Grieving and Points of Light

I’m struggling to keep it together right now.  I find myself consumed with grief.  I’m wooly-thoughtsgrieving the future that I could see.  The feeling is as though I were standing on solid ground and suddenly the earth fell away before me and left a gaping chasm of a canyon.  I can still sort of see that future I was imagining, but it’s miles away across the open gash in the earth and I can’t see a way to cross it.

I keep finding myself crying and I have to step away even from my ‘safe’ social media channels.  Instagram is normally my ‘safe’ place but right now it’s a channel for people to express their grief and rage and sadness.  And that’s okay.  I encourage anyone to express their feelings in whatever venue they need.  It’s just that I can’t be in that mix right now.

Somehow it only occurred to me last night that Trump’s victory in the election on Tuesday also means that he gets to choose a supreme court justice.  And that made me lose it.  I’d been trying to focus on the fact that it’s only four years, but now I’ve remembered that he gets to choose someone terrible aligned with his values of hate and they’re going to be there for LIFE.  So it’s not just four years.

That bright, hopeful future, where trans folks could have the same rights as everyone else, where our racist law enforcement system could be repaired so that my friends of color didn’t have to fear for their lives all the time, it just feels like it’s been ripped away.  And I don’t care if I sound melodramatic, but it feels like something tore open my chest and ripped out my heart and I’m just trying to press bandages to the open wound while blood pools in my shoes.  The fact that so many people in my country voted for this hate filled, bigoted, vitriolic person makes me feel afraid and ashamed to be near them.  My state went red this year, so that means that half my neighbors and co-workers voted for him.

I’m trying to be positive in the face of all this grief.  So I just set up a small monthly recurring donation to Planned Parenthood.  I’m going to be trying to choose another organization that will support those people that this new president is going to be terrorizing.  And I’m collecting resources (below) that are helping me through all this in the hope that they might help others.

What to do when Hate wins.

You are strong and beautiful and I love you.

An illustrated guide to how to help someone experiencing anti-Muslim harrassment.

And to all of my fellow queer folks, poc, trans folks, and all other marginalized people out there.  I love you.  Your feelings are valid.  You are beautiful and wonderful and worthy of love and respect.  I’m sending you love and light today and all days.  Stay safe, don’t give up, we’ll handle this together.

 

Tarot Talk: How to make your tarot practice (and your life) more queer inclusive and friendly

tarot-talkI work hard to try to make my Tarot practice more inclusive.  I’m a cis gender white person, so I know there are places that I fall short in terms of inclusion around issues of race, class, and ability (and probably other ways too).  But I always want to improve, so if you ever notice a place that I could use work or have a suggestion on how I can improve, I’d love to hear about it.  Please feel free to get in touch!  Leave a comment, tweet @woolywitchy, carrier pidgeon, I would love to hear from you.

IMG_0626One of the way that I get to improve is when people share how they’ve promoted inclusion and openness.  So this is my attempt to add to that dialog.

I identify as lesbian/queer (and lots of other finely tuned aspects of identity, but for the purpose of brevity I’ll leave it there for now) and here is my experience of how I promote inclusion in my tarot practice.  And how you can do it too!

The first step I encourage you to take is to educate yourself on some queer issues.  Are you familiar with the Gender Unicorn?  Do you know what terms like cisgender and genderqueer mean?  You’ll be better able to relate to queer clients if you’ve done a little background reading.

A second step is to consider where you use traditional gender roles in your tarot the_magicianreading and what assumptions are being made about the roles of different cards.  Yes, the Magician is pictured as a man in many depictions of the card, but does that energy necessarily have to be masculine?  Gender expression, identity, sexuality, all of these things exist on a spectrum and not just in a binary system.  The Magician could be a woman who embodies energies that have been traditionally associated with the masculine.  Reconsider where you’re using pronouns and assigned genders in your reading.  Maybe the Empress is a man, exhibiting nurturing and internally focused energies.

