(Content warning: talk of sex organs, slightly nsfw due to art of naked bodies)
There are a lot of things I love about The Connected and Free Oracle by Lauren Aletta and Tegan Swyny.
The card stock is nice and thick meaning that they will wear less. The book shows a photo of the card along with the meanings. The backs of the cards have an interesting yet minimal design. The artwork really stands out. The borders on the cards are thin. And I love having additional cards.
The Connected and Free Oracle, and the Binary
However, I am disappointed in the addition of these two cards- Masculine and Feminine.
Firstly, the Connected and Free Oracle booklet says under each description that the meanings of the cards are not solely applied to men or women “but to both sexes.” This kind of statement can exclude people who may not be either sex but rather intersex.
Also, the Feminine cards shows a stylized set of ovaries, uterus, and vagina. Whereas the Masculine card shows a geometric figure, not a stylized penis and testicles. Suggesting that masculinity is not associated or confined to the association with the penis or testicles, but that femininity is associated or confined to the association with the ovaries, uterus, and vagina.
Additionally, only having two cards that reflect gender can also exclude those that don’t identify with either, or identify as having either type of energy. For example, agender individuals may identify as having non-gendered or agender energy, or energy that is outside the gender binary.
This isn’t to say that the Connected and Free Oracle deck isn’t wonderful. As I said earlier, it has positives. And for many people, this will be a wonderful and beloved deck.
I am also not saying that the artist or creators meant to make people feel excluded. They are probably not aware of some of the implications the masculine/feminine binary has. And this is in no way meant as a jab against them.
It just concerns me to see a deck, and not only feel excluded as a cis woman who does not base her gender identity in her sex organs, but also to see it exclude people based on their gender identities. We need to be having these kinds of discussions.