EP84 Curiosity, Call Ins, and Politics with Siobhan

July 6, 2018
00:0000:00

Given the state of the world we need to find better ways to relate to each other and grow. This is exactly what Andrew and Siobhan talk abot in this episode. How to find our way towards grpowing and undoing the conditinoing of history. This converstaion is about finding posibilities, opening to others and working to change the world for the better. 

The link Siobhan mentioned, an inquiry practice for allies:
 
A link they wish they'd mentioned, where I'm talking about oppression and sliding scales in spiritual business: 
 
Their newsletter (best way to keep in touch):
 

Think about how much you've enjoyed the podcast and how many episodes you listened to, and consider if it is time to support the Patreon You can do so here.

If you want more of this in your life you can subscribe by RSS , iTunesStitcher, or email.

Thanks for joining the conversation. Please share the podcast to help us grow and change the world. 

Andrew

You can book time with Andrew through his site here

 

Transcript 

ANDREW: Welcome to the Hermit's Lamp podcast. I am hanging out today with Siobhan, who is a card reader who I know through the tarot community, but who I really wanted to sort of have on the podcast and sort of talk about politics and identity, and how we interact with each other, and how we can try and have better, more humane, more open conversations about what's going on with each other and in the world right now. 

Because I feel like in a lot of the spiritual communities, there are, you know, some awareness of these things, and then there are places where there's just no awareness, and so I thought that Siobhan would be a great person to have on and talk about some of this stuff and see what comes of it. But for people who don't know who you are, who are you? What are you up to? 

SIOBHAN: [laughing] Well. I am, primarily, a tarot reader and writer. I write most often at LittleRedTarot.com, which is an intersectional alternative space, and I also write at my website at RadicalTarot.com. I spend a lot of time writing about the intersections that I live on. And so, that might look like writing about race, writing about other marginalized groups, writing about chronic illness, or mental health issues. And so, I spend a lot of time writing about political topics, although, you would never believe it, I'm not really as political of a person [laughing], not usually, but my writing does tend to be pretty authentic and pretty raw in talking about my experience in marginalized communities. So, that's a lot of what I end up doing.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. And -- so -- Siobhan and I have been talking for a while about being on the podcast, and for a variety of reasons it keeps getting nudged into the future, until today. But one of the things that sort of surfaced recently was sort of a conversation which we were both a part of, around ... Not to give away sort of personal information but, somebody was called out for a behavior, and, you know ... And, and, you know, sort of Siobhan and I were sort of both the voices in that conversation that kind of migrated towards, “Well, there is something to what they're saying, there's something that we could consider, right?” 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm. Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: You know, and so, it kind of reminded me that this was the conversation I wanted to have ...

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And, you know, I think that there's ... You know, we live in interesting times, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right! [laughs]

ANDREW: Where, the ways in which people have access to each other, the ways in which people treat each other, especially online but also in lots of other places, you know, it's often really unclear to me whether ... What's helpful and what's not, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: You know, and so ... Yeah, I'm just wondering ... Because your response was so wonderful, I'm wondering, you know ...

SIOBHAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: If you could sort of share a little bit of what that idea was, you know? 

SIOBHAN: It's so funny. Yeah, you know, the first thing that pops up when you talked about that, was a post I wrote, actually, a very similar time of year, maybe two years ago, and it was in response to Kelly-Ann Maddox's #TarotSoWhite discussion. I don't know if you saw any of that. But the dialogue came up around how many decks there are that have representation, how many diverse decks that there are, and so, it was an interesting time, because it was the first time I had ever heard anyone sort of call out this notion of the tarot space being predominantly white, predominantly occupied by a certain demographic. And I want to say, I had mentioned it briefly in a tarot chat, and then it came up later again and again, but the dialogue was pretty interesting and fruitful at the time. And it was funny, because the piece that I wrote in response, actually was contrary to the original callout. [laughing] 

So, whereas the original assertion was, there aren't very many decks with people of color, I wrote, “Well, actually, there could be more, way more ...” At the time, it was two years ago. “But they do exist, and to reference them as if they don't is erasure.” And I remember at the time having a really sweet conversation with Kelly-Ann, where she realized how many different options were available that actually she hadn't seen yet, and it was really amazing to get closer to her and to dialogue in that way, and it went really well. 

And so, at the time, I didn't have the concept of a call-in, versus a call-out, and you'll hear those terms more commonly in feminist spaces, people talking about drawing attention to a behavior or activity that they saw that could be problematic, in a way that may be perceived as shameful versus as an invitation to dialogue, to go deeper and to learn something. And so, I didn't even have a concept of that, at the time, I just responded with pure emotion. It was a very emotional summer, I want to say, there were a lot of acts of violence that had just happened, in the news. Perhaps the first of the series that kicked off all the -- I know it's hard to remember a time when it wasn't [laughing] -- all the time.

