Tarot Tuesday: 4 Walls

PlayshopBannerHappy Tuesday everyone! How is everyone? My week is just starting (and also never really ended last week).

I’m feeling a lot of feelings.

I had a lot of… what’s a more positive word for conflicted experiences?

I’m feeling exhausted, invigorated, spent, and fed from a solo trip up to the queer promised land this weekend. I did a little time in the East Bay talking gender, race, and power with 11-13 year olds, and then re-processed those talks with peers over Burmese and Ethiopian food amongst a lot of young bearded and dreadlocked white folk. I engaged in triggering and inspiring conversation with other “professionals” around a community that I’m simultaneously near, in, and serve. I caught some donation based (but very physically focused) yoga. I had a quiet girlfriend night where we laughed, and cried, and hugged over roasted broccoli, whiskey, online dating, and the way not being walked to our cars after a date can make the most liberated of us feel like shit.

P.S. Just in case you need it, ladies. Here’s a (warning: very obscene but perfect) love note from Elle King.

I pulled tarot when I got into town and should have been unsurprised to see the Four of Bones staring back at me.

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“There is a lot going on in this card. Here is the cyclical structure of the seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Here are the changes each of those seasons bring, and their constant return to the beginning of the cycle wherever we may perceive to be…. at the center.. the human heart. There it lies shielded from the elements, truth at the crossroads; the calm inside the storm.

The Four of Bones is about structure, cycles, boundaries and borders. With this card we have the power to protect ourselves and others. It represents the power of four walls. With these walls we can build a shelter or a fortress, a cozy bedroom or a prison cell. The challenge of this card is to know the power of limits and boundaries, and know how to use that power in positive ways.” 

The Collective Tarot

The mystical, strong and fluid, shifting walls of The Four of Bones stayed with me throughout the weekend, my drive home, and I suspect are still hovering nearby this morning.

I’ve been reflecting on what this trip marked for me- the cycle and the season of the year past. I thought about the space the solo nature of it serendipitously brought (as much as I intended and desired it to be a little escapist love getaway). I’ve been attempting to discern what feels like protective boundary setting and what feels like oppressive rigidity. I deconstructed the work that I saw being done in and around community and tried to find gratitude and “balance between the power of freedom and the power of structure.”

{Image Credit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/dogma%20gif}
{Image Credit: https://www.tumblr.com/search/dogma%20gif}

And, Lord Alanis knows, I’m trying my damn-dest to step up to the challenge of knowing “the power of limits and boundaries, and.. how to use that power in positive ways.” 

I stared back into the center of The Four of Bones and wondered if the heart was really “shielded from the elements?” And, if it didn’t feel that way, if this was a sign I needed to build better boundaries or “knock down some walls; loosen the hinges on {my} heart. Allow {myself} to move into the next phase in the cycle of {my} life?”

The Four of Bones (or more classically The Four of Pentacles) exemplifies the contradictory and process instigating way that tarot offers us reflection and guidance. It doesn’t give us the answer but rather challenges us to look towards places of growth through introspection. It warns us that anything to it’s extreme– to rigidity can be unhelpful– and also carries the truth of constant change. Any season will eventually cycle through to the next and (eventually) back to itself.

I’m meditating on how to keep myself in a cozy bedroom.

A shelter that protects me, comforts me, and offers me rest. I want to intentionally create sacred space and feel safe asking others into it as well as feel content and fed sitting in it alone. I want to be able to kindly and lovingly ask for my solitude as well as lean into the risk of requesting company.

It’s not quite finished but I’ve heard home improvements last for as long as you are fortunate enough to have a home.

Currently laying blue prints for my four walls,

Traci

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Traci {She|Her|Hers|They|Them|Theirs} is a yoga teacher, therapist and amateur tarot enthusiast! They try to believe in the power of their inner Magician, stay inspired by the Fool’s spirit, understand struggle through the lens of The Tower/Disaster and always stay reminded that, “The Star Awaits…”

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

MHM Ep9: Membership Cards

Happy Monday REVOLUTIONARIES!

Today on the Mental Health Mash-Up we’re thinking about “Membership Cards.” How we get them, who gives them, when “membership expires,” how we’re accountable to the spaces to which we’re allowed entry and, of course, how this affects our mental health.

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We often joke about “Membership Cards.” It’s a way to humorously commiserate about the struggle of the marginalized as if there was some secret exclusive queer country club where we could gather to drink organic fair trade coffee and discuss oppression without the privileged rif raf getting in and mucking up the place. The truth of the matter is though, we need those spaces, not for their exclusionary value but for their safety and healing.

So what’s the problem? Gather unicorns, gather!

Well, there are a few challenges we’ve noticed. For one unicorns are a diverse group- we come in different colors, shapes, bodies, sizes, with varying abilities of flight and magick. The “Queer” community cuts across all other demographics of race, ethnicity, gender, physical/mental ability, age and socioeconomic statuses. Some of us are athletes, intellectuals and self-proclaimed geeks! Some of us crave the nightlife, a blaring dance track and fancy cocktails while others of us want nothing more than to hunker down with some hot tea, a good book or our favorite Netflix series on a Friday night.

So, okay, start a meet-up group to check out the newest clubs, get folks together for a hike, organize a book club, plan a movie night and stop whining.

Okay, okay, we could do that and know that folks do! {As a sidenote, if you’re trying to get out and meet folks we totally recommend doing a quick search on Meetup for folks interested in similar activities. Of course you won’t know if it’s a good fit until you go but it totally takes a ton of the social pressure off that everyone is going with the intention of meeting new people!} Here comes the next challenge. Do our memberships, especially for those of us that fall in the middle of the spectrum or have some fluidity in our identities, depend on how they currently function in our lives? Sure, we can hope that folks can check their biphobia at the door if someone happens to have an other gendered partner at any particular moment but how about if your group’s activity is a monthly “ladies” night where everyone gathers to dance, hang and meet who everyone else is dating? The LGBTQ community often gathers in gender segregated “safe” spaces (and we’re not even at how this affects intersex|genderqueer|agender|bigender folks yet.) While we’re on that subject what happens when we’ve built community in one identity and find that our identity starts to shift? How does it affect all of our interactions? Even if no one is drawing a hard line to keep us out, how comfortable is it to change the safety of a space with your presence or to bring in someone who changes the safety of a space when you yourself are acutely aware of how necessary safe space is?

It gets confusing.

And, yet, anyone with multiple identities (read: ALL OF US) will tell you that different parts of our identities need to be attended to, reflected and nurtured at different times. Many of us with multiple marginalized identities will also attest to the fact that finding these spaces can be an uphill battle and compartmentalizing the healing around them can be exhausting! So when our identities shift we’re often stuck in the grief of losing these memberships while also conflicted with wanting to protect space we know was so important to us.

Is there a way to access these spaces while still honoring them in our present form?

How are we accountable to the privilege of the new memberships we hold while still honoring that the memberships we held over the course of our life journey might still need some of our attention?

Here are some thoughts on how to manage changing memberships:

  1. Take a moment to reflect. You know how marginalized communities are always talking about “holding space?” Hold some space for yourself and the process that you’re going through so that you can get a clear picture of what you need and where you might be able to access it without impeding on anyone else’s needs/space. We were really moved with this article on space holding around a different type of transition, but we think that it holds a lot of resonance for the complicated and emotional work of holding space for ourselves in the fluidity of queer identity.
  2. Get accountable! Take some time to notice as your membership changes and be honest and open about what you observe. Then if the same behavior that was once acceptable is problematic take steps to do something about it. Honor your current and past memberships by realizing the new intersections of privilege and oppression you find yourself at. So for example, you’re a newly passing transman? Does that mean you’re only allowed to access communities that hold an assumption of a cis-male experience? No! Your journey is (and will continue to be different) but know that you no longer have an all access pass to female space and that your interactions with women are informed by your male identity. We’ve recently been in conversation with folks about this article on Rethinking Masculinity as a Newly Masculine Presenting Person and really dig the reflections and the tips.
  3. Accept if your membership level changes! Sometimes when our memberships fluctuate (via ourselves or our partners) it’s just about conscious, respectful navigation. So for example, you’re a queer female identified person dating a fabulous feminist man? Great! Take your new love interest out on the town and enjoy that new queer art gallery opening on reflections of femininity and power, but accept that you might have to forego the small group women’s only discussion space afterwards if you want to hang with your honey all night. Sometimes you might also have to accept that membership may change from identified community member to ally. For example, you’ve been a feminist female identified activist fighting for women’s safety on your college campus but over the course of the past year have started to align with your transmasculine identity. You identify as male, use male pronouns and are recognized as male out in the world. Should you stop supporting the issue of safety on your campus? Hell, no! We need strong feminist men and safety is important for all genders! However, maybe take a supportive role to your female co-organizers for the next rally on keeping the gym safe for female students and take a leadership role in the discussion group on how men can create a safer campus. It might be difficult to see your membership changing but allies are important and if you can accept this role respectfully you can still be a part of the communities that are important to you. We really like Everyday Feminism‘s article on 30 Ways to be a Better Ally.

Memberships are a complicated issue- especially in the context of queer community. Unlike gathering around race our memberships can sometimes shift depending on our ascribed, attributed or functional identities. It can be a lot of work to keep all your cards updated but it’s totally worth it- there are so many glittery unicorn filled intersectional discussions, social gatherings and movements that need your participation and support! It might be troublesome but it makes us more conscious, honoring humans, that can engage in safe and authentic interactions with one another. So go forth and mingle in identity appropriate circles, we believe in you.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.