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Why Are Some Black British Women Finding Spiritual Alternatives?

“I would like for blackness to not always be associated with the shadow side - the problem of things.”

This is Leona Nicole Black’s critique of the limited number of Tarot cards with black imagery available today. As a final year PHD student whose work is focused in black and diaspora studies, Leona thinks very critically about black representation professionally and personally.

Much like Leona, I came into the exploration of Tarot after a personal crisis led to a break-up with the church, the place that had been a second home since the day I was born. Being of Nigerian descent, Christianity was presented as the sole spiritual option and it had never occurred to me to seek other mediums of spiritual expression, until the crisis left me spiritually adrift. It was difficult knowing where to begin on this new spiritual journey owing to the fear of discovery by my family and the lack of knowledge as to what exactly it was I was after.

A major critique I had with the church was its failure to provide the answers I needed explaining my deep connection to nature and the universe. I have always had an affinity for full moons and water; a connection that goes beyond simple pleasure and usually was chastised for being too fanciful when I raised questions looking to explore this connection from a biblical perspective. A growing desire to discover other spiritual channels, aided by leaving home for academic pursuits, led to the discovery of Tarot cards. Whilst, not a practice I follow presently, the black women who took the time to have non-judgemental conversations about the practice with me, allowed me the space to develop and understand my intuition from a personal place. It also revealed the growing community of black women in Britain using Tarot as their main spiritual guide.