Column: the Coming of the Queer Tarot

Pagan Perspectives

Tarot is a popular divinatory system utilized by many Pagans and Witches of all stripes. With so many variations available to the public (and more being created all the time), we have an opportunity not just to work with an artistic style that we enjoy, but – thanks to the advent of decks engineered with specific communities in mind – we can also “fine tune” the symbolic language utilized by tarot and apply it in a way that speaks more directly to our own experiences and peoples. Enter The Queer Community Tarot. The brainchild of J. Ryan of Queer Street Tarot, The Queer Community Tarot is set to be released this coming November. It intends to speak to LGBT+ practitioners using a common language.

Pagan shop owners fight for right to read tarot

RICHLANDS, Va. –There are places when practicing openly as Pagan is not at all difficult, but there remain communities in which engaging in anything with a whiff of the esoteric or the unusual is met with stiff resistance. Richlands, Virginia appears to be one of the latter. 

Richlands is a town of less than 5,000 people in the southwestern part of the state and, at a glance, it seems to be the sort of place where Christian values are held in high regard at least when anything perceived as threatening their supremacy is proposed. What’s causing the recent ripples through this small community is the presence of Mountain Magic and Tarot Shop. which has become a gathering place for Pagans who previously practiced in solitude and in hiding. Proprietors Jerome VanDyke and Mark Mullins are open about being Witches as well as being happily married to each other.

Looking beyond the presidential election: diviners agree on outcome

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Column: Divination on the Download

In an article posted May 31, Kari Paul at the Broadly channel on Vice pitted Wiccans and professional tarot card readers against popular smartphone apps that purport to offer divination to any user at the tap of an icon. To Paul’s credit, her piece was not the sort of exploitation piece you often see when mainstream journalists cross paths with Witchcraft and Paganism. Her tone comes off as that of a sincere investigator trying to discuss a real tension between two different types of people. At the same time, Paul presents a relatively black and white world where the battle lines are clearly drawn: Witches have a bone (or a card, or a rune) to pick with programmers who think they can mathematically create the randomness and relationships necessary for accurate divination to occur. For example, she quotes one professional reader named Tea Cake who calls divination apps “extremely gimmicky and next to useless.” Tea Cake goes on to question the tarot skills of app programmers, stating that their unknown credentials make it “difficult to sort out what is bullshit.”

Another Witch in the article, Maria Palma-Drexler, tells Paul that “technology has its place in witchcraft, but only as an aide,” while another, known as Blue June, states emphatically that “practices like divination are better carried out the way they have been traditionally: by humans, not apps.” She stresses that “there is no need to add technology.” While Paul does quote author Mary K. Greer in support of apps toward the end of her piece, the overall picture is one of Witches and readers distrusting the skills and sincerity of software developers.

Tarot reader pushes for repeal of anti-divination law

PARKERSBURG, W. Va. — A single mother who wanted to bring in some extra income by opening up a tarot-reading shop has found her plans thwarted by a decades-old law that most city council members weren’t even aware was on the books. However, it was definitely on the radar for the zoning administrator who explained that she’d need a zoning variance to practice her craft legally. Instead, Heather Cooper opted to try to get the law repealed. Cooper, who has been reading tarot at home, was offered space in a friend’s building to open up a new metaphysical shop called Hawthorn, which would focus on card readings.