Inspired by Lyric Seal
Witchcraft has been around longer than just about every major religion practiced today. And though Puritans tried to kill witches off, Wicca is still alive and well. In fact, it's becoming fashionable to embrace your inner witch. Teen Vogue even recently published a piece about "Witchy Culture" and beauty.
However, traditional Tarot card decks (often used by witches to reveal one's fate and cast spells, such as the binding spell against Donald Trump) tend to be rife with misogynistic, racist and imperialistic imagery. This seems counterproductive to the modern feminist witch, so artist Morgan Claire Sirene teamed up with Slutist, a sex-positive witchy feminist site, to create a new and inclusive deck of cards.
"I founded Slutist as a sex positive arts and culture website dedicated to sharing the stories of witches, sluts, feminists and everyone in between," Kristen Korvette of Slutist says. "When I met Morgan through the magic of the interwebs, we discovered so many shared intellectual, sexual, and magical proclivities. I have always been drawn to tarot, but never studied it seriously, and I was inspired by Morgan's artistry and deep knowledge of divination that she gained from over a decade of study. It was an obvious next step to bring the Slutist ethos into a Tarot deck of Morgan's own conjuring."
"I think, and I may be wrong here, that we have the first Tarot deck to center femmes who currently, or used to, work in the sex industry. I also included gender non-conforming and trans people, as well as those who are disabled," Morgan Sirene explains. "Though I can't say whether I was successful in representing those folks, I do hope to show the important role they play in the sex industry and in sex studies. Hot eroticism isn't just for one type of person, and neither is mysticism."
With this Tarot deck, Sirene and Korvette hope to introduce a new, young and diverse crowd of people to witchcraft and the occult. "I meet young women all the time who also love erotic art and high femme and they are curious about getting into Tarot," Sirene says. "I think it would be really cool for a baby witch to pick up my deck and see a person who looks like them, or represents their sexuality."
"This project seeks to challenge the oppressive, patriarchal narratives that haven't done femme-identifying folks any favors over the past millennia. Both the archetype of the witch and accusations of witchcraft have been used to persecute and punish women/femmes for centuries," Korvette says. "In the Western world, witches were those who threatened the status quo, whether by practicing folk magic, having the power of healing, amassing their own wealth, eschewing Christianity, or just existing as sexual beings. We seek to defy the myth of the sexually enlightened woman/femme as less-than or shameful, and in the process inject a bit of sex positive feminism into the occult world, which is still often hella misogynistic, unfortunately."
For Sirene, Tarot is her therapy. When she was going through rough times and couldn't afford to see a therapist, she discovered Tarot and it changed her life. "Magic and divination are like beacons of light in dark troubling times," she says.
And while witchcraft is an age-old practice, Korvette believes it to be desperately needed today. "We're all living in a time when bodily and sexual autonomy is constantly under siege, and magic can be an act of self-care, a way to anchor yourself amidst the chaos — or a way to harness said chaos for your own devices," she says. "Tarot in particular is something you can do for yourself, by yourself, anywhere you happen to be. You don't have to rely on an expensive expert to pull a card and interpret its meaning."
"For those who are curious but have never dabbled in the occult, divination seriously works," Sirene says. "It can be really painful to practice exposure therapy and to ask the hard questions, but in the end it is so rewarding. The Tarot isn't fortune telling, it reveals many paths and shows that fate is mutable - as long as you are willing to look at yourself honestly and humble yourself to the fact that you are a part of everything, rather than seeing everything as a part of you."
Sirene also offers some advice for newbie witches: "Be careful what you wish for," she warns. "I think young people sometimes fail to realize how powerful they are, and that power can become unwieldy and turn into self harm. Self care is the first thing every young witch should learn, but then again, I know that I always did what I wanted regardless of the consequences, so if you're like me, remember that it's okay to ask for help from elder mystics or admit that you made a mistake. And, if your reading is jam packed with swords, it's no joke! Take the time to recognize chaos and self destructive behavior before it gets out of hand, the Tarot will always remind you of this."
The Slutist Tarot deck is currently seeking backing on Kickstarter. At the time of writing this article, they have exceeded their goal. So keep your eyes peeled for the Slutist Tarot deck, coming soon!
All Images Courtesy of Morgan Claire Sirene
More from BUST
Rafaella is a graduate of The New School, where she majored in journalism and minored in gender studies. She's passionate about feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, combatting online harassment, and ending herpes stigma. Visit her website: ellagunz.com