Cathou is a force of nature.
If you’ve encountered her wonderful Instagram or her website, you’ll be familiar with the colourful riot of queer femme pride, body positivity and kitch-witch aesthetics and practice that Cathou sprinkles like glitter wherever she goes. As a fat femme and body activist, Cathou’s work is radical, challenging and deeply rooted in love and liberation.
I’ve got some fabulous news: Cathou has joined the team at Little Red Tarot!
Yes! I know!! After reading that she was hosting a workshop on Fattening the Tarot at Fatties: The Politics of Volume in Amsterdam last month, I finally realised it was time to stop waiting for Cathou to come to LRT, and to reach out and ask if she would share her work with our community.
She said oui!
Cathou’s new series, Fat Tarot, is an exploration of body politics – from a queer perspective – within and outside of the tarot. As we work to decolonise our magic, our practice, our healing and our tarot cards, the conversation on body inclusivity, fatphobia and the ways bodies are represented (or not) in witchy spaces is deeply, deeply important. It’s also something Cathou has been talking about for years. I’m honoured that she’s bringing her radical and important work to LRT.
In the interview below, Cathou introduces herself and her column. Please join me in welcoming her to the blog by leaving a comment below!
Hi Cathou! I’m so, so excited you’re here with us! Could you introduce yourself and let us know a little about yourself?
Hi Little Red Tarot Community! I’m Cathou (she/her). I am a fat fem(me) living in Brussels, Belgium. I am white and middle-class. I’ve been working for a feminist organisation for more than 10 years and am also involved in queer/feminist/fat activism. I co-founded a group called Fat Positivity Belgium which is now animated by an amazing team of fatties. This collective taught me a lot of what I’m putting together for my series on Little Red Tarot.
At the moment, I’m focusing on personal creative projects rather than community-organising. You can check out some of my work on grossefem.tumblr.com, including my latest zines (all in French)
I love everything that’s kitsch and excessive, as you can see on my Instagram feed (@cathoutarot). I live with my butch who cherishes all things weird and colourful as much as I do. Vintage is also my thing. From books to hats, from postcards to dresses, I surround myself with cheesy and funny inspiration.
What role does tarot and/or magic play in your life?
A big role! My journey with tarot and magic started quite recently but it definitely changed my life. When tarot found me, I found home. My practice resonates with a secret mysticism, a passion for analysing and a profound desire to heal and nourish healing communities. I started a tarot blog because it was hard to find queer tarot content in French back then. I’m not a professional tarot reader though, I simply like to sling cards at feminist/queer events or to queer/feminist people.
My dear fem(me) community is a source of support to me. Inspired by my witchy herbalist friend Anja, I grew more and more interested in many witchy things. Now, spirituality shapes everything I do, how I see the world, how I interact with my environment.
I’d like to introduce you to my friends and witchy/queer healers/artists who inspire me. Check out:
- my partner Rose Butch, a painter and needlework artist
- Sem Nagas, a writer and activist
- Anja who is Pin Primrose’s herbalist and tarot reader
- Megan of That Beard Girl and her zine WITCH
- Otter Lieffe, the author of Margins and Murmurations
- Mathilde Borcard, who focuses on somatic bodywork
- and Héloïse Guimin
Can you tell us a bit about your aims with Fat Tarot, and what you’re bringing to our community?
Fat Tarot opens up a conversation on thinness in tarot decks. Whereas fat people are a big part of the population (I hate those so called medical figures but… according to the WHO, 13% of adults are “obese” and 39% are “overweight” – more than 2,5 billion people are not thin) we’re hardly anywhere in decks. There’s a myth that tarot is a universal tool. Yet, most decks only depict white thin straight and able-bodied looking people. I find it disturbing.
The series will go from – hopefully not too heavy – theory (queer communities, fat liberation) to examples and recommendations. It will include some poetic and practical exercises aiming to reconsider bodies in tarot.
First and foremost, my intention is to bring much-needed insights to the tarot community. I don’t think I’m coming up with new things. However, I’m putting various concepts and practices together. They’ll shape a vision many of us already share but didn’t get to speak about yet. In doing so, I hope to open a space for other fat folks to heal and share our experiences. I hope there’ll be more opportunities for fat folks who are not necessarily white, cis, able-bodied, middle-class or from Western countries to contribute and publish on the topic. I also hope many tarot readers will find resources to work on their bias regarding fatness and to develop a practice as friendly as possible to fat folks and other people whose bodies don’t fall into the dominant norms.
By highlighting some fatphobic stereotypes or tropes that I found in many tarot decks, I want to invite deck creators to be more vigilant and creative in their representation of fatness.
I can’t wait to embark on this journey with you! I hope you’ll forgive my weird English, tinted with the French language tendency for excess and complication. I would never have fallen in love with tarot in the first place if it weren’t for Little Red Tarot. Being part of this team is an honour. This opportunity to combine fat liberation and tarot is wonderful! Thanks again to Beth for her trust.
Fabulous, non? If you’re as excited as I am to welcome Cathou to the blog, please drop a note in the comments box below!
Meanwhile, you can keep up with the Fat Tarot column right here and you can find Cathou on Instagram, Facebook and on her website, cathoutarot.blog.