Hello, if you're new here! Hello too, if you're one of my regular readers following the series this far. Either way, we start with the usual catch up:
This is a blog series giving LGBTQIA+ people's perspectives on the Tarot cards. Tarot is a set of symbols added on to a deck of playing cards, depicting a spiritual journey, to be used for meditation or fortune telling. Catch up with the characters we've met on the journey so far by clicking on these links for the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, the Emperor, the Hierophant, the Lovers, the Chariot, Strength, the Hermit, the Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil, the Tower, the Star, the Moon, and the Sun. The particular version that's thought of today as the basic traditional Tarot, from which the myriad of decks are influenced and inspired, was drawn by mixed race bisexual lady Pamela "Pixie" Colman Smith, whose insights I'm sure made it into this art commission given her by straight white men, whatever their expectations of her might have been. So I've asked LGBTQIA+ Tarot users in online groups to give me their viewpoints on the cards, and the result is this series of blogs.
Here we are, at Judgement day!
Angel figures in Pixie's Tarot artwork look a lot more androgynous than they did in the older versions of the Tarot, and I've already said why I think that was a deliberate choice. But apart from wanting people outside of the white cis het man majority, like herself, to be able to see ourselves reflected in her Tarot designs, this kind of angel image actually fits pretty well with at least one way the bible describes its angels. Jesus taught (at least according to one of the gospels that was allowed into the bible) that when we get to heaven we'll "neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be like the angels in heaven" - So, for all that Christians who say they believe so literally in the bible, say about sexualities and gender identities outside what they claim is the norm, their own text says angels are genderless and asexual. In fact, the fact that's what's in the bible has led some people who were brought up with the traditional conservative christian teaching (like me!) to dig a little deeper to see whether the bible really says what mainstream churches say it does, about sexualities and gender identities - and, spoiler alert, it doesn't. I'm not going to let a Tarot blog get sidetracked into a "if you look into the older translations of the scriptures what it actually more likely means is..." debates, but even a first reading of the stories in there will show you that polygamists and eunuchs are just as welcome in the bible's idea of the eternal kingdom as fertility and monogamy is. So much for "one man and woman joining for procreation is the only real kind of marriage", right?
This being a card called Judgement, we're pretty safe in sticking with the traditional Tarot meaning that this angel's trumpet calling people up from their final resting place is drawn from another of the bible's most famous - but famously misunderstood - ideas, "Judgement Day". A day when, according to the same bible, there is "no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, MALE NOR FEMALE, for we are all one." Doesn't sound very "the binary is the only godly way of sex and gender" either, does it! The book where the destiny of Doomsday is described, the great climax of the bible, is called either "Revelation" or "Apocalypse" - two words that both mean "Unveiling" - the revealing of things as they really are.
I wonder what homophobic and transphobic conservative christians do to make themselves forget the part of the bible that says "man looks on the outward appearance, but god looks on the heart", when they're busy judging how people's lives should be lived based on what they appear to be on the surface?
Below the angelic figure, rising from their deathbeds (as, apparently, according to the traditional way of understanding the bible, we all will, when the angels blow their trumpets...), are figures representing the archetypal human identities of a man, a woman, and a child. And trying to look at this card through LGBTQIA+ eyes, that makes me think of two things:
Firstly, the apparently "heretical" (a word whose literal meaning is "choice") idea that the trinity is father god, mother spirit and divine child. Secondly, out comes my lexicography nerd to dive into the phrase "man, woman, and child". Man and woman are named separately and child only once, to mean all children, because children used to be considered neither to have "become a man" or "become a woman" until their coming of age; until then, they were just children - boy children wore the same christening dresses, and slept in the same nurseries, as their sisters. The word "girl" meant child in general while "boy" meant servant, subordinate or submissive . So much for the homophobes' and transphobes' rhetoric of "protecting the traditional meaning of family and childhood", when the way of thinking they're so vehemently attached to is as modern and made-up as any other.
While my brain is on this track, the blue-washed colour scheme of Pixie's artwork on this card reminds me of another way the "boys and girls should be raised as boys and girls" rhetoric isn't based on anything real - the fact that it used to be pink that was the boys' colour and blue was the girls', because of the renaissance artists' habit of painting the Virgin Mary in blue robes.
Christians keep saying things will be exposed when the judgement comes, so I hope they've been looking forward to what's happening around the world now - their conservative traditionalist church ideas being exposed as not coming from a true reading of their bible at all.
Trust their judgement on my sexuality and gender identity? No, I think I'll actually use this card to remind me that I can be freed from their judgemental standards and finally show my true unveiled self, instead, thank you.
If you'd like a personal Tarot reading from me online, looking at things from these kinds of perspectives, you can reach me by clicking Here - and if you'd like to join my LGBTQIA+ Tarot group on bookface, you can do that by clicking Here.
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