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LGBTQIA+ Tarot: Major Arcana Catch-Up!

Queer Tarot series, the story so far!

By Mx. Stevie (or Stephen) ColePublished about a year ago 3 min read

If you're familiar with the Tarot, you'll know it's set up in two halves - the Minor and the Major Arcana; if you're not familiar with it, you at least know that now! The Minor Arcana is pretty recognisable to anyone who knows the four suits of a classic deck of playing cards. The Major Arcana's set of symbols is what I've been writing to introduce people to. But I've been looking at them from queer people's point of view. Because what you may or may not know, even if you do know the Tarot, is how queer its history is!

The artwork on the deck we call the "traditional" one today, was designed by bisexual, biracial artist, Pamela "Pixie" Colman Smith. The Key to the Tarot, the book she based her designs on, was written by ritualist A. E. Waite. He was influenced and inspired by occult writer Eliphas Levi, whose image of the middle eastern medieval idol Baphomet is instantly recognisable - conservative christians, as well as this Tarot deck itself, use it as their idea of the devil. Half human, half animal: the animal side is half bat, half goat; the human side is half male/masculine, half female/feminine, with both erect phallus and lactating breasts.

Eliphas Levi, in his turn, was influenced and inspired by esoteric philosopher Simon Ganneau. Proto-feminist, proto-Socialist Ganneau went by the title Mapah when he worked in ritual magical circles, a combination of Mama and Papa; like the half male/masculine, half female/feminine Baphomet image of Levi's books, Mapah Ganneau wore a man's long beard and a woman's long dress as part of his ritual garb. His system of ritual magic belonged to a pattern of belief called Evadaism - derived from combining the names of Adam & Eve - a common "heretic/blasphemous" idea that the "Divine Androgyne" - who only became two after the "Fall from Grace" - was the original ideal state of humanity and the divine destiny to which we would one day return. The proto-feminist, proto-socialist school of philosophy he adhered to was called Saint-Simonian, after its founder Duc St. Simon, who taught that society needed a "feminine messiah" to balance the patriarchal political power the church had become.

A lot of today's Tarot readers and seekers learn their stuff from The Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, a two-volume book by a transgender woman named Rachel Pollack.

With all of that behind it, it's no wonder LGBTQIA+ readers and seekers see in the symbols of the Tarot what other eyes might not! So I sought out Tarot readers in LGBTQIA+ groups and LGBTQIA+ people in Tarot groups, online, to get their viewpoints and perspectives (and as an LGBTQIA+ identifying Tarot reader myself, added a few of my own, based on The Fool's Journey, a play I co-wrote as part of His & Hers Theatre Company).

Click here to meet The Fool, the character whose journey is depicted in the symbols of the Major Arcana, and click on each of the links below to meet the faces and the places he encounters on his spiritual journey,and get an LGBTQIA+ flavoured look at them all:

The Magician,

The High Priestess,

The Empress,

The Emperor,

The Hierophant,

The Lovers,

The Chariot,


The Hermit,

The Wheel of Fortune,


The Hanged Man,



The Devil,

The Tower,

The Star,

The Moon,

The Sun,


The World.

I'll be getting started on the Minor Arcana soon, with its four suits Swords, Wands, Cups and Coins matching the four elemental houses of astrology Air, Fire, Water & Earth - a system of symbols C. G. Jung used as part of his psychoanalysis that encouraged men to find balance with their inner woman and women to find balance with their inner man. So I'm sure there are just as many queer insights to be found there, too!


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. To support His & Hers Theatre Company find us by clicking Here.


About the Creator

Mx. Stevie (or Stephen) Cole




Tarot reader

Attracted to magic both practical & impractical

Writer of short stories and philosophical musings

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Comments (3)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock6 months ago

    Fascinating. I'm a retired United Methodist elder & I enjoyed this immensely.

  • Shane Dobbie6 months ago

    How interesting. Look forward to following up on this

  • Loryne Andawey6 months ago

    This is the perfect landing page for your Queer Tarot Series! Fascinating stuff!

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