Age, Race, and Gender in Tarot

These are my personal reflections on age, race, and gender in the tarot so please enjoy what resonates with you and feel free to disregard the rest. This is by no means a thorough examination of this subject, but I wanted to touch on it before the first court card description in my “78 Ways to Heal with Tarot” series. 

RiderCourt

As we have approached our first set of court cards in this tarot series, I wanted to briefly acknowledge the fact that most of the older, traditional tarot decks that we know and love have problematic elements in our modern society. To begin with, the majority of us have limited emotional connection to royalty, so for many readers and seekers, when the court cards show up in a reading there is potential for confusion or detachment from the reading.

The larger issue is that most of the characters we see in the decks are cisnormative, white, enable-bodied humans which hardly reflects the beautiful range of people we encounter in our daily lives. This is problematic throughout the deck but tends to stand out in the Court Cards.

When studying the tarot, many traditional resources will suggest using the court cards (generally labeled Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings) to represent the person seeking the reading and/or people in their lives. This often extends to a suggestion of the appearance and age of the person. As an example, it is common to see suggestions like this:

Pages = children under 14
Knights = teenagers, unmarried young adults
Kings & Queens = older (or wiser) people, married (or partnered)

The descriptions for each of the court cards are often quite detailed, such as: “The Queen of Pentacles has a dark complexion and her hair and eyes are often dark brown.”

While there may be a place for using the court cards this way, I find it too limiting and it supports assumptions that I am not comfortable with.

My personal approach to these cards is that the energies may be inherently masculine (active) or feminine (receptive) and that the ages suggested by the court cards reflect maturity and experience. This is a broad generalization but the idea is that for me these cards often embody certain qualities rather than physical appearances. While these cards may represent the querent or people in the querent’s lives, it can also be personality traits in the seeker that are being called in.

For example, I have met individuals in their early 20s who had wisdom far beyond their Court-cards-collageyears and could easily fit into the Queen/ King territory. Similarly, I have known adults in their late 70’s who seemed to have halted their expansion in the “Pages” timeline. By opening up the way we use the court cards, we allow possibilities to further tap into our intuition and best serve our clients. Within the court cards, as in all tarot cards, we can find rich symbolism and correspondences which can be a bit overwhelming at first.

The wonderful thing is that there is a huge shift in tarot card designs and approaches towards the issues mentioned here. There are some lovely decks featuring people of color, non-binary individuals, differently-abled people and all manners in-between.* Many modern readers wish to honour the diversity in their lives. While there is so much rich dialogue to be had around this topic, I will take my leave here for now.

*While it is important to support artists who are creating diverse decks, it is worth a bit of research to ensure that the artist profiting has not directly appropriated a culture that they do not belong to. This is tricky territory…or tarot-tory 😉

Until our paths cross again…

 

Tarot Guidance for the Full Moon in Taurus

The energy of the Six of Cups Reversed may find us feeling a bit nostalgic or looking at times in the past when we were truly happy and felt engaged with our family and/or community.

This full moon is a time of grounding and finding our stability. Often as we evolve and grow into the person we are meant to be, we lose relationships with people we care about. This is not always something to grieve, but a natural process. Think of all of us as trees–we may start out on the same trunk but as we grow and twist, our branches may diverge and that is okay! This lunar cycle brings us home to the things that help us to be aware of our foundations and what makes us truly happy.

This card often features happy children playing. As adults, we spend so much time making sure our needs (and often the needs of loved ones) are being met that we forget to tend to what makes us blissful!

🥰I invite you to take some time to engage in play. If you have children, they will likely be more than happy to join you, but if not, play on anyways. What did you love doing as a child? Could you try it again? Is there something you have always wanted to try but were afraid to? Think of the fearlessness of children! They are constantly trying new things. Return to joy!

If looking at the past is painful for you, it may be helpful to do a small ritual of letting go during this full moon (remembering that the energy of this full moon will be around for 3 days after tonight. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It can be as simple as writing something that you wish to release and (safely) setting fire to it, or simply setting an intention to let go of that which is no longer serving you.

If you would like to have a personal reading with me, you may do so here.
And as always, if you have any questions or would like to know more about my reading style, please feel free to drop me a line.

Until our paths cross again…