I received a new tarot deck with the new year.  It’s Casey Zabala’s Wanderer’s Tarot: black with white images scratched thin and organic into wide card surfaces. It’s a cryptic deck–mysterious, simple, and filled with night-energy. Instead of cups, pentacles, wands and swords, this deck uses the symbolism of moons, stones, feathers and knives. I opened the deck the moment it arrived. A card leaped out and onto the floor. I didn’t notice until my puppy-roommate, Luna, creased the card beneath her paw.

Clearly, this card wants me to pay attention.

Wanderer of stones. In a more traditional deck, this would be the page of pentacles. In this deck it’s a wild card, and strong. Vulnerable, and terrifying. Faceless. Electrified. Wonderful.

Yet pentacles, or stones, always leave me a little unsettled. Most interpretations I’ve read tie the suite to material gain. But even that is too vague. The suite is tied to wealth. I read tarot to empower myself towards a magical resistance and resilience against oppressive structures.  In a world where a few live in luxury at the expense and exploitation of many, I don’t want my tarot practice tied to material wealth. Well-being? Yes. Enough food, a warm bed, and a few treasures, like books and paint, to bring me joy? Absolutely. But in my magical practice, which is woven into my activism, my spiritual connection with Earth and all Her creatures, pentacles (stones) bring only a message of negativity.

So. What to do? If the pentacles don’t point to capital, where else might they lead? One answer is to go back to what pentacles, or money, are a substitute for: resources. Ripe vegetables hung heavy from vines and sleeping deep in the dirt. Water, clear and cool , or heated and steeped with plants. The stories, in books, music and art, that maintain our imaginations. All the wholesome creations of earth, and each other. The divine connection of creation between ourselves and materials strung around our wild, generous, damaged planet. Even our own bodies.

And so I take this young-hearted, fierce-tongued, static-haired wanderer of stones, and I see her as deep, physical connection with all the earth provides for us and we provide for her-with her- and for the ones we love. I read love, acceptance and care of our own bodies, without exception. She is slow, attentive enjoyment of a warm shower, good meal, plants grown healthy on the window ledge, a happy pet warm in our lap. She is adventure into the wilderness, and she is rest.

Most of all, she is justice for the economically exploited. She is shelter for the homeless, safety for the rejected, food for the hungry, meaningful work or play for the discouraged. She is an unblinking, naked stand against corruption of both the earth and the body. She is the physical liberation of us all, into a place of joy.


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