I'm so excited to have Krystal of Power Femme Tarot on the blog today! I've been a big fan of her work for a few years now, she is such a great voice in the tarot community. Krystal also creates beautiful pagan prayer beads for her shop and I adore her goddess themed ones!
Hello, can you tell us about yourself? How did tarot find you?
I'm the queer femme witch of Power Femme Tarot, the banner under which I offer tarot readings as well as handcrafted Pagan prayer beads and devotional jewelry. In my muggle job, I am a professor of gender and sexuality studies. Tarot is the perfect tool to bridge these seemingly disparate halves of my life because it can connect intuition to intellect, the magickal to the mundane, and—in my practice—the spiritual to the political. Tarot found me as a 15 year old baby witchling when I purchase my first deck, the classic Rider-Waite Smith. Over the past 15 years I’ve wander on and off my spiritual path and, in the process, purged many of my first magickal tools. However, I could never let go of that deck and still use it to this day!
If you could remove any card in the deck, which card would it be and why?
Like many of your interviewees, I don’t really want to remove any card from the deck. They all have their place. However, I love that this question reminds us that tarot’s structure is arbitrary and, in turn, invites us to see the deck as malleable. Far from universal, tarot tradition and theory reflect the culture of a particular time and place. I’m only one voice in a swelling sea of tarot lovers that’s pointing out the troubling ways tarot decks and communities have internalized oppressive and exclusionary values. So instead of removing cards, I am more invested in revising and expanding their interpretations and radically exploring what we can do personally and politically through our tarot practices.
What's in your tarot toolbox?
Because I intuit what each reading needs in terms of decks, stones, and tools, my tarot toolkit is always changing. My staples include rose quartz, amethyst, and selenite; a tea light candle that rests in a shell I found at one of my favorite places on earth; and my High Priestess anointing oil from Zu Foos. Because I do a lot of readings on Sacred Sexuality, rhodonite—which is like rose quartz’s protective, trauma-healing big sister—also often tags along.
What do you think the Empress would say to the Emperor?
“Without my creative chaos, you’d have nothing to do!”
In the Slow Holler Tarot, the Emperor is reimagined as the Navigator. Stepping into the world of this card, we find that we are on a ship navigating vast waters and the random beauty of the night’s sky has been organized into a map of constellations. I love how the patriarch of the deck is here reimagined in a kinder, gender-neutral way that centers the identification of patterns. The Emperor implements structure that ideally works with rather than against the wildness of nature and the cosmos. To me, the Empress is the generative impulse of the Universe and, to this creative chaos, the Emperor applies necessary structure. Without the Empress, the Emperor would have nothing to systematize—and the Empress isn’t about to let them forget it!
What or who inspires you the most?
My friendship with Nick, the queer astrologer of Queer of Cups, is a bottomless well of inspiration. We volley ideas around and push each other toward tarot epiphanies all of the time. I’m not sure where I would be without his constant support and willingness to talk tarot, astrology, and the moon with me literally nonstop. I’m also really energized by the growing community of queer, feminist, social justice-oriented tarot readers on Instagram. Being in community with them, even casually, reminds me that tarot can be life-affirming and world-building. My other inspirations include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the High Priestess card, and ravens.
If you could be any court card, which would you choose and why?
The Queen of Wands, without hesitation. I’ve a Leo sun/Cancer moon, so the Queen of Wands naturally makes a lot of elemental sense to me. They are the archetypal witch who stokes the flames of sacred sexuality, the femme who rocks a red lip and possesses a strong sense of self. I aspire to the Queen of Wands’ level of radiant badassery!
Which deck could you absolutely not live without?
I am unabashedly a bit of a deck slut! It is important to me to have a robust collection of decks to ensure that I have tools that reflect my clients’ diverse lived, embodied experiences. It’s therefore difficult to pick just one! My very first deck, the Rider-Waite Smith I mentioned above, is truly irreplaceable; like a cherished old cast iron skillet, it is so energetically well-seasoned. Recently I am obsessed all over again with the (sadly out of print) Slow Holler Tarot.
If you could go back to day one of your tarot journey, what would you do differently?
I’d reign in my impulse to draw up enormous spreads. In the beginning, I often overwhelmed myself with huge 12+ card spreads but have come to appreciate the value of a punchy short reading. If I could go back in time, I’d also encourage myself to start learning the basics of astrology much sooner. Again, my friend Nick of Queer of Cups is responsible for finally kick starting my familiarity with astrology and I am quickly finding it beautifully enriches my relationship to the moon and tarot.
What tarot habits or quirks do you have?
My life as an academic infuses my tarot practice with a scholarly spirit. One of my tarot nerd quirks is that I maintain a personal “little white book” in which I obsessively record my own tarot gnosis, the poignant teachings of other readers, and possible radical/queer/politicized interpretations of the cards
If the Hierophant had a favorite curse word, what would it be?
“Goddamn it” seems a likely contender. But I bet the Hierophant’s greatest offense is their overdue library books and fees! They are not only a teacher but also a life-long learner, but they might blow off another institution's rules!
Do you think the Hermit prefers decaf or regular coffee?
Neither. The Hermit is stripping back to bare necessities, living resourcefully, and probably melting snow for drinking water with their lantern’s heat.
Lastly, do you have anything you would like to share? News? Event?
On the recent Scorpio full moon, I launched my website! I am not terribly tech savvy so trust that this was no small feat! Also, I am in the process of developing a tarot for social justice online course called “Tarot in the Tower”; I post snippets of its progress and my tarot teachings on my Instagram. This summer I am hoping to expand my in-person reading and teaching presence in New Orleans. Lastly, remember that I am open to custom Pagan prayer beads orders! Feel free to message me through Etsy or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your custom sacred tool.