I Believe You: a tarot spread for femme survivors

Recently I launched a multi-genre zine submission call-out for a project called I Believe You: Femmes Surviving Toxic Masculinity.

The response to the call out has been enormous. The outpouring has been both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Submissions are due September 30th 2017 and I’ve already received about 100 submissions with promises of many more to come. The call-out has been viewed by thousands of people on my site, which leads me to believe the project strikes a chord with femmes around the world.

As a survivor of sexual violence, I know how important it is to be believed. How believing has allowed me to overcome the traumatic impacts of rape culture and severe gas-lighting.

And so, I created this tarot spread. An offering from one femme survivor to another.

1. the truth (top left)

The truth is what I understand the essence of the story to be. The truth is the secret to being set free. The truth doesn’t need to be true to anyone else but me. It’s still valid if only I believe it, even if that is hard for me to do.

In my case, the truth is the moon. I see the moon as what comes after the star. The star is the moment when everything comes clear. After I tumble out of the tower, I pick up the pieces and find the next steps on my journey by following the star. As I walk through the woods I find the path gets obscured by the moon, by shadow. For me the truth is hidden. It’s waning and waiting for sunrise. The truth is I was seeking meaning. I thought I found the truth and I got lost.

The truth is in the shadows and tied to my femme power.

2. the lie (top right)

The lie is about the wool woven over my eyes. Who wove it and what I see when I wear it.

For me the lie and the liar is the Father of Swords. I see the Father of Swords as a master of words, concepts and ideas. He sits perched on a sword, ready to wield it against me. He is a lonely master of destruction. Swords are about ideas and the mind – and often about how those things are wielded to wound. The lie, for me, was told by a handsome man (really men and many masculine folks) who was very good at weaving ideas. He was skillful at weaving half truths that sounded convincing.

The lie is about trusting words, rather than my body, or my intuition.

3: What happens when you believe yourself (bottom center)

Often, abuse and violence is about a battle of wills. My story versus his. My ideas against theirs. The process of being invalidated and not believed is painful and often results in a deep loss of self esteem. Coming to believe myself lead me to realizations of profound, almost psychedelic clarity.

In my case, when I came to believe myself, it lead to the three of wands – a card about clarity, vision, inspiration and creative drive. When I finally came to truly believe that the wounds I carried from those who hurt me were real, I ended up writing this zine call out. My ability to believe myself deepened my capacity to believe others. And now, the zine that came out of my self-trust is likely becoming a book, a collection where we can all share our stories and be believed.


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  1. rachelc says:

    Beautiful. Thank you! And I love seeing The Moon in that first position. The Moon is definitely a powerful card for survivors.

  2. abby says:

    i wish this had been signposted as a spread specifically for *femme* survivors, because i was really excited when i saw the title, and then felt really excluded by the actual post.

    • andi says:

      that is totally fair. i will keep that in mind when i write about this in future. thanks for your feedback and i’m sorry for any harm i caused by being careless.

  3. carolina says:

    Wow. English is not my mother tongue. I can’t at this very moment express correctly the emotion I feel having read this. It’s definitely enlightening, inspiring, a real help for finding meaning and doing something beautiful out of such a horrible experience as rape. I’m very thankful for having got to this article. Thank you, Andi <3

  4. I do not take enough time to read you but every time I always learn a packet! I will use this summer to do all that! In short all this to tell you thank you for all these tips !!

  5. mimi says:

    It seems your personal site has been hacked as it leads to an insta cam site. I am sorry about that, I hope it is not related to anyone out there being bas and it is just an accident. Anyway I wanted to get a reading from you! I hope you can get in touch, or if you need help with the site perhaps I can help. All the best

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