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: It was less visible then, so it was the first instance. And so, yeah, this conversation has just gotten bigger and deeper in the spiritual community and also in other communities, and now, people who have never encountered any sort of idea about their own privilege, or about the experiences of marginalized groups, are now encountering these experiences, and not everybody who calls people out necessarily has the space to do so in a way that is kind or compassionate, and not everybody who is called out or in necessarily knows that there is any information to glean from it. 

And so, it's so interesting to watch these conversations happen. [laughing] It's a very primordial time for these discussions. It's very new to many people. And it's worth it and it's exciting, but there's also issues when it can be tender. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Times when it can be tender. 

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, I think it's ... I mean, it's challenging on many levels, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And I think that for people in all of the positions to have openness to where other people are coming from ...

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And openness to being present and sort of curious about the process.

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: You know? I mean, it's really tough, and certainly, at times, not possible or not even appropriate. 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: But, it's one of the things that I dug about your, you know, your response in that conversation was, you really were like, “Huh. Well, that's really interesting. Okay, where are you coming from? What is that about? What does that mean?” 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know, there was a curiosity to it, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: And I think that it's such a powerful place to be, right? Like, curiosity and openness are so profound when we can find our way to those positions ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: But, you know, it's certainly not easy, right? Or, and you know ... and definitely not always possible or appropriate.

SIOBHAN: Right. It's the edge of the cliff.

ANDREW: Right? 

SIOBHAN: It's that full space. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: And to even just -- I remember in that conversation, the topic we were talking about was so unfamiliar to me, in a way, I said to myself, it had never occurred to me to be mindful of this thing that even you're bringing up, now I can know, moving forward, to think about this marginalized group which I had not considered, when I create and when I collaborate and when I support. And to really be humble in that moment, and to notice my own privilege, having not had to think about it ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And owning that to. A lot of ... There's a lot of assumptions made about who has privilege to check, and it's so many more people than you would imagine, so many more kinds ... I've been really exploring the privilege of someone who -- if you're a person who, if you're photogenic, if you're pretty, if you're thin, if you have money, there's so many different ways to look at it. It's so much deeper than just well, there's a binary and everyone on this end is victimized and everyone on this other end is victimized and not everybody on both sides of it have that awareness. And so, once you realize [laughing] that fact, it behooves you to be curious, because there's so much to learn. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: There's so many different angles to really realize where you have been blessed and where you continue to not be blessed based on things that are circumstances, perhaps. And it's very hard at times, but it can also be interesting, if a person has the space, you know. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah, I remember, a couple of years ago now, I did this really long, like 100 or 150 question survey that sort of evaluated your privilege, right?

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And, you know, it wasn't like ... I've seen some shorter ones since then and I'm always kind of like, I look at them, and ah, it's like, it makes some sense, but this one was so in depth, and I remember, like, going through and sort of like answering the questions and seeing ... Seeing things that, you know, clearly highlighted my privileges, you know, for me. Like, oh yeah, that's totally me, I totally have, I have access to that, you know. 

SIOBHAN: Right, right. 

ANDREW: I went to university, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: I did this, I did other things. And then all these other things that I never even -- I mean, many of which I was totally aware of but some of which I didn't even really consider part of the conversation, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: You know, and things that I didn't have, that I was like, hmm, interesting. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then I started to think about the ways in which, you know, certain kinds of situations around family structures and other things, you know, and the historical family structures ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know, whether your families stay together or don't stay together ...

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: How those ... like, so many layers of conversation ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Can impact these experiences, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Yeah. And to me, that's where that curiosity comes in, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm, mmmhmm.

ANDREW: How did this shape me or shape somebody else? How do these forces exist in our culture? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Why is one structure prioritized over another? 

SIOBHAN: Right. Right. And then as consciousness deepens, and as awareness deepens, how do I transform or transmute all of the pain that I'm now aware of? [laughing]

ANDREW: Right? Yeah.

SIOBHAN: My own, and also society, because it's a lot. And it seems overwhelming at times when you really open up to that awareness, and which is why some people will choose, unconsciously or consciously, not to be aware of it. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Well, and that brings us to a topic we were chatting a little bit about before the call, which is this spiritual bypassing piece, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmm.

ANDREW: You know. When do we suddenly try and use, you know, a spiritual tool to skip our pain or skip our privilege or skip something else? You know? Instead of, instead of actually digging into it, you know? When do we avoid that shadow work? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Instead of like, honoring the wholeness of our experience and dealing with it all ...

