On the limitless possibilities of queer magic

From Dori Midnight’s Dirty Tarot (out of print)

I am so, so in love with the queer community I’ve found through Little Red Tarot.

All of the wonderful writers of this blog…and many many others. Radical, magical queer witches, healers and tarot lovers, all putting their politics and their immense love out into the world, touching each others’ lives, making our messed-up, beautiful world a better place.

I’ve made so many dear friends through this work, through showing up and being part of this community. And one of the dearest is Sarah Gottesdiener – tarot reader, designer, moon-witch, healer, and creator of the phenomenally popular Many Moons Workbook. Sarah’s commitment to sharing her personal experiences, and translating these – via the moon’s ever-changing energy – into lessons to encourage and assist all of us to show up boldly in this world, are a huge inspiration to me. Her newsletter is one that I look forward to and read every damn time it appears, one I never fail to learn from and feel empowered by, no matter how tough the world might be.

So it was an immense privilege, an honour and a joy for me to not only contribute to the next issue of Many Moons, but also to be interviewed by Sarah for her Visual Magic blog!

I recommend you hop over to Sarah’s blog to read the whole interview here – you can also find interviews with other contributors to the forthcoming Many Moons. But as a taster, below I’ve shared just one of Sarah’s questions, and my answer.

I wanted to share this here on Little Red Tarot because I want us to have more explicit discussions about queer magic and what it might mean to us, individually and collectively, and Sarah’s generous, insightful question feels like a great starting point for this discussion.

If you feel so moved, I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments. What is your own answer to the last part of Sarah’s question? What does queer magic mean to you? What is its potential?

[Sarah] One of my favorite parts of the Little Red Tarot is how much of a platform it is for various voices that are not traditionally given space in the New Age/Spiritual/Tarot scene, which is incredibly cis, white, privileged, and heteronormative. I’m wondering if you could speak a little bit about the potential that lies in Queer Magic. 

[Beth] The potential in Queer Magic is— by definition—infinite. For me queerness is about limitless possibilities for self-definition, self-expression, self-actualisation —what can be more magic than that, especially when those ‘selves’ are part of a community? Queers — especially those with other intersecting marginal identities – tend to exist in the spaces the mainstream neglects; beautiful, scruffy, overgrown edgelands (see Cristy C Road’s Next World Tarot for gorgeous visuals!) where we can experience a little freedom, support each other to thrive, where we get real about our pain, and where we continually look outwards. We have to look outwards because as well as being reviled and scapegoated, queers are also exotified and tokenised, and the radical spaces we create are rapidly gentrified and commodified, claimed by the mainstream and sold back to us in plastic packaging (we can see this happening with ‘witch vibes’ right now). This is always painful, but I think queer folks are used to it. It can be fuel for the fire. We push boundaries and move a little further out of the mainstream, where discover new sources of inspiration, create new kinds of magic. We’ve always had to do it for ourselves, and that DIY, punk approach is also part of magic.

We work to liberate ourselves and each other. Queers understand that personal and collective liberation are interwoven and are used to support and uplift each other in a way that runs counter to the ‘me me me’ messages of the mainstream. We critique what we are offered (sold) and turn it on its head. Magic, magic magic magic.

Without inferring that there is anything okay about systemic oppression, I think it’s important for oppressed folks to righteously claim the very special kinds of power that come from being marginalised. If we allow it, there’s a power there that can lift us up. Being marginalised makes me resourceful, it makes me angry and proud, and I see folks far more marginalised and/or oppressed than me being all the more resourceful, all the more proud, all the more powerful and intentional and magical. That’s our silver lining, I guess (or rather, it’s our dirty gold.) In our secret, DIY edgelands we forge that silver and gold into art and wands and talismans and other magical tools and the mainstream just does not know what to do with it. I love that.

In terms of Little Red, I’m queer, and I’m also cisgender, white, and middle-class, so early on I realised that I couldn’t possibly speak to all of the topics I wanted LRT to engage in, there was no way I could single-handedly create the ‘home’ I envisaged for all marginalised witchy folks to find community and strength and inspiration. But I could share this platform I’d made, so that folks with different and intersecting identities and/or oppressions could use the space too. I’m proud and excited about the diverse team that co-create this space with me, but I also know there’s so much more we could do. I get very excited when I ponder the future of Little Red Tarot, imagine it being less hierarchical and far more diverse. I want it to represent the edgeland, ever expanding, ever shifting, responding to what our big, beautiful community needs. There it is again: the limitless possibilities of queer magic.

If you feel so moved, I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments. What is your own answer to the last part of Sarah’s question? What does queer magic mean to you? What is its potential?

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  1. To me, queer magic is, you want to make me the Strange, the Other, the Breaker of Rules? Fine then, have it your way. I WILL OWN THAT. I will be the Strange, the Other, the Breaker of Rules, and let me just observe that a whole lot of the rules need to be broken anyway in the name of compassion and justice!

  2. Sybil says:

    I so enjoyed the interview! And your website is refreshing and inspiring as well. Please, tell me what deck is the Heart card from, that lays din the stones in the pic at the beginning of the blog. (Sorry if my question seems trivial.)

    • Beth says:

      It’s not trivial – I should have acknowledged the card! It’s from Dori Midnight’s Dirty Tarot – sadly now out of print. xx

  3. For me, queerness and magic are both about my intentions being enough to change reality. Does magic “work”? Is my gender “real” if I don’t perform it in a way that the mainstream will recognize? My queer magic is faith in a self-referenced reality, moving away from dependence on what I can prove to other people.

    • Beth says:

      Wow, Jendi – thank you for adding this. “My queer magic is faith in a self-referenced reality..” – I’d like to put this on my wall. What a powerful and important sentiment.

  4. Annanstans says:

    Thanks for a absolutely lovely and strengthening text. I recognize my own view of things in your words and also in the comments here below. Being the other and finding strenght in that. Building a community somehow, being in tune with yourself and the world around you and also take a firm stance against all the shit that’s all around us. Being anti, focus on love when possible but trying to gather strength instead of being broken down from the situations that goes against you.

    Love and strength

    • Beth says:

      I’m so glad these thoughts and comments resonated for you. Thank you for adding your own. Our community is a powerful, magical place <3

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