Bigotry is Not in the Cards

For many people, whether you are part of one generation or another, the tarot is a solace. It acts as a guide, a thing that allows us to center ourselves, and provide us with doorways through which we can help ourselves to become unstuck. In modern times, eyes are riveted to the news as black and brown bodies continue to pile up while racism, bigotry, and ignorance hold the reins in more than one country. 

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This is Tarot Related How?

A while back I had shared my two cents in a tarot group. This promptly kicked up a hornet's nest of backlash as hatemongers and racist bigots came out in force-even going as far as pulling personal photos from my profile to ridicule them in the group. What two cents spurned all of this? It was after seeing another person post on their plans to dress in a gypsy costume for their fall festivals, because "expects it" when they get a reading, that I posted and said hey, gentle reminder that dressing as a gypsy (or adorning any garb that seeks to mock) is highly appropriative and is best avoided. 

Suddenly people were calling for my head. Saying things such as:

"That's PC bullshit, and I expected better from this tarot group!" 

Yeah, well I expected more from its members too, buddy. I will pause quickly to say that the group head and the moderators responded wonderfully and swiftly removed combative, outwardly mean and racist people.

How is this tarot related, others asked. And I am saying now that addressing the caricaturization and all things political is tarot related because of several reasons. 

1. Nothing exists in a vacuum

2. People are impacted by these events and can and have sought tarot readers on them before.

3. Digging your heels in for the sake of doing so is a refusal to grow and learn from others. 

Yes, there is definitely more attention being paid to social issues today and sure sometimes it can feel like a lot but you know what? Tough.

Often times people leap to calling those that discuss these things SJWs or Snowflakes when they in fact are the ones getting so riled up over a costume. Look at the uproar over the Redskins football team. It's obviously offensive and supremely gross that a football in America can profit off the very people they helped push back and murder but people still balk at changing the name. They both cry "NO!" and "What, it's just a name". 

All of these things are related to tarot because tarot is the human experience. And if you can talk about growth in the safety of your magic circle on social media then you can discuss it in the real world, too. I am tired of people acting as if the tarot isn't impacting, as if we as readers are not impacting because guess what, we are being watched, we are being heard when we guide and advise. It matters what we say, it matters what we bother to learn, and it matters how we grow personally or if we grow at all. 

There is no room for discussion when it comes to asking IF offensive things are okay, but there is plenty of room to discuss how to tackle and dismantle systems of oppression and hurt that still happen around us every day. The tarot is one of the best tools for that because of its ability to provide a larger picture and outside perspective. 

Growth Happens With Or Without You

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There are many people several decades older than me that understand the importance of paying attention to what is happening now. They get it. They've seen communities hurt and pushed downward. There are others, like the ones that I encountered that day in the tarot group who become defensive, vitriolic, and generally childish when new ideas are presented. Why though, do they react this way? I feel very strongly that it's because they feel personally attacked.

As if they have some stake in the system of oppression being addressed.

Really, they shouldn't. It isn't something that they need to take personally but if they do find a small glimmer of themselves in the discussion, if they are so triggered by it, then they can ask themselves why. They need to deal with whatever dissonance is happening and realize that they aren't being attacked. A good place to start is the Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The short version is this:

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The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

Forward. We have to go forward. Yes, it can be scary, and yes you may feel at times as if people are being bossy or pushy, or generally demanding but we are all people and some don't place a whole lot of importance in learning how to actually communicate without sounding overbearing. It happens. See rule number 2. We don't have to be coming at this across a divide. That also means that we don't need to resort to childish name-calling or other abusive and bullying behavior. 

Tarot is important. It's powerful. That means that we as readers must be responsible. It isn't always just the concept of "throwing cards down" for a good ol' time. It means something to someone and as long as it does that for one person, it comes with a certain responsibility to be aware of others and their differences. To approach them with respect and not callousness.

When we leave this world we will have left a mark and it is in everyone's best interest that we do so for the better. It isn't about liberals or conservatives at this point. It's about not being ignorant. Some people actually learned that day about stereotypes and that was good. 
 

To the others, well perhaps they best rethink things if they're in the business of helping people. But that isn't my call to make. I came to tarot because it helped me and I want to help others. That's as simple as it gets but as stated above, everything is connected and nothing is ever really as simple as it seems. 

Don't mistake this post either, I don't think anything negative of the people themselves. I'm sure they are very fine in their own way. But their behavior was not. Their lack of respect was not. And that is something that can be worked on, so I have hopes for those people. 

This post was meant to make people think. If you find yourself angered or upset at this post or ones like it, don't react right away, sit with it. Why are you upset? Truly. 

And then let's talk. 

And take the bigotry out of tarot cards. It doesn't need to be here when we are already fighting so much of it. 

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Thanks for reading. 

 

J. Ryan