Re: What the Catholics say

#4
I think that Cirlot's ideas on the Tarot were derived from 19th Century French occult writers, so he swallowed all the stuff about connections with Kabbalah etc. It is still on sale in paperback, but it was around in the 1960s in hardcover. At the time, it was pretty well the only book of its type around, and I found it quite helpful, although I recognise that his sources were occultists and philosophers rather than historians. I suppose that for the various Churches, the main issue is whether divination is forbidden or not, so the historical questions won't be particularly important.

Re: What the Catholics say

#5
An interesting text. Most of the arguments of the author are very old, and can indeed be taken to represent the most common opinion of the Catholic about divination.

I find this sentence particularly relevant: 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. ... Any practice which utilizes occult powers is condemned as contrary to true religion and is generally considered a mortal sin. Any specific invocation of the devil would clearly be a mortal sin.

So, a good Catholic should not wish to conciliate "hidden powers". The devil is demonized :)

It is amazing that the use of Tarot can still be considered as a mean to establish a communication with the devil. Hidden powers are from Hell. The unconscious is a concept that is still unknown to this writer, or possibly it is known but it appears to be undistinguishable from the devil.

I am currently waiting to receive "The Real Astrology", a book by John Frawley. Apparently, he is a convinced Catholic and he is strongly against the psychological use of astrology. On his web-site (http://www.johnfrawley.com/test.htm) he suggests the reading of Truth and Tolerance, by Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI).
Frawley's comment about the book: This is, by a country mile, the best modern book I have read on astrology. Unsurprisingly, the author doesn't discuss advanced techniques of astrological method. He does give a profound and lucid analysis of the vital philosophical difference between traditional and modern thought, thus making clear what it is that separates the western tradition of astrology from not only the astrology of the moderns, but also the Hellenic, Vedic and Egyptian astrologies that are so much en vogue today. The beginning of wisdom...

I am curious to see how a XXI century astrologer manages to conciliate his science with Ratzingerian Catholicism.

Marco

PS: a google search for "The beginning of wisdom" gives:
Psalms 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Re: What the Catholics say

#6
I've never read Frawley, but he is part of a trend in astrology to return to various more traditional practices. I have followed astrology over the years, with various periods of interest followed by inactivity. A number of years ago I attended events in London organised by a group of astrologers who represented this trend, and in particular the use of Horary. This is what Frawley uses, and basically it involves casting a chart for the moment of time at which a question is asked. There are various rules, applied more strictly than is the case with most modern astrology, and only the classical planets are used (nothing beyond Saturn). There was an astrologer whom I met at this time called Geoffrey Cornelius, who wrote about these issues. Basically, he argued that astrology was fundamentally divination. There is a trend amongst astrologers to argue that astrologer is a science, and that emerging branches of science (quantum theory, magnetism, statistical studies, and the psychology of the unconscious) will eventually vindicate this view. Most astrologers would regard the birth chart as a sort of property of a human, like their DNA but not yet fully understood. 'No,no,no!' state these traditionalists. It is not a science, and should not try to be. It is divination, just like the Tarot. So the casting of a birth chart becomes itself an act of divination.
Frawley is a Catholic, and still feels able to practise astrology. Interestingly, the group of astrologers that I have mentioned included a Jesuit priest. I have no idea how this was regarded by the Catholic Church.

Re: What the Catholics say

#7
" desire for power over time, history"

check O:-)

" and, in the last analysis, other human beings,"

check O:-)

"as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers"

only the really mean ones. B-)

Seriously, it's the first part--wanting power over time and history and other human beings--that seems most fundamental to the objection; it's consistent with the Church's objection to birth control and euthanasia as well. I can see why; they are godly powers.

Re: What the Catholics say

#9
The Roman Catholic Church certainly has views with regards to some uses of tarot, but not against tarot per se. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the following:
Divination and magic

2115 God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.

2116 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.48 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.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
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Re: What the Catholics say

#10
Reece wrote:
debra wrote:" desire for power over time, history"
Aren't these powers that the Church reserves for itself?
I think this is the point. And the same applies to "occult" powers: the Catholic Church aims at holding a monopoly on spiritual things. Spiritual things are mysterious and hidden, or occult; the Church only admits that they can be known through a "Revelation" that must always go through the official channels managed by the Church. Any attempt to communicate with the spirit, which is the force behind any true power, must go through the Church.

Of course, the Church has lost its spiritual monopoly since a few centuries now. Still it does not try to evolve. It seems obvious to me that the use that is now made of Tarot (and Astrology and other forms of divination) is as a tool to make contact with the unconscious, which is, by definition, hidden. The Church, instead of stating more clearly that the unconscious and the soul are its monopoly, condemns those things in themselves. But, if any direct contact with the soul must be forbidden because it requires "recourse to Satan or demons", then the human soul must be devilish.
debra wrote: Seriously, it's the first part--wanting power over time and history and other human beings--that seems most fundamental to the objection; it's consistent with the Church's objection to birth control and euthanasia as well. I can see why; they are godly powers.
Without going into a discussion about euthanasia, I agree that the statement of the Catechism seems to put Tarot reading and euthanasia on the same level. But is this really the case? Is it true that people who read Tarot are trying to gain control on other people? To exercise power ("supernatural power" ?) on life and death?

My impression is that this part of the Catechism comes straight from the XV Century inquisition, and completely ignores all the cultural changes of the last five centuries. Applying it to Tarot reading denotes a complete ignorance not only of the history of Tarot and its Christian meaning (which are indeed ignored by Tarot readers as well) but also to the simple reality of what contemporary people do with tarot and why.

Marco

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