QUEER SELF, QUEER OTHERS - Ritual and Divination for Queer Healing
Not that long ago, I ordered a candle from Transmutare Candle Co., a small, queer owned, spell candle making business. I had wanted a candle made by a queer person for a while, and the trans rite only further emphasized to me the importance of connecting with other magic making queers to assist in my healing and manifesting. And so I did, asking that the candle's intention focus on strengthening my feeling of belonging and community as a magical queer.
I have been waiting to light the candle until I had time set aside for it, and that time turned into a ritual about queer identity, releasing shame, and inviting in the future.
I started by lighting the candle and just talking. Talking to deities, talking to ancestors, talking to myself. This stream of consciousness, no judgement, talking to nothing practice has honestly been one of the more helpful aspects of working through problems and blockages, and in this case it allowed me to see that this candle and this ritual were about a lot more than just finding community and belonging.
What came up was a lot of fear and shame that accompanied isolation. My perception of my value both inside and outside of the queer community plays into my ability to imagine and invite in a future full of love and belonging. And in this way, I suspect I am not alone.
On one hand I felt myself repulsed, that my physical presentation and the way I move through the world as queer is ugly. This concept of ugliness comes from internalized phobias, things that I know are illogical, but haunt me still. It is a wound we are all healing from, I think. It is in every moment we are aware that we aren't meeting cisgender/heterosexual standards about how to look, act, love, and make family.
In some ways this isn't new to me. I have always understood this wound exists. But it often creeps into my world in ways I don't notice. My fear of being seen as too flamboyant or feminine, my desire to be loved and accepted by non-queer peers, my desire for belonging and community that lies dormant while I do nothing to resolve it. The roots are deep, far reaching into areas I have yet to understand or even see. I felt this all, the flame cracking and burning like a bonfire, and I wept.
I talked, and I wrote. I called in all the strength and will of the queer spirit, and released my fear to honor myself. I resolved to work against shame, and to release the expectations put upon me by cishetero society. I let go of the type of beauty, family, love, and identity that it demanded of me. I let it go, and repeated it over and over until it felt true.
Then, and only then, did I feel able to ask for community to come into my life. Then and only then did I feel able to invite in the future I wanted. I blew the whistle I have symbolically seen as a call for community, and I felt myself connected to everyone and everything Queer.
I thought it would be appropriate to draw some cards from the Tarot of Devotion since it is, as of right now, the only tarot deck I own made by a queer person (I have my eyes on some other decks, so hopefully this won't be the case for long). The cards I drew were "They of the Wind" and "They of the Rain" (they are reversed in this picture, rain on the left, wind on the right). They are divinities from the deck, and came to me like words from Dionysus and Apollo, the deities present in the ritual.
They of the Wind spoke of madness and genius, the relationship we have with the rush of joy and triumph. They were Apollo's call to embrace the self without shame, to move with confidence.
They of the Rain spoke of resilience and transformation. They were Dionysus's ode to fear and hurt, and the beautiful dance of art and love and healing that springs forth from it.
These virtues, these totems of truth, this is what must guide me. This is what must guide us. Transforming pain and unrestricted trust in Self. They perform a dance together, twirling and embracing between the night and day. They are the Dionysian and Apollonian duality. Beauty, uniformity, trust and Temperance. All we are told we are not, all we are told we shame: we are. Chaos and wildness, ugliness and the binds of the Devil. All we are told to hate or distrust: we are. And all of it is divine.
Autonomous healing and growth comes from the foundation of trust in ourselves. We need not feel beautiful and happy all the time, we need only trust that regardless of the tides of emotion and circumstance, we are innately worthy. We need only be loyal to ourselves, and the queer spirit that nurtures us.
After this intensity, I decided to collect my thoughts through the Desire and Manifestation spread that I created to assist with pushing past shame.
What stood out the most to me was how the current state of my relationship with this desire, Three of Wands reversed, is the numerical successor to my desire's truest form: Two of Wands. Clearly present is the fear of the journey, or conflicted feelings about what I even want or where I am going. I am looking for community, but what does that look like? Is that a coven of queer witches? A community group? Online community? All, or none of these? And furthermore, is it really about reaching some idealistic community end goal, or is it more about the journey itself? Is community a place we arrive, or a journey that lasts a lifetime?
Of course, breaking through the barrier of shame brings me the 9 of Pentacles reversed. The Nines have been offering me the wisdom of the Hermit for as long as I can remember, silent cupped hands full of water and soil, smoke and fire. They're always begging me to untangle my feelings of loneliness and get comfortable with myself. The Pentacles specifically teaching me self sufficiency, and the abundance of what I have completely alone. My body, my mind, what my hands can make and words can say. Blessings.
Protecting myself from shame and fear, the Emperor reversed comes in the fourth position, as the fourth major. Four is a number I associate with Apollo. To me, Apollo and the Emperor are guardians of confidence and ego. Yes, it is easy to become to confident and selfish, but I find it just as easy to forget the importance of trusting and loving myself. The Emperor demands self preservation, they demand trust and autonomy. They demand that I prioritize my well being and security over the whims of the world.
Finally, the Seven of Cups speaks to the future. The abundance of emotion and creativity, but also the flexibility I must have. I sense there is no idealistic coven or group of queer family I will ever find, but rather small shifting pockets of happiness, manifesting and disintegrating as I move through life. The Sevens connect to the Chariot, and so this card carries with it a sense of victory. There is a family available to me. Just as magic is our birthright (looking at @cityxwitch for that excellent affirmation), community is my birthright as a queer person. That is promised to us, but how it arrives and how it changes in our lives is complicated and out of our hands. I am never without ancestors, history, love, or pride. It may be hiding, masked, upturned, bundled. It may be far or near, it may be inside myself or at the end of a path. But like all fundamental things, it exists everywhere and always. It is not something that can be taken away, and I will find it.
I would ask of you, consider what community looks like to you? Do you have it, are you seeking it? If are feel you don't have it, think about how you define community. Think about ancestors, history, information, and your own flesh and spirit. Sit with yourself, and ask for what you want. Cast it out into the universe, and see what it tells you about yourself.
I sincerely hope that this writing helps inspire other queer rituals, thoughts about community and confidence, or literally anything else. Please check out @novembre_tarot on Instagram and her gorgeous Tarot of Devotion, as well as @transmutarecandleco's beautiful candles!
Also, if you like the work I am doing, please consider contributing to my Patreon! Starting at just $1 a month you can access behind the scenes work on my deck, early access posts, giveaways, and much, much more! In the process, you're helping support my work and allowing me to explore new opportunities like workshops, spread creation, etc.!
Blessings and best wishes!