time, then I got sick.

      The “training” I received was with a group of friends I wanted to hang with and it was fun and interesting. So I think people who don’t believe in something can absolutely study it and train in it. I wasn’t as skeptical back then so it was a huge learning experience. I think this world would be pretty dreary if we only participated in things we believed in. Man… I shoulda been an anthropologist.

      If I draw a random card for something like “What should I focus on today?” (just as an example) then I get a card to think about. That’s all. It’s still a brainstorming tool. It’s just a different way of brainstorming.

      Atheism is simply a lack of belief in a god claim. Atheists can be just as spiritual as a theist. So I consider myself a skeptical, non-spiritual atheist.

      I don’t want to be part of the spiritual part of the hobby all that much, though. Sure I have a blog and an IG account but I’m not specifically seeking anything spiritual or woo. If anything it’s the opposite. I started a FB group for skeptical tarot users and have posted about it on various places on the Internet. I have found many more like-minded people than I thought there was. So… I don’t think there are any cake issues here.

      I hope that clears things up, sorry if my original post wasn’t clear! ❤

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