Monday, April 25, 2016

i see white people in my tarot cards ~ my thoughts on #tarotsowhite

I just found out about this hashtag #tarotsowhite from reading Benebell Wen's blog post: My Perspective and #Tarotsowhite. The hashtag was created by Kelly-Ann Maddox on her cardslinger vlog, Episode 307: Cardslinger: Reversals | Mini-Decks & Complaining About Whiteness. If you check out the video below, she brings it up in the video at roughly 25:00. She's talking about the overwhelming lack of race diversity in tarot and oracle decks and invites people of color to share their views. I applaud Kelly-Ann for bringing awareness to this topic and for inviting other viewpoints.

Here is her introductory statement but please watch this entire section so you'll understand my comments:
"I am completely aware that another White voice is not what we need on this issue. My intention is to use my platform to open up this dialogue and to start having this conversation so that we as purchasers of tarot and oracle decks can let creators and publishing houses know that we find the lack of race diversity in decks to be disturbing and perturbing and unsettling and all around yucky...."

I am Black, American, almost 50 years old, and a tarot and oracle reader for over 25 years. I've been in the online divination community for about 20 years. I'm also a deck creator and I believe that telling deck creators who or what to include in their decks is the equivalent of telling an artist what to draw and how to paint it. I certainly wouldn't want anyone telling me what to create or who to include in my decks.

It's great to bring more awareness to this but I believe we should be focusing attention on the consumer. The finger should be pointed back at ourselves. If we truly have an ethical problem with a deck, we should not be purchasing it, promoting it with giveaways, showing it on our Instagram feeds, or doing video reviews of the deck. As deck purchasers, we need to change our mindset and buying habits, and use the power of money to create change.

Tarot Everywhere deck ~ purchase HERE

No Quotas Please
I'm not into the idea of deck creators adding people of color to their decks just to suit popular opinion or to fill a publisher quota. I'd rather they create a deck that is authentic to them without forcing a racially integrated experience. Why? Because cultural authenticity is just as important as race diversity. If a deck creator/artist doesn't know any Black folks in real life, how do they know how to depict us in their deck? Are they in tune with our cultural nuances? Are they attentive to our physical features? When you create art or anything else, you create from what you know. The issue isn't about simply putting people of color into every deck. The real issue is about getting to know real people of color in the real world. When we ALL start doing this, it will naturally lead to more inclusion. 

Tarot For Lost Souls (personal deck)

Don't Hate...Create!
In the Black community, I've found that we're much more responsive to decks that are also created by us so we can put our money into our community and support each other. But many of the decks that prominently feature people of color are not actually created by them. If you don't feel included in tarot and want a deck that represents you...create it! Don't wait for someone else to do it. Anything worth having is worth pursuing.

Untitled deck in progress

A Little Help
If you're looking for more diverse decks, don't wait for those decks to stream by in your Instagram or Facebook feed. Go find them! Here's 20 decks to get you started! If you can't find anything on this list that resonates with you, then it's time to make your own deck!! With all of the self-publishing options and resources at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to.

Tarot of the Ages
Black Angel Cards
Afro-Brazilian Tarot
African-American Tarot
The Urban Tarot
Gaian Tarot
African Goddess Affirmation Cards
The Motherpeace Round Tarot Deck
Tarot de St. Croix
Vision Quest Tarot
The Sweeney Tarot
Vudu Tarot/Espiritismo Tarot
Medicine Woman Tarot
Tao Oracle
The Charming Tarot
So Below Deck: Book of Shadows Tarot, Vol. 2
Universal Goddess Tarot
Vanessa Tarot
Tarot of the Boroughs

Support someone who is creating NOT hating!
Become one of my patrons on Patreon


  1. Nice article. This is something I think about. I came across this Kickstarter deck on Little Red Tarot yesterday and thought people reading this might be interested-

    1. Thanks for vising Regina! And yes, Courtney Alexander's deck looks absolutely wonderful!

  2. Sorry but I dont have the talent to do a deck and the ones I do like are sold out. The fact they are selling out is a statement in it's self.

    1. Thanks for your comment Yvonne. But I beg to differ on your comment about the talent to make a deck. Deck making isn't about talent. It's about vision and resources. These days, there are too many resources (including talented artists) to tap into to say you can't make a deck.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.