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Grizabella  Grizabella is offline
Card Reader/Fortune Teller
Join Date: 08 Jul 2004
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 23,358

Originally Posted by 3Jane View Post
I think each of my decks has one or two cards I wish I could get rid of and exchange for something else. In Motherpeace, it's the High Priestess and the Temperance.

In “Motherpeace: Tarot Guidebook”, Karen Vogel writes: “In both the High Priestess and the Temperance cards, I've used images of womene of the Ngere tribe from the Ivory Coast. After the deck was published I found out that the costumes, body painting and dancing of these women comes from a ritual done after cliterodectomies. It seems a contradiction to have the power of the High Priestess and Temperance cards framed in a ritual that includes female genital mutilation, which is an extreme and brutal repression of female sexuality and a violation of fundamental human rights. Still I am inspired by the extraordinary dance, music and regalia, which I hope will live on in powerful rituals without female genital mutilation. Efua Dorkenoo, a leader in women's health, says, 'What is needed is group activities which help women lay to rest old rituals of passage which prepared thm to fit into male dominated societies and to discover new forms of initiation which prepare them for life in the 1990's and beyond'”.

Well, I'm not from Ivory Coast so I don't recognise the costume. Searching on Google, I haven't found anything to confirm or disprove their connection to the dances (but I found descriptions of the dances and FGM and it broke my heart). However if the costumes are connected then what we have here is a huge fail and also an example of cultural appropriation (taking parts of someone else's culture in an insensitive way, without understanding what they originally meant, merely because they look cool). I wish the artist redid these two cards once she realised what they were depicting. For now, I choose to ignore the meaning of the costumes and instead concentrate on the rest of the symbolism in the cards. I wonder if it would be possible to redraw the cards on my own and print them somehow.
I think it's totally possible to use the deck and just ignore what the book you have says about the clitoral thing. I know it's a barbaric and cruel practice, but we know the deck was created before she knew about this. So we know the card didn't originate with that in mind.

As I see her, the High Priestess is more about spiritual matters and not about sex so it isn't a point I'm concerned with when I see this card. There was a discussion here many years ago about the sexuality of the High Priestess and some folks thought she was a sexual being and they cited the religious prostitution of some cultures way back in history but for myself, her other attributes play a bigger part in readings.
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