Welcome, gentles and lady-men, to the last few, and a little different from the rest, entries in my series giving LGBTQIA+ flavoured viewpoints and perspectives on the Tarot cards!
For those not familiar with the first set of blogs in this series, or with the Tarot at all and why a queer perspective on it matters, let me strat with the usual summary to get you up to speed:
The Tarot is a set of spiritual symbols added to a deck of playing cards, to be used for fortune telling and meditation. It goes back at least as far as the Renaissance, but the deck that's considered the classic traditional deck of modern times was drawn by bi-racial, bisexual artist Pamela "Pixie" Colman Smith, with designs based on the Key to the Tarot book by occultist A.E. Waite. He, in turn, was inspired and influenced by Qabalist philosophy writer Eliphas Levi, whose books are the source of probably the most famous occult image, Baphomet, a half-human-half-animal idol: the animal side half bat, half goat; the human side half male/masculine, half female/feminine, with erect phallus and lactating breasts. Levi himself was influenced and inspired by cross-dressing magician Simon Ganneau, who used the title Mapah - a mix of the words Mama and Papa - in service of his spiritual system Evadaism - a mix of the names Adam and Eve. This, finally, was itself influenced and inspired by a proto-feminist, proto-socialist school of thought named Saint-Simonian, after its founder Duc St. Simon, who taught that we needed a "Female Messiah" to restore the church from the patriarchal political power it had become.
Today, Levi's Baphomet image is the emblem of the Temple of Satan, who use it in their support for LGBTQIA+ rights, equalities and freedoms in USA. And a lot of Tarot readers and seekers (including myself, over a decade ago!) get their first beginners' lessons from The Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, a pair of books by a transgender woman named Rachel Pollack.
With all that behind it, is it surprising LGBTQIA+ Tarot readers and seekers might get something unique from it that others won't? That's exactly what I asked queer people in Tarot groups, and Tarot users in queer groups, online; and from their answers, came this series of blogs.
To catch up on the Major Arcana, the first sequence of Tarot cards that tells a picture-story called "The Fool's Journey", click Here.
Now come back here and come with me into the second sequence, the Minor Arcana, which is split up into four suits like regular playing cards: Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles. These tell us about the different sides of our selves, our lives and our worlds - just like astrology collects the 12 Zodiac signs into the houses of the four elements - Fire, Water, Air, Earth.
PART 1: PENTACLES
Pentacles are the Earth-element suit, and common wisdom says Earth is a feminine element - Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mother Gaia - but it's also the element, and the suit, of the outer form of things; so this is the suit for you especially if your outer form is feminine/female regardless of what gender you truly are.
The Ace shows a pentacle (a 5-pointed star in a circle, I should have said that before) held in hand, shining the way to a doorway out of the current setting into a wider world - perhaps a "closet door" about to open?
The 2, a teetering tightrope figure juggling with a pentacle in each hand - someone not comfortable with the binary, maybe?
The 3, a darkened stone doorway with pentacles in the arch - needing to check what signals you get about how you'll be welcomed when you're inside, before you step through to a new place, is a feeling I'm sure my fellow queer readers are familiar with.
The 4, a miser holding tight to his pentacle coins - who hasn't got someone in their lives who clings too tightly to their old rigid ideas of the world rather than accept the change to embrace their friends and family when they come out?
The 5, two suffering strays in the snow, attracted to the light of a stained glass window - not knowing whether you'll be welcomed as you approach spiritual and religious people and places for help is another thing I share with all my fellow rainbow flag wavers!
The 6, a generous benefactor - we love our allies, but why do we live in a world where we have to rely on them for support in the first place, instead of just being treated as equals by everyone?
The 7, a farmer comparing what has grown, to what will grow - do we stay where we know it's safe, even though it means self-denial, or do we embrace self-acceptance, even though we know it can be dangerous?
The 8, an apprentice smith at work - having to start again and rebuild the world around us is an experience coming for everyone who takes the risky road of self identifying.
The 9, a noble woman in a fruitful garden - when we do self identify, distance ourselves from those we don't accept us and find new family among our allies to rebuild our lives in our own way, we can be proud of everything we are - the world we live in is one we created.
The 10 - surrounded by a family, a wealthy one, surrounded by gold coins - Found Family, what we call the crowd around us of our allies when our old friends weren't - is pure gold.
And so, on to the Court Cards - what the Tarot has in place of the traditional Jack, Queen, King - the coming into our lives of the energy of the suit. The people around us or within us who embody it. The Page, the inner child; the Knight, the ideal self; The King & Queen, the masculine and feminine - one will be your inner, the other your outer, depending on who you are! The Pentacles is the suit of the Earth element, and the Earth element is about the outer physical form. Your outer physical form can contain any, or all, of this, and what your meaning is, doesn't have to be defined by what your material is.
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.