Book Review: Queering the Tarot by Cassandra Snow – 6/27/2020
Tarot is old. It has passed hand over hand through the ages, picking up stray icons and images as it went. You can taste everywhere it has been as you shuffle your deck. It echoes in your fingertips, whispering and shouting by turns. Tarot is damn old.
At first glance, the tarot falls along very rigid binary lines. King, Queen, Emperor, Empress, High Priestess, Hierophant--the list goes on. And that can often be a turn-off for those who feel they don't fit into that rigid structure. Who aren't an "either/or". After struggling on my own to adapt the narrow language I'd been using in my readings to broader and wider walks of life, I did what I know how to do when stuck. I looked for a book.
I found Queering the Tarot in my favorite local bookstore. Cassandra Snow is unapologetic, vocal, and fierce in her desire to make tarot accessible to those who don't feel at home in it yet. Snow dives into a rich analysis of every. Card. In the deck: its history, good bad and ugly; the limitations of the traditional interpretations; and reframes each card through a combination of historical and personal experience in a such a way that the images feel more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. Cassandra Snow's core message in Queering the Tarot is about reclamation of your sacred space, healing, and empowerment as you move through the world as yourself.
The sheer scope of information in this book likely means you will find something in it to disagree with. I did--nitpicky quibbles that aren't important enough to list here. I value what I gleaned from it: a wider vocabulary with which to read for people. I am grateful for the challenge to my preconceptions of tarot, and of all the ways experience can inform interpretation even between one reader and the next.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. If I'm being perfectly candid (and I try to be), not every word in the 78-picture deck is a nice one. The history of tarot is complex, and wanders through some dark and shameful places. But the world is full of light, and people who carry it. Tilt it just right, and you can make a rainbow anywhere.
This post was neither sponsored nor endorsed by the author of Queering the Tarot. I just think the book is neat.