Instead of talking about masculine and feminine energies, talk about how those energies behave.  Instead of saying that it’s a masculine energy say that it’s forceful and authoritative.  There’s nothing about those traits that are inherently male.

For more reading and learning on this subject I highly recommend Cassandra Snow’s series Queering the Tarot.  She had a line in particular that I really liked in her latest post on the Ace of Wands:

“Really if people take one thing away from my entire series or need a single starting point for being a reader who is accessible to LGBTQ+ seekers it should be this: never assume someone’s gender, pronouns, or sexual identity, and ask respectful, relevant questions if any of it comes up in a reading.”

 

Bottom line, don’t make assumptions when you’re reading tarot.  Another way you can be explicitly inclusive to ask what pronouns a client uses for themselves (also note the use of ‘them’ as a gender non specific pronoun there) and then use those in your reading when speaking about them or to them.

My last piece of advice is to state, right out, that you’re welcoming to LGBTQ+/queerimg_0456 clients.  That goes a huge way to setting my mind at ease when I’m searching for a service.  It’s tiring to constantly have to wonder if my little lesbian self will be welcome in different situations.  Remember that for queer people, exclusion is the societal norm in most spaces, so if you don’t say you’ll be welcoming to me, I don’t know if I’ll be safe in your space.  Especially in this violently divisive election year when I’ve started seeing Trump campaign signs around my neighborhood, it’s so important to voice your support and acceptance of the marginalized communities around you.  Don’t make me have to ask, tell me right off the bat that I’ll be safe and respected in your practice and your group.  It’s a little thing to do that has a huge impact.

Be Excellent to Each Other!

P.S. If you’re looking for a specifically queer themed spread to try, check out my Pride and Love Tarot Spread.

Repost: walking through fire, a gathering of survival strategies by community and allies — Asali Earthwork

I wish I could say that I was surprised at the events over the last week or two.  Surprised that while I was safe at home two more black men were killed by police attacks, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  But, sadly, like my reaction to the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, I wasn’t surprised.  I feel sad and sometimes hopeless, but never surprised any more.

I felt like I knew what to do in the wake of the Orlando shootings.  I’m gay, this was my community.  I feel less well equipped as to what I can or should do to help my POC friends.

The best thing I’ve found that I can do so far is to listen to those POC voices, support them when they ask for help, listen to their stories and trust them.  My voice doesn’t have a place in the discussion except to amplify theirs and be the best ally that I can be.  And to remember that this isn’t about me, but that it’s my job to help fix the problem.

I’m boosting a post from Asali Earthwork.  Go, listen to her, and help where you can.

I’m still reeling. Here is a link round up of community and allies with strategies that have helped the healing along. – Where does a healer’s anger go? Beyond love and light. I wrote a piece for the Little Red Tarot on holding space for anger that bleeds through my identity as a black queer […]

via walking through fire, a gathering of survival strategies by community and allies — Asali Earthwork

Edit: a few more links to add

Girlbosswoo has some important thoughts in her open letter to white business owners, this was especially good for me to read as a white person.

Worts and Cunning also has some good advice.

Mind, Body, Spirit: a Healing Spread

I wanted a little intuitive advice on Monday about how to help heal after the traumatic news from Orlando.  I looked to my cards.  I used the simplest of spreads because I wanted something simple and easy to understand so I chose a Mind, Body, Spirit spread and I used my Prisma Visions deck.  What I got felt so right and so applicable that I knew I should share it in case it could help anyone else.

IMG_0877

  Emperor | Queen of Pentacles | Three of Swords

Mind: The Emperor

I’d been reading a lot of articles on Monday about the attack in Orlando and there was only so much information available, but that never stops the 24 hour news cycle machine from churning and re-churning information and speculating and just really over saturating us with coverage.  The Emperor card told me that I needed to take back control for myself.  In a situation where everything normal had suddenly been thrown into horrible chaos, this made perfect sense.

I’m taking a media break, only indulging in internet and media in places I know will be safe for me.  For me, instagram is a comforting place and so I’ve been spending some time there.  I’ve also been watching TV shows that are soothing and not upsetting (think cooking shows and How Things Work).

