Coming out of the tarot closet

When you look at Wicca or Witchcraft, a common phrase in the community is ‘coming out of the broom closet.’ This refers to when you finally own up that you’re actively practicing the religion or the Craft to your family and friends. Hello vulnerability.

For a lot of people, it can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, which is completely understandable. The old ways tend to attract a lot of mixed opinions. Some people will be curious. Others will tell you what you’re doing is ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ and some may try and get you to convert to a more ‘appropriate’ path.

Stepping out of the tarot closet can also bring up similar feelings of vulnerability. After a while, it does become hard to hide a tarot practice (and this is usually because you’ll buy so many decks you won’t be able to hide them – I kid, but you get the idea). If you have a read of my free e-book on tarot (you can download here if you’d like), I talk about how I held a lot of conflicting feelings about my tarot practice growing up.

I grew up in a Catholic household and I was given my first deck by my mother. Because that gift came directly from my mother, I never had to really ‘come out’ to my family, per se. But I did have to come out to my friends and then, many years later, my fiancé. Because of my Catholic upbringing and due to a lack of positive resources on tarot, it took me a long time to get comfortable with this practice. Despite the fact that I was so drawn to the cards, I had years where I’d be immersed deep in study and then fretting for my immortal soul ‘cause I obviously didn’t want to go to that Catholic hell my religion teacher kept banging on about in secondary school.

Living in Ireland, I also found that there were a LOT of people out there who had strong feelings about tarot cards and, as a result of this, I found it easier to keep my practice to myself. I was lucky and, for the most part, the people who knew I was throwing tarot cards on the regular were pretty relaxed about it. But I was always worried what people’s reactions would be. Would they think I was stupid for believing in it? Would they start trying to ‘save’ my soul? It became a bit of a complex for me.

This complex is what made me hide my tarot reading ways from my now-fiancé for an embarrassingly long time. In fact, the poor guy didn’t even realise I was so into tarot reading until we moved in together and suddenly there were decks everywhere (that’s a story for another time).

But long story short, what I’m trying to say is that I get how coming out of the tarot closet is hard for people. I totally get it. And I totally get it when people feel torn over the practice. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, tarot speaks to a part of us that is much older than just this life and because of this, that connection is going to pull us to the cards over and over again. However, if you’ve been brought up with a particular ideology that goes against tarot, then it’s understandable if you’re feeling conflicted.

My advice to you if you’re struggling is to trust in where you’re being guided. We live in a universe where we’re constantly being shown the way forward and if your version of god/source/the divine is guiding you towards tarot then absolutely trust that.

If you feel you want to have a formal ‘coming out’ of the tarot closet then here are a few tips.

1. Ask yourself if it’s safe: What I mean by this is that you put your personal safety first. Not all people will agree with your views on tarot. Thanks to crappy stereotyping in the media, a lot of people believe that tarot is evil or a tool of the devil. Is this likely to put your personal safety at risk? Do you come from a religious background where tarot is a huge no-no? Just consider these things first.

2. Ask yourself if you’re ready to do this: You should never feel under pressure to tell people about your practice. Your practice is private and no one has the right to force you into revealing anything about yourself. So do a little check and try to examine if you’re ready to do this and why you want to do this. For me, I was just tired of hiding it and I felt that by letting people know about it, I would become more comfortable in my practice. But everyone has different reasons and whys.

3. Aim to educate people: The more we speak about tarot as a tool for positive growth and personal empowerment, the more we normalise the practice. When you open up about your practice, start with the good stuff and show people that there’s so much more to tarot that what they may have seen on TV. Print off some articles that they can read. Offer to talk them through the deck or you might even like to let them draw their own card. Education is essential and the more you can talk about it and answer questions, the more you’re helping to make this normal.

4. Understand that it’s nothing to do with you: When you’re an out and proud tarot reader you will encounter people who feel that they absolutely have to give you their opinion, even when you don’t ask for it. They’ll likely tell you that what you’re doing is wrong, evil and that you’ve secured yourself a one-way ticket to hell, or similar. When these situations arise, it’s so important to know that a lot of the time it has got nothing to do with you. This is just people projecting their own fears on top of you. You become the target because they’re scared. As long as what you’re doing works for and is serving you, then please don’t let these voices get to you. Trust yourself. You are the only one who knows the path that’s right for you. Don’t allow someone else’s fear to make you question yourself.