I recently got the second edition of the World Spirit Tarot, and I like it a lot. I’ve been struggling to find a second deck for day-to-day readings--I love Shadowscapes dearly, but I've been using it exclusively for over a year and a half, and almost all of the people pictured in the cards are thin and white and heterosexual. I want to have more choices and new perspectives!
This deck has lots of racial diversity and some size, gender, and sexual orientation/relationship style diversity. The images are hand-colored linocuts, with strong, intense colors, and there’s lots of imagery in each card to draw on. It follows RWS pretty closely, with a few detours I like and some I’m not in love with, particularly the Three of Swords, but I’m interested to see how they grow on me. One slight change that I like is The Tower, which shows the Tower from the perspective of the storm. There’s also a Little White Book (LWB) that is brief but well-written (one 3.5 x 5 inch page for each minor arcana, sometimes longer for the majors). Finally, a few of the cards in the second edition have been redesigned, particularly The Sun, and I like the new designs. Here's a sampler of cards:
The cards are quite big (I can shuffle them like playing cards, but barely), and have a shiny finish. The cuts are not perfect and some of the curved corners look a little funky, with tiny tags/imperfections. It doesn't impact use, just aesthetics. Also, the backs have an asymmetrical image, so they aren't fully reversible.
Overall, I like the deck a lot and I’m looking forward to working with it more! I pulled a few cards for an interview, using questions I’ve seen on Little Red Tarot for other deck interviews. Here's what I got (behind a cut because I cussed one time and I don't want to get you in trouble at work):
Rosh Chodesh Tamuz* was on July 6th. I didn’t pull my monthly cards that night as I normally do, because I couldn’t concentrate. Just hours before, police had murdered Philando Castile in front of his partner and little daughter, and I was nauseated and furious and full of grief.
A few days later, I was able to focus better, and I decided to pick my cards for this month face up. Rather than pulling cards face down, we can choose specific cards to focus intention or for other reasons, as explored in this series by Siobhan Rene. I decided to try it this month because picking face up helped me feel like I was choosing my own path instead of having it chosen for me. That’s especially meaningful for me right now, as I’m moving out of a period in which I needed to drift and into one in which I need to be more focused, because did I mention I got the job? I got the job! The World was right on.
I chose the Eight of Wands, The Fool, and Strength as focuses for this month.
I chose the Eight of Wands for momentum and moving out into the world. A person stands amidst rocks and trees with their fox friends, blowing seeds into the wind. Seeds are the beginnings and ends of plants. This plant has gone to seed, ending a cycle, and now it begins its journey into its next life. It feels like things are moving fast for me too. I spent months job hunting and networking and often felt like I was just spinning my wheels. Now all that built-up energy is pouring out and rocketing me forward, and I want to embrace that momentum as I start the next phase.
I chose The Fool because I’m a little bit scared to start a new job in a new field, and I want to access that Foolish energy of embracing new experiences, taking risks, and stepping boldly off the cliff to see what happens. The Fool stands on top of a tower of rocks, stretched up on tiptoe and ready to plunge over the edge, trusting that they will be okay and full of curiosity about what lies below. Their clever fox friend is by their side, and a cloud of birds wraps them in ribbons—not to hold them up, but to show them how it’s done**. This reminds me that I need to surround myself with smart friends who support me without trying to rescue or fix. Also, I’ve looked at this card a bazillion times but I never noticed the bees! Since one of my long-term goals is to chuck it all and become a bee farmer, I feel like this Fool is telling me I’m on the right track.
I chose Strength because I want to embody power through collaboration. A person stands next to a lion so ferocious he’s sprouted horns. The person is relaxed, their right hand draped over his huge head, and their left hand right next to his sharp teeth. At their feet are two smaller cats, belled to protect the birds at the bath below. This is strength, but it’s not the strength of possession or dominance. There is trust and respect of each others’ agency, intelligence, and power. In the past, I’ve sometimes given up my power, failed to share power, or ignored my physical/emotional boundaries in order to please others at work. This card reminds me to slow down a little, to share power, and to respect my own needs as much as I respect others’ needs.
Happy Rosh Chodesh Tamuz, everyone. May we use this month to act in solidarity with one another for our mutual liberation. None of us are free until all of us are free.
*Rosh Chodesh means head/beginning of the month (the Jewish lunar month), and Tamuz is the name of the month. All Jewish days begin at sundown, so the new month starts when the sun goes down.