TLDR: control what you’re consuming, if the news coverage makes you too upset, it’s okay to disengage.  You have to take care of yourself or else you can’t take care of anyone else.

Body: Queen of Pentacles

Nurture your physical self.  Make sure you’re eating nutritious and comforting food.  Get a healthy amount of sleep.  If exercise is your thing head to the gym, get outside in the sunlight (where you’ve got it).  Self Care. Self Care. Self Care.  For me this looks like my Zumba class last night, knitting a rainbow shawlette, and an oreo milkshake.

It also meant a little witchy crafting in my house too.  Little rituals and crafts help keep me centered and keep me from feeling completely useless when something terrible happens and I can’t be there to physically help.

Spirit: Three of Swords

Boy, this one looked appropriately dire.  I think what the card is saying is that the hurt we’re all feeling is very real.   People out there hate queer people enough that they want to kill us.  It’s a frightening feeling.  It definitely had me wondering if I should go to the Pride events coming up locally.

The message here in the three of swords is that we need to hold space for the feelings that we’re having.  But the butterfly on the card reminds us not to let our sadness keep us from growing and recovering.  Being queer is about building resilience and not letting hate tear us down.  We must emerge stronger and more determined to live our truth and to keep supporting the most vulnerable parts of our community.

So choose what you take on right now, take care of yourselves,  and give yourself time to grieve and then come back stronger.

Coming out of the Closet

I read a lot of tarot blogs, and I’d love to read more (hint hint, I’d be delighted to hear your recommendations!), and I love to share good things that I find with the blog as well.

I want to start my post by saying that I really like Biddy Tarot a lot.   I think Brigit puts out a lot of great information and she’s informative and accessible.  I think you should definitely be reading her blog if you aren’t already.

The other day she put out a podcast called Coming out of the Tarot Closet.  I liked the article and I think it had a lot of great advice about facing your fears and living your authentic truth.  But it always gives me some pause when I see people using ‘coming out of the closet’ in ways that don’t relate to queerness.  I’m uncomfortable when that phrase gets co-opted.  I’ve always had a little trouble expression why that bothers me so much.  I was talking about it with my wife this morning and she just hit the nail on the head.  The difference between telling people that you read tarot cards and telling people that you’re gay is the systematic discrimination that queer people face.

I am sure that some tarot readers get a lot of flack from other people who don’t understand what tarot is really about.  Especially with the rise of a lot of really fundamentalist religious groups that we’re seeing lately.  So I won’t say that telling other people that you read tarot can’t get you some nasty reactions.  It could possibly even cost you some relationships if things were really bad.  I don’t doubt that there are young people who could face abuse if their parents found out they read tarot. But the difference is that tarot readers don’t face the systematic discrimination and disenfranchisement that queer people living in our culture do.

When was the last time that you heard about a tarot reader being murdered for having their tarot cards on them?  Queer people, especially trans people of color, are killed every single day in America and places all over the world.  In most places queer folks can’t adopt children, they can’t be married, they can’t inherit their partner’s pensions, and there are plenty of places where it’s completely illegal–you can be killed for being gay.

I just want you to read that one again.

I’ve been pretty lucky in many ways.  My workplace allowed domestic partner benefits long before my state finally allowed legal same sex marriage.  But, before marriage was federally recognized, the portion of our medical insurance that covered my wife was regarded as extra income.  Which meant that I had to pay extra taxes on that coverage.  We did the math, it worked out to an extra $1,000 dollars every year because my spouse was a woman and not a man.

And I get it, it’s just a phrase, just some words.  But words are powerful things.  And when they get co-opted for everything from tarot cards to coming out as liking a certain TV show, it cheapens their impact.  It makes it seem like these events are the same.  And they’re really really not.

So, please, the next time you’re tempted to say that you had to ‘come out’ as a _____, please pause and think of some other way to talk about it.

I’d love to hear some other perspectives on that issue since I’m sure there are aspects I haven’t considered.  Please feel free to leave a respectful comment below!