What cards do you associate with Intuition? The High Priestess perhaps, with her pomegranate-patterned curtain partially concealing the moon behind? Maybe The Moon, with her traditional associations for the psyche and revealing truth through feeling and understanding, casting off illusions to reveal their true nature? Then there's The Star, asking us to embrace that guiding light, and listen to the voice that guides and encourages us, her nakedness encouraging us to strip back to the truth on our journey? Or the Queen of Cups, calling us to nurture those gifts of our emotional depths, our intuitive connection with others, and the wisdom it grants us through empathy?
Are the traditional images from the Tarot divisive in their association of intuition with the divine feminine? Are we succumbing to those traditional images, associating creativity, authority, traditions, knowledge with male/masculine cards (The Magician, The Emperor, Kings of all suits, The Hierophant, The Hermit), while perceiving intuition, nurturing, balance and introspection with female/feminine cards (The High Priestess, The Empress, Queens of all suits, Temperance, The Moon), or are we able to see beyond that dichotomy to the message that lies beneath?
With so many readers taking an intuitive approach to the Tarot, do traditional perceptions of intuition as a 'feminine' trait discourage heterosexual men from taking up the cards for themselves, or from even seeking a reading? The male/female ratio for readers (to use that blunt differentiating instrument) would show us roughly a 1:10 ratio of readers, male to female, and of that estimated 10% that are male, a significant percentage of those - probably 55% plus in my estimation - would identify themselves somewhere on the GBTQI scale...so there is obviously something here that we find attractive as a means of expression, a tool for clarity and connection, and a way of seeing beyond the veil to the mysteries beyond - to use our divine intuition to bring that third-eye perspective to our personal toolkit.
I love decks that spin notions of sex, sexuality and gender on their heads...the unusual Manga Tarot is an example of this, portraying most cards with characters of the opposite sex to their traditional RWS counterparts, such as the beautifully masculine Temperance, and the artistic take on the Hanged Woman; and the frustratingly beautiful Mary-El Tarot, with its hermaphroditic/intersex Aces and sometimes shockingly raw imagery, as these decks can make us stop and rethink our notions, associations and perceptions of the message from the Tarot cards.
Do you select your deck based on personal preference for the artistry involved, or do you filter your selection with an eye to how you perceive preference for the artistry involved, including those messages about how traditional associations like intuition, dominance, power, empathy and creativity are portrayed? Do we find ourselves avoiding human-heavy decks, and going for more esoteric or nature-oriented decks, like the stark and symbolic Wild Unknown Tarot, or the modern and symbolic Idiosyncradeck Tarot, so that we avoid jarring inconsistencies between the images message, and our selves/our Querent? Does the imagery from our deck selection influence how we translate or perceive the messages from a given card or deck, or have we become desensitised to the heteronormative messages of the media around us, and we carry this into our ability to seek relevant meaning from what might be irrelevant or even irreverent artwork or imagery?
I strongly believe that we have a unique opportunity to bring fresh perspective to traditional notions of the cards, without needing to re-write Tarot so that it biomes unrecognisable, reduced to an echo or shadow of itself...and to use very broad strokes, LGBTQI individual tend to be less tethered to traditional concepts of sex, gender and sexuality; more willing to explore and to experiment with boundaries and scales, and how flexible they are; and our individual experiences often lead to an intuitive bridge for challenges and struggles faced by others, where we can perceive unique solutions, as we share out own gestalt both with our querent and with fellow readers.
Of course these same advantages can present their own unique challenges to us, and we always run the risk of being marginalised (or unwittingly marginalising ourselves), remaining on the cusp when we could benefit from, and bring benefit to, the centre-ground; or of assigning more power to the symbols and images than we do to our own intuition, and by doing so minimising our own power - after all the Tarot is a tool, much like a chisel, a kettle, a lift - we don't require an LGBTQI version of those tools to knock a hole in a wall, boil water, or get from one floor to another...so should a lack of an all encompassing Tarot deck be a hindrance?
What's your comfort zone? Where do you feel the edge of perception and intuition? Do the RWS-trad images, symbols and mythologies inspire you, or do they make you feel awkward when applying those psychologies to your own life perspective?
I'd love to hear your thoughts and your perspectives, and also your choices of the decks that you read with!