Revisiting the Seven Deadly Sins through the Tarot

(This post came about in a strange way. I was watching an episode of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ one evening and at one point the vicar said, ‘…debt is sinful…’ I got to thinking about this and wondering where the sin of it was, feeling instead that the root of the need for debt is something that needs to be healed. I was guided to pull some tarot cards to see what they said. Suddenly it dawned on me, that the 7 deadly sins have caused so much stress and fear throughout the centuries, and that I could use the same method to revisit them. It was really fun and enlightening, to boot.)

For centuries, the 7 Deadly Sins have been there, in the background, reminding us of our [human] nature as sinners and evil incarnate. In truth, the problems we see in our present society can all be connected to distortions rooted in one or more of the sins. Somehow our attempts to escape from them have driven us further into the realm of ‘sin.’ Take for instance, the industrialised world’s domination of resources and capital that has left the Third World in a state of consistent and constant resistance and struggle. What we define as ‘security,’ a striving to maintain some semblance of control for fear of losing everything, is simply a distorted sense of Pride with a little Greed thrown in.

According to one website, 7 Deadly Sins, Pope Gregory the Great listed the sins in order of seriousness according to which one strayed the furthest from love. He was definitely onto something. As we shift more towards the energy of Divine Love, these distortions will fall away, leaving behind the need to conceive of good vs evil, sin vs virtue. In love, there is room for all to thrive.

So, to the sins. Here are my interpretations using The Llewellyn Tarot and Doreen Virtue’s Healing with the Angels cards. For each sin I used the tarot deck to answer the question, ‘What needs to be healed?’ I then used the Angel cards to follow up with the question, ‘What can we focus on to heal this?’ The focus of these questions was a very general ‘we,’ meaning the human race, our society, we as individuals, or however it is interpreted by the reader.

1) Greed:
Card: The Sun (19)
We take everything we can because it makes us feel bigger or stronger or better than…. What needs to be healed is that we have forgotten that we are all capable of shining, brilliantly and brightly, and don’t need to scrabble for domination over others or take more than our fair share. Just shine, and the rest will follow. The sun never runs out of warmth, or light (unless you count the night time, which I take as simply spreading it around somewhere else), and this card is suggesting the distortion lies in the belief that everyone else has ‘a sunnier yard than you.’ There is enough for every being on the planet, and it has supported life here for many thousands of years.

Angel card: Truth and Integrity
This speaks of following your own guidance and your own truth. Don’t buy into the ideas that others present as the way things are, the way they’re meant to be, or the way they’re done. Don’t buy into the idea that anything outside of yourself will make you something more than you are, and find that truth within yourself. Then live it in the world.

What matters most is for all of us to rediscover our own brilliant inner Sun, and to follow it to our destiny. It will be different for each of us, and we will no longer need to steal anyone else’s sunshine because we will be so intent on following our own that we will forget ever needing anything else.

2) Lust:
Card: The Emperor (4)
Conquest. Masculine, sexual energy - distortion of protective, Divine Masculine - wanting to overpower and possess [particularly others]. The keyword here is possession. Lust is a distortion of desire, because it perverts the instinct of wanting to experience something into wanting to possess something (believing, perhaps, it is missing in us, and that possessing it will imbue in us the same characteristics). In that, we invade boundaries, use others for our own gratification, and sap the energy of others to satisfy our ‘needs.’ Some perversions of needs have been wrongly normalised to account for the continued distortion. As has been suggested in many places, the shift towards the Divine Feminine and Divine Love is a rebalancing of the distorted Masculine. The Divine Masculine in itself is a beautiful and powerful energy, but the distortions of it have caused much suffering.

Angel card: Body Care
Focus on taking care of your own bodies, your own needs, and nurturing the skin you’re in. We’re often taught to put our own needs aside to take care of others, but instead of being a loving action, that is disempowering to everyone involved. By looking to our own needs first, we do not then feel the need to possess the energy or life force of another (as defined by Lust).

Awareness of our own needs, our own negative self-talk, our own pain will undermine the need to possess the characteristics represented by the object(s) of our desire. Our cowardice in facing these things is the root of the distortion as it stands now. Face the pain, listen to the self-talk and assess your own needs. Then you will find in yourself what you thought you would find through possession of ‘the other.’

3) Sloth:
Card: The Fool (0), 2 of Pentacles
The combination of these two cards suggests we have lost the courage to embrace the lessons of the Fool and go our own way, trusting, wise, unaware of dangers and potential pitfalls, we have bought into the FEAR and that the unwillingness to take risks and learn to juggle, balance good and bad, easy and difficult, has been set aside in favour of ‘security.’ Security as we have learned to define it does not exist! It does not exist in the things we own, or do or save.  Sloth in its earlier definitions seems to focus on the idea of spiritual laziness as opposed to physical laziness. This makes sense in this context as we have learned not to trust the Universe to support us in the pursuit of our daily activities, to guide and nurture us, but instead we rely on an outside force which has posited itself as an authority. It also suggests that Sloth in the form of stagnation, remaining in one spot, holds you back - physically, mentally and spiritually.

Angel card: Truth and Integrity
Interesting that this is the same card as the healing needed for Greed. Again it speaks to the need for holding to your own truth, and standing strong in the integrity of your own beliefs.

