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Gay Tarot - Sage of Swords

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I just want to chime in with what Shade has to say; as an erstwhile classicist, I *especially* appreciate his remark "the Drag Queens have been there from the beginning. They are in the ancient myths, and the spirtual traditions of many indigenous people." Being a drag queen "isn't me" either, but I honestly think they are an integral part of gay culture.

To add to my earlier remarks about the connections between drag, stage performance, and being gay, on the ancient Greco-Roman stage (as well as the Shakespearean stage), female roles were always performed by men, women not being allowed (of course). And already in ancient Rome, to be an actor (or compared to an actor) was, in some contexts, very close to being called a "queer." The Emperor Nero was a cross-dresser; in fact, he also staged a gay "marriage." (Not that I would otherwise take Nero as a role model!)

Also, insofar as homophobia is ultimately a displaced form of sexism/misogyny, drag queens also participate in the struggle against that, as well. I just think it's unrealistic to ignore the fact that identification with the feminine is an important part of being gay for many, many people, even if it does not define being gay in general (as many in the psychiatric profession still try to argue).

I think perhaps the 7 of cups might have been a nice drag queen card, since the RWS is of someone looking into the mirror and seeing things as they appear in the imagination, rather than as they actually are. I like the idea of using the Strength card, as well-- or the Star! (Isn't being a drag queen often about being a star? )
Top   #21
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I can see what you mean about following your intuitive process and staying true to that. I would wholeheartedly agree that any deck in which the creator tossed in everything people wanted to see would be a watered down mishmash of nothing and of use to no one. I would, probably grudgingly to be honest, prefer Lee's Gay Tarot than THE Gay Tarot.

When I said I wasn't sure if there was anything particularly gay in the deck I didn't mean campiness or drag... I was referring to that amorphous something in certain works of art that on some level deep down we (us queers) recognize. I know that probably doesn't sound lucid... but since it's an amorphous quality I don't know how to nail it down. It's the feeling yo get when you look at wors by Caravaggio, Michaelangelo, and Stephen Undergill... or when you look at a representation of St. Sebastion ir the Rider Waite Page of Pentacle and something clicks inside.

Stephen Underhill is the perfect example of this. His photography of men features some of the most masculine non-queeny models but in his pictures I think most of us recognize that amorphous (there's that word again) je ne se quois of gayness. Also, to put it out there I do think that undefinable something is present in the deck I'm just having a hard time becasue I haven't see the whole thing yet.

***Warning*** Serious tangent danger

Oh and to touch on something Elentir mentioned a while back, in this thread I was reminded of a group of men I used to hang out with generally every weekend. We really were not the stereotypical club scene gay crowd, of circuit biys working in retail. There were cops (several), teachers, members of the military, actors, advertising execs, etc. And while we weren't he gaggle of gay geese, many of us were a fan of Bernadette Peters, Julie Newmar, Madonna, Claudette Colbert (sp?), and if asked we could probably sing a long with Gloria Gaynor's "I will Survive" or a Kylie Minogue song. I thought it was fascinating how some of us would loudly speak against "those queens in san fran" but could tell you what Cher was up to. I think that at times gay folsk have a crisis where they by into the notion that masculinity and femininity is a Will and Grace either or situation when, I believe, for most of it is more of a blend. Ok I've completely derailed and left the tarot conversation behind somebody steer it back.
Top   #22
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Well, maybe Steven Underhill himself can bring us back to the topic. I had to go to his website to find out who he is Knew some of his pictures, though. At least, I think so.