**"not to hold them up, but to show them how it’s done" is paraphrased from a reading by Siobhan Rene.
Welcome to the new website, and welcome to my blog! I made this blog because I love tarot. Tarot has been part of my life in various way since I was a kid, and as an adult I've been so delighted to discover queer and radical tarot resources that have helped me connect with tarot in deep, authentic ways. Tarot helps me stay grounded and understand my own brain/the world better, and it's also just fun and endlessly fascinating.
I've been posting for a while, but didn't make the blog public right away because of domain/web design shenanigans, and I had planned to go live this weekend. It feels weird, though, to launch a thing in the midst of so much grief and trauma. For the time being, this is primarily intended to be a blog, but there is a business component (currently the side-est of side hustles). However, I think we all need to use our voices, in every space, to help tear down the structures that target Black lives and to build a new world in which Black lives matter.
So here's my small contribution to that for today:
First, while I hope folks will read my blog, rather than asking folks to buy readings from me right now, I am asking folks to support Black-owned businesses by ordering a reading from one of the many brilliant, insightful, experienced Black tarot readers on the interwebs. Three that come to mind are Siobhan Rene, Asali Earthwork, and V., and there are lots of other folks as well. They have awesome blogs too! You can also donate to directly support Black femmes and other Black folks through High Moon Femme Tarot, or donate to one of the many organizations supporting black lives.
Even if you don't have dollars to give right now, I hope you'll take one action today, even if it's a small one, to support black lives. This post talks about the recent events and some ideas for action.
Second, if I do receive any money for doing readings this month, I will donate 100% of what I receive to support Philando Castile's family and Alton Sterling's kids.
Thanks for listening, and welcome to Hearth Tarot! I hope you will read my blog, talk with me in the comments, and play tarot with me sometime.
Content note: terrorism against Muslims, racist killings by police, implicit bias/excuses for police killings
It feels a little bit like the world is ending. Following a wave of ISIS attacks that killed hundreds of Muslim folks and others, the attack in Orlando, and multiple murders of Black trans women, in the last two days police have killed two more Black folks (that we know of), Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I can't think of words to say that don't seem tiny and inadequate. It's monstrous, it's wrong, it's violence and terror. What's worse, the problem of police killing Black people isn't solved, not nearly, and it's going to happen again.
I want to signal boost some resources for Black folks in the midst of all this trauma and grief:
We Can Help Each Other Cope: One Simple Way to Be With Each Other Through Pain Right Now
walking through fire, a gathering of survival strategies by community and allies
4 Self-Care Resources for Days When the World is Terrible
I also want to talk with other white people about what we can do to help and to unlearn and expose and dismantle the anti-Black racism that poisons US culture. But more importantly, I want to talk about taking action, right now, to support Black-led liberation movements.
There are a lot of smart ideas floating around about how to get involved in stopping police violence, from reducing the harm of current systems to building new systems: participating in police oversight boards, demanding and/or creating candidates who will make police reform real, changing laws about police use of force so that police can be held accountable when they murder Black folks, strategizing ways to avoid calling police, and disarming/getting rid of police entirely. I hope everyone will actively participate in those efforts, and I’ve compiled a resource list at the bottom. I hope everyone will do one thing today, even if it's a small thing, because a lot of small things add up to big things.
I also want to talk with white folks who may be feeling the urge to excuse or explain police behavior. A lot of people react to these killings by pointing out that the person killed did some small thing "wrong": didn't respond to commands quickly enough, wasn't "respectful", was perhaps committing some minor crime.
As a lawyer working on civil rights cases involving law enforcement, I learned that folks, virtually without exception, will look for ways to believe that police were acting appropriately. Every civil rights lawyer and criminal defense lawyer knows this; it happens in every case. The laws are skewed to protect police, and juries consistently bend over backwards to exonerate police, even in the most egregious cases.
So when you feel the urge to find an innocent explanation for police behavior, recognize that your reaction is probably not about the facts of the situation you're looking at. Instead, it's a pattern of reaction shared by nearly everyone who is analyzing police behavior.
So what is it about? Well, first, if the victim is Black, it's probably at least partially about implicit bias against Black folks. Implicit bias functions at a deep, unconscious level. Even if we don't think of ourselves as having racist beliefs, our unconscious biases affect the way we see the world. Learn about implicit bias; take a test. It's upsetting and unsettling to realize we're biased, but it's our social conditioning. I have it and you have it. We have to face it before we can change it.
