Fem: What does feminism mean to you?
Tabitha Dial: Feminism is about equal treatment. It’s about women honoring and respecting other women, and men doing the same. Feminism is about bringing children up to appreciate their own complexities and genders and feminism, at its best, works to shape adults in the same manner.
Feminism asks us why we deny and avoid some major issues. Equal pay for women and women’s reproductive rights have been tied to the concept of our movement for a long time. And when I say “our” movement, it’s not only women, or white women, it’s women of all color and ability and education, and men, too.
Feminism means more than reaching a point of equal opportunity for women and having safe, legal, affordable abortions and health care for women’s bodies. My hope is that we see much more of transgender awareness and support. And I advocate for the education and prevention of domestic abuse and rape. I feel feminism is making strides to cut down rape culture, and will do more to raise awareness of domestic violence.
F: How do you think tarot card reading helps to empower women?
TD: A large portion of tarot card readers are women, both those who do so for income and those who do it at home for themselves and a select few. While a number of tarot enthusiasts don’t see tarot as spiritual or something that predicts the future, they can and do apply the cards as tools for personal analysis and psychology.
All of these possibilities are thrilling and they support women and their needs.
Tarot can go beyond questions like “When will I find my true love?” If you have cards or get to have a reading soon, male, female, trans, I encourage you to give yourself the gift of a card reading that focuses on yourself as your true love. Ask how you are your own true love, and see what the cards give you.
That’s the sort of potential I feel tarot card reading holds for women. It can reveal to us how we need to embrace and accept ourselves. People often balk at getting a psychic reading. They are afraid they will have a scary experience and learn their fate is completely doom and gloom.
Even if you have a terrible situation needing expert assistance—consider rape and domestic abuse—tarot can peer into your experience and give you a new perspective on how to find help and hope on a personal level. Psychics can’t fix broken hearts or replace the advice of a trained psychologist, doctor or legal professional. But we can give you thought-provoking perspectives on how to view yourself: how to treat yourself gently. How to fall in love with yourself and how to move forward.
F: What compelled you to start reading tea leaves?
TD: My grandparents liked to take us out to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant on special occasions when we were young. Sometimes, my grandmother ordered the Chinese tea and read the leaves at the bottom of the kettle brought to the table.
She did it in a lighthearted manner, and while she never directly taught me anything she knew, she inspired me to pursue the practice, too.
I wanted to expand my relationship to tarot cards. I knew that a talent for reading tea would help enhance my study and use of tarot, while help me stand out as a professional.
F: Are there certain muses that are particularly strong feminist icons, in your opinion?
TD: The classic Greek muses can translate to strong feminist icons. The mother of the muses is Memory, a reminder that our creative ideas are linked to memory (a psychological fact). Urania studies astronomy, inspiring scientific pursuits, which more and more women can and should explore.
Pop culture magick is a arguably new pagan movement. Characters like Hermione, and Sarah Connor immediately conjure specific traits of heroic responsibility: academic discipline and loyalty to friends, and mad survival skills and maternal drive.
Turning this question, then, on its head: a favorite feminist pop culture icon that I can call a muse is Zecora. She is the only zebra represented in the cartoon “My Little Pony”. While nearly nothing has been seen of her on screen in the last few seasons, she is a shamanic wild woman archetype, an herbologist, a problem solver, and she presents an opportunity to appreciate black feminism.
F: In what ways does tarot card reading work to unlock creativity?
TD: Tarot requires a lot of imagination and a bit of flexibility. When reading the cards, it’s quite natural to find inspiration for your own ideas because you could draw a solemn looking Queen of Cups card, and then a card that shows a less than desired outcome involving the Swords suit. A curious mind quickly wants to fill in the blanks.
You don’t have to be familiar with tarot to be inspired by it.You can draw a card at random, asking “Who is my creative ally” and see where that takes you. This is a concept inspired by a “Creative Ally in the Year Ahead” tarot reading.
Tarot is a quick and easy way to inspire ideas: Because tarot depicts the various stages of human struggle and triumph, it is easy to identify with the cards. Some of them look like characters we know or want to know. Some of them remind us of situations we have been in. They represent juicy little pieces of human experience, and a random laying out of the cards can appeal to — and feed — all sorts of creativity.
The images and concepts dance with vibrant possibility.
F: Would you have advice for women who feel as though they’re in a creative rut?
TD: Ask yourself: What is your ideal creative source? When did you feel most creative? Do your best to create or visit your creative source. Recreate or revisit those places, times, and feelings that have supported your innovations.
Ask what inspires other people. Find people you admire, who are producing sounds, poems, art … anything that leaves you feeling a call to creative action. Read their books and blogs, watch interviews of them. Follow them on Instagram.
And then do something of your own.
Don’t expect your first effort to be perfect. Or your fourth. Or your 18th. Keep trying, keep going. And create because it brings joy to your core.
Tabitha Dial is a Tarot, tea leaf reader, and creative mentor in Lexington, Kentucky with an MFA in Poetry from Colorado State University. Her paper “Identity and the Creative Process Inspired by Tarot with Poetry by the Poet” is published in Tarot in Culture. Learn about her readings and her blog at North Star Muse.