The High Priestess Card of the Tarot is the bringer of wisdom between the light and the dark. She represents the fertile ground where wisdom bears fruit and the giver of knowledge of the unity of all things. She is the virgin queen with the moon at her feet holding the two pillars as guardians of truth. The pillars, the moon and the number two are tied to the Moon card that warns against deception in high places and the positive and negative aspects to the universe.[/caption]
I’m weighing in on the recent developments surrounding Doreen Virtue and her renounciation of Tarot despite my never having taken an Angel or Fairy course and never having any knowledge of her Ascended masters teachings. However, as a Tarot card reader and someone who understands the psychic torment experienced from a crisis of faith, I think that there are a few things I want to add to the discussion.
For those not familiar with ‘Doreengate’ (as it is being called), Doreen Virtue (DV for short) is the author of numerous books and Tarot/Oracle decks featuring Angels, Fairies, and various enlightened beings who walked the earth during human history. Her courses offer certification (and therefore credibility) to anyone seeking to use her card decks for business purposes. People sought out her cards as they offered a very loving, safe and accepting medium for healing and guidance. Over the course of her career in the New Age movement, Doreen made herself (and those at Hay House publishing) millions of dollars from the sales of her books, decks, speaking engagements, and courses offered online and on cruise ships. But a major shock to the New Age community occurred when Doreen denounced the Tarot in 2015. After seeing a vision of Jesus she decided that Tarot and Oracle cards were evil and were going to lead thousands down the path to Hell. As a result she publicly, and somewhat awkwardly, told her followers to throw her decks and books away. People were left dazed as if she had thrown a grenade in their midst and they uderstandably wanted answers. More than that, they wanted to know just how they were to abandon their open and loving spiritual practice in favour of a restrictive patriarchal religion. They turned on her (many of them) and forensically examined every aspect of her current and seemingly lavish lifestyle. If she was going to change teams, she wouldn’t do so without a few lumps and bruises. The greatest criticisms cam from many of her followers/supporters who were not only adrift without their teacher and guru but were being openly chastised for believing what she once taught them.
For me personally, I never was interested in her work at the time of this controversy, I had never bought any of her decks or books. Her oracle decks lacked the requisite “dark side” I actually believe is necessary for spiritual and personal growth (people need to know their shadow-side in order to be more actively in the light). There was just no way that I could believe that there was only messages of light and love (let alone safety) from whomever was running the universe…. meteors killing off the dinosaurs kind of kiboshed that. Lets face it, everyone knows the world seems to be going to hell in a handcart, which I suspect contributed to her sudden conversion…there is a refuge found at the foot of the cross that appeals to our fears in these uncertain times. I can appreciate the comfort found in knowing there is a saviour willing to rescue me (perhaps I have paternal/male attachment issues?). I too have waffled…above and below the ecliptic…between Christianity and the Tarot…and always coming back to the Tarot for answers to the inner, boiling, questions confronting me. In fact, I’ve donated and sold many of my decks during times of depression simply because I struggled with the guilt of Christ. Oddly enough, Tarot helped me commune with the mind of God, and combined with my learning about Buddhism is helping me be mindful in a way that never resonated with me from a strictly fundamental Christian viewpoint.
Two (not too dissimilar) versions of the Hanged Man…
After the announcement, I wanted to see what DV had to say about her newfound faith and so watched a video she had posted but later removed from her YouTube channel. I desperately wanted to know that Doreen was making a clean break from the Tarot faith, but that she wouldn’t burn her followers at the stake while doing it. Unfortunately, her ‘testimony’ video left me with a bad (and all to familiar) taste in my mouth. For 7 years I blogged about a Canadian defrocked minister who took to using and abusing Native survivors of the Residential School System and Irish survivors of the Catholic run mother and baby homes. This man still claimed to serve as a member of the ‘clergy’ but also was known to tell his female supporters/victims that he was a practicing Druid priest. I studied this so-called saviour for years and came to wonder if there was a bit of charlatan in Doreen Virtue, and perhaps her ‘handlers’ at Hay House too, who turned their backs on the ethics of Tarot and advice giving.
“Yuh. Sadly there are. Sadly there are a handful of people and organisations that prey on unsuspecting individuals who are simply searching for help. People and organisations that say they know when you’re going to die or how you can win the lottery or who will remove an evil curse… if only you’ll hand over $200.” – Brigit of Biddy Tarot
(See a discussion of Tarot ethics here: https://www.biddytarot.com/the-ethics-of-tarot-reading/)
I wasn’t the only one feeling skeptical and disappointed. Case in point was a petition and blog started by a woman who attended an Angels and the Afterlife conference Sept 22, 2012, hosted by Hay House authors and mediums including Doreen Virtue. This woman, who has an extensive and relevant education in the area of concern she raised with DV, has posted her correspondence to DV and others at Hay House. The subject of her concern was the advice given by DV to a mother with a suicidal son that clearly overlooked the potential harm to a vulnerable individual in clear need of real medical help. As far back as 2012 (according to the blog) DV had lost her ‘touch’ as a medium and on top of it was giving ‘Angelic’ advice instead of ethically sound psychological advice. Sending people to their doctors rather than selling a book on angelic healing is not profitable, plain and simple, and profits from Tarot Cards and ‘certification’ courses don’t flow as easily if your faith is in your shrink and not your ‘ascended master’.
Problematic was the presence of her decks and books still occupying a substantial amount of bookstore shelves, and the Fairy and Angel Card Facebook groups and course pages that remained fully functional on the internet. It was a confusing time for Tarot and Oracle practitioners and students of all kinds. Many savvy people had taken DV to task, privately requesting refunds for courses that have yet to be completed because their many, many questions remained unanswered. Sadly there were those who has asked very respectful questions of DV to clarify her stance on Angels, their ability to complete her Angelology course and DV’s comments about throwing the Angel cards away because they were ‘evil’. Questioners were kicked off various forums and group pages and even receiving very unkind responses to a refund requests.
The transition from Oracle Card guru to Christian was not the problem, and people who were upset wanted a more humble and loving approach towards the people who had paid her mortgage year after year. She forgot the little people. She forgot to say thank-you. She forgot to let ‘her people’ down easy. She forgot humility. She forgot to take the word “I” out of her vocabulary along with her judgement. She forgot that people might think it rude to complain about your finances when you have a home on the beautiful Hawaiian islands.
The furor did die down, after the release of her book and her appearance on several YouTube channels retelling her conversion to Christianity, and people who had believed completely in her products and message made up their own minds whether to keep or toss their Angel/Fairy decks. Her decks remained for years on bookstore shelves and are still sold in independent new age retailers. I even bought one of her decks and found it a lot of fun to incorporate into my readings. Of course it will take time for any big thing to disappear from any market (gas powered motor cars included). Change can be sudden on any level, but the repercussions and fall out can take years to create the new ‘normal’.
To her credit, Doreen has created and maintained a very successful Christian YouTube channel where she eloquently discusses matters of faith, biblical concepts and matters of spiritual growth. She looks more youthful, happier and at peace than at any other time in her career. Being the captain of her own ship has done wonders for her image and she is perhaps her most authentic self because she doesn’t have a huge New Age retailer as her task master. While I don’t agree with everything she says (reading cards sends people to hell), she consistently says it with love in her heart and so we can do nothing better to neutralize any potential negativity than to return that love right back to her.
My prayer for ex followers of Doreen Virtue is that whatever path you choose that you do so with more power, feeling more awake and alive to yourselves, knowing that you are not defined by what one guru paints as the truth. May you all find your spiritual path based on your own inner knowing and run with it…
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