ABOUT THE DECK
Tarot for a World Beyond Binaries
We contain all the archetypes—every single one of us. We all have some Empress and Emperor, some Queen and King. We all go through phases of Death and phases of The Fool and phases of The Sun. The more we work with Tarot, the more we realize that binaries don’t exist and everything is fluid—gender, meaning, even time. We come to realize that we’re all creatures made of earth and air, fire and water, all four elements bound together by the fifth element: spirit.
That's the inspiration for Fifth Spirit Tarot, a queer and inclusive 78-card deck conceived and created by Charlie Claire Burgess (they/them), a queer and non-binary tarot reader and artist. Fifth Spirit seeks to expand the archetypes beyond the gender binary and reflect the diversity and divinity of human bodies and human spirits. The artwork lovingly features folks of different races, body shapes, abilities, ages, and gender expressions, and special care was given to leave the cards open to interpretation for various relationship styles and family groups.
A Note on Gender
Instead of renaming the cards for gender-neutrality, Fifth Spirit seeks to challenge the gender binary and expand notions of gender through the juxtaposition of traditional title and queered imagery. The Major Arcana and the Court Cards all bear their traditional titles of Queen and King, Empress and Emperor, and so on, but here the Empress has long, flowing hair and a flat, hairy chest. The Emperor has a beard and breasts at the same time. The Lovers wears a chest binder, pressing palms with their astral mirror, learning to love themselves. In Tarot as in life, a nonbinary femme can be King, a cisgender man can be Queen, and everyone in between can defy or expand or ecstatically embody any or no gender that they wish.
Retaining the familiar naming system makes the deck easily usable by everyone, including beginners, and expands conceptions of gender at the same time. In the included guide booklet and the full-length Fifth Spirit Tarot Guide, they/them pronouns are used to refer to the humans in every card.
A portion of the profits from the first, indie edition of Fifth Spirit Tarot* was donated to organizations for LGBTQIA2S+ and racial justice and care. In all, we donated $2,480 from December 2020 to December 2022 to organizations including Trans Lifeline, Black Transwomen Inc., the Transgender Law Center, The Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Trevor Project, the Black Resilience Fund, the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA PDX), and Planned Parenthood. Thank you to everyone who bought the first edition for helping make this possible!
* Copies sold during the Kickstarter not included, as all that funding went to the printing of the deck.
Featured Deck in Lindsay Mack's award-winning Tarot for the Wild Soul courses, 2020-2022
Featured in The History of Tarot Art by Holly Adams Easley & Esther Joy Archer (Epic Ink, 2021)
Interview: "A Conversation with Fifth Spirit Tarot Deck Creator Charlie Claire Burgess" on the Cosmic Cousins Podcast
Review: Fifth Spirit Tarot Review on The Wildly Tarot Podcast
Interview: "Gender in Tarot with Charlie Claire" on the In Search of Tarot Podcast
Article: "Kickstarter's Season of the Witch," Kickstarter.com
Interview: "Tarot Beyond Binaries with The Word Witch," The Arnemancy Podcast
Interview: "Creating from the Void," Blind Love Radio
ABOUT THE CREATOR
Fifth Spirit Tarot is created by Charlie Claire Burgess, a queer and trans-nonbinary tarot practitioner, author, illustrator, and witch whose work centers on queering the tarot for a radically liberated life. They believe tarot is a powerful tool for personal revolution that can help create better individual and collective futures, which is the subject of their first book, Radical Tarot (Hay House, 2023).
Aside from writing their book, Charlie is currently at work on two more decks: the Gay Marseille Tarot and the Aquarius Rising Oracle. They're also occasionally recording new episodes of their podcast The Word Witch and sometimes teaching tarot classes online and in so-called Portland, Oregon, where they live with their spouse and an extreme number of houseplants and fantasy novels. Find their work and check out their shop at thewordwitchtarot.com, or follow along @the.word.witch on Instagram.
Fifth Spirit is Charlie's first tarot deck. Before the project came to them in February 2019, they didn't think they could draw.
Charlie is currently represented by Kelly Van Sant at KT Literary.