I have spoken at length about my personal beliefs surrounding intersectional feminism, anti-racism as an ongoing practice, and the importance of standing up against injustice when we encounter it, and in addition to establishing an ongoing donation to the BLM Global Network as a business (read more here), in recent weeks I have been meditating on how I may show up as a service provider through my tarot practice.
I want to be honest and say that approaching this feels… complicated. I have long maintained that if a spirituality or philosophy does not both embrace and apply to everybody—meaning every body, all races, genders, orientations, abilities, and economic backgrounds—it cannot and will not truly serve anyone. I feel like it’s missing the point.
With this in mind, I have worked assiduously over the years to unpack my tarot practice: stripping away frameworks of gender, power, etc., so that I may better connect to the spirit of this work.
Clients and long-time followers know that I have never offered nor practiced what I call “predictive tarot,” the fortune telling “you will meet a tall dark stranger” type of tarot readings. Rather, I use tarot as a tool offering us prompts for a greater understanding of ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.
Despite all of this, I have been hesitant to engage with anti-racism work using tarot. Among my white peers in the tarot and spiritual community, I have seen too many engaging in spiritual bypassing, abdicating responsibility for their beliefs and actions, and instead focusing on messages of “light and love.”
This is not the time to turn the reins over to Spirit—we are being called upon to Do the Work. And I will be the first to say that it is challenging, tangled and thorny, to be sure, but that does not absolve us from the responsibility.
In my own predominantly white circles, I have witnessed a fair amount of this bypassing, and the all-too-common trend of giving up prematurely when called upon to critically examine our roles as white people in a white supremacist society.
I get it, it does not feel good to realize that our actions—or inaction—have hurt others. A belief in American exceptionalism and a culture of instant gratification have trained us to move on quickly from any such negative feelings that may arise, and many turn to their spirituality when they are confronted with obstacles. An example of this in practice might be the person who says things along the lines of “I never enslaved people, I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about racism. I will instead focus on light and love.”
I believe wholeheartedly that one of the most important and challenging lessons we can learn on our path to personal accountability and self-actualization is that our impact is more important than our intentions. And it is here that we can call upon the profound wisdom within the 5 of Pentacles.
In her podcast Tarot for the Wild Soul, Lindsay Mack devotes an episode to exploring the magic and medicine of this card, and I thoroughly recommend listening. In my own practice, I have often read the 5 of Pentacles as the experience, either real or imagined, of being cut off from our earthly resources. As humans, we want safe environments for ourselves and those we love. We desire comfort and ease, abundance. And when we are confronted with a different reality, we can feel threatened. We can withdraw emotionally, contract—resource hoard.
But what if, when confronted with this feeling, we didn’t contract? I think it is an incredibly important developmental skill to be able to sit in our discomfort, to not push away but to interrogate the feelings that arise, and to untangle their roots until we divine their source.
What feelings come up for you when confronted with scarcity? Do you see equality and equity for all as meaning less resources for you? Are these feelings based in facts, or in fear? Do they align with your own beliefs, or were they passed on to you? And do these narratives truly serve you in your journey towards greater alignment with your highest self?
I have developed this spread particularly with the upcoming solar eclipse on Saturday June 21 in mind, as it feels apropos. I suggest first removing the Sun, a powerful symbol of abundance, and the 5 of Pentacles from your deck and spending some time with the cards, meditating on what they mean to you particularly within the framework of anti-racism, and perhaps journaling the emotions evoked.
Place the 5 of Pentacles over the Sun, eclipsing its abundance for all. Next, shuffle the remaining cards as you usually would, drawing 3 more:
- What is holding me back from personal accountability?
- What will support me in this interrogation?
- How may I engage more effectively?
I want to stress though that these questions and answers should not be an end point and do not qualify as actively engaging in anti-racism, but are meant only to support and inspire us in our work. After all, isn’t that partly what spirituality is for?