Trust is key - trust yourself, trust that when you step out on your adventure the Universe has got your back.

4) Gluttony:
Card: The Empress (3), 10 of Pentacles, Strength (8)
So fascinating. The Empress speaks of the connection to the Divine Feminine, receptivity, connection to nature, nurturing, trusting that all will be provided, as and when it is needed. The 10 of Pentacles suggests a feeling of abundance and comfort, knowing you have enough, even a feeling of having ‘arrived’ and that you are surrounded by supportive friends/family. Strength comes from our experiences - we prove to ourselves through our trials that we can always look after ourselves. There’s no need for gluttony if you know you will always be provided for. What comes of these is that Gluttony is a distortion or dysfunction of security/insecurity. It is an overwhelming fear that this may be our last meal/paycheque/client/etc, and that we must devour it in our desperation to (ful)fill some need in ourselves. What needs to be healed is the idea that we will run out of ___(insert appropriate commodity here)____. Instead focus on the abundance of all that exists, and know that your every need is met.

Angel card: Trust, Focus
Trust makes perfect sense, especially connected with the issue of security/insecurity. We base our experience on past lives, past generations, past experience in this life and all we remember is the fear associated with lack, not the love that comes from trust. It’s a toughie. Focus is a reminder to focus on the abundance that does exist, no matter how hard it might seem (count the grains of sand on a beach if you’re stuck), and don’t place your focus on what appears to be missing.

5) Wrath:
Page of Pentacles
This card at first didn’t make sense, but then I heard, ‘Don’t shoot the messenger!’ A-ha! It seems to be suggesting that we not base our own happiness on things that exist outside of ourselves. Don’t make your emotional gauge something outside of yourself, allowing others’ good fortune or talents to cause you anger. Blame stems from an unwillingness to look at our own pain or supposed shortcomings, and to look for someone else to take responsibility for how we are feeling.

Angel card: Contrary Self-Acceptance
I don’t usually read cards in the contrary position but this one so definitely jumped out upside down that I couldn’t help but take it as significant. It definitely ties in with the issue of blame. In not accepting ourself in totality (ie feeling that we are unacceptable if we are flawed, and therefore we ‘hide’ our flaws from everyone around us), we start to suppress all kinds of negativity that can turn to wrath. Sadness we bury because we see ourselves as flawed especially compared with ___(her because she’s perfect)___ can become resentfulness at our own inferiority, and self-hatred which can be expressed as anger. It’s difficult to feel such negativity directed at ourselves, so we look for scapegoats in the world around us, to ease some of our pain.

See every being, every situation as a mirror which is reflecting something to you that wants to be acknowledged. No matter how ugly, how hateful you feel it is, accept it and send it love. Work towards a more balanced view of yourself, and be as compassionate with yourself as you are with others.

6) Envy:
Card: Queen of Wands, King of Cups, 10 of Swords
Competition breeds envy - contentment comes from realising your own journey is the only measure of success that you need, the Queen appreciates luxury but moreso she appreciates accomplishment. The King enriches the lives of those surrounding him and reminds us of the virtues of trust, ethics and love (which brings us back to Pope Gregory the Great who suggested that [all] sin is really a divergence from love). The 10 of Pentacles suggests not to fall into a melodrama trap or victimhood - envy can lead to feelings of ‘why me?’ or other victim-like behaviours.

Angel card: Music
Find your own song - the one that makes your heart sing! Dance to the beat of your own drum. All the cliches fit here. It’s really important that you are the conductor of your own orchestra, the writer of your own songs, and the performer of your own compositions. Your unique voice is needed in the World, and if we were all busy performing our own music, life would be a symphony instead of a cacophony.

7) Pride:
Card: King of Wands
Take pride in your accomplishments and having overcome and learned from struggles, and meanwhile understand that others also have challenges of their own, so allow them the dignity to resolve them in their own way and time. Be conscious and aware of your own attributes and your own ‘weaknesses.’ In this case, Pride has been distorted by the competitive energy that drives people to overplay their own strengths in the need to outperform others. By removing the need for competition and moving towards a more collaborative paradigm, healthy self-acceptance can replace pridefulness or self-aggrandizement.

Angel card: Celebration, Soul Mate
Celebration of your strengths and talents is not prideful if done in an attitude of gratitude for the abundance in your life. Celebrate that you’ve had opportunities to succeed (or fail), celebrate that you’ve learned so much through the act of living, and celebrate the brilliant accomplishments and successes of others. Celebrate the other souls that have helped you on your journey - they are essential. Join in with your fellow Light Beings, find your Soul Family and shine as one! The brighter we shine as individuals, the brighter we shine as a whole. Brilliant.

About Jenny:

Jenny Griffin, the ‘Catharsis Coach,’ is passionate about helping you to find the beauty, power and possibility in the midst of transformative experiences. She combines her skills as an intuitive coach and healer with her amazing organisational abilities to provide an environment filled with creative and enjoyable ways to move towards your own unique vision for your life, and offers you the opportunity to use all the parts of your story as fodder for personal and spiritual growth.

You can find Jenny at The Power of Change

or on Facebook

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Comment by Jenny Griffin on February 8, 2013 at 5:11pm

Thanks so much, Dawn! I'm sorry it was over on the count, I'm really trying to be less wordy.

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