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: And then what kind of things come from that, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. Is it at that moment of realization when you open to ...? How much is really happening, how many different layers ... First of all, if you're still in it, there's that space of, oh gosh, how do I hold this for myself, and if you aren't in it, if you have traversed and if you have some kind of mobility, and this is more common as we interact across the streams of privilege, you know. I have access to all kinds of things through people who have access even though I don't have the access, and now there's this opportunity for guilt, this sense of unworthiness, or even thinking about, oh my gosh, my ancestors, they had this thing, they did this thing, and now I feel this sense of guilt over that. 

And so, there's an opportunity, or a ... More accurate to say, a tendency to say, with spiritual practice, to say, okay, being spiritual, having arrived, being enlightened, that means I don't get to feel those things any more. [laughing] I get to be somewhere other than those things, because it's not holy to feel guilty, unworthy, you know, anger, hostility, it's not holy to feel afraid of things that are different, they mean, these things are not spiritual things, and so ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: We hear a lot of talk about quote, letting it go.

ANDREW: Right. 

SIOBHAN: I mean, it's so popular to talk about letting it go. This is a pet peeve of mine. [laughing]

ANDREW: Uh huh. Tell me all about it! 

SIOBHAN: [laughing] If you read my stuff, you'll hear me going on about it all the time cause it's like, we want to let the things go that are the darkest things, that are, they keep returning because they're very deeply embedded in our ancestral story or our own story or maybe just because it's a part of us, or we haven't integrated it, we reject it, and so there it is again. 

And so, the notion that we can continuously keep trying to let something go, rather than just sit with it, you know, which is awful, and terrible, and we often don't want to do it, but, sometimes when we are able to just sit with it, without the judgement call, what this means, what this means about who I am, then, it has less of a pull, you know, even when it shows up. But it's counterintuitive, so instead of doing that, everybody ... You know, it's very popular in the spiritual community to want to let go, we're gonna let go, every full moon we're gonna let go! [laughing] And it's like all right, that's ... We can keep it up, I guess. [laughing]

ANDREW: Yeah, I mean, I think that there comes a point, you know ... I have this body of work that I created called the Letting Go Work, right? 

SIOBHAN: [laughing] I'm sorry. 

ANDREW: And so, but the focus of the work is ... is actually to go and sit down with your shadow, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: It's not ... It's not this process of like, you know, and then I'm gonna go into the spiritual bath and shower all this stuff off me, it'll go down the drain, it's gone forever. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: It's the process of building conscious communication with the shadow stuff ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then sustaining it on the regular ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: So that, you know, you're checking in with that, and so your shadow has a chance to say, hey, you're ignoring this crap over here. 

SIOBHAN: Right!

ANDREW: Hey, what about this? Hey, this is ... You know, you're being inauthentic or you're denying something, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Or you're really mad, you've got to let it out, dude. Because if we can talk to that stuff, and sit with it and be present with it and engage with it, then we have a whole different relationship to it. Right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: But like, Carl Jung did not say when we get through the process of individuation that our shadow is gone. 

SIOBHAN: Right. Poof! 

ANDREW: We're living in relationship with it then, right? 

SIOBHAN: Poof! 

ANDREW: It matters.

SIOBHAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: Exactly.

SIOBHAN: Yeah! And it's like, if a person comes from a place where they're not wanting to do that work, that very needed work of upholding space for this thing, then there's no way they would be able to, when they actually encounter that shadow out in the world. So this person who is marginalized in ways they can't understand, the person who doesn't have the privilege they have, if that person calls out to them, in the same way their shadow calls out to them, why would they have a different reaction? They would do the same thing. It would encourage that person to let it go. It would encourage that person to speak in terms of love and light and always gravitate toward and pay attention to love and light and they would say, ignore the things that don't meet or match that paradigm, the same way they say to themselves, and so ... 

I always, there's a little part of me that kind of dies, when I hear someone say, “Turn, you know, turn your attention entirely away from this thing that is so much a part of you and so much your struggle and that you're feeling.” Cause it's like, people need that space for themselves, before they can have and hold space for other people, they're very much linked, and the notion that we can get away is somewhat contrary to the notion that we're all part of one great big thing, which is underneath a lot of spiritual practices anyway.

ANDREW: Right. Well, there's definitely that. Yeah. It's one of the best pieces of advice I got when I first started working as a reader, was a good friend of mine basically was like, “So dude, make sure you deal with all your crap.” 

SIOBHAN: [bursts out laughing]

ANDREW: Deal with it, deal with it all, stay clean, you know, stay clear about it, work to stay free of it, because otherwise you're going to sit down with somebody and try and work and their pain is going to trigger your pain ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then it's going to go all sorts of sideways, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Right. A business is amazing for really shining the light on every crevice that you thought ... [laughing] that you were done with!

ANDREW: Right? 

SIOBHAN: Oh, what about this? What about this here? [laughing] What about this thing that isn't finished? 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Yeah. There's a ... a lot more compassion that could stand to be doled out in all directions. [laughing]

ANDREW: Right? Inwardly as well, you know? All of it. Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: In all the directions.

