I missed writing my Rosh Chodesh post last week. Rosh Chodesh Elul was super magical though! I was able to see the moon if I stood in exactly the right spot on my front porch--it was just behind some power lines, and with the power lines as a point of reference I could almost see the moon moving! So amazing. Then I went inside and pulled my monthly cards, one face up and one face down.
My face up card was Innocence, from Thea’s Tarot.
Innocence replaces The Fool in this deck. It shows a young person standing at the edge of a river, among waist-high reeds. Their feet are set wide apart and planted in the earth. They are wearing knee-length shorts, no shirt, and they have small breasts—or maybe short top surgery scars. Their long dark hair hangs loose, past their waist, mirroring the reeds growing up from the earth. They look calm and determined.
When I look at this card, I see sureness and wholeness. This person is friendly with their body. It’s the same kind of body-friendliness you see in a toddler as she squats down to examine a bug. There’s no self-surveillance or internal division; they are just themselves, solid and peaceful.
Sureness and wholeness in our bodies is often impossible, especially for those of us whose bodies that are labeled “wrong”—fat, of color, gender non-conforming/non-binary, trans, intersex, female, femme, with a disability, and so on. In the external world, we may face harassment, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault, state violence, and more. We are also trained to surveil and control ourselves—to see our bodies as an enemies, or, at best, recalcitrant things to be brought under control. Experiencing sureness and wholeness in our bodies, even inside our own minds, is absolutely not allowed.
That shows up in every facet of our lives. For instance, I used to hate swimming. Actually, I never hated swimming, but I hated swimsuits. Trying to find one in my size was hard enough, and finding one that fit my non-binary gender identity? Forget it. The whole process was a gauntlet of interlocking microaggressions, and then, as a reward for my fortitude, I got to pay a premium price for being fat. Thanks, kyriarchy!
Then I discovered naked beaches. You would think that being naked would be even more stressful than dealing with swimsuits—and it totally is for lots of folks, especially many trans and intersex folks—but for me personally, it was easier. The difference was equal parts not having to deal with swimsuits and being around other naked people. It’s one thing to know intellectually that the “perfect” body type marketed to us is just one of a zillion ways to have a body, and it’s another thing to see fifty naked butts, in all their fabulous variety, over the course of an afternoon. That changed me.
And so, one day last month, I was hiking with a friend in the altogether along a sandbar. The river was sparkling and the sun was hot on our backs and the sky was perfectly blue, and we saw a dragonfly that had just molted. Like, its dragonfly shell was an inch away and it was quivering in the breeze like OKAY WHAT JUST HAPPENED YOU GUYS. We squatted down to look at it and suddenly I noticed that I felt good and happy and just regular about my body. I wasn’t particularly happy about my body, or sad, or anything. It was just my body and everything was as it should be when one is naked on a sunny sandbar, companionably ogling a freaked-out dragonfly. I felt content and at ease and like I fit perfectly in my skin.
That’s what I see when I look at this card. A moment of sureness, wholeness, integration. A hope for resistance and healing, and a place of strength from which to leap into the unknown.