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Divination and French legislation < Tarot & Cartomancie, Bertrand

Divination and French legislation

As long as fiscal and administrative formalities are well registered, voyance  (psychic activities, tarot reading, clairvoyance, soothsaying, fortune telling, astrology, etc...) is legal in France.

It hasn't always been the case. The Wikipédia page dedicated to this matter informs us that :

For the french legislation until 1994, voyance (fortune telling) was an offense under the Penal Code. On march 1st 1994, the 1834 and 1945 repressive legislations were significantly amended by the deletion of Article R.34 7 of the former Code.

The code condemned « people making a job of guessing and predicting or interpreting dreams» since its creation back in 1810 (it was then article 479 and the penalty was from 11 to 15 francs).

It wasn't the first legal condemnation of voyance. A Royal Ordonnance from july 1682 - following l'affaire des Poisons - signed by Louis XIV, Colbert and Louvois condemned the activity in this way : « Any people dealing with guessing and proclaiming being diviner ou divineress will leave the French Kingdom immediately » (Édit pour la punition des empoisonneurs, devins et autres) . It was already a reformulation of previously existing laws.

In the 1531 Code Criminel de l'Empereur Charles V (Imperor Charles V criminal code), chapter 21 forbids to use diviners or magus predictions as clues, said diviners being threatened of a punishment (at the judge's discretion) - the law didn't target voyance or divination per se but its use in a legal context.

The latest version - whose formulation hadn't changed since 1810 and which was deleted in 1994 - was more lenient ; a third class fine was the punishment for « people making a job of guessing or predicting, or explaining dreams ». The fine amount was 600 to 1300 francs and all « instruments, tools, clothing[sic.] used in the practice of the profession » were to be confiscated.

Clothing and divination rings a bell in French memories : famous in his times, the Fakir Birman (burmese fakir) invented newspaper horoscopes and had a fellow actor dressed as a fakir to impersonate his character ; but the it was the "IRS" who stopped this conman - he wasn't a fakir, nor was he from Burma - not the criminal justice.

So to sum up, French legislation no longer condemn divination... since the XXth century last decade only !