Not too long ago, I was at a large event waiting for the doors to open and my line to fill with eager clients. I had two gentlemen pass through my way and toss off a quick,
“Oh I bet the ladies are going to LOVE you!” while not breaking stride past my table. Ever the feminist I rejoined, “Well you know… Tarot is for men, too!!” they laughed and in fact did not take me up on my offer to read for them.
I would say 90% of my clientele are in fact women but is this truly a “women’s thing”?
"the power of the changing moon ruled over women"
The Delphic Orcle. c. 440-430 BCE.
A review of history places women in the unique position of being spiritual seers, ranging from cultural beliefs that the power of the changing moon ruled over women to the idea that women were thought to be the dark (yin) the mysterious dark power. A power that was so disturbing, in fact, that witch hunts were thought necessary to curtail this mostly feminine power. The great witch hunt during the inquisition mostly brought the elderly, the unmarried, the local herbalists, healers and fortune tellers all women believed to be in danger of losing their souls as a result.
"foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing..."
However, our earliest literature describes in detail the power female oracles have had over heads of state, army generals and philosophers alike.
Today, even in places where women are disenfranchised the most, do we see them retaining the foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing. So normative it is that it is known as “women’s intuition”.
Modern society often scoffs at intuition; fortune telling, probability casting, with some men disempowering the act, “oh well, you know how silly women are… rational men like us have no need for ‘fortune telling’.”
Women with significant intuition have had an interesting journey; from having immense power and influence over society, to eventually being feared and hunted to today’s mixture of bemused patronization. As women have gained in so many areas in the last 100 years in the western world, truly a revolution for equality, there has also been a loss of seeing women with intuitive insight as something deserving of respect.
"women as holders of intuitive knowledge..."
King of Wands renormed: Gaian Tarot
The tarot journey taken by Rider Waite Smith (Rider Waite deck) and later by Crowley (Thoth) continues the themes of women as holders of intuitive knowledge but also under patriarchic control.
Cards such as the Empress and even the Queens continue to express women as mothers and wives, considering only care-taking as the primary role for women. Except for the Queen of Swords perhaps, but even then she is the unmarried sister.
Later on, the Tarot underwent some revolutionary norming with the birth of the 70s feminist Tarot deck by Vogel and Noble, Motherpeace and the Feminist Tarot by Gearheart and Renny. There was significant revision of these roles that continues in many decks today. One of my favorite examples of this is the Gaian Tarot which has turned King, Queen, Knight, Page into Elder, Guardian, Explorer and Child thereby releasing the gender/power dynamics from the Tarot.
"women have come so far"
The Housewives Tarot
Post post modernism loves all things anachronistic, and we see evidence of this in the cult following that is supporting the Housewives Tarot, using images of the quintessential 1950s housewife.
In many ways, women have come so far that this stylized domestic bliss is seen with endearment which is a far cry from the 60s and 70s earnest and revolutionary efforts to break from the domestic woman role. Post post post feminism, perhaps?
Regardless, it seems easy for today’s man to dismiss what he considers to be a “woman thing”. This is a person who is not considering that throughout time wars were waged, land was conquered and ships launched all by the voice of a woman who could see just a little further on up the road.
Some men might do well to pay attention and listen to inherent intuitive observations by the women around them rather than dismissing it as folly.
But whatever our male gender decides to do or not do, women around the world and in every culture keep the torch burning ever believing in their own intuition and curiosity for information outside of time; a legacy that extends back to the very dawn of humanity.
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M.S. in Organizational Psychology and Leadership