This year, I have made a commitment to myself that I am going to explore reading with tarot decks that push me outside of my comfort zone, and one of those areas is reading using LGBTQIAP+ friendly decks. I think it is incredibly important to represent Queer bodies and stories in the artwork of the tarot and encourages readers to use their intuition in new ways.
One deck that I bought a couple of weeks ago was the Pride Tarot which is a collaborative deck featuring artwork by over 45 Queer artists around the globe. I didn't have a profoundly strong connection when it arrived, and it wasn't too fussed about being used in readings so it sat on a shelf and was something lovely to look at. Until yesterday.
Moments before I started my Daily Tarot reading on Instagram Live, I had this moment where the deck piped up loud and proud and said "today, please. I'd like to read today." I listened and decided to pick out the three Major Arcana cards linked to the date (11/1/21 = Justice, The Magician, The World). It felt like such a good download that I decided to give myself a private reading using the cards. I shuffled them up until it felt right and asked my question:
**What do I need to know about my life as a Gay man?**
They say ask and ye shall receive, and here is what the cards had to say to me:
Context & Tangent:
Before I unpack the reading, I should say that I am absolutely aware that my experience as a Gay man within the LGBTQIAP+ community is layered in privilege - white privilege, cis privilege, male privilege, geographical privilege, able-bodied privilege - so this is not a blog about me feeling oppressed. This is more of a blog about me feeling DEpressed haha!
My experience as a Gay man within the community has been very complex and has come from my direct experience of being a large Gay actor within the acting industry. I have always had insecurities about my "community aesthetic" - the main offender being my weight. From my own personal experience, I don't so much feel seen by members of the community, but more often...looked at. It is an ongoing struggle because I am a huge advocate for body positivity and plus-size beauty being normalised and celebrated. It is so important to embrace the body that makes you feel powerful. It just so happens that my body doesn't always make me feel powerful within myself.
In an ideal world, I would be a Twunk that weighs 70KG who has quiffed hair and a chiseled jawline. My reasoning for this is that - deep down - my inner Queer child is crying out to be accepted and normalised. It is very normal for me to walk into a club or bar and see this gorgeous aesthetic of man making up about 70% of the room. I also come from the Performing Arts Industry where anyone with a set of eyes can identify patterns in the beauty aesthetic that is being employed to normalise a certain masculine beauty on stage and on screen. This aesthetic is what audiences associate with Romantic leads in almost every Broadway or West End Musical. It is "normal" to see this type of man and fall for him. And let me just say this - these men are beautiful. They deserve to feel beautiful within themselves and embrace their aesthetics. Beauty should never be a competition - No one's light should be dimmed to brighten another.
Historically, bodies like mine - large or "stocky" - tend to be employed in the Performing Arts as a signifier of lesser beauty, but higher humour and clowning. We don't get to exist within a romantic context onstage or on-screen very often. Outside of the theatre, It tends to be a similar thing. Large bodies are fetishised rather than normalised. It feels as though my vessel may be desired as something to experience, but not necessarily me, and this is something I have had difficulty processing for years. The Pisces in me just wants to be held! I think this soul vs vessel debate is something that all Gay/Queer men can relate to or have experienced at some point in their lives. It is difficult to feel like merely a vessel of desire because the soul longs for that same validation. The soul longs for love too.
I can only talk from my own personal experience, but that is a feeling I hold inside and I feel may resonate with others who are used to the shadow voices inside, reminding us that if I don't conform to a certain standard of beauty, I am not worthy of love and affection within the contexts of my own community. Those voices don't always win, but when they do, it certainly takes its toll on self-worth & self-esteem.
Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk. Now...back to that reading...
With all of that context in mind, I hesitantly placed down my three cards from the Pride Tarot and was met with a full reversal spread (something that is not uncommon if you follow my Instagram Lives):
PAGE OF WANDS IN REVERSE.
10 OF WANDS IN REVERSE.
7 OF CUPS IN REVERSE.
Immediately, I knew that this reading was about my body. This deck obviously knew that I had been doing a lot of shadow work around my worth as a Gay man and that I needed to hear this now before I regressed into old, unuseful ways of thinking. It was like I was Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by the Gays of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
The Page of Wands was first. He stood there in all his glory with his body glistening in the sunlight and he called out to me and said, "You're not giving yourself a chance."
He said, "There is so much trauma cooped up in your brain around your body that you would rather hide in the shadows of that closet again than come celebrate yourself with this community with the body that you have." I felt seen. I have taken a huge step back from being seen within the community because of this exact point. I don't want to be seen. I had accepted a low vibrational attitude towards my sexuality so I wanted to hide and let everyone else do their thing without me.
"What are you so scared of?" He said with that firey voice of wands.
"You're never going to live your best life if you keep all your best assets hidden."
The 10 of Wands was next. This was different fire energy. This was refined fire, like the voice of reason. They looked up at me with gentle eyes, through their regality they said, "It takes all sorts to make this world. You have very a very clear idea of the aesthetic that everyone accepts as attractive and you are othering yourself. You are using that hurt as a shield for the real reason you're not thriving in this community." Again, this was a message I needed to hear and was based in so much truth.
"You are thinking way too much...Aren't you tired of holding onto it all? Maybe it's time to let it go."
And then came in the 7 of Pentacles. This wise guru sat beneath all my chakras and from his grounded state gave me a solution to what has been going on within me.
"You have a choice here, Mercury. You can continue to play this back and forth with low vibrational sexuality or you can do the work."
"Delve into those shadows and start the journey towards why you feel so much lesser than." This was an incredible journal prompt for me - why do I feel lesser than?
What I wasn't expecting was the parting message from the 7 of Pentacles:
"Think less about what the community has against you, and more about how your own projections are hindering your own experience within the community."
From this 3 card reading from a deck I had barely even met, I have been given some of the best advice surrounding how to better my experience as a Gay human within a wider community:
Give Yourself a Chance - I need to practice what I preach and get into the arena and get down and dirty. Life is about participating. There is a time and place for voyeurism, but that shouldn't be my default state. In the wise words of Edith "Big Edie" Beale in Grey Gardens, "You're in this world, you know, Edie...You're not out of the world." I'm listening to that strongly today.
Stop Using Your Trauma as a Shield - Things won't get better if you can't change your perspective. I have been holding onto thoughts, feelings, and memories that no longer serve me but have been tainting the image of my future based upon my projections from the past. This is something I am going to schedule therapy over because It is important. I am worthy of a new healthy perspective.
Do The Work Over Engaging in Low Vibrational Sexuality - There is toxicity within the Gay community, and that comes from normalised toxic behaviour against the community to make every single member of LGBTQIAP+ that they are lesser and not worthy of love or affection. That being said, It is not an excuse for me to engage in toxic behaviours myself. If you spot it, change it! I need to be constantly seeing myself as a work in progress and also accepting that I have the vessel I have. That won't change unless I put work into it. It's a cliche, but the phrase that comes to mind is "If you can't love yourself, how in the hell can you love someone else." I need to be stronger than that.
So, from today I am making a commitment to myself on this New Moon in Capricorn to start the journey towards writing a new chapter for my body and my sexuality, and get into the arena and get down and dirty. I am worthy of love and affection. I am worthy of desire.
I am worthy.
And so are you 🙏🏻