Piece by piece: tarot cards and crystals


Brian Higgins

Staff reporter Madison Saviano explores hot topics and issues that students face in her weekly column Piece by Piece.

Madison Saviano, Staff Reporter

In the Bible it is said that clairvoyance is a sin, along with “any other means to obstruct the revelation of God”.

This is damning to a multitude of white witch pastimes: checking horoscopes, consulting psychics; anything done of the occult. 

This is particularly concerning to me, and not because I am a “white witch.” I don’t have a garden of herbs to tend to, but rather a growing interest in spirituality. 

Arguably equally important, though, is feeling thoroughly inducted in spooky season, because as the Salem Witch Trials taught us, spirituality is assuredly “spooky.” Not that I would stake my soul and eternal damnation on it or anything, but needless to say, I take the fall season very seriously. 

Fall beckons me out of my shell of summer sadness and gets me through the first months of school, and I thank it dearly. To commemorate it, I carve pumpkins, drink pumpkin spice lattes, collect crystals (for reasons just summarized), and rejoice in all the other seasonal activities white girls are sometimes ridiculed for. 

I thought the ridicule ended there, however it appears that some of the ancient (and outdated) stigmas surrounding “the occult” (tarot cards, crystals, and other things) are alive and well, just surviving in different forms. 

It’s nowhere near as serious, nobody is getting stoned or burned at the stake, but it’s still harmful. 

People, usually girls, who are into astrology, manifesting, and more of these sorts of things are often portrayed as, to put it frankly, crazy. If you want proof (which I’m sure you don’t need) just scroll through your Instagram explore page. These are light remarks, sure, but it begs the question: why is it that women interested in unorthodox means of spirituality are so often downcast? 

Tall tales of witches in the woods, who were very likely just unmarried hermits with a knack for home remedies, have colored storybooks since the beginning of time.  And in those times, it might have been understandable. Still wrong, but understandable, especially given that paganism was for long time Christianity’s greatest threat. After all, if you’re an illiterate peasant who cannot find enlightenment from the word of God, why not embrace moonlight rituals to make the harvest come sooner? 

In these times, however, it’s a bit bewildering how any negative connotation at all persists. Especially when “the occult” has been reduced to reading tarot cards (an 18th century party game) and a keen interest in pressurized rocks. It makes me rethink whether it was ever a religion-based concern. After all, women were persecuted much more than men ever were, and the word “witch” evokes many more feelings than the word “warlock”.