ANDREW: Yeah. So. What, what ... I'm going to put you on the spot here, okay, so forgive me.

SIOBHAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: You can opt out if you need to.

SIOBHAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: But like, what would you hope somebody would do if they were ... If they run into something new that they weren't aware of ... Would be kind of a problematic thing? You know, whether it's ... whatever its focus is, gender, race, or any number of sort of different things, but like ... What would you hope that people, how would they react? 

SIOBHAN: Oh, man! It's tricky. And I say that because the answer would depend in a large part on who that person was. And here's what I mean. There's a spectrum. If a person had an abundance of energy and awareness and privilege and time, it would be really nice if we could have that curiosity response like, Oh! Why is this coming up? you know? Is there something to learn here? Is there something I don't know? Is there ... You know. I acknowledge that this has nothing to do with me because anything anyone ever says generally has nothing to do with anyone, because they're all dealing with their projections, but at the same time, is there something I could learn, if they had that space, but the honest to god truth is that some people, whatever their sense of abundance or privilege or access or whatever they have, they may not have the space. 

And a second-best thing, in that scenario, would be if they could actually see that they don't have the space. So that looks like, Wow, I don't know what to do with this, but I know at least that I'm feeling a defensive response that I want to prove something and so maybe I'll just pause, and that's it. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Just a pause where they can see and be with the fact that that's what they have the space for, they have the space for maybe, a pause, and even getting to the point of pause is HUGE. You know, cause the natural thing to do is just react ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Savor, be right or reassure, whatever the deal is, and it would be amazing to even have the choice in a moment, and so, having the choices coming from working on things before you were even in the situation [laughing]. So, it's really hard to say, oh man, curiosity, willing to be open to possibly having missed something, possibly not knowing something, possibly being wrong. And, it depends on the person and if they have space. I actually wrote an entire blog post about that very thing you just asked. [laughing]

ANDREW: Well, perfect! We'll put a link in the show notes.

SIOBHAN: It was the most viewed blog post I ever wrote, and I wrote it that summer that we were just talking about ... 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Right before that whole discussion cause, it was just so painful to see so much death and to be reminded that no matter how much you progress, or at least in my instance, how much I had progressed and how much better I felt. Yet within, that there were still those dark things that were my reality, that may be my reality, without, and so in there it really encourages people to have a dialogue with what they need, really, first, because if they don't know, they can't, they can't offer anything. They have to come first, and they have to also acknowledge a reality in which they may be coming first many places without any effort on their part.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: They may be central, they may be primary, they may be the first thought for entire nations. [laughs] And so, there's the thought for: Do I have the space for the person who unlike me, doesn't come first, in my nation, in my society? And being honest about that. Because some people have a culture that is ingrained and it's very fragile, and they actually may not know all that they may be capable of, they may not have been invited to step into their fullness just yet. And so the kneejerk reaction, which is natural and human ... It might be much smaller than they're capable of being. And so it can be exciting to think about interaction with a person where they actually realize more their resilience.

ANDREW: Hmm.

SIOBHAN: And they say, Oh, I've felt defensive and offended every time this has ever happened in my whole life, and maybe I have room for more reactions. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: You know? 

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: Maybe I have room for more than just my central and my primaryness. Maybe based on that solid self-care, you know, first step, I have more resilience than I thought. More capacity to notice when I'm expecting someone else to be resilient in my stead. And maybe perhaps a habit I have of doing that all the time. [laughs]

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: You know?

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Well, and I also think that pause is such a great notion. Because I think that ... I think that we don't always even understand what we might do, or how we might do it, or what could be possible? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm. 

ANDREW: Or what might shift to make things possible over time.

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: Like one of the things for me is, you know, I was aware for a while that this podcast was inaccessible to a bunch of people, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm, mmmhmm.

ANDREW: You know, because they are unable to listen, you know? And, you know, and it took me awhile, like maybe six months of pondering that and then looking at what it would cost me to provide transcriptions. And then looking at my wallet and being like, “I can't do that.” 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then thinking about it and looking at options, and then, you know, it wasn't until one day ... And I was aware of Patreon the whole time, you know, which is like this sort of people pay per episode to support stuff. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: I was aware of it the whole time, but I don't even remember what happened, but somebody talked about it in a certain way. And I was like, “I could use Patreon to make that happen,” you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then that took a little bit of time, you know? And then now, every episode comes out with transcriptions.

SIOBHAN: That's cool!

ANDREW: You know, which is, which is, exciting, right? But like, but, if I had gotten stuck at I can't do this -- I was stuck at I can't do anything about this today. And left it at that, then it wouldn't be where it is now. You know? And that's one of the things that can come from the pause, right?

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: It can come from, you know, it's just like, putting a little sign up on the wall that says this is a thing I'd like to do at some point, somehow.

