Tarot of the QTPOC: Searching Within The Slow Holler Tarot, a deck review and reflection

Earlier this year, I broke down after circling the project for a while and finally took a deep look at the Slow Holler Tarot project. Looking back at my first Tarot of the QTPOC post for the Slow Holler Tarot, I can still feel how tense I was about it- a trepidation borne of past disappointments with projects that claimed to live in the stars but hardly made it off the ground. To me, that post reads like someone reluctantly dipping their big toe into ice cold water in the middle of winter. The promise of a queer southern tarot deck felt too big of a promise to fulfill.

I’m excited to hold the Slow Holler Tarot in my hands. I’ll admit, I am tense about it as well. Mostly because it holds or hopes to hold so many of my identities, there’s a catch of breath in my throat that won’t be released till I hold the beautiful black-gold-red cards in my hand and hopefully see myself. Perhaps unfairly, I’m looking for southern Black complicated gris gris realities that we live right along with those magical escapist imagined futures we seek out in our magic and in each other. Yes, I know, it’s a lot to ask for from one deck, to ask from a community of artists, people, who may be looking for all of these things for themselves and the ones they love in the art that they create.

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The Tarot Revolution Will Be Digitized

I’m falling for digital tarot apps. This is something I would never have admitted had a twist of life not forced me to acknowledge my potential tech-witch side. The twist of life happened to be emergency surgery, and ensuing bed rest without access to my tarot cards.

I was doubtful but desperate when I downloaded the Tarot of Trees to my android. It was a deck I’d been thinking of purchasing. I had no idea what it would look like digitally, and I uncharacteristically chose to trust the previews on the app’s page.

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Tarot of Trees, screenshot of customized spread from the digital app

I performed my first digital tarot reading in my hospital bed while souped up on some really great painkillers. It was also one of the most on point readings I’d ever done for myself. I did more readings with the deck while laid up and they continued to be on point. Even when I wasn’t reading for myself.

Tarot is an intuitive journey, and there’s no reason the sight of cards on a digital screen would be very different from seeing them on a table. Continue reading

#tarotsowhite, the sky is blue (but prince said we could make the rain purple so anything is possible!)

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a black woman reads tea leaves for two white women

We’ve always been there.

If there’s anything else I’d like to add to the conversation- that I haven’t mentioned or worked through in my Tarot of the QTPOC series– it is that we have always been there.

As card readers, wise ones, root workers, brujxs, medicine folk, keepers of the gris gris…

We have always been there.

Even as the tarot world starts to have more conversations on diversity- one that hopefully goes beyond tokenization and starts with all of us- there is this idea that keeps popping up: that it is just modern decks that we should hold to the diversity standards. That traditional decks, historically inspired decks, etc cannot possibly be expected to be diverse.

Apparently people of color weren’t invented before 1910!

I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit. Especially in a world where some ‘Egyptian’ inspired decks are whiter than bleached flour.

We have always been there. Colonialism and imperialism made sure of that.

Oh, and we made sure of that too- because, yes there were people of color all throughout Europe who weren’t slaves or indentured and I never want to forget those stories either.

As a black queer femme tarot reader, I’m asking that we all stop blaming time for what humanity has wrought.

The original RWS deck didn’t feature people of color because its creator chose it that way and a good chunk of its users preferred it that way- not because there weren’t any people of color around with aspects of their lives mirroring any one of the 78 paths of the tarot.

That choice continues to be made, perhaps with less intention (or just as much intention), today in countless decks.

So make a different one when you pick out or publish your next deck.