Book Review: Queering the Tarot by Cassandra Snow

Review by Wren La Fey | Website | Instagram | Facebook

About the Author

Cassandra Snow is a professional tarot card reader and teaches classes on Queering the Tarot and Tarot for Beginners, and coaches new and intermediate readers. She runs Gadfly Theatre Productions, a queer and feminist theatre company. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit her at www.cassandra-snow.com.

About Queering the Tarot

I’ll be totally honest. Even as a keen tarot reader and falling under the LGBTQIAP+ banner, I felt both excited and intimidated by this book, and met it with some trepidation. That is, until I picked it up and discovered that I had nothing to fear – an encounter I shall liken to many peoples’ experience of getting to know those of us in the LGBTQIAP+ community.

Queering the Tarot tackles the unique challenges that people in the LGBTQIAP+ community face, and cleverly finds a home for those issues within each of the cards, so that guidance and deeper meanings may be found by LGBTQIAP+ seekers. For example, The Fool card looks at denial of the self and coming ‘out of the closet,’ and Justice demonstrates that, sadly, Justice may not be on the querent’s side at all, as is often the case for marginalised people.

Tarot is about healing, survival, and empowerment. It is about finding a way to thrive when the whole world seems to be against you,Tarot is about finding a way through your past and making sure you’re not repeating your own unhealthy cycles. Tarot is life.

Queering the Tarot

Queering the Tarot is much like the guidebook you receive with a tarot deck, and after a brilliant foreword by Beth Maiden, followed by an introduction to what ‘queering’ the tarot actually means, Snow jumps straight into it. An in-depth, logical, considered, and thoughtful meaning is sensitively offered for each tarot card. Snow not only lays out explanations for those with elements of fluidity in their gender or sexual identity, for transgender querents, for those firm in their identity, and for those struggling to come out; she also explains when a card does not need to be ‘queered,’ and provides insight for ‘non-queer’ seekers. Each card description touches on the traditional Rider Waite Smith meaning, which I found to be extremely clever. Arguably, you could pick up this book as a complete beginner and learn not only the deeper, ‘queered’ versions of the cards, but the basic foundation of tarot, too.

The Book’s ‘Strong Suit’…

The most illuminating section in the book, which I absolutely adored, was the chapter on the Court Cards, which are inherently problematic for LGBTQIAP+ and feminist perspectives, and are generally quite difficult to learn. Snow encourages us to drop our binary way of thinking and approach the Courts as energies, as genderless personalities, and to feel our way through them. This approach is a particular strength of this book, and I believe this method encourages a better connection with the Court Cards, an area of the Tarot with which many people struggle. 

In fact, this book has many strengths. Snow has managed to tackle two complex and evocative subjects – the Tarot and the differing perspectives of, and plethora of challenges faced by, the LGBTQIAP+ community – and blend them beautifully, much like the alchemical blending of the androgynous character in the Temperance card. She pragmatically explains that Tarot is a highly personal thing, and should not be held as a ‘monolith,’ reassuring us that there are common enough points for us all to explore. She manages to ‘queer’ the cards whilst sensitively challenging binary thinking and heteronormativity in relation to the Tarot, and the wider world, without bashing anyone. After all, Snow recognises that Tarot is a tool for growth, healing, and empowerment, and should be inclusive, not exclusive.

What You Can Learn…

Snow takes us on a new Tarot journey, contributing yet another layer of depth and dimension and adding a freshness to it. You might anticipate this book to be tough going, but it isn’t. It was thought-provoking, educational, highly engaging, and a joy from start to finish. As someone with a fairly short attention span, I loved that I could start anywhere after the introduction. If you have an interest in Tarot and want to further your practice, or you’d like to make readings for your LGBTQIAP+ clients more accessible, I highly recommend this book. It’s a must-have for every Tarot reader’s bookshelf. 

About Wren La Fey: Wren is a Traditional Witch from the South of England, living on a cemetery, and enjoying the beautiful arable landscape around her as a source of inspiration. A lifelong student of the Craft, she is a forager, hobby herbalist, fire spinner, tarot reader, and qualified Holistic Therapist. She has modelled for pagan-based artists such as Chris Down and Neil Geddes-Ward, appearing in seven paintings, a tarot deck, and on the front cover of Chris Down’s book “Otherworld: The Collected Works of Chris Down”. Wren is fascinated by the magic of colour and can be found on Instagram and Facebook

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