Earlier in 2020 I talked about the Fifth Spirit Tarot in my series Tarot to Come. A Kickstarter campaign launched in the beginning of the year with 561 backers raising over $40k in funds to make this project come to life. Recently released and available to the public is this beautiful inclusive deck.
“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 Tarot, a queer and inclusive 78-card deck conceived and created by Charlie Claire Burgess , 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 leave the cards open to interpretation for various relationship styles and family groups.”
Fifth Spirit Tarot is created by Charlie Claire Burgess, 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 folks and others making magick from the margins.
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 also a short fiction writer, with publications in Hunger Mountain, Third Coast, New Stories from the Midwest, and elsewhere.
Before we can continue to babble on let’s take a look at the deck….
Fifth Spirit Tarot is a standard size tarot deck 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 guide book, which can be purchased separately, contains over 200 pages of expanded card interpretations, insights on the symbolism, 13 original tarot spreads, background on the creation of the deck, and more. It’s available in 5×8 softcover and is printed in the United States.
One thing I really enjoy is that by purchasing the deck a portion of the proceeds from every Fifth Spirit Tarot deck are donated to trans-led organizations for transgender and racial justice, such as the Transgender Law Center and Black Lives Matter.
For me personally, as a new reader, my biggest hurdle with this deck is it is a pip deck. Though it is a pip deck is does give little hints of imagery in the minors. The suit of pentacles for me is the easiest to read as I personally feel the pip imagery is enough to trigger my memory and understanding of the cards, but for some reason I have a little bit of a harder time with the rest of the deck.
Cards like the 5 of Wands, 6 of Pentacles and 8 of Swords are very well done and give just enough information on the card to me for memory recall. I am very glad it’s just not like 100% pip! I feel like the Fifth Spirit Tarot would be an excellent deck so segway into reading other decks that are nothing but pips.
At the time of writing this the deck is not available for purchase. The creator has stopped the production of the deck due to an issue with one of the cards. Currently she is redesigning the Page of Cups and printing replacement cards for every deck. Once the new cards are in and replaced the deck will then be available for purchase again. If you would like more information on this feel free to follow her instagram page.
I really enjoy the quality of the card stock. Not only is it a pleasant tactile experience but the stock lends itself perfect for shuffling. Whether you are a riffler or hand-over they shuffle like butter. The size and thickness of the deck are also excellent and I believe most people, including those with smaller hands will not have any difficulties working with this deck.
Do you have or have you worked with the Fifth Spirit Tarot ? What are your thoughts and experiences with this deck? Comment down below and share with the rest of the Squirrel Nest so we can all learn and grow together 🙂