Well, well, well! The Tarot community is certainly buzzing with gossip about the recent Doreen Virtue shocker…
Doreen Virtue, popular New Age teacher and Hay House author of countless oracle and Tarot decks has recently “come out of the closet” as a born again Christian and has denounced Tarot, fortune telling, mediumship and a bunch of other stuff.
Seemingly overnight she has shed her “New Age Guru” persona and reinvented herself as a devout Christian, reading Bible passages in her YouTube videos and promoting her upcoming book Mornings with the Lord.
AND PEOPLE ARE PISSED!
I spent hours pouring over the comment sections of these blog and Facebook posts while I lay in my hammock getting sauced on apple cider. While some are happy for her, many people – particularly those who have taken her courses – feel betrayed.
Here is the interview in which Doreen denounces Tarot. The Tarot talk starts around the 12 min mark…
In the above interview, she talks about how she no longer uses Tarot cards and has asked Hay House to donate her Tarot related royalties to charity. She also hinted at taking some of her decks and books off the market because they no longer align with her new religious beliefs and she does not want her name associated with them.
Even creepier, her Wikipedia page makes NO MENTION OF TAROT in her stunningly massive list of published works, as if all those Tarot decks she created never existed. (This could be because her page hasn’t been updated in a while, but still!)
This is a dick move.
I have no issue with Doreen becoming super Christian. That’s her business. I also have no issue with her catering her new work to a Christian market. I am not even annoyed by the fact that she wants nothing to do with Tarot or other New Agey things. She’s allowed to change her mind and do different stuff, that’s fine.
What I find perplexing and distasteful is that she felt the need to publicly condemn Tarot (and other things). She could have quietly changed direction, which would have avoided putting her students and fans in a very awkward, uncomfortable position. More on this in a bit.
Confession: I was a fan! Well, sort of.
While I was never truly captivated by Doreen Virtue the person, I did (and do) enjoy many of her Tarot and oracle card decks. I have a few of her books and I even went to her live Certified Angel Card Reader course when she came to Vancouver back in 2013.
What I liked about her decks was that they were sweet and fluffy like cotton candy and marshmallows. They were fun, feel good decks that left me feeling happy, hopeful and slightly baked like I’d been smoking optimism joints.
But despite all this, I always found Doreen difficult to relate to, which is probably why I’ve been able to watch this whole Doreen Virtue fiasco with detached interest. But I imagine that for those who adopted her as their mentor and spiritual teacher, her Tarot and New Age rejections will be felt much more intensely and personally.
One of the things that really struck me when I went to her live training is just how much her fans idolized her. She would say things and the crowd would murmur in agreement.
I remember this one lady asked a question. I was sitting at the very back and didn’t hear what it was, but Doreen went “oooh! That’s negative!” or something to that effect and then suddenly the whole room gasped and tsk tsked at this woman, all because she may have said something that Doreen deemed to be “negative”. Doreen quickly backtracked saying “oh no, let’s not shame people” and then everyone shut up and we moved on.
But what was interesting to me in that situation was just how much influence Doreen seemed to have over her fans. They looked up to her for guidance on spiritual matters and put their trust in her in a big way.
I also think many of her fans saw her as a beacon of safety, gentleness and acceptance in the confusing and tumultuous spiritual seas. Especially for those who had been raised in a strict religious family.
I always found Virtue’s anything-goes attitude to be simultaneously humorous and appealing. Fairies? You bet they’re real! Angels? Of course they exist! Mermaids? You were probably one in a past life in Atlantis. Mer-Angels? Yep! Those exist too in another realm. Unicorns? Fuck yeah!
And I can see how this attitude was refreshing and intriguing to many people, particularly those of us who come from religious or athiest/sciency families.
In her live Angel Tarot class, Doreen was the epitome of warm fuzzies, wanting everyone to feel welcome and accepted. When lunch time rolled around she announced “I don’t want anyone eating lunch alone! Everyone buddy up with the person next to you!”
This struck fear into my introverted, avoidant heart and I was quick to dodge eye contact with those at my table. I ate lunch alone.
But what I’m trying to say is that she went out of her way to create a “safe space” where everyone was welcome…well, until you accidentally mutter something “negative” that is 😉
Doreen’s foray into Tarot
In 2012, Angel Tarot Cards, Doreen’s first Tarot deck was published. Up until then she had only published oracle card decks.
She marketed her deck as the first 100% gentle and safe Tarot deck, which of course was silly and had many Tarot people in a froth. Christiana Gaudet wrote a great post about it, which I loved.
