This is a guest post shared by Niko ___ (they/them or xeh/xem), sharing their creation, the Dimlit Tarot.
“What do you mean nobody’s done this before?”
That was my thought when I first began working on the Dimlit Tarot.
The idea was so beautifully simple: steep a deck so thoroughly in the aesthetic of mysteries, of midnight messages and subtle secrets, that your designs are naught but spot gloss on black paper. It felt so emblematic of my experiences with tarot, turning over readings in my head, uncovering the connections between cards by holding them at just the right angle until everything fell into place. The metaphor made manifest, the imagined elegant aesthetic – they were like catnip to my brain, such powerful ideas that I was sure I couldn’t have been the first to want a deck like this.
Imagine my surprise then when, after searching high and low, I didn’t find a single deck like this.
There were elements, to be sure: some spot gloss here, some minimalist designs there, some emphasis on black in others, but nothing so focused start-to-finish on delivering this singular aesthetic. If I wanted the deck of my dreams, I’d have to make it myself.
So I did.
I discovered fairly quickly that the Dimlit Tarot would be like no other deck, and not just in its aesthetic.
While my knowledge of tarot was grounded in Rider–Waite–Smith interpretations, many of the cards failed to resonate with me as an asexual, aromantic, and agender person. Why was gender baked into so many cards, and what did that mean for me as someone without gender? How do I relate to the Lovers when that all-encompassing love—physical, sexual, and romantic all at once—was so foreign to me?
If I was making a deck for myself, then I refused to alienate myself with it. Out went the associations of internal and external maturity with gendered forms. Out went the Christian ideas that held no home for me, the narratives that ended with nuclear families, the disaster of change, the false dichotomies. In their place, I designed stories about why we pursue power when it causes us pain, the challenge of finding or building systems that support us, the influence that perceptions wield over our realities, and above all else: the struggles and joys of discovering our true selves, and choosing to live as them.
The final result is a deck about power, community, and transformation.
It is a deck that speaks softly, but strikes deep with its insight. It is a deck that acknowledges the politics that govern our lives, but remembers that we must fight to solve the problems they cause – and we do not have to fight alone. If you want to read more about the stories contained within the Dimlit Tarot, I’ve written a lot about this deck on Twitter. For now, I hope I’ve conveyed just how much of a uniquely queer deck the Dimlit Tarot is beneath the aesthetic, and the amount of passion I have poured into making it.
I’m crowdfunding to print a limited run of the Dimlit Tarot on Ulule, and likely won’t print it again. I chose to use Ulule because I refuse to support Kickstarter as it tries to incorporate unnecessary and environment-destroying blockchain technologies into its platform (no, carbon offsets are not enough). However, Ulule lacks the visibility of Kickstarter, so every bit of support & sharing around helps! Thanks for reading, and may good times keep you!