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: I'd like to change this issue, and then, and then, hopefully, time and circumstance shift in a way that allows it to be resolved ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know? You get an idea to do something different. And maybe it doesn't, you know, I mean, because there are still times when offering stuff like that is beyond the means of whatever it is that I'm doing, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Some of the classes that I run are fairly small, and so it's not super possible, but, you know, we can set our intentions and we can ponder these things, and they can sort of open us up to other possibilities, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right, right. 

ANDREW: Yeah. 

SIOBHAN: That's a powerful example.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: That's a really powerful example. Especially the notion of, even if I can't do this thing right this second, I have space to think about it.

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: You know, because some people, they file it away under, “I can't do that. The end.” And then they never have to think about it again. Like they're absolved. This is that bypassing coming up. It's like, “I couldn't in this one instance implement it, so I won't worry about it.” 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: But when there's a willingness to stay with it, to stay with this other reality that isn't yours, in that perfect example that you just gave, more is possible, eventually. 

ANDREW: Yeah. And also, you know I think that it's also important to understand that perfect isn't the goal. Right?

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: I mean, perfect would be lovely if it existed anywhere. Right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. [laughing]

ANDREW: But when we're working on these things, perfect can't be the goal. You know, because I think, at least for me, perfect equals immobilization. Right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Perfect equals this space where I just can't continue because, you know, because I can't get there. Right? You know? I mean, there's nothing about my life that allows me enough time and space to make anything perfectly ...

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: So I pursue just sort of working on stuff, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And I think that that's part of the ongoing sort of dialogue between curiosity and openness too, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Recognizing I will do my best, or what I perceive to be my best now ...

SIOBHAN: Mmm.

ANDREW: And then we'll see what happens, and then I will engage with what happens afterwards, and then I will adjust, and improve, or change or whatever if I have space for that. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Continue that process, right? Like it's not this sort of unfolding of this awareness of privilege in North America.

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: I mean, I've been watching it flow for a while now, and it's not done, it's going to be done soon, it's going to continue, right? 

SIOBHAN: [laughing] Right. 

ANDREW: And that's, that's not even because ... Like, it would be tempting to be like, well, if everybody just accepted it, or was on board, or whatever, but I'm like, well no, because it's also a process of undoing, right?

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And when you start moving stuff, you start having space to see other things.

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And that doesn't mean that we shouldn't move anything because, you know, cause we'll find the dust bunnies under the couch, or, you know, whatever ...

SIOBHAN: Right! [laughing]

ANDREW: It's like, we should move those things and then we should move other things, and then we should see what's beyond that, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Exactly. Yeah. And the notion ... The notion of doing our best is interesting also when we consider that nothing ... there may not be an occurrence in our lives that actually calls on us to consider perspectives outside of our own.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And that's where the notion of resilience can come in. For the person who is used to staying in their own perspective, they are only so large. There is only so much that is possible. Which is why tarot can be useful. When you come together with people over tarot, there's another perspective that's introduced. We do this in interpersonal relationships of all kinds, sure. And the person who doesn't have that playback, or the person who is isolated from cultures that they've never met, they're never going to come across a person with this worldview, their concept of their best might be limited. It may not even reflect the reality for them. And so it's exciting to think about people being expanded, and their notion of what's possible being expanded as a result of all these dust bunnies that we keep finding. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah. Yeah, and when I grew up, I grew up in a suburb of Toronto. And, you know, when I went to high school, I think that, you know, in a school that probably had like 1000 students, there might have been a handful of people of color, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Like, one table at the lunchroom was like, people of color, and that was it, you know? And that was indicative of the whole town, right? And, you know? And now as we open to that stuff, you know, and as we open to other cultures, we can, you know, expand more and figure things out differently, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And I think that it's easy to sort of look around, in, you know, and I always say, cause I live right in downtown Toronto now, right? Like one block from the gay village, and, you know, and in one of the most sort of diverse neighborhoods around, kind of thing. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And, you know, it's easy to sort of think that this is also it, right? You know? And when I travel to other places, I'm like, oh no. I live in a little pocket that is SO different than everywhere else, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And I mean not everywhere else, but like many other places, in a kind of a counterforce to that sort of living in the suburbs experience, you know, I now live the opposite, but both of them create their own limiting tunnels, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: You know, I think it's ... I think it's really interesting to sort of try and understand what we're not living, wherever we're living, right? However we're living that, and sort of see what other people are actually up to. 

SIOBHAN: Right. Right. And really honor our blinders. 

ANDREW: Mmm.

SIOBHAN: I ... Only in the last ten years, have I really appreciated the fact that I belong to the global majority. [laughs] 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm!

SIOBHAN: It's like, it's been the case for longer than that, but only in the last five to seven years, really, has that sat with me, and I had to go and seek out communities where they would discuss those things, for it to really become a part of my awareness. 