But it's more than implicit bias. As a middle class white person, I was raised to believe that police were helpers; they represented safety--and that's true, for middle class white folks, almost all of the time. It's really hard, actually really terrifying, to entertain the belief that police might not be safe. If we open ourselves to the reality of policing, the truth that our streets contain an occupying force, armed to the teeth and legally authorized to operate with virtually no oversight or accountability, that murders Black folks with impunity, it shakes the foundations of our world. How can it be true? Who am I supposed to call for help when I hear a loud argument next door and glass breaking? Who do I call when my partner is having a mental health crisis and I'm scared for both of us? Not all of the recent police murders of Black people have stemmed from 911 calls, but these are some of the questions we may wrestle with when coming to terms with the reality of policing in the US.
There are no simple answers to these questions, although the links below point to some possible solutions. But we have to ask them. We have to let into our worlds the reality of police violence against Black folks and stop telling ourselves that it's just a few bad apples or people messing up when they interact with police. We have to stop believing police justifications for this never-ending parade of death. We have to let the foundations of our worlds be shaken. We have to get scared. And we have to allow that fear to propel us into action.
See compiled resources and ideas below for how white folks can take action. If you’re at work, be aware that some of the links may contain (entirely justified) cursing:
Fifteen Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality
Facebook post by Ijeoma Oluo
Advice For White Folks, in the Wake of the Police Killing of a Black Person
This Is What White People Can Do to Support #blacklivesmatter
Note to Self: White People Taking Part in #blacklivesmatter Protests
The Conversation We Must Have with Our White Children
Black Kids Don’t Get to Wait to Talk About Police Violence–White Kids Shouldn’t Either
What to Do Instead of Calling Police: A Guide, a Syllabus, a Conversation, a Process
Abolish the Police. Instead, Let’s Have Full Social, Economic, and Political Equality
The Case for Disarming America's Police Force
I’m a little bit on edge. I’m waiting to hear back about a job; I’ve been through two rounds of interviews, and one of my references told me the hiring manager had been in touch. I’m also waiting to see if I get interviews for two other jobs I applied for. I’m on pins and needles, full of jumpy energy, wondering what will happen next, but also curiously reluctant to move on to the next phase.
Even though I was lucky enough to get some severance pay, being out of work has not been all leisurely morning coffee and pajama lounging. It took at least two weeks for my body to remember how to relax even a little. It’s been scary to drift in all this in-betweenness, even as I’m intensely grateful for the opportunity to do so. I can’t recall any extended period of time since I was sixteen years old that I haven’t been working full time, going to school full time, or some combination of those. I always have a plan, and I’m the kind of person who makes spreadsheets recreationally. Why, yes, I am a Virgo sun with Taurus rising—why do you ask?
But as challenging as it’s been, I’ve loved it. Slow mornings reading the internet and journaling, taking an art class that meets on a (gasp) Tuesday morning, space to think about who I am and dream about what I want my life to be, resting when I’m tired and eating when I’m hungry. Starting a tarot blog! I don’t want to give up that autonomy, despite the reality of my bank balance.
And so, in the midst of all this jittery angst, I decided to pull a daily card. I got The World.
The World is the last card of the Major Arcana, and it’s one that used to puzzle me. The books I read defined it as everything, the culmination, ultimate fulfillment. I was like, what does that even mean? It’s just so vague. The image on the card isn’t very helpful either—is it about meditation in fancy hats?
But recently I looked it up again and learned that another definition is graduation, or the end of a cycle. That, I can understand. The Major Arcana is often described as a progression or a journey, beginning with The Fool and culminating with The World. For me, that connects with the idea of healing or development as a spiral. That is to say, the process is never truly complete; we encounter the same challenges over and over again, even after we think we’ve resolved them. But that doesn’t mean we are stuck in a loop. Instead, we are progressing in a spiral, and on each successive level of the spiral we loop back around to the same places of challenge. And each time we encounter one of our recurring challenges, we have more wisdom and experience with which to confront the challenge.
So The World is saying, you did it! You completed this loop of the spiral, and soon it will be time to begin again at the next level, carrying forward all of your hard-won knowledge. You’ll become The Fool again—full of older, wiser Foolishness—and step off the cliff.
I don’t know what this means for me. Maybe it means I’ll get the job! But even if I don’t, this card is challenging me to look back at all the things I’ve learned and all the work I’ve done in the professional cycle I’ve just completed, to celebrate what I’ve accomplished, and then to let that momentum carry me forward into the next leap of faith.