I wanted to address the idea of feminine and masculine energies within the tarot. I think that it’s very easily assumed that a card heavy in one energy or the other is corresponding to that gender. For example:0
- The Empress vs. the Emperor
- The Sun vs. The Moon
- The 3 of Cups vs. the 5 of Swords
- The 9 of Pentacles vs. the 9 of Wands.
- The Queens vs. the Kings, and likewise the Pages vs. the Knights.
These are of course just a few examples.
While seemingly restrictive, binaries are seen all over the place, especially in spiritual work and divination. Pythagoras assigned genders to numbers, shapes have genders, and generally in polytheism, for every god there is a corresponding goddess to balance the energies.
However, as the world is slowly but surely waking up to, gender is a spectrum, so to speak. At least, this is the best way I can see to describe it. Every one us of has the hormones in us that correspond to both feminine and masculine energies. Each one of us has testosterone and each one of us has estrogen, we just each have different amounts. Each hormone corresponds to different aspects that are seen as more masculine or more feminine.
When considering the tarot, and paganism, or anything that refers to feminine and masculine division, it is more referring to which energetic aspects that correspond to each.
To take a simple example, the Empress is the female version of the Emperor, and the Emperor is the male version of the Empress. The Empress represents nurturing, growth, and fertility/creativity. Because of the observation of women in general, or mothers in particular, these characteristics are associated with a more feminine nature. The Emperor is authoritarian, direct, and at times forceful, and likewise protective. These are generally seen to be more masculine characteristics, especially when we look at it through a more historical perspective.
What this does not mean is that only women can learn from and associate with the Empress and only men can learn from and associate with the Emperor. When the appear in a spread, they have equally valuable lessons to teach, and lessons which help each individual, regardless of gender, regardless of sex, can take on.
Yin and Yang likewise correspond to duality, which is found in the binary gender formation. Yin is the feminine, and yang is the masculine. They come together to create a whole, and each side (in case you are not familiar with the symbol) has a dot of each in either side, showing that there must be an integration of the two in order for there to be completeness.
I personally believe that we have a soul, and that it continues onward. I also believe that once we leave the confines of a physical body, then we are not restricted to binary parameters, at least, not as much as we were. Male and Female only mean something when we consider organic procreation. Otherwise, we are all simply individuals bumping around this planet together. If it is the case that we leave our bodies and move on to the next thing (I believe in reincarnation, but whatever afterlife there may be), then it is our duty to learn and evolve as much as we can as a whole individual as we can.
If I assume that because I was born as a member of the female sex that I have to only take in the messages of womanhood, of nurturing, of babies, fertility, and so on, then I’m eliminating the majority of the messages out there. I don’t see the masculine messages, I don’t see the blended messages of the two.
It would be like saying that I’m only the driver of my car, I don’t have to know how it works. But I do have to know how it works. I might not have to know how to fix it, but I need to know that it needs certain parts maintaining, that it needs fuel regularly, that one peddle means go while the other one means stop, and the other is the clutch that allows me to switch gears. I need to know what it’s like for it to be running normally in order for me to understand when something is wrong.
I suppose that’s a bad example, since the car isn’t a part of me. But say knowing about eating. I can say that I know that when I eat whatever, the hunger pains stop and that’s all I need to know. But it’s not. I need to know what foods are good for me, what foods are bad. I need to know what foods will make me sick, I need to know how my digestive system works, and really I can just repeat all I just said about cars, but apply it to the digestive system.
The point is that we all have masculine and feminine aspects to each of us.
So then, how do we read say a feminine card such as the 3 of Cups, from a masculine perspective?
Simple. It’s a card about celebration and growth. The feminine nature in this is the nurturing and supportive atmosphere. It might represent a really supportive group that is found, or influencing the situation. Likewise, it could literally just mean a party, and not even takin in the feminine aspects of it.
I feel like that might have been a bit of a tangent. I hope that all made sense anyway.