ABOUT THE DECK
tarot for a world beyond binaries
Fifth Spirit is a queer and inclusive tarot deck 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, a modern 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 make the cards interpretable for polyamorous, monogamous, or asexual relationship models. The card imagery is re-envisioned through a queer and soul-centered lens, with nods to familiar Smith-Rider-Waite symbolism, and reads intuitively for readers of all experience levels.
Instead of renaming the cards for gender-neutrality, Fifth Spirit seeks to break out of the gender binary and embrace gender fluidity by expanding the very notion of what gender and gender presentation means. A man can be an Empress; a woman can be a Hierophant; a high femme can be King, and a butch person can be Queen! Retaining the familiar naming system makes the deck easily usable by everyone, including beginners, while simultaneously expanding conceptions of gender while we use it. In the mini guide booklet and the full-length Fifth Spirit Tarot Guide, they/them pronouns are used to refer to all of the Majors and Court Cards.
Fifth Spirit is a standard tarot size 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 full-length Fifth Spirit Tarot Guide includes expanded card interpretations, insights on the symbolism, original tarot spreads, and more, and is available separately as a printed, 5x8 softcover book.
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.
Article: "Kickstarter's Season of the Witch," Kickstarter.com
Podcast Interview: "Tarot Beyond Binaries with The Word Witch," The Arnemancy Podcast
Featured Deck in Lindsay Mack's award-winning Tarot for the Wild Soul course, 2020
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.