The Garden | What are our Guiding Values?

I’m doing some slow and challenging work around deconstructing Little Red Tarot and looking at how it can embody feminist, anticapitalist and anti-oppressive principles. It’s taking time, and it’s helpful for me to brain-dump from time to time. This My Business is a Garden tag is where I’m doing that.

It is also deeply important to me to be transparent – I know there are many other business owners and/or community leaders out there who are also feeling their way through this work. It is experimental, challenging and powerful. If you read these pieces, please take them as works in progress rather than conclusions or statements.

This work takes place in community. Not one of these ideas is mine and I do not claim ownership of these ideas when I post them here. I am inspired, guided and/or supported in this work by numerous people and programmes, including but not limited to adrienne maree brown and Emergent Strategy, Jennifer ArmbrustDesiree Adaway‘s Freedom School programme, and Tada Hozumi‘s work on the cultural nervous system. I am also inspired, guided and/or supported by a huge number of folks who are part of or in relationship with our beloved and complex witchy/queer community. 

For a long time, I’ve been sitting with the understanding that Little Red Tarot’s current structure – that is, top down, with one person in charge and a team of freelancers – is not the best fit for the Little Red Tarot blog. This blog is a community space, featuring many different voices, and I’m spending time re-thinking into how I/we organise, how I/we make decisions, my/our accountability practices and more.

I am committed to this work and the challenging journey it involves. And, it will not happen quickly.

In the meantime I have been working on what I hold as ‘guiding values’.

These are the values that I have noticed guide me in making decisions about Little Red Tarot, what we do, how we do it, and the bigger picture, our mission and aims.

I share these values today because it is time. Many of you will already understand these values, much of this is, I hope, implicit in how LRT already operates. Much of this is idealistic and serves to highlight how much work there still is to do.

Like all parts of an organisation or business structure, these are dynamic. I fully expect that these values and their definitions will adapt, shift, change, as our community grows, and as LRT’s structure shifts.

Here is where we are today.


Our Guiding Values

Little Red Tarot’s guiding values are:

  • Vulnerability and Realness
  • Openness and Transparency
  • Interdependence and Trust
  • Curiosity and Experimentation
  • Enough-ness and Generosity
  • Accountability
  • Compassion
  • Intentionality

These values guide everything we do, everything we share and publish. everything we create – every decision that we make about LRT. Below are some examples of what these values look like in practice. These are ideals. As expressed in ‘Curiosity and Experimentation’, there is room for trying things out within this, there is room for failure, there is room for learning and growth as we work to fully embody these values.


Vulnerability and Realness

The journey* is messy, and we are not here to pretend that it isn’t. Rather than filtering or curating our experiences, where appropriate and safe, when telling our stories we share the whole journey. We value stories of imperfection, of mistakes, of loss, of fear, as well as those wonderful moments of enlightenment, clarity or progress. We value the light and shadow together, and the difficulties that help us to grow.

* by ‘journey’, we mean personal spiritual journeys, collective spiritual journeys, journeys towards social justice, towards liberation, towards deeper connections and understanding – anything that sees a person or community moving intentionally from A to B.

Some of our writers share very personal stories on the blog. Some share stories of abuse or oppression, of fear, and/or of moving out of fear. Some share stories of shame – and of moving through shame. We have found that the most vulnerable, even painful, stories are often the ones that best help us meet our aims, because they shine light into shadows and help us to see each other in our wholeness, in our humanity.

We know that our readers value realness. We value depth over breadth, the roots and branches of a story over its pretty conclusion, the details of the journey over the neat and tidy ending. Let’s get really, really real about what spirituality really means, what it looks like to show up to ourselves and each other, imperfect, flawed, whole and complete.

In leadership, too, we show vulnerability. We value learning about the challenges community leaders are grappling with, and seeing the processes that guide our work. We learn from each other and are invested in collective uplift.


Interdependence and Trust

We need each other. LRT started life as one person’s tarot blog (hi!) but through connection and collaboration has become home to a whole team. Each member of our team contributes something valuable: together, we are more than the sum of our parts.

Our readers too – that includes you! – are part of this family. You come here and engage with writers, perhaps leave a comment, perhaps sign up for a course. Maybe you send an email, or share something. Or perhaps you  just read, and return later for more. Whatever – in being here, in returning here, you contribute. You are part of the Little Red Tarot ecosystem. Welcome.

We are a community. We care about each other. We understand that if one of us is not free, none of us are, and we work for collective liberation. We work to understand systems of oppression inside and outside of our community. We host conversations and hold difficult emotions with compassion. We hold each other and ourselves accountable. We look towards creating justice, accountability and healing within this space. We tend to the health and safety of our whole community. Difficult decisions are approached with the whole community’s health and safety at the core.

Creating Communities of Care is a mini-series on handing abuse within radical communities, covering accountability, healing, and specifically approaches to restorative and transformative justice, by Artemisia Solstice.

Collaborating like this takes a huge amount of trust. We have to have each others’ backs, we have to trust that we are all moving in the same direction. We have to trust that we will be seen in our humanity. We have to feel safe when we share pieces of who we are. We have to trust in each others’ intentions and believe that we are all here being guided by the same values.


Enough-ness and Generosity

Whilst we can’t fix that fact that material abundance is not equally distributed in our society, we can recognise this inequality and its roots, and work to create a space here where nobody has to compete for space or resources.

We work to cultivate an atmosphere of enough-ness within Little Red Tarot – enough space, enough good free stuff, enough voices, enough nourishment for everyone.