But one great thing that came out of this is that she got many people interested in Tarot who might otherwise be afraid of it. I hear from people all the time who say that they were raised with the idea that Tarot was dangerous but then when Doreen came out with her Angel Tarot deck they felt comfortable dipping their toe in.
This made me so happy!
So I would like to acknowledge that despite the criticisms of Virtue’s soft and fluffy version of Tarot, she really did make a genuine contribution to the world of Tarot. And that’s what makes this whole thing awkward.
Doreen introduced Tarot to many people who otherwise would have avoided it. She broadcasted the message that Tarot is safe! It’s okay, it’s of the light! Angels are on the cards! But now she’s got a Bible on her lap and she’s all like uuuuh, I change my mind! Tarot IS bad! Psych!
This leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s flaky and flighty and I’m disappointed that a grown woman is this unsure of herself. Or is she?
Genuine Jesus Lover? Or Marketing Ploy?
There is much talk that she is only in it for the money and that this new Christian angle is just a ploy to drum up more business. I’m not sure where I stand on that to be honest. I used to think she was a bit quirky yet genuine and with a smart business sense, but now I truly have no idea if she is genuine or not. I find her impossible to read.
In a video she recently posted to her YouTube channel, she explained that she’s always been into Jesus but shied away from talking about him because it irritated her audience.
Fair enough. I buy it.
But then she stumbled upon a passage in the Bible that basically said if you don’t promote Jesus you’re not getting into Heaven and she was like “woah!” and so now all her work is going to be about Jesus.
Something about this explanation just doesn’t sit well with me.
But I guess it’s irrelevant. Why Virtue has decided to go in this new direction isn’t the real issue. The real issue is how she’s decided to change direction – by taking a giant dump on her fanbase by publicly condemning many of the things she drew them to in the first place.
I think it’s a total copout to say “well, you shouldn’t have put so much trust and faith in a teacher” or “you need to stand strong in your own beliefs and not give others so much authority “ While this is all true, it misses the point.
Doreen Virtue was a teacher and public figure with a large fanbase and with that comes a certain amount of responsibility.
In the Maui Source TV interview, Virtue says “Ascended Masters cards – GONE! Tarot cards – GONE!” with a flick of her wrist when explaining all the changes she’s making in her life. She casually mentions that “none of the money from those Tarot decks comes to me anymore. I asked Hay House to donate it to charity.”
There’s something very dismissive and almost flippant in her tone here as if she is really saying ugh! Tarot! Yuck. I’m so done with that. Moving ON!
This feels very disrespectful and dismissive of her devoted audience who has supported her work over the years and this just irritates me.
Are Doreen Virtue products worthless now?
The big question that many are left with is what do Doreen Virtue books, decks and course certifications represent now? Are they worthless? Should you keep them or throw them out?
Personally, I don’t feel like my relationship to my Doreen Virtue decks has changed. I still love her Goddess Guidance and Magical Mermaids and Dolphins Oracle Cards and the bond I have with those decks has nothing to do with Doreen Virtue herself.
Although I’m kind of kicking myself for getting rid of my Ascended Masters deck now that she’s denounced it 😉
And perhaps it’s just my inner shit-disturber but I’m going to really enjoy using her Angel Tarot now that I know she’s “denounced” it, heh heh!
I also don’t feel like the course I took with her back in 2013 is now “worthless.” I got a lot out of that course and the fact that Virtue’s new belief system doesn’t support much of what was taught matters little to me.
I realize not everyone will feel the same way I do and I think it’s equally legitimate to feel a sudden disconnect with her products and courses in light of what she has said.
Her course certifications are a different matter though. Many people have built their intuitive-based businesses around Virtue certifications, and so the question remains: are those certifications cheapened by the fact that the teacher has abandoned her old teachings? I think they are.
One thing that stood out to me about Doreen Virtue was how much criticism she has received over the years. Go on any Tarot or New Age forum and you will find there’s plenty of hate for Doreen Virtue, even long before this whole denouncement of Tarot. I always assumed the level of criticism was correlated with her monetary success. And I always defended Virtue because I believe that being business-minded and successful doesn’t automatically make someone a charlatan.
And I still believe that.
Profiting handsomely from her work doesn’t make her a terrible person. Changing her entire belief system, “denouncing” Tarot and giving a large portion of her fanbase the cold shoulder still doesn’t make her a terrible person….but it does make her a jerk. And that’s being rather kind.
What do you think?
I can’t wait to read your take on this! Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts 🙂