Queer, LGBTQ+ tarot books and guides for inclusive readings

Getty/Claire Brodsky

Whether you are learning to read tarot for the first time or have been a practicing professional for many years, tarot books provide an opportunity to delve deeper into the meaning of the cards. Whereas the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck (it’s the popular 78-card deck you’re probably imagining right now) shows gendered characters like the Emperor and Empress and male/female pairings like the Lovers, there’s no reason you should interpret the cards this way! In fact, many LGBTQ+ tarot readers have worked to expand the way we interpret tarot.

In the preface of the 2019 book Weird Tarot by Cassandra Snow, tarot reader Beth Maiden writes, “A deck of tarot cards in the hands of a young queer is just as important and vital as an esteemed text in the queer canon – whenever the deck is picked up and we lay out these familiar cards, it becomes a new story, its well-known symbols and archetypes ready to be reshaped to reflect our many and diverse lived realities. And no matter what tarot deck you’re working with, these tarot books from LGBTQ+ writers will help you explore new ways to understand tarot.

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Written by tarot card reader and teacher Cassandra Snow and published in 2019, Weird Tarot explores new ways of looking at tarot cards. For example, Snow suggests interpreting the Lovers as a symbol of polyamorous, not monogamous relationships, or as a relationship where one partner is not yet ready to date.

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The Guide to BLACK QUEER TAROT

This detailed hardcover guide written by Justin Henry accompanies Black Queer Tarot Deck, created by Kendrick Daye, and explores both the meaning of the cards and the creation of the game itself. As the creators say, both the bridge and the guide “[imagine] worlds where liberation and freedom are living, well-connected bedfellows. Worlds where black gay people don’t just live – we thrive.

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TABULA IDEM: A comedy anthology of queer tarot

Released in 2017, Table Same explores the 22 Major Arcana cards of the tarot in comic book form, with a short comic inspired by each card. Featuring a cast of LGBTQ+ characters in sci-fi and fantasy settings, Table Same is a creative way to explore tarot.

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Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards

Michelle Tea’s 2018 book Modern Tarot offers an inclusive introduction to tarot. “[The tarot’s] gendered archetypes are more than a little archaic, and many modern decks mess with them in helpful and illuminating ways. Since this book uses the old-fashioned Rider-Waite game as a model, let’s just remember that either sex can be a king, and any queen, and the same for knights and pages” , writes Tea in the introduction.

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She Sits in the Night: Thea Tarot Review

In the 2015 book She sits in the nightcommunity organizer Rima Athar, writer and tarot reader Oliver Pickle, and Thea’s Tarot artist Ruth West, re-explore and reinterpret Thea’s Tarot, a feminist tarot deck from the 80s. Some cards are renamed , such as Creator replacing Empress, and others use different pronouns than you may be familiar with.

In a 2015 review for Autostraddle, Beth Maiden wrote, “I feel like this is a must-have book for anyone who wants to queer their readings, and especially for anyone who struggles with the normativity of traditional bridges and books. But it’s also for anyone who wants to open up their ideas about what each tarot card could represent.

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Next World Tarot: Hardcover Art Collection

Next World Tarot: Hardcover Art Collection

First released in 2019, Cristy C. Road’s Next World tarot deck reimagines the Fool’s Journey – the story told through tarot cards – as a story about “the crushing of systematic oppression, ownership of their truths, accountability to the people and places that sustain them. , and reclaim a connection to their body that may have been lost due to trauma or societal brainwashing.

This gallery-quality, oversized hardcover book features the art of the Next World tarot deck, along with card descriptions in Spanish and English, and other materials, such as sketches.

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Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness (A New Edition of the Tarot Classic)

First published in 1980, Seventy-eight degrees of wisdom is a tarot classic, inspiring countless tarot decks and books, including many on this list. Although the text doesn’t explicitly address LGBTQ+ identity, writer Rachel Pollack explained how her exploration and understanding of tarot ties into her own revelation.

“I realized that in 1971 my whole life changed. I discovered the tarot – the tarot discovered me as I like to say – I sold my first professional story, and I revealed as trans and lesbian. And all of that in that year alone, so it’s just been an amazing year. And in some ways, all of those things continue to ripple through my life,” Pollack said in an interview with The comic book newspaper earlier this year (did I mention she’s also a comic book writer?).

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All our stories: the little guide to the red tarot

If you don’t know him yet, Little Red Tarot is an online tarot store that spotlights LGBTQ+ and BIPOC creators. In addition to offering a way to learn and purchase tarot decks and self-published books, the website also offers many free educational resources. The philosophy of Little Red Tarot is clear in the 2020 guide, which offers an “approach to tarot rooted in subjectivity and self-empowerment, an approach that allows us to imagine new and different futures for ourselves and our communities”.

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Dust II Onyx Vade Mecum

Tarot creator Courtney Alexander wrote this guide to accompany the superb Dust II Onyx: A Melné Tarot deck, which, as she puts it, features “the cultural myths, symbolism, history and icons of the black diaspora.” The detailed guide includes keyword lists and descriptions of the included art.

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The Queer Tarot: an inclusive game and a guide

Created by queer and trans artists Ashley Molesso and Chess Needham and launched earlier this year, The Queer Tarot deck and guide incorporates queer history and iconography throughout, offering LGBTQ+ descriptions of each card.

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