Each month I share a reflection on a tarot card in the service of self- and community-care, healing, and social and political transformation. I am still relatively new to tarot and nothing I post is meant to serve as an expert guide to the deck. Rather, I hope to illuminate, as I learn in public, the ways in which the tarot can act as a tool for healing, activism, movement building, and worldmaking. I am thankful for the teachers who have guided me in this embracing this modality and humbly recommend visiting more seasoned readers and intuitives to learn more (on tarot and/or related practices), including: Sara Gottesdiener, adrienne maree brown, The Firebrand Witch, Lindsay Mack, Dori Midnight, The Hoodwitch, Little Red Tarot, among many others!
This is the first edition of Comrade Femme Tarot, so it includes both my January and February pull. These reflections are first posted in the Feminist Killjoys, PhD newsletter (The Killjoy Review, which you can subscribe to here!) and I'm just playing catch-up on the blog!
January 2018: The High Priestess
Featured deck: Cristy Road's Next World Tarot
For January’s edition I want to talk about The High Priestess, which is the card of 2018. (2+0+1+8=11; 1+1=2; The High Priestess is the second card in the tarot deck. 11 is justice (or strength, depending on which deck you’re using), but most readers I know are working with ‘2’).
The significance of The High Priestess beginning 2018 alongside the fulll moon in Cancer cannot be understated. Were you feeling feelings that January 1?It was a powerful conjunction of emotional, water-y, nurturing energy. The High Priestess is ruled by the moon (notice the pomegranates?), has very femme/inine energy and invites us to turn inward, to seek motherly (paternal femme) and Spirit guidance within ourselves. At my retreat, we were asked to reflect on our own mothers as well as tend to the parts within ourselves that felt neglected from the kind of care that is socially constructed to be provided to us through mothers.
Have you received love in all the ways you need? If not, how can you love yourself doubley in those wounded parts? Conjuring The High Priestess energy asks us to give care and make care and take care, of ourselves, each other, our communities. And it is inviting us in particular to offer the tenderness to others in the exact same spots that we have felt undone.
One of our jobs on earth may be to give exactly what we feel we have lacked, which is what so many parents and femme parental figures must do. We are all broken, this we know. Femmes, in particular, stand strong not because they have evaded hardship, but exactly because of their resilience in the face it. And not only our resilience, but our insistence on compassion anyway. Tenderness anyway. Starting with ourselves.
The High Priestess, in my view, is not asking us to ignore what is hard or shut down our anger. The High Priestess is asking us to acknowledge the disaster and use that which is other-worldly as a means of responding gently. How could we possibly be soft when the world is so hard? Because, The High Priestess reminds us, there is something bigger than us that we can choose to believe in and tap into.
She holds what is often described as an akashic record--a record of our past and our future, the ghosts that guide us. What spirits can we turn to for softness? What memories or dreams beyond our pain can we conjure for resilience? What parts within ourselves hurt, what can we learn from them, and how can we use that inner-knowledge for ourselves and our movements?
I believe that this showing up for 2018 means our movements for social change will start to realize more and more that we cannot separate our struggles from the spiritual (which is so broad and can look so many different ways!). I know a lot of Leftists will cringe at this, but I think we are being pushed to evolve past rigid secularism. How can trust in Spirit help guide us toward liberation? It’s been integral in the past, and it continues to be integral today. It is the Something Bigger that allows us to be abolitionists, to find empathy in harm. It is the Something Bigger that allows us to speak against injustice, even when our voice shakes. And it is the Something Bigger that provides us visions of the new world I know so many of us are working to build.
These utopias in our minds and in our hearts, they come from somewhere--The High Priestess is a reminder of that source. Whether you call it God, spirit, or just the palpable energy of solidarity at a protest, it’s there and it’s inviting us to make use of it in 2018 and beyond.
February 2018: The Lovers
Featured deck: Cristy Road's Next World Tarot
For obvious reasons, this month called me to reflect on The Lovers card, the sixth card of the Major Arcana (and thus the card of this, my 33rd, year on earth. 3+3=6=Lovers). Like all cards in the tarot, there are many ways to interpret The Lovers, but what’s resonated with me most about the card is that it is a mirror. And although it may represent a romantic relationship with another person, it’s just as easily possible that it represents a relationship with yourself. It’s a card about duality and yin and yang. It’s a card abou balance perhaps, but as its ruled by Gemini and not Libra, I think it’s more about twinning. About reflections of parts to make wholes. I sometimes think of the Lovers as the moment when your reflection comes into focus in a ripply pond or a broken piece of glass. It’s fragmented, but in what is often just a moment, the splintered bits of eyes and lips and nose become your face.
The Lovers, to me, asks us to find presence in synchronicity. With ourselves and with others. It asks us to bask in the moment when things feel aligned, and to use that feeling to help guide our decisions. Maybe for you alignment is making a collage, unplugged from the internet, with your favorite song in the background. That thing inside yourself when you realize that you’ve been focused solely on the moment in front of you, and that the moment has been joyous, and that the joy has felt more powerful than any of the anxieties you were generating before it? That moment when you realize that your core self is being tended to? That’s The Lovers.
The Lovers might also be that moment of connection with another person, and this may be in happiness or sorrow. Recently I’ve been connecting with a friend who is going through a breakup that is very similar to a breakup I went through myself four and a half years ago. It was the hardest experience of my life and although it would have been easier to avoid that pain, and although I certainly am not glad my friend is going through it too, I am finding a lot of vibration in the connection of commonality. I have been profoundly grateful for people who have been there for me when I’ve been in periods of struggle (periods of The Tower, if you will), and the people who have helped me the most are those who can relate to what I’m going through. And now I get to be that for my friend. Our pain can be medicine, for ourselves eventually, but also for others. Our pain is what provides us the gift of empathy. And that connection with another person who is in it? That’s The Lovers.
I invite you to notice those moments of synchronicity. I invite you to tap into and be present with those moments of The Lovers when it’s just you or when it’s with others. And, sweet one, even when they’re broken, the mirrors are everywhere.