More than this, though, we want to bring home the message that you are enough. You are whole and complete exactly as you are today.

You are enough.

This takes work, and there is a long way to go, but it is worth it. Because enough-ness breeds generosity. When we feel that we have and are ‘enough’, we have more to offer others. We show up more, we give more, we are more compassionate, more supportive, and we receive more through giving, too. We create cycles that lead to a greater sense of enough-ness, and more generosity. It happens in community, and we want to seed it here.

Read more about exploring ‘abundance consciousness’.


Curiosity and Experimentation

We are here to learn – let nobody tell you otherwise! Sharing is learning. Teamwork is learning. Collaboration is learning. Being vulnerable is learning. Trusting is learning. Making mistakes is learning.

We approach our work in a spirit of curiosity, asking ‘what if…?’, rather than setting out to prove specific points.

We can see what does not work: competition, domination of ego, perpetual consumption, meritocracy, breeding scarcity consciousness, and so on. Within LRT, we are interested in finding different ways of being in community with each other, new ways of holding conversation, collaboration, and conflict too.

Much of what we do here will be an experiment. An experiment means intentionally trying out something new, and at the same time being open to unexpected outcomes. We must be free to experiment so that we can find new ways forwards as a community.

Not all of our experiments will work out the way we hope, and we must also be free to fail. We will be accountable and we will work towards justice and we will reflect and learn and heal and grow together.

LRT is a dynamic space with practices, policies and principles that will need to adapt as our world changes and we learn and heal and grow.


Accountability & Compassion

This is a learning space, but that does not mean that mistakes go unrecognised or harmful and/or oppressive behaviour is ignored. A person who has harmed another needs space to step into their accountability, but this is not elevated above support for the harmed person, or work to meet that person’s needs or help with their healing.

It is never the responsibility of the harmed person to care for, educate or hold space for the person who has harmed them.

Our accountability process – in the instance of harm and/or oppressive behaviour within LRT – will adapt depending on circumstances. Our work will typically be to design safe, appropriate containers for issues to be brought to the surface, for discussion to take place, for voices to be heard where safe and appropriate, in the right order.

Our aim will always be to facilitate justice, accountability and healing, for all.

And the health and safety as the community as a whole will be our primary concern.

We want LRT to be a space that inspires and encourages growth – and we believe that healthy growth does not take place without love and compassion.

Among our community, we aim for calling in over calling out, and work from the assumption that all writers and commenters here have “good” intentions (this meaning that we are all aligned with the movement towards social justice, but that some of us know more, understand more, have experienced more, than others).

We do not wish to replicate the culture of fear seen both within and outside social justice communities. Compassion means standing in awareness of intersecting power and privilege dynamics, and seeing all present in the context of their humanity. We do not seek to ‘take down’ the people here who make mistakes, but call in bad behaviour through honest and safely-held dialogue.

We must create accountability practices that first and foremost give harmed people and communities what they need – space, platform, resources – to heal, and that also then offers space for those who have made mistakes to own their behaviour and be accountable.

See also: #loveandlight vs Compassion at the bottom of this page.

As writers and editors, we are accountable for the things we each share here. Writers are accountable for their words. Our editor is accountable for editorial decisions. Beth Maiden is the director/owner of this space and is ultimately accountable for all LRT content and decisions.


Intentionality

We enter this space with intention. We come here to learn more about a spiritual practice, or to share a ritual, or to geek out on card decks, or to buy something, or to read a beautiful personal post, or to share a beautiful personal post, or…

We come here for many reasons.

But what I hope is that we come with intention. I want to believe that everyone who comes here and shares this space with us is here because they choose to be. Because they love something about Little Red Tarot, because they feel at home here, because they find something useful here. Because, I hope, we are all committed to the values I’ve outlined, to personal and collective growth, to genuine liberation for ourselves and for the entire community.

I hope that folks come here to be part of something.

My dream is that this be a space where people come to grow. Though spiritual and self care and ritual and all the other practices we share, and through the conversations we host on personal and collective liberation, I hope that you, the folks who come here, find space and inspiration to grow. In ourselves, and as a community.

My intention is to create a space like that.

8 comments

  1. How lovely – really bold, brave and immersive – your ideas and aims are exciting and inspiring to read, and the community you describe is so appealing! :) I got a strange kind of hopefulness reading that article :) There is so much for everyone to discuss!

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Thank you Asali! Your comments are always especially validating as I have so much respect for your own way of working and the ways in which you, too, share your journey and your process.

      My next job is to share these with the team! Publishing this as a personal statement felt most present for me today, but these are very much intended as the beginnings of a discussion and – I hope, in time – a collaboration, so those ‘we’s can be about shared ownership of shared values.

  2. Clara says:

    it has been so great to read your “business garden” posts! If feel “accessibility” is also a super important concept for LRT. At least that’s how I feel about it, your work and this space really feels accessible to me.

  3. Traci Medeiros-Bagan

    Sorry, it has taken me a bit to respond to this immense offering. I want to echo the gratitude I’ve heard from others in being invited into this ecosystem. I’m with you, Beth, this space and the higher expectations you’re holding it to are absolutely resonating on this end! I am taking in this wonderful process you’ve shared and simmering in ways I can be more compassionate and accountable. Thank you again!

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Traci – your good opinions are worth so much to me, thank you for taking the time to feed back here. So deeply grateful for the team of writers and activists around Little Red Tarot. You amaze and inspire me all the damn time :)

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