She Wanted A Black Hoodoo Tarot Deck, So She Designed It Herself

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, incense surrounding her with the grounding smell of sage. She could feel the energy in the cards as she shuffled them. Turning one over, she knew her ancestors were speaking to her.

She Wanted A Black Hoodoo Tarot Deck, So She Designed It Herself
Via Wikimedia Commons

Tayannah McQuillar grew up celebrating her roots. In the South, practicing rootwork was a way of life.

Fusing traditional West African, Indigenous, and Western Colonial practices, rootwork known colloquially as “hoodoo,” honors the natural world’s spiritual energy.

McQuillar was shopping for tarot decks and noticed they mostly featured white people. This planted a seed. What would a tarot deck featuring Blackness, Southern culture, and hoodoo’s rich history and practices look like?

This birthed The Hoodoo Tarot deck.

Tarot is a divination tool for seeking universal guidance and ancestral wisdom. Most decks have 78 cards, divided between the Major and Minor Arcana.

Major Arcana cards reflect significant life events, whereas Minor Arcana deals with daily occurrences. But isn’t tarot for white people?

While tarot dates back to 15th century Italy, some practitioners note designs of traditional decks had Egyptian influences. McQuillar also reminds us oldschool practitioners read playing cards, their version of tarot.

McQuillar thinks tarot and rootwork are linked because they both rely on natural energies.

Plus, more of us are returning to these practices. In 2017, Black people identifying as spiritual but not religious rose from 19% to 26%.

McQuillar’s deck shows we can reimagine our spiritual practices to celebrate our people, history, and cultures as we collectively heal together.

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