ANDREW: Right.

SIOBHAN: So, it's not even necessarily an appearance grants you access into different perspectives, you know? 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: It's a dialogue that you keep having, and keep needing to be willing to have in order to keep learning. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Well, and I think that willingness to have it is such an important thing, right? And from my perspective, for me personally, willingness to get out, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: To look for it, and look for people who have the space to have that dialogue with me, right?

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Because you want to be mindful that you're not sort of expecting ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Somebody else to educate you, or whatever. Right? It's a thing that you should ask permission about, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And, you know? Because otherwise we don't want to expect that I'm gonna run to this person and be like, so tell me all about this disability that you've got ...

SIOBHAN: Right! [laughs]

ANDREW: How does that happen, right? Tell me all about, your like, the color of your skin and how that impacts your life and your culture or whatever. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know, cause those things are ... That's problematic too, right? But like, looking for those permissions. And then being really really super willing to sort of, you know, if you're gonna ask, then listen.

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Like really listen, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: As we're recording this, in September I have a tarot deck coming out through Llewellyn, which is the Orisha tarot deck, right? Which is a deck that sort of explores the overlap of my involvement with traditional Afro-Cuban Orisha practices ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And my initiation into them, and my experiences for all these years playing with tarot and working with tarot. And one of the things that I did when I started, was I sat down with a friend of mine who is an activist and a person of color. And I showed them a bunch of the drawings that I was working on, and I was like, “What do you think? What do you feel? How does this hit you?” Right? 

And not because I feel that they can speak for everybody, but because I felt like I needed somebody to talk to, and they were a person who was, you know, an artist as well as, you know, a spiritual person and so on. And we talked about it a bunch, and they liked what I was up to. 

And then when I got to the end of the deck, I was like, you know, I'd made some artistic choices, I'd depicted a lot of people of color in the deck, and people with different bodies, and all these kinds of things, and I wanted to sit down and like, just sort of say, like, “Do you have thoughts and feelings about what was going on?” You know? 

And so, I sat down with the same person and with somebody else, and I showed them the art work, again, and there were specifically a couple of choices that I made that affected about a dozen of the cards, right? And, and so, and I didn't bring up anything, I just sat down and showed them or whatever, and both people thought it was great. They really liked what I had been doing, they felt like ... They felt like it was good representation. You know, like one of them said, “I feel like I see my uncle in this card, and I feel like I see this person in this card, I really like it.” And I was like, “That's great.” Cause I was totally willing to redo a bunch of these cards. You know? And, and I think that we need to be, if we're going to enter into this, we need to consider that we might need to redo stuff. And it might be inconvenient. Or it might be a burden, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: You know, and also, in terms of perfect, this is two people's opinion? Right? Like this is not everybody, and I am sure inevitably, you know, because that's the way the world is, people will have issues, some people will have an issue, or maybe not, but like, but I don't expect that it's perfect, you know? But I also couldn't poll the world, you know? And, and, so, we need to find our way to engage this stuff. And find our way to keeping moving forward and making things happen, you know? So.

SIOBHAN: That's interesting. That's interesting, and it's interesting because it's a very popular notion in the public eye now. The African tradition is very very in the center of everybody's eye, and many people are new to it, and so, there are people that will see it, they won't know anything about you and then they'll say, “[sigh], It's that, it's that, how popular it is,” and then they'll jump to that conclusion, and then there are some that are traditionalists and they'll have their own reasons why, and it's interesting because the diaspora is so huge ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And people will have all different perspectives. And it's ... really hard to even try and get one consensus about what is right, what feels good, and I recently had an incident where I was taking a course and I asked about using some kind of Buddhist symbolism. I've been cultivating a practice of my own. And I said, “You know, I don't know how I feel about this, using this symbol. Does anyone practice, does anyone belong, does anyone come from this culture, how do you all feel?” 

And I want to say, there were many people who said “Oh, it's probably fine,” or some that said ... I also thought it was really funny, they'd say, “Well, it's not the same when people of color do this thing.” And I thought, Oh! And that's interesting too, as if ... it's almost like a free pass moment? And I was like, that doesn't really resonate with me. Especially when you think about ... if you think about the question, you know, do I belong to a culture who has benefited from the oppression of this other culture whose symbolism that I'm engaging? If I were to say that as an American, and I were to think about Buddhist cultures that have been affected by American policy, the answer to that would be yes, regardless of my skin color, because I'm here. And I had to really decide for myself what felt appropriate to me ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: Even with the endorsement of people in the culture, because there was this moment of what is the history? How have I benefited? You know. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And there's an opportunity ... I said to myself when I wanted to use the symbol: It's okay because I supported ... I supported Buddhists when I bought this. And I support them when I do this other thing. And I uplift this people in this way and that and then, there's a capitalist notion that I now own this symbol ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And I can do what I want with it. Because I engage it ... And in my case, because I engage it personally, because I have a practice and I've been cultivating. It's like, this is my culture!

