Tarot for a World Beyond Binaries
We contain all the archetypes—every single one of us. We all have some Empress and Emperor, some Queen and King. We all go through phases of Death and phases of The Fool and phases of The Sun. The more we work with Tarot, the more we realize that binaries don’t exist and everything is fluid—gender, meaning, even time. We come to realize that we’re all creatures made of earth and air, fire and water, all four elements bound together by the fifth element: spirit.That's the inspiration for Fifth Spirit Tarot, a queer and inclusive 78-card deck conceived and created by Charlie Claire Burgess (they/them), a queer and non-binary tarot reader and artist. Fifth Spirit seeks to expand the archetypes beyond the gender binary and reflect the diversity and divinity of human bodies and human spirits. The artwork lovingly features folks of different races, body shapes, abilities, ages, and gender expressions, and special care was given to leave the cards open to interpretation for various relationship styles and family groups.
A Note on Gender (from the artist): Instead of renaming the cards for gender-neutrality, Fifth Spirit seeks to challenge the gender binary and expand notions of gender through the juxtaposition of traditional title and queered imagery. The Major Arcana and the Court Cards all bear their traditional titles of Queen and King, Empress and Emperor, and so on, but here the Empress has long, flowing hair and a flat, hairy chest. The Emperor has a beard and breasts at the same time. The Lovers wears a chest binder, pressing palms with their astral mirror, learning to love themselves. In Tarot as in life, a nonbinary femme can be King, a cisgender man can be Queen, and everyone in between can defy or expand or ecstatically embody any or no gender that they wish. Retaining the familiar naming system makes the deck easily usable by everyone, including beginners, and expands conceptions of gender at the same time. In the included guide booklet and the full-length Fifth Spirit Tarot Guide, they/them pronouns are used to refer to the humans in every card.