Journeying the Sixties: A Counterculture Tarot     index     <prev     next>


"Life from beginning to end is fear. Yes, it is pain, yes, it is desire, but more than anything it is fear; a certain amount rational, an enormous amount irrational. All political cruelties stem from that overwhelming fear. To push back the threatening forces, to offer primitive sacrifices, to give up some in the hope that others will be saved . . . that is the power struggle. That is the outsidedness of the poor, the feeble, the infantile. That is the outsidedness of Jews. That is the outsidedness of blacks. That is the outsidedness of women."

--Village Voice writer Vivian Gornick from "Woman As Outsider" 1971

"My love laughs like flowers," Bob Dylan sings in Love Minus Zero/No Limit. "Valentines can't buy her." His words are for the Queen of Cups, a warm, dreamy, intuitive woman who, if not deeply in touch with her unconscious, certainly has no fear of it. Tarot writer Rachel Pollack calls the Queen the most successful and well balanced of the Cups in her capacity to join consciousness with feeling. And the Counterculture Queen demonstrates in the strong posture that lifts her breasts, in the ease and comfort of her semi-nudity, in the pleasure she takes strolling through the wind and among her friends, a fearless equanimity. Life, as Vivian Gornick wrote, may be fear from beginning to end. But the Queen of Cups has found something wondrous in the middle, something that leaves sadness in the past and anxiety in the future. She is happy to be an outlaw, an outsider. She is unbound by convention. At a time when the world's leading fashion model is a 90-pound teenager named Twiggy, the Queen exults in her ancient and natural curves and the body that owns them.

What happened to liberate the Queen of Cups from a centuries-long tradition formed from corsets, huddle skirts, brassieres, girdles and petticoats? For one thing, she was happy with her status as an outsider, a status embodied in the Counterculture's opposition to prevailing social hypocrisies and constraints. Commercial fashion, certainly, was a high visibility target that drew some of the most pointed and vitriolic protests of the emerging women's movement. But the Queen was also delighted with her body. She spent her youth embracing its sensual wonders, its capacity to arouse sexy thoughts and to provide her with pleasure. And when the women's movement unearthed and restored a pantheon of ancient Goddesses, she found in Inanna, Isis, Cerridwen, Artemis, Eurynome, Hathor, Lilith, and Kali, the archetypes of her own strengths and a broadening of her beauty to include comfort, health and freedom. Prior to this she had only Eve the temptress or Mary the virgin to guide her through a narrow passage between lust and chastity. More than Virginia's Woolf's famous "room of one's own," it was having a body of one's own that freed the Queen to embrace spirit as her flesh's manifestation and not the other way around. It is the body that is perfect and divine. There is nothing it cannot be and no place it cannot go. Moreover, to feel so differently was to think differently. To be without fear was to understand better the distinctions that fostered it and to draw from acceptance a new version of moral authority, one that might prevent political cruelties by promoting personal love and compassion.