While tarot is commonly associated with European traditions of divination, its roots can be traced back to ancient African practices where divination tools were employed for healing, spiritual communication, and conveying messages. An ever-growing population of Black psychics, who might also be recognized as seers, healers, intuitives, metaphysical advisors, and spiritual and multidimensional guides, integrate these age-old practices into a synthesized African religious framework that incorporates an array of spiritual approaches to fulfill the diverse needs of clients.
This contemporary utilization of tarot, termed Black Tarot, serves as an empowering resource for many Black women, aiding in personal growth, interpreting life events, resolving disputes, and alleviating emotional distress and stress.
Black Tarot is particularly beneficial in addressing the impacts of racism, which can accelerate the degradation of bodily systems, escalate the risk of chronic illness, negatively influence pregnancy outcomes, and diminish lifespan. In re-envisioning tarot, it becomes a healing instrument for many Black women to confront and mend the injuries inflicted by overt and covert expressions of white supremacy, sexism, and the subtleties of violence manifested through structural inequalities that hinder romantic relationships and necessitate disproportionate emotional exertion in workplaces and educational institutions.
For many Black women, tarot is understood and utilized for its divinatory and restorative abilities through a distinctly African lens, where honoring ancestors is a key aspect that distinguishes Black Tarot. Despite its specialized nature, its accessibility has led to widespread adoption among Black practitioners. As a culturally resonant and ancestrally connected practice, Black Tarot is leveraged to foster resilience in Black women.
Resilience is often misconceived as a fixed trait. Rather it is a dynamic and systemic process that interacts with historical, social, and cultural contexts, facilitating reorganization, reinterpretation, and the capacity to rise above challenging circumstances. It draws upon individual and community resources like confidence, optimism, positive attitude, self-regulation, adaptability, tenacity, supportive familial and social bonds, sound situational analysis, creativity, societal and programmatic backing, a sense of belonging, independence, and life purpose.
The concept of resilience is particularly pivotal when discussing Black women, to challenge the stereotype of the "strong Black woman" which, while applied as a trait and intended as a compliment, can paradoxically silence expressions of vulnerability, constrain autonomy, and limit access to financial and emotional wellness. Instead, resilience is recognized as variable and dependent on resources and the extent of adversity faced, not confined by this stereotype. Black women, therefore, benefit from resources that enable them to exhibit resilience during trying times.
In this context, Black Tarot stands out as a vital resource for many Black women to cultivate resilience. Tarot readings allow individuals to pinpoint concerns, explore potential consequences and surrounding energies, and deliberate on actions that could ameliorate their circumstances. Readers assist in bringing to light deeper issues a client may be facing and, through connecting with ancestral spirits, provide guidance and support. These ancestral connections are crucial for many Black women as they navigate intersecting systems of oppression.
The Black Dot Institute (BDI) is committed to alleviating the impact of intersectional racial stress and racism-based trauma on Black women by providing transformative health and wellness programs, services, and research that incorporate metaphysical and holistic approaches. Under the Direction of Founder and CEO Dr. Akila Ka Ma'at, BDI integrates an understanding of Black women’s health with mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being, utilizing complementary health and self-care paradigms. Dr. Ma'at is also a principal investigator on a body of funded research that investigates the impacts of endorsing the strong Black woman stereotype among Black women on maternal, perinatal, and infant health.