Anyway, this is what he says (to be found under Biography): "I think I always wanted others to see what I see, and think that's what being an artist is all about" -- I think that's what Lee has done. And I have a clear conscience calling it THE Gay Tarot as long as there is no other around
Top   #23
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I think almost any criticism people have about tarot decks is based on disagreeing with the artist's choices, even though the choices create an internally consistant whole. The Witchy Tarot (illustrated by the same artist as the gay tarot) is particularly reviled on these boards. I love the deck but many other wiccan board members are horrified by the way the witches in the deck are portrayed. The in-progress Anne Rice tarot also drew a load of criticism on the boards from people who felt that the artist doens't fully realize the charaters in the way they would have hoped. The artists didn't "get it wrong" (like the Lord of the Rings deck with hobbits wearing shoes), the people just didn't get on board with the card choices.
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Again, I agree with Shade. And I love his analogy to his men's group: "I thought it was fascinating how some of us would loudly speak against 'those queens in san fran' but could tell you what Cher was up to." When I first came out it was in 1989-90, and I was member of Queer Nation and we were all about being in-your-face queer, and having drag queens around was great because we were all into the shock value. But I've noticed what to me is a very disappointing trend in gay culture where it has been getting more and more materialistic and trying harder and harder to integrate with mainstream society, which has caused people to marginalize the more "out there" branches of gay culture because they see them as an embarrassment, and I think that's sad (and hypocritical). I don't dress in drag, but I wear lots of jewelry and wave my hands about when I talk; I've always bonded with the straight women wherever I work and listen to Barbra Streisand on my computer. I've noticed that I make the straight men in my office feel a little edgy (its a conservative law firm), and I love it! Gay men all seem to want to be buddies with straight men these days, which is fine-- in fact I think it's crucial-- but not if it means having to drop everything else in gay culture that straight men find unacceptable.

Sorry for my little rant! I know it's strayed off topic, although I think we started off with a very pertinent, totally on-topic issue. I still love your deck Lee! And perhaps it will lead to a string of gay-male oriented tarot decks in the future (like all the feminist and goddess-oriented decks out there) that will run the entire gamut and have something of everything. Just having one out there is an important and wonderful start!
Top   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
This card's thread might be a good opportunity for me to say something about the fact that the suit symbols do not appear on the cards (as Chris mentions in his wonderful review). My problem was, I simply could not figure out (or perhaps was not clever enough) how to accomplish this while still keeping the modern setting, which was very important to me. One simply cannot have modern characters carrying around swords and goblets and giant coins without looking ridiculous. The Sage of Swords is a perfect example -- can you imagine him holding a sword while he sits at his desk in the courtroom?

Actually, yes I can! There could have been a statue or a carving of the justice figure holding her sword and her scales somewhere in the card image. Hey - Judge Ito has hourglasses all over his desk! LOL!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elentir
When I first came out it was in 1989-90, and I was member of Queer Nation and we were all about being in-your-face queer, and having drag queens around was great because we were all into the shock value. But I've noticed what to me is a very disappointing trend in gay culture where it has been getting more and more materialistic and trying harder and harder to integrate with mainstream society, which has caused people to marginalize the more "out there" branches of gay culture because they see them as an embarrassment, and I think that's sad (and hypocritical).
Getting way off subject here! We need a gay men's discussion group!

Although I essentially agree with you, Elentir, part of that marginalization has to do with trying to "fit in" to make things work, and making them work towards gradual acceptance. It's a great thing to run around on PRIDE DAY and revel in 'our differences' and have flaming drag queens all over and lesbians with leather bras with spikes on them and parade our lover with the bone in his nose around in a dog collar and leather shackles. Then we scream how awful straight society is for not wanting to let us get married. Can you blame them? It's one thing to shout 'I'm here, I'm queer - get used to it!" and another to appear as an alien creature visiting the planet. You can go in circles on this one.
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The sage of swords as a court justice is a good analogy since the Judge is not allowed to let his feelings override the justice system - except for those judges who have those dreadful TV shows! Are they really real judges? LOL!

The King of Swords is generally seen as an emotion-less individual who ponders his thoughts behind his statue-like fascade. Have you ever been in court? All the judge can do is make decisions about how something is presented or what can or cannot be allowed. He does not make the final decision - the jury does. We hope that the judge's wisdom outweighs what he thinks about the persons involved and looks to the merits of the case for the justice that must be served. Thurgood Marshall (that is who was intended - correct?) is a good choice in this image. {And how do you know he wasn't gay? LOL!}
Top   #28




 


 


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