Last week Sunday, I met with some members of the Black August Cocoon Collective that Ola Ronke of Free Black Women’s Library started for the month of August as a way to bring together a community of black woman to do a series of activities and rituals that will later result in us creating a zine.
Since the Sunday coincided with a new full moon in Leo, Ola had each of us pick a card from Earthlyn Manuel’s Black Angels Card deck. The card I got was the Joker. At first I thought that was strange because I don’t think I’m much of a funny person or a jokester, but I have been studying trickster archetypes and gods like Eshu/Elegba, I do love word play when it comes to my writing practice and as the book explanation says, I seem to have a liveliness that attracts others to me.
Take a look at the card and read the description for it (click on the pictures for full size):
I do have a love for the artistry of tarot cards/oracle cards and I want to start a collection. Currently I have Abiola Abrams’ Affirmation Cards with its collection of various African goddesses.
Since then Abiola has added to her first set of oracle cards with Womanifesting! Fertility Goddess Affirmation Cards, which I’m looking forward to getting soon.
With these sets of oracle cards, I wonder what other black and Afro-diasporic centered tarot cards and oracle cards existed out there. Below is a list of the ones I found:
Black Power Tarot Cards
“From the visionary mind of King Khan was born the idea to celebrate Black Power using the mystic language of Tarot. He chose 26 African American people whom he felt followed a true path of illumination despite being born in a country that was so corrupt and vehemently against them.”
The tarot card deck, which was given a sign of approval from filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, is a version of the Tarot De Marseilles and it features an array of black activists, public figures, comedians, musicians and important historic figures. Some of the figures include Malcolm X, Tina Turner, Little Richard, Richard Pryor, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
You can purchase the tarots and other items from King Khan here as well.
There are other tarot card decks: African Tarot, African American Tarot, Healing Earth Tarot, New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, Afro-Brasilian Tarot and African Playing Cards deck.
Most of these are older tarots, but today’s artists are creating newer versions too, either as actual tarot card decks or as artworks only. For example, the recent Afropunk version of the tarot by Khalid Rosemin.
Another was a photograph version of the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck of 78 cards featuring a Haitian art collective, Atis Rezistans, who worked with a white woman photographer, Alice Smeets for the project. Although I’m on the fence with the title The Ghetto Tarot, the video below allows the collective to explain their reason behind naming it such and the project gives another perspective to look at how the tarot can be done. Read more about the project.
Artist Courtney Alexander recently created the Dust II Onyx tarot card deck and the deck is one of the most gorgeous that I have seen. It completely reimagines the tarot and as it is called a melanated tarot deck, it celebrates the diverse beauty of blackness.
Monroe Rodriguez Singh also wanted to celebrate the beauty of the diaspora specifically centered on Afro-Caribbean mythologies and spiritualities, so he is creating the Espiritismo/Vudu tarot card deck.