Tarot of the QTPOC and Deck Review: The Mary-El Tarot

Some tarot decks you can look away from.

Your eye glazes over the art and you look for what you want to find; you seek out what you’re used to finding in a particular card, careless of what’s there that doesn’t fit.


my birth cards: The Emperor and Death

Enter The Mary-El Tarot: Landscapes of the Abyss, and I dare you to look away. In fact, I bet you try.

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Tarot of the QTPOC: The Numinous Tarot (the remix)

Listen. I will be throwing all my coin at Noel Arthur Heimpel when their Numinous Tarot is ready for sale. All of my coin. To emphasize that, here is an updated post on what’s cooking for this deck.

Identifying as a “queer, genderfluid trans person,” Noel is committed to creating work that reflects them and their community. They do this brilliantly in the Numinous Tarot, with incredible art that takes the breath away.


Storytelling is my foremost passion, and my most heartfelt mission is to create stories which contain a huge variety of people, especially those with underrepresented identities–specifically, stories which are not about those identities. There is a distinct need for stories in which everyone gets to be a full person with experiences outside of being queer or confronting other “identity narratives.”  [source]


I learned of this stunning deck around six months ago, when the idea of compiling a list of tarot decks that reflected images of my identities was just buzzing in my head. I did a quick post; at the time Noel was just working their way through a stunning set of Major Arcana.


Since I last posted on this deck, Noel has revamped some of the design, particularly around the card titles, and gone on to create for the Minor Arcana. Their suits are charming and perfectly aligned with the world created here: with Bells (Swords), Tomes (Pentacles), Candles (Wands), and Vials (Cups).  They hope to be ready for ordering in early 2017.


The art in this deck almost guarantees that you’ll see something of yourself reflected back in its cards, acting as gateways to a glorious magical queer imaginary. There is space in the magic for you in particular, this gorgeous deck sings out.

I see femme of center people, disabled people, trans people, black people, poor people, poly people, non-binary people, queer people, old people, young people- I see me, you, us; I see our community thriving and in command of our magic.


In the Numinous Tarot, and other decks that do this work, I see the reality of being able to create ourselves in beauty as self healing work- as Noel did in their self-portrait as Queen of Tomes. How absolutely powerful is that?


“there is space in the magic for you in particular…

I hope to see this deck published with an accompanying book, but just in case it doesn’t I highly recommend you follow Noel on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and particularly Patreon so you can not only get background knowledge on their perspective on these tarot cards but you can also support, materially and emotionally, them in the completion of this important sacred work.

Patreon patronage also supports Noel’s other artwork like their webcomic, Ignition Zero,”with over 300 pages and a diverse cast of characters, including two asexual-identifying” main characters. It is updated weekly and is free to read.


[all image credit to Noel Heimpel]

Tarot of the QTPOC: Trung Nguyen

I promise I don’t just focus on forthcoming decks but just one more Tarot of the QTPOC forthcoming deck and I promise the next one will be a current deck you can get immediately.

But first…

(F0r) many people of color – we internalize the idea that we are not considered people worthy of space in our own minds. The people in my life deserve to find themselves considered in the fanciful parts of my imagination – in a perfect world, my loved ones are there, and that means there should be gender variance, there should be a lot of people of color, and depictions of love and attraction should, by its nature, encompass queer affection. (xxx)

Artist Trung Nguyen gets it! I mean gets it! There’s this misconception that QTPOCs don’t belong or aren’t found in the word of tarot, paganism, earth-based faiths, new age practices, old age practices, all of that.

The reality is that we just aren’t VISIBLE.


all art credit to Trung Nguyen

It is not a little thing to find a deck that has people in it that look like me. We deserve to have as much representation as everyone else gets- decks that give us the option of dark, artsy, historical, deep, fun, light, pretty, magical, modern, exciting, and all the other adjectives everyone else gets to choose from!

One way to ensure that, support the decks that do this work when they do get published, and the artists! Follow Trung Nguyen’s work on Patreon and Tumblr.

On a less social justice note, SAILOR MOON REFERENCE, I’m sold!

Tarot of the QTPOC: The Next World Tarot

As much as I love doing this series, looking for tarot and oracle decks that feature Queer and/or People of Color, it can be somewhat depressing to realize that as much as there is improvement in who is featured in tarot decks, it’s usually “or” more than “and”- that is the deck is either queer or it features people of color, rarely both. As such, I get overexcited and my budget overextended when I find one that does both: enter The Next World Tarot.

