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.
Fifth Spirit Tarot is a standard size tarot deck (2.75 x 4.75 inches) with rounded corners, printed in the United States on 310gsm casino-grade black-core card stock with a tactile linen finish. The deck comes in a sturdy two-piece box and includes a 34-page guide booklet for quick reference.
The Fifth Spirit Tarot Guide contains over 200 pages of expanded card interpretations, insights on the symbolism, 13 original tarot spreads, background on the creation of the deck, and more. It's available in 5x8 softcover and is printed in the United States.
A portion of the proceeds from every Fifth Spirit Tarot deck are donated to trans- and/or POC-led organizations for transgender and racial justice, such as the Transgender Law Center and Black Lives Matter.
Featured Deck in Lindsay Mack's award-winning Tarot for the Wild Soul course, 2020
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 (they/them), a queer and non-binary tarot reader, educator, illustrator, writer, podcaster, and witch. They're the person behind The Word Witch Tarot and the host of The Word Witch Podcast, a podcast about tarot, astrology, and belief made especially for queer folx and others making magick from the margins. They're the author of the ongoing zine series The Word Witch Tarot Guides, volumes 1 and 2 available now in their online shop.
Born and raised in the Birmingham, Alabama, Charlie Claire now lives in Portland, Oregon, where they read by appointment and teach tarot classes at Portland Community College and shops around town. They're an Aquarius sun, Gemini moon, and Scorpio rising. They're also a short fiction writer, with publications in Hunger Mountain, Third Coast, New Stories from the Midwest, and elsewhere. (You can find their writing here.)
Fifth Spirit is Charlie's first tarot deck. Before the project came to them in February 2019, they didn't think they could draw.