My name is Coyote, and we are in Evans Lake forest in BC we are at BC witch camp on the traditional lands of the Squamish Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people.
I chose to shoot the Ace of Cups for the Queer Tarot Deck. The idea, the image the feeling I get from the quenching. The drawing in from that cup, it pulls at me. For me that cup is the happiness within that I am trying to find and drink from to nourish myself. I fill my cup with time with beloveds, time out in the wilds, swimming, prayers. I am a deist, so I am pretty devotional to my gods, my ancestral spirits, my witch spirits. These are all the working tools, working pathways to help me refill my cup, but the internal pathway that helps me fill my cup is compassion, self compassion compassion for where I am at, compassion for needing my cup refilled.
There are time this week (at camp) when I was really tired, when I pushed myself hard. The harder I pushed myself the more drained and empty my cup became. When I sunk into giving myself time to breathe, just be and not watch the clock, knowing that I’ve done a lot of good work with good people and keeping myself well and keeping myself fulfilled and giving myself the freedom to have joy is what my work is right now. Making myself an unhappy healer and a drained teacher doesn’t server anyone.
I would tell myself – “YES, you should join the circus!” I would tell my younger self that in time he will become the father he always wanted to have. The parent he always needed, and that when that time comes he will be able to understand the challenges of being an adult and forgetting how to connect and how to care and how to see with the wonder and magic of a Childs eyes. So when he’s an adult he will have more compassion of the adults around him who haven’t been able to take care of this world, the young people, the people at the edges, in the way that they need to be taken care of.
My inner child is pretty shy, so it is typically hiding. So when it is those large groups, that is my inner child’s best friend. They’re loud, bossy, extravagant best friend, who is holding their hand and showing up, so that the inner child feels safe. I really love making connections in smaller groups.
I love large groups, and performing, teaching, and in the mix. But the way I connect in with my inner child is in small groups. I find my inner child in reading a really good book. I find my inner child in watching cartoons, in blowing bubbles, I love to blow bubbles. Catching grasshoppers and frogs, getting my face really dirty. I find my inner child in my body.
My brain says to smell a flower, I want to smell it, I’m adult about it, polite and reserved about it. My inner child has me stick my entire face, and rub the petals up against my skin and just feel it with my entire body.
If I go look for my inner child, it’s my flesh, my sticky flesh.
If someone pulling my card in a reading, I would want them to know that pain and grief are transformative teachers and a medicine in their own way, it’s not the only story of our community. It’s not the only story that we hold.
For me growing up black and queer, I’ve really missing out on having a thriving community of elders, because of the lack of care for HIV and Aids men if colour, we’ve lost an entire generation of black queer men. Because of the trauma, stigma oppression and marginalisation of this epidemic, growing up I had a lot of queer elders who were unwell and still finding healing. While a part of me deeply felt that grief, loss and that tiredness of living. Just that tiredness of living, brown and queer – that tiredness wasn’t just my own, it was the tiredness of all those ancestral lineages coming through me.
What I want and hope that someone pulling my card realises is that what also comes through us is a well of resilience. That Ace of Cups, that dreamy, aspirational queer inside that still is able to thrive. We’re not supposed to just survive – we thrive. There are lineages and lineages out there of queers who have been the gatekeepers of the energies of the spirit world, who have been the movers and shakers, people who are joyous, people who love. You don’t have to be miserable.
I like sinking into my grief and playing with my shadows and my hungry ghosts, and I think it would be really easy for me to get stuck there, and the Ace of Cups pulls me back out. It pulls me from the deep waters into the shallows where I can play. Trust in my inner healer, trust in my inner guide, trust that I deserve to be joyous. Not just happy, buy joyous. It’s my birthright to enjoy my life, it’s my birthright to love who I am, it’s my birthright to know that the rain pours down in blessing – just for me. That is what allows me to hold the chalice and pour out blessing for the rest of my community, my queer community, the earth community and spirit community.
The Ace of Cups, when I sink into it, when I jump into it and bathe from it’s waters, it is the sweetness out of the bittersweet.
I think a Queer Tarot deck is important because. So being queer I feel like I am in multiple worlds, all at once, all of the time, and being a priestess I feel that sometimes the centre of the work that needs to be done, I am also on the edges.*
*Transcription from the Audio Interview
Ace of Cups – Preston J Vargas – he/ him – Queer black man