Walking in Beauty: Tarot Spread by Rachel Pollack



Rachel Pollack, the science fiction author, comic book writer and tarot expert, is passing. Neil Gaiman wrote on 12 March 2023:

My friend the brilliant author Rachel Pollack is coming to the end of her life. She won the Nebula, World Fantasy and Arthur C Clarke awards. She is a world renowned expert on Tarot, and her books on Tarot are still regarded as the good standard. She created the first trans superhero, in Doom Patrol in '93. I will miss her very much when she goes. I am writing this at the request of her wife Zoe, to let her friends know that the end is soon, and to let the obituarists know too.

In honour of Rachel Pollack, we share her tarot spread 'Walking in Beauty' from the 2021 edition of the Ignota Diary.


Walking in Beauty



This spread is based on the tradition of ‘walking in beauty’ practiced by the Navajo Indian nation of North America. In his last book, the great Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano invoked the Navajo idea of beauty in a way that can inspire us to use the cards. He writes:

May I find beauty before me
And beauty behind
And above
And below.

To speak of ‘beauty’ might remind us of those people who always say you should ‘look on the bright side’ of every situation. In tarot, this can translate into finding something positive about each card. It calls on us to look deep into the beauty of all experience, whether joyous or painful. One of the things I’ve been exploring in tarot in recent years is how we deal with what we might call the ‘extreme’ cards – that is, the ones that show something grim or frightening, such as theTower, but also cards that suggest pure happiness, for example the Lovers.

This spread urges us to see everything in our life as an expression of spiritual beauty and it challenges us to fully embrace that. What is the genuine beauty of the Death card? How can we take in that experience and ‘walk’ with it, make it part of who we are?

The spread also challenges us to look at the inner experience of happy cards. What is the true beauty of the Lovers? Not just the happiness of being in a relationship, but its inner truth, the thing we experience most deeply, even when love becomes difficult?