The Next World Tarot  features a truly diverse range of bodies- young, old, queer, trans, poc, disabled, gender non-conforming- in a ” visual spectacle of both the battle cry and the reconnection, between outcasts and their criminalized identities.” The artist, Cristy C. Road, calls her forthcoming deck, a “post-apocalyptic reclamation of magic” and tarot. It is not a pretty deck- or rather, it is not just a pretty deck. It’s full of gnarled figures and distorted images of dystopia- which for me feels not just like a world that is coming, but one that is already here and being lived in- at least for queer people of color.


What I do love about it, is that it’s not just images of despair, our lives though often difficult are full of love, joy, sweetness, and desire. It’s also about finding all of that within our daily-lived dystopic realities… which yes, sometimes means reaching for fantasy and imagination, and really it’s all about the ways we reach for hope, persevering through all the world throws in our faces and on our backs, carving space out for our bodies and spirits.


Unfortunately, this deck is not here yet. Though you can help with that by donating to the Kickstarter over here (pre-orders are available too!) and perhaps snagging a deck before they sell out- which they will. You can also support the artist here, and snag a print of Cristy Road’s art (some of the prints from the deck are available, I saw The Sun and immediately got her for myself).


Deck Review: The Wooden Tarot

RATING: ●●●○○

The Wooden Tarot created by artist A.L. Swartz has been making the buzz rounds around the tarot community. It’s main attractor being the frankly incredible art.adwThere’s no denying it, the deck is gorgeous, particularly the Major Arcana, which were the artist’s original goal. As such they are the richest images, beautifully conceptualized. They are also very creepy. There’s no denying that. I’m still trying to figure out if I’m okay with keeping a deck that occasionally unnerves me (there’s also something to being unnerved, makes me pay attention). The artist is very clear about it, stating: “I like to combine opposites in my work by fusing the beautiful and the grotesque, the living and the dead, and the real and surreal.” Even the back of the cards, what seems to be a rather traditional triple goddess moon, is transformed with the use of an eyeball as the full moon. Creepy. The cards watch me even as I shuffle.wpid-20150627_210352-1.jpgSpeaking of shuffling, when the cards came there was a slight arch to them, a mild curvature that only made itself really known after shuffling when the cards wouldn’t lie flat on each other. I don’t know what caused this, as the package was intact when it got to me with no visible damage. Still, it didn’t make shuffling any harder, in fact these are the easiest deck I’ve shuffled. The cards are all of slightly different shades, this is because the art was originally painted on wooden boards with different grains. This might bug some, I absolutely love it. Note that the God (Aces) cards- which on the front are significantly different and thus look like they might be easy to identify- are not distinguishable from the back and thus blind shuffle is maintained. ss2The Minor Arcana [Stones (Wands/Fire); Bones (Pentacles/Earth); Blooms (Cups/Water); Plumes (Swords/Air)] have less detail, and are at times disappointingly sparse, especially the Bones suit. For the Minor Arcana at least, you will need your own LWB to feel out the meanings of the cards, though there are some markers you can draw out for interpretation.

I’m also unsure as to why Stones should be given to Wands and not Pentacles (though Bones for Pentacles does make sense). Stones aren’t as dynamic as the suit of Wands often is. The Stones are indicated by crystals though, which do have their own sort of dynamic energy, I’ll submit.

I don’t think I’ll be reading with this deck for others for a while. I need time to get acclimated. This is not a deck I would recommend for beginners, though if you’re willing to do the work, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get it. If only for the stunning art.

The Wooden Tarot deck is still available via Etsy here. The artist was later inspired to create an oracle deck, to be made available around September but you can get in early for a discounted price here.

RATING: ●●●○○

DeckLust and Tarot of the QTPOC: The Numinous Tarot! (FORTHCOMING)

The Numinous Tarot is being created by Noel Arthur Heimpel.

1.of, pertaining to, or like a numen; spiritual or supernatural
2.surpassing comprehension or understanding; mysterious: that element in artistic expression that remains numinous
3. arousing one’s elevated feelings of duty, honor, loyalty, etc.: a benevolent and numinous paternity.

This is a forthcoming deck, the creator and artist is still working on it, they’ve just completed the Major Arcana.

Untitled- It is absolutely stunning, including people of color and what looks like non-binary characters in it. I can’t wait for this to be released. I actually would purchase this deck if the artist released just the Major Arcana. Continue reading