Perhaps second only to the discovery of fire and indoor plumbing, smut is one of humanity’s truly great inventions. To begin with, it easily polarizes people; almost everyone has a strong feeling about it. Very few people will claim to be apathetic about dirty pictures. That’s because it speaks about different forms of desire, and for some people that’s exciting and for some that’s horrifying — a world of conflicting emotions all over a scrap of paper with some ink on it. Curious.
I say this knowing I live a highly privileged life and while championing for us to live deeply and be, like Lord Byron, “mad, bad and dangerous to know,” I must acknowledge that there are people who will never get that opportunity, that for them rape and domestic violence are not only very real but — more so than any “love that dare not speak its name” — the real taboo subjects in our society. So while I believe dirty pictures are not the problem — sexual violence is the problem — it is not my place to convince anyone that the orgasm will set us free. If the space isn’t safe to explore these things then that is something only you, yourself, can say and the last thing I want to do is silence you in any form. There is far too much silence already in this world.
It’s one of the reasons I decided against including the Emperor in this deck. Partly because my own spiritual beliefs run counter to the idea that old graybeard patriarchs are the embodiment of wisdom and justice (I work with far too many of them as a hospice nurse to get sentimental) but mainly because that’s not the kind of sexual energy I want to deal with. I mean, just look at the card in the Rider-Waite deck: the throne, the battle-armor, the ram’s heads, the orb and scepter. Gray and dour, the symbol of authority run amok. Anyone who demands to be called the “All Father” while in bed has a whole lot of issues he needs to work out first before he can start channeling his own sexual energy.
We are a culture that sends tons of mixed messages about what it means to be male. We seem to confuse being alert and brave with aggressive and delight in simple dualities: black/white, men/women, gay/straight. Not only is it a terribly boring way to look at the world, but no where in Nature — outside of Hollywood storytelling — can you find any examples of dualities. Zip. Nada. I find it curious that there’s yet to be a Feminist critique about some of the assumptions that go into a lot of these Tarot decks — like the idea that the Emperor is, for some strange reason, always higher ranking than the Empress, or that he’s Mars to her Venus, father to her mother, civilization to her wild nature, imposing his rigid meaty order to her divine wet chaos– aggh!, I’m beginning to sound like bad Freudian porn. But people keep telling me Tarot works on archetypes, so you know who my Empress is going to be? Lilith — the world’s first divorced, bisexual bad girl — who got kicked out of the Garden of Eden because she hated the Missionary Position so much. And there isn’t enough Viagra in the world to get that old man in the Rider-Waite deck hard enough for the Queen of the Night.
We’re not even going to use the word Emperor in this deck, leave that for men still working through their daddy-issues. For me, the word Consort sums up everything that is good about male sexuality — wild enthusiasm and loving energy without the aggression; leadership and compassion without being a tyrant — but the word Consort also has an erotic side to it, much more so than the word Companion. Make no mistake, the sex is great with the Consort, but Lilith already knew that, that’s why she picked him.
While designing this card, I placed a muscled, fey young man standing before the Universe. Like good foreplay, we are told the sky is the limit, but that doesn’t mean we need to go after it all at once when a slow, teasing build-up can work much better. On either side of him are symbols of traditional male power — a sword and an ankh — but the Consort does not need to use them to prove anything to himself. One of the reasons men are so reluctant to talk about sexual and domestic violence is that it means admitting vulnerability. Gods and action heroes are never vulnerable — which is also why they are make-believe. Boys are taught at an early age that real men are like rocks. But instead of taking this as free advice about their abs, they decide it must mean they need to hide their emotions, and so like Aries the Ram, the first sign of the Zodiac, they are forever stuck in the “infant” stage of development. Luckily for them there seems to be a lot of co-dependent people out there who think babies are cute (but we’ll save that side of our psyche for another card).
The Consort, though. faces no such problems. Pain, like rough sex, brings wisdom. The Marquis de Sade once quipped that everyone adores a fascist in bed. That is certainly true for some but it isn’t a call for becoming a despot with one’s emotions. Even at his relatively young age, the wisdom the Consort has learned is that being equal is never a sign of weakness.