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: You know, I do it too! And it was tricky for me to sit with. The concept of even owning a symbol ...

ANDREW: Mmm.

SIOBHAN: Is somewhat capitalist and colonialist in nature. To have the rights to use it. And this is new for me to think about this, honestly. While I've thought about cultural appropriation before, I engaged it in depth this summer through that course that I was taking. And that was interesting to have that moment, because I had always thought, as long as I am engaging this culture, supporting this culture, and uplifting this culture, then it's fair game, the symbols are fair game. But I no longer necessarily believe that. It's totally case by case. 

ANDREW: Do you use the symbol? 

SIOBHAN: Did I use it? No.

ANDREW: No? 

SIOBHAN: I didn't. And I said to the people I was asking, I said, If I ever use images of my practice or Buddhist symbols that I engage, it will have the level of awareness in it that I've now garnered. It won't be an afterthought. It won't be like, Oh, I just used this symbol and then afterwards I think about it. It will be like, this is what I intend, I stand confident in this. And it will involve the foresight needed, just like you were talking about, sitting down with people and saying, “How do you feel about this? How do you feel about this? And ...”

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: And asking myself questions like, “What about this project, this representation, or this use of this symbol, amplifies further the voice of the people who have been disadvantaged ...” 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: In accordance to or in relationship to members' cultures that I belong to, and things like that, it won't be separate from that ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: I will be having that awareness. If I do use the symbol, ever.

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah, you know, and making this deck, I certainly talked to my elders. You know, I sat down and showed my elder all the work, you know, to make sure that they were happy with it and comfortable with it, you know, and again recognizing that they don't speak for everybody, you know, like it's...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know? I mean, and ultimately, from my point of view, when it comes to this particular project, you know, it's a ... I would have used the word Lucumí as the title of the tarot, but it's already taken by another deck, but like it represents a very specific set of experiences which are mine and my story and my journey and my ...

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Understandings and my lineage, you know? And it doesn't represent, and certainly it doesn't pretend to represent, all of these diasporic traditions or any of those things, because that's impossible. Because they are related but they are not the same. 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And, you know, and I'm also, I am not a Cuban, and I’m not a, you know, Yoruban or, you know, Brazilian or other things, you know? I'm not a person of color. I'm not any of those things. 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And those people and the way in which those traditions are practiced in different communities are always going to be different. 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: And, you know, that's the end of the conversation, right, you know?

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And for me, the problem arises when people don't understand those implications, right? You know, like you're talking about, you know? Well, I can just -- I'm a Buddhist -- Look at me, I've got a brass Buddha statue, I'm good, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right! [laughing] Right. Right, there's a lot of ... harm can be done in the assumption that because a thing was purchased, you own the rights to the culture ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And you own the right to use that symbol, however you want, just cause you own it. And that's the capitalist way.

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: I bought that, it's mine, I can do whatever I want with it, and there's not a thought process about where did this fabric come from? What traditional weave is this? What are the conditions in the nation where they do this weave? And, are they in a situation where their culture is being eradicated? 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: I just heard about that recently. I can't remember the major design company that stole this technique from a region. And then another company came, went to that nation, and amplified the voices there, and created a school so they could continue teaching their cultural work. And there is an opportunity for more things like that to happen, the uplifting of voices that are fading away because of systemic oppression, but only if people get beyond their feeling of ownership of something ...

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: And their feeling of glory about something. And ... And it's really easy to lose track of that. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. Yeah. For sure. And I think it's a thing, you know, we live in ... Capitalism is such a thing, right? Says the person who runs a store, right? 

SIOBHAN: [laughing]

ANDREW: You know, but, I think that ... I was having this conversation with somebody recently about being anti-capitalist, right? 

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: And they were talking about somebody else who was running a business who was anti-capitalist and was running into all these challenges and problems for the people that they had, that they would struggle and stuff. And, I'm like, I don't think I'm anti-capitalist per se, I mean, I think that there are better ideas, for sure, but I'm definitely anti-exploitation. You know? And for me, like, capitalism, when we talk about capitalism, I feel lost and daunted by the immensity of it. You know? I mean, like, what am I going to do about this? You know? I ... It just hits a thing where I sort of get stuck. But I definitely work to, in my interactions, be anti-exploitive. You know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And seeking to, you know, build and prioritize the independent people, independent deck makers that we're supporting, you know? Seeking to ask the questions about ... So I'm buying this thing, where did it come from? How is it made? You know? Is this palo santo sustainably harvested? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Or is this like you're in there with a chain saw cutting them down? You know?

