Tarot and the Erotic: Sexuality in the Cards

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Tarot can sometimes seem like a chaste affair, especially in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck where the nude figures are either presented as archetypes (The Lovers) or in solitary introspection (The Star). 

A quick look at other decks like the deliciously cheeky and bawdy Eros Tarot by Uusi or the wonderfully sex-positive and diverse Slutist Tarot shows us that sex does have a presence in the cards after all. Yes, things can get spicy when you're reading tarot!

As it should! Sexuality is intrinsic to our humanity, whether we choose to express that energy physically or not.

It's also important to acknowledge that tarot, especially the Rider-Waite-Smith system that I'll be working with in this post, has a visually white and heteronormative focus. Looking at the cards as archetypal energies and not literal or limiting representations of human expression is helpful in navigating these shortcomings.

For example, the phallic symbolism on the Ace of Wands doesn't exclusively apply to phallus-havers or lovers. Rather, we can look at it as a representation of a certain type of sexual energy, one we can all feel and express. The cards are simply markers on a larger spectrum we use to illustrate more complicated truths. 

For beautiful and vibrant decks that show the wide range of shapes, orientations, and forms of humanity and not Medieval figures, check out the decks above the Dust II Onyx Tarot and Slow Holler Tarot ... hmm... I think I might just have to turn this into another deck recomendation post - stay tuned!

Below are some of my favorite cards that speak to spicy times of all stripes:


Tarot Cards that Signify Sex

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The Empress

Just looking at this card gives us an insight into its sexual meaning. Here is a woman who is clearly feeling herself. The grounded confidence of The Empress represents a deep-seated undertsanding of one's body as the root of their sexuality. Pleasure is wild, free, and undeniably hers. This card can reflect self-pleasuring, sexual generosity with healthy boundaries, and valuing pleasure for pleasure's sake.

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The Devil

Well, well! This card certainly looks naughty. The Devil shows us how it sometimes feels good to be bad. Doing this in a healthy, consensual manner can be toe-curlingly delicious. We can use The Devil's energy to explore parts of ourselves through our sexuality that get short shrift in everyday life. However, we can often seek out unhealthy relationships to get this thrill, unfortunately to our own detriment.

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The Seven of Swords

This card is more than a little naughty. Jauntily sneaking off with more swords than you can carry reflects the thrill of having a secret - a hidden kink, new relationship, or even affair. Be sure to stop and consider if this secret is benign or whether it's hurtful to others. Sometimes the temporary pleasure isn't worth it.

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The Magician

A card of vibrant sexual agency, The Magician shows us moments where we take things into our own hands (wink wink) and pursue our passions. Seeking out what attracts us and taking the risk of approaching it is a valuable and confidence-building exercise. How else would The Magician have gained his experience? Look to this card for sexual invigoration and inspiration and the confidence to let things unfold naturally.

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The Sun

This card can represent the unbridled orgasmic joy of sex. Vulnerability, when expressed in a safe relationship or relationships, allows us to show up as purely ourselves. When we do this sexually, the energetic channel is astounding and something to be savored (hopefully many, many times!)

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The Ace of Wands

This card is a) a phallic symbol sprouting leaves and b) a representation of an influx of sexual energy. It's the electricity in the air when you're around your crush, the general creative feeling you get at the beginning of a new project. This sexual feeling can be amorphous and channeled into many aspects of our lives. Sexually speaking, it's an encouraging sign to get creative and involved with our sexual expression.