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Comrade Femme Tarot: The King of Wands

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!


(May is almost over and I only realized just now that I never posted this month's tarot reading! Apologies!)


The card I pulled for May is the King of Wands, this fabulous and firey doer. I love the image of the King of Wands in Cristy’s Next World Tarot deck (pictured below). They have a coy confidence that I find deeply encouraging. And that’s exactly what the King of Wands wants us to tap into--encouragement that leads to action. Some readers suggest that the court cards (Pages, Knights, Kings, and Queens) represent other people, which I think may be the case sometimes, but mostly I think the tarot is about all that we possess in our rich and complex and multifaceted selves. We can all tap into the court cards, because, as (the admittedly problematic, but also beautifully-spoken) Osho says, “the whole universe is part of you.” The King of Wands is ruled by fire, which speaks to our creative impulses, our drive, the glow of our manipura chakra, our willpower to get the job done.


Cultivating the energy of the wands is what we can call on when we need to stop editing and stop second-guessing and just submit that article to the journal; it’s what we can call on when we have to organize a last-minute, emergency rally for a detained immigrant; it’s what we can call on when we want to act on a vision for an idea that seems a little bit out-there, but we trust in anyway. To use internet-speak: the King of Wands helps us reduce the number of fucks given so we can do the damn thing.


To me, peak King of Wands energy, is the Riot Grrrl movement. First, this example rings true because it fucks with assumptions about the gendered nature of the card--the King isn’t about “masculine” energy it’s about powerful energy, and what was more powerful than a bunch of women and queer folks standing up to the misogyny in punk and doing the hard work of alternate worldmaking? The King of Wands is the fearlessness and the action of demanding “girls to the front!”


I am also reminded of the King of Wands when I think about my early activist days, sitting in a meeting space with the dirtiest kids on campus (and the ones who weren’t college students at all, but would come to meetings because they were Leftists and hungry and we wanted to redistribute our meal plans to their bellies), and planning actions with deep urgency. Sometimes we had to act quick-- ‘the president of the university will be speaking at an event, so we have to get our signs ready to remind him that queer bashing will not be tolerated on this campus!’ Sometimes it was even quicker: ‘let’s take this meeting outside and flyer for the protest next week, zoning rules and permission from the university be damned!’ Some days, you would have thought we were a rebel group plotting the overthrow of the government--that’s how seriously we took things. Some days you would have thought we were absurd teenagers using an activist group as a social club--that’s how playful we got too. But we were always doing something, and the King of Wands is the mix of this. Playful action, in the service of something bigger.


The King of wands, to borrow from my riot grrrl elders, dares you to be what you want. Dares you to be what you will. Dares you to cry right out loud….Double, triple fucking dares you, grrrlfriend. <3