When I began creating the Queer Community Tarot I was aiming to create a deck that spoke to a wide range of people. To create a deck that allowed different facets of the gender and sexuality spectrum their time on the stage, so to speak. This aim has not changed, but through thought and careful consideration, the deck has shaped me as much as I have shaped it.
To begin with, I am not a trained artist by any means. I am a person who loves tarot, has loved tarot since I first learned to use the cards fifteen years ago, and wanted to bring a little of the world I saw and interacted with alive for others to enjoy. So, when I realized that I would be creating a deck that was not just for me I had to consider the cards carefully.
Editing The Arcana
The cards themselves begin life as stock photography and are then shaped by meditations I have on each card as I am working on them. While this deck is meant for the queer community, it is also meant for anyone who struggles to find a place for themselves. In themselves. What's more, the Queer Community Tarot is meant to be a bridge and an example that anyone can create the tools they need for healing and self-discovery. Tarot is not meant to sit in ivory towers only used by an elite few people.
Because I do not come from a background in design and am using alternative means rather than traditional graphic design to create these cards, I have been able to see reactions on both sides of the table. Most react positively to the cards and love them as I do, they have a depth to them and that can be seen. I think, most especially by those that come from reading styles that use intuitive skills rather than book learned definitions.
Others, do not find them as engaging and prefer other queer decks. I think that's just fine. No one deck will be the queer deck for a person. I don't think it's possible to be one thing to every one person. As the media I am using started its life as stock art, it can be difficult to find material that shows a true glimpse of the world around us.
Finding stock imagery that reflects the width and breadth of the queer community as people is...difficult, to say the least. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. With these decks, it has been my aim from the outset to give equal time and attention to people across the gamut of human experience.
Putting It into the World
I think that anytime a person creates something there is a certain amount of trepidation that goes along with it. Will it be well received? Will people see what the creator intended them to see? Maybe. Maybe not.
Regardless, when I began this venture I attempted Kickstarter twice. The first time, I asked a calculated amount that I knew I would need to produce everything on the caliber that I wanted it, having heard people list grievances beyond images–such as cardstock and lack of a "finished" look. Sadly, that first Kickstarter came close but did not succeed, so I came back again with a goal in mind that was a third of what I had initially asked for the project. We made goal but it was a close thing. Being a person who does not come from money by any means, this has been the most nervewracking part for me. The cost of printing alone, on quality cardstock, is not an inexpensive thing.
While I am still releasing the decks, it will be done with the majority of funds coming out of pocket. We will still see the Queer Community Tarot come November 2018. If you want to continue to support this project, you may do so by pre-ordering on my website or by purchasing any of my other services offered.
Opening the Closet Door
While there are more voices bringing forth queer lenses to the world of tarot, and many wonderful decks,as a result, it is important to note that each deck of cards speaks to someone for personal reasons. Each deck created is a foot in the door to a wider audience. To increased visibility. As with current discourse around representation of people in film, it is important for queer voices to continue on. These three decks will not be the last queer decks to hit the market but it is my hope that they join a wide array of wonderful decks that open the door for future creations from many different people.
This door is important because as we continue to support one another and build ourselves a platform and voice. There are those bigger publishers who may argue that they haven't heard the demand for specifically queer decks. Does it 'fill a hole/meet a need' in the market? Every time they say no, it does not fill a hole/meet a need it sort of feels to me as though they are ignoring an incredibly obvious yes, for sake of their own comfort. Financially speaking. So, in closing, I leave you with three things.
The first is my heartfelt, sincere thanks, as I continue to create these decks I am finding such joy and passion wrapped up in this project. The second thing is my gratitude, for many of you have made me feel understood in some capacity that I did not realize I needed.
And lastly, I urge you to go out and continue to support queer creators in their endeavors. It is those creators that do not receive attention that end up vanishing, and we are left asking ourselves where is the queer content, where are the queer witches, what happened to queer metaphysics? The answer is, of course, another question. Where was our time? Our attention? Our communal desire to make and affect change? We are the carriers of magic, all of us, in all of its varied forms. Our time and attention are exactly that and bring creative beings to life just as surely as it can destroy them.