Excerpt from Red Tarot

Posted by – February 29, 2024
Categories: Excerpt New Release Spirituality & Religion

Excerpt from Red Tarot: A Decolonial Guide to Divinatory Literacy

The Star

The water bearer pours sound that propagates as waves, rippling long and wide across space-time to bring the body back online. Time signs its signature in song; it textures the environment that renews itself with fresh flowers each year; but its bones are the same. Water slips through every crevice, patient but persistent in eroding walls and breaking down barriers that stifle self-expression, autonomy, and liberty. Water is a paradox of privacy. It is unknowable in its depth but contains every known connection. Sound is the primary way of knowing. To orient ourselves in relation to the world we depend upon stereo hearing to locate sound sources.6 Yet the Star replaces this sonic system of knowing and navigation so we may experience pure presence. It is blood and it is bass; it permeates and blurs boundaries between my body and yours, between the personal and the civic. There is no separation in this state. There is no direction to go, there is only immersion, there is only love. 

The Star is irrigating love. With no ostensible direction or self to discern, love circulates in all dimensions, calling for a surrender to the intensity of sensitivity. Relational forces may be channeled but never controlled. Together we dream of freedom, bringing beautiful Brown bodies into being as the fruit of ancestral imagination. From those distant relatives unnamed by lost identities we have inherited the legacy of imaginings. The Star drops us into an existence that spills over the bounds of the body, that pools prayers round the poisons of past karmic imprints, and in the celestial streams every thirst is quenched. Under starlight we strip naked and wash ourselves clean in rivers and tides until we recognize our waters within as one and the same. This water ritual of love released lets the body dissolve its rigid boundaries, blending the spirit into an open, peaceful environment, fully claimed as the space of serenity.

The Star is a card of Aquarius, a card of Saturn, and of hope’s fragile resiliency. Hope is hard to hold because it is so gentle. Hope is a question of capacity: how much trust and belief can we hold in either hand? Hope exceeds containment. The objects of our desire, the focused receptacle, container, or vessel of fulfillment must be emptied continuously so we can understand that the essence of hope’s substance is impersonal in its intimacy. With release we discern the substance from the form. Desire will be beyond this form, beyond the present, beyond this attachment to a body or feeling or state or status. It has known us by a different face in a different time in a different body and a different language. And still the substance we sought was the same. And still it was hope that made the heart brave. Hope is the part of us that believes by suspending disbelief. The curtains of a cosmic theater open, boundless possibility merges with the present moment, and we let ourselves dream for as long as possible. Heartbreak and disappointment feel somehow more honest or safer to expect. Disappointment may just keep me afraid of getting what I want. Conditioned fear keeps dreams of freedom contained and controlled. And certainly we fail in the forms of our aspirations, but the heart is defiant, it holds hope anyway. In the struggle for justice, hope gestates.

“The more you recognize your fear as a consequence of your attempt to practice your dream, the more you learn how to put into practice your dream! I never had interviews with the great revolutionaries of this century about their fears! But all of them felt fear, to the extent that all of them were very faithful to their dreams.”

To keep from becoming incredulous, the Star draws upon an ancient source to return a natural wellspring of well-being. Despite any external evidence or even evidence interpreted to the contrary, the Star does not falter. The Star instantly recognizes this play of evidence-absence and faith-presence. Faith is incomprehensible, its substance is inimitable. Faith is that invisible force that permeates the cynic’s patrolling mind to disturb the established social order. Straight time’s stranglehold is interrupted

Abstract utopias are indeed dead ends, too often vectoring into the escap-ist disavowal of our current moment. But a turn to what Bloch calls the no-longer-conscious is an essential route for the purpose of arriving at the not-yet-here. This maneuver, a turn to the past for the purpose of critiquing the present, is propelled by a desire for futurity. Queer futurity does not underplay desire. In fact it is all about desire, desire for both larger semiabstractions such as a better world or freedom but also, more immediately, better relations within the social that include better sex and more pleasure.

The time of queerness as Muñoz describes is akin to the Star’s orientation of temporal unity. The past isn’t static; it is performing, it plays with the present, and in it can be found flickering illuminations, ephemeral traces of other times and places. The Star follows that previously unrealized potential from the past into the future. Finding us in a depressive position, wading into shifting and blending rivers of time, the Star steps outside the present as they pour into the future as an answer to the desire for perfectibility. Utopian desire has hope that won’t die no matter the disappointment we parse from the pleasurable sensualities of the present. We feed upon past pleasures as our desire for futurity mobilizes us to embody utopia. The Star achieves hope in a heartbreaking reality by offering and opening every imperfect port of possibility where multiple forms of difference adhere to a belonging in collectivity, free from feelings of fraud, inadequacy, or insecurity. It is hope cognizant and consequential. Our desires may not exactly fit into our present moment, but the more desire responds to the present moment, the more concretely the force of hope forms as the integral core in our life.

One is inspired by embodied gratitude. To share, to be honest, to extend oneself as an active force of change in the world via our dreams and our commitment to them is truly remarkable. Give to yourself so much divine water that you have more than enough, that you are joyed to share all you have, ready to refill the wells of the creative subconscious continuously. By the Star is the space of imagination, vital for any decolonial effort, “because the decolonization of the imagination is the most dangerous and subversive form there is: for it is where all other forms of decolonization are born.” So the Star is where faith fuses spiritual teachings and social consciousness in the body. 

Rooting and stability come from within, from spiritual practices and ancient cosmic technologies in the embrace of ritual reflection. Generations of hardship have fortified the dream. Our ancestors don’t die; they become shooting stars showing us the way home. Starlights and celestial luminaries pour their power into our vessels made of clay, blood, and bone, and so being of their body becomes our blessing. The Star is the transference of divine life force into earth, consciousness into the body, love into the empty, fearful darkness. This arcanum encourages and engages in biomythography as championed by Audre Lorde. With no more rigid self-definition, the Star fashions us from dreams and fantasies and futures yet to be. It is a survival strategy of skillful adaptation born of necessity. 

This excerpt has been shortened and adapted.