Spring2015 Tarot Blog Hop


It’s Tarot Blog Hop time again! Our wrangler is Ania. She’s dared us to throw caution to the winds and get creative. She asked us what cards we thought might need to be updated, removed or even added to reflect our modern society.

Gaian Tarot Elder of Air
Gaian Tarot

Gaian Tarot

[Tweet “Come join in the #TarotBlogHop fun! Check out what changes we think #Tarot needs.”]

My first thought was “Nah, I’m good.” I’m not a huge fan of change (shocker!). I like things to just keep going as they go. But as I considered the topic, I realized that one of the reasons I love the Gaian Tarot is that the creator, Joanna P. Colbert, didn’t just rename the Court cards. She also assigned two male and two female characters to each.

Rather than all male knights (or even all female knights), we have the Explorers with Earth and Fire being women while Water and Air are men. The page category has two little girls for Water and Air while Earth and Fire are represented by boys. She didn’t even stick to the genders of the suits. And it works very well for me particularly since I have a large LGBTQI client base.

explorer-earth explorer-fire
explorerofair explorer-water

Gaian Tarot The Teacher
Gaian Tarot
She also changed the names of the courts to Child, Explorer, Guardian and Elder. None of those are gender-biased. So my thing that I would update/change in Tarot is the propensity towards gender-bias in the Tarot. There is at least one card in the Gaian that is fairly gender-neutral for me. That’s the Teacher. Sometimes I see an old man. Other times it’s an old woman who stares out at me challenging me to learn the lesson of this card.

Chrysalis_13StonesArtiste Chrysalis_14ScrollsPoet

I think it might be fun to name the Court cards Seed, Root, Sapling, Tree. Then you could have the growth of the page, the seeking of the knight, the nurturing of the queen and the completion of the king. For me, I tend to translate the court cards in my head back to the attributes of page, knight, queen and king. No matter what they are named. So with decks like the Chrysalis, no matter the best intentions of the creators to move away from the traditional names, I still revert to them. Mentor, Muse, Mystic and Messenger are the courts in that deck. And it holds to the gender-bias. Even in the Fifth Tarot (which has a fifth suit) there is a tendency to have all males or all females.

So, the thing I would change about Tarot would be the need to lock ideas into gender-biased cages. Haven’t we proven that men make great nurturers and women are superb engineers? Do we really need to keep having this conversation?

Back to Tarot! Court cards should, for me, represent human types (maybe even stereotypes to some degree) but I think it’s important to remember that gender doesn’t own something. That’s why we can have female prime ministers, male nurses, etc. Here’s to living life as you are called to live it rather than as some societally-mandated role. And here’s to decks like the Gaian that don’t assign one gender to each court. Let’s have more!

And if you are looking for a way back to joy, I can help. Let’s do a Joy Recalibration together!

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Author: TarotByArwen

Arwen is the professional Joy Seeker. Her true calling is as a Professional Joy Seeker. She co-creates solutions with her clients to help them find their joy again. "Seek joy, y'all" is her motto. Her decks include The Fairy Tale Lenormand, Secrets of the Mystic Grove, Bianca Niero Tarot, the Elle Qui Oracle, and the Field Guide to Garden Dragons (all published by U.S. Games INC.). She is the author of 33 Days to Finish Your Book.

10 thoughts on “Spring2015 Tarot Blog Hop”

  1. I think it’s great that there is a deck out there (and a beautiful deck it is – the Gaian!) that you can use with your clients that might resonate better for them without the Courtly and gendered titles. I like the traditional Courts, but I agree that it can be hard not to think hierarchically in that particular frame of reference.

  2. Sometimes it’s handy to have those stereotypes as it can cut straight to chase with making a point rather than labouring through lengthy explanations etc… Other times it’s painfully awkward how limiting they are… I like the gender neutral images as it allows room to imagine from lots of angles though I’m wondering if gender fluidity better describes them…Now I think about it… I think I just like decks where there’s room to imagine yourself in a scene that you can roam around in…

  3. Well, I read this on the day, but needed to think about it ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don’t think gender-neutral/specific/alternative/LGBT cards are necessary, because by adding these one separates and pigeonholes those people into that ‘alternative’ framework, (which is where society would like them you know, out there and excluded) when really we are all just people with lots of facets: one doesn’t have to be a straight man to display the characteristics of the King of Wands, for example.

  4. You make a good argument for change! AND I am very partial to the Court Cards that you have chosen to illustrate your blog post with.

    That said, in my heart of hearts, I still break new Courts back to their traditional title when I use these decks *hangs head in shame*

    Even when using the RWS, I never restrict Courts to the sex of the character on the Courts, any more than I would restrict the sex of any of the other characters in the card ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. It’s true, with the Chrysalis Tarot courts I just revert them, whereas with the Gaian’s, because of the gender changes, I don’t. And yes, while I fully acknowledge that I can express the energy of any court card, it can be hard not to just plump for a Queen. So yes, more like the Gaian! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. An excellent angle on this topic, Arwen. Various decks have dealt with the gender thing differently but having pages be girls or boys, etc., but the Gaian Tarot has really gone the distance to take the “discrimination” out of the courts in particular. Another deck for my wish list!

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