Now, I'm not a superstitious person. I don't hold with fears about the number 13 or black cats (actually, we own one, and he does bring us misfortune, but mostly of the hairball-on-the-carpet variety). But I'm not cavalier either. I wouldn't play with a ouija board or allow one in my house, and I won't mess around with tarot cards or fortune-telling or horoscopes (though most of the garden-variety ones in the paper don't seem to be channelling anything more dangerous than The Onion.) Tim Powers said it best in an interview with Powells.com:
Dave: As a writer known for books about the supernatural, how do you deal with that disbelief? Many of your fans must believe in it - not all of them, but some certainly.
Powers: I have a sort of back door in my skepticism in that I'm a practicing Roman Catholic, and though I'm generalizing, Catholics do have a sort of double-barreled view of the supernatural which is: "I don't believe a word of it" and "I wouldn't touch it." So I'm totally skeptical and totally scared of it at the same time.
For one book, Last Call, I had to buy a set of tarot cards because I needed to look at the pictures. I think it's silly nonsense, like astrology. But I wouldn't shuffle that deck in my house. I think it's nonsense, and I also think it's scary. Maybe my readers
have that in common with me; maybe they don't so much believe it as they wouldn't necessarily play with it.
After reading Last Call, Darwin and I were curious to reference some of the images mentioned, while not really wanting a deck of tarot cards in the house. So we bought a set of Minchiate cards -- a kind of pre-tarot game. This was before we had children, or we probably wouldn't have indulged our curiosity; now we keep them high on a shelf and don't let the girls look at them or play with them. We haven't looked at them in ages, and if it ever came to where the girls were getting into them, we'd throw them out.
Darwin wanted to go out to the library himself this evening, so I had him return that bones book and pick up a different one for Noogs. She hadn't paid much attention to the tarot image except to say that the skeleton was smiling, but I just didn't like the idea of exposing the girls to tarot images. Some doors shouldn't be opened even casually.