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And seeking that ... it adds a layer of work, but I think it also ... Beyond just being like, good practice, I think it also adds a layer of power to stuff as well, you know, when we're talking about spiritual things, you know? When we know that there's a chain of connection that has consideration for the earth and people and spirit and so on, I feel like there's a flow through there that makes things better, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: If the opportunity is taken. And I believe that chain is there even if we don't take the opportunity. And then what are we connecting ourselves to, is the question. 

ANDREW: Well, for sure, right? 

SIOBHAN: You know, when we don't investigate it, what are the conditions where they mine this? What does the earth look like as a result of this mining? What happens ... You know? When this degrades, this thing I use, this single use thing, and, one of the things that really flabbergasted me [laughing], when I became more active online, in the online spiritual community, was the notion that spiritual practices are concerned with nature, and concerned with the preservation of nature, and I'm still feeling like, if I were to divulge the level at which I'm thinking about things when it comes to sustainability, I mean, I would be that crazy person. Like -- And I mean that like in the sense that I would be the outlier in the way that I often am. 

Not to mean, not to say that, not to put a judgement call on the person who thinks differently or the person who is othered because of their mental health status, because again, I'm coming from that place too, but the person who is othered because [sigh], this is just too weird, this is just too hard, this is just ... but at the same time, we're in a time where it's so important that really everybody kind of gets on the same page about that, or else. 

ANDREW: I just don't get those people, though, right? I'm like, this is a person who is way more passionate about this than I have capacity to do. 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: So I'm gonna like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna pay them for their passion, for their intensity, for being out there, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: Cause there are these people out there, you know? I have the good fortune to meet them and I'm just like, Yes! You're the good chain. I want to support this. 

SIOBHAN: [laughing] Right. 

ANDREW: And other people, I'm just like, “Hmm, I'm not sure, we'll see,” you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: You know, like, cause lots of people, I run into lots of people doing business, and lots of people importing stuff from wherever, and I'm always like, hmm, you know.

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And then there's people who are doing great stuff, you know? Like some of my suppliers, they know exactly where their crystals are coming from cause they're paying the people directly to mine them. You know?

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: And they go down and, you know, give those people money and support their families and connect with them and connect with sustainability of these things, cause they want them to keep coming, right? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: You know, and they want these people who have these abilities to keep doing it and to be supported, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: And I think that that's amazing when that, when I see that, you know? 

SIOBHAN: Right. 

ANDREW: So. Yeah. 

SIOBHAN: I continue to be surprised how many people own shops, metaphysical shops, that look at me sideways when I say “Do you support ethical mining? Are these ethically mined?” And I just get blank faces. [laughing] You know, like, “What does that even mean? What are you even talking about? Oh, well probably, you know,” and it's like, this isn't an insane notion, in the spiritual community, it's not this bizarre notion, but it is, it is a lot of places.

ANDREW: Yeah, and it's tough because there's so many, you know, there's stuff, certainly, 100 percent of our stuff is not, it's not clear where a bunch of it comes from.

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: Because there's so many disruptions in the points of connection, you know?

SIOBHAN: Mmmhmm.

ANDREW: You know, but I think it's important to be mindful of it and to try and work on that, right? Cause otherwise we'll never move further in that direction, you know? So.

SIOBHAN: Right.

ANDREW: Yeah.

SIOBHAN: Right. I look at my collection [laughing] ... My collection I've amassed at this point of gems and minerals, and my awareness of even the concept of ethical mining started, really, when I got more active in the Little Red Tarot community. She's been very vocal -- Beth, the owner -- about ethical mining and through her I learned, Oh, I really have to look out for this. Cause you learn in little pieces. The gems. It's the food, where's the food coming from? This plastic, what's going to happen to it when I'm done with it? You, obviously, you don't become aware of it all at once, or at least hopefully not, you work piece by piece, and then to really think about, what am I going to do with this stuff now that I already have it? 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm.

SIOBHAN: What is the most powerful purpose that I could put this to, now that I do already own it and really, staying curious about that, rather than shutting down, and rather than going into a guilt that doesn't serve. 

ANDREW: Mmmhmm. For sure. Well, I think that's a good spot to stop it and say, if you're curious about Siobhan, where do they come and find you? [laughing]

SIOBHAN: [laughing] I'm at RadicalTarot.com

ANDREW: Nice. 

SIOBHAN: And, everything is there. I'm also everywhere else and they can find my Instagram. My Twitter is actually the most political place I am, ironically, that's the place I'm most vocal when it comes to how I feel. I am on Facebook, but it's only a matter of time, before, I think, I part ways with them. And my newsletter is definitely the safest way to make sure that you hear about anything that I'm putting forth, because I announce everything there. 

ANDREW: Nice. Well, thank you so much for making some time and coming on the podcast today. It's been great. 

SIOBHAN: Awesome! Thank you for having me!

Facebook Comments: