I’ve always had an unspoken policy when it comes to tarot readings I do for others and that is that the deck cannot be entirely white. If a deck features human characters all the way through and all of them are white, I don’t use it. The reason for that is that there’s a zero percent chance that person lives in a world without any people of colour. The scenes on the tarot cards are magical and symbolic, but the decks I like also tie into real life and in real life the world is not white. Fortunately I have very few decks with an all-white cast of characters. I don’t use the original Rider Waite to read with, pretty much at all, because of this.
I recently broke my budget a little bit by ordering a tarot deck being put out by a celebrity and reader I admire and follow closely. All the art I’d seen was gorgeous and it comes with a real book written by this person that sounds like it would be interesting even without the deck. AWESOME. The deck also featured people with a diverse range of skin tones and styles which is what I’m always looking for! I went through every card admiring the art and then got to the last one and realized every single person on those cards was thin. Even the disembodied hands were thin. All of my excitement just drained right out.
How can I read these cards for me and my life if I’m not in this world at all? I can’t leave my house on any day and fail to see any fat people. Fat people are everywhere. Not even fat people – even just people who are not super thin. In my imagination and subconscious all people are not thin. All the people in my dreams are not thin. The people I read for, and the people I pass on the street every day are not ALL thin. So the people on my decks cannot all be thin.
I liked everything else about the deck and wondered if I still wanted to review it. I have turned down advertisers who make clothes that don’t come in plus sizes, and decided not to review a book that featured mentions of weight loss or fatness that I found inappropriate. So it shouldn’t be any different with tarot decks, right?
But therein lies the problem – that excludes a LOT of decks. Old and new. It excludes a lot of decks that are mass produced which means they are cheaper and more easily accessible. Though it’s great to support indie artist and deck makers and I HIGHLY recommend it when you can, this is often more expensive both to buy and have shipped. Those are just the unfortunate facts of our capitalistic life. It’s also hard to verify. I had only seen a few cards of the deck I bought and never even considered that none of the bodies would be fat. NONE. Not even the world or the empress! Sometimes the only way to know is to buy the deck first, which sucks.
I considered just putting a disclaimer, but the longer I thought about it the sadder about it I got. I felt invisible. Like I wasn’t welcome in this world. This beautiful, diverse world still had no room for me. That’s not ok.
So I made a decision. I will NOT review, endorse, or back on Kickstarter any tarot or oracle deck that is predominantly human which does not include fat bodies. Even just 1, just one fat body. No fat bodies, no review, and no money from me. I’m not giving my hard-earned money to someone who makes me feel invisible. This is such a small thing, honestly. There are 78 tarot cards, 64 in this deck depict more of a human body than just a hand and 0 of them are fat. The bar is so fucking low that just one would have prevented this entire realization. So I guess it’s a good thing.
I’m also going to work harder to hunt down decks featuring diverse body types and colours and abilities and review them and get them out there – even if the deck doesn’t work for me.
My favourite tarot decks that feature fat bodies are The Modern Witch Tarot and The World Spirit Tarot.
A deck I bought for the art, but unfortunately couldn’t make work for me, is Christy C. Road’s Next World Tarot. The cards are just too large for me to use comfortably, and I just have a hard time differentiating between the foreground and background and a lot of symbolism is lost or it takes me a long time to figure out what I’m looking at. No hate to the deck though! The art is absolutely gorgeous. The people on it are beautiful and diverse in every way. Diverse skin tones, body shapes and types, genders, ages, economic statuses, and physical abilities. I actually put aside a few cards I’m thinking of framing and hanging on the wall. I highly recommend checking out the deck and seeing if it’s for you! It’s well-loved by many readers I follow.
I would LOVE recommendations for decks that feature fat bodies and/or are made by fat artists!
I would also love it if you went to your bookshelf, pulled down your favourite deck and take a critical look at the human characters it features. Are any of them fat? Did you notice that before now? Do you subconsciously envision the world as thin? Thin as the human default? It’s so common, and it’s just time to fix it.