What’s more important to our emotional existence in this capitalist hellscape than business? Big or small it’ll come for us all, yet no one ever asks us how we feeeeeel about it. Until now…
In this first installment of Women On The Edge you’ll see work from Van Tran Nguyen (October 4th), Maya Tanaka (October 11th) and Alex Harris (October 18th) that focuses on the feelings behind the transaction.
Alex Harris, Kitty Kasket, 2018
Maya Tanaka, Tarot – The Devil, 2019
Listen, I’m a Capricorn. You know, the sign always trying to build, always staying in to scheme, always WORKING!? This is our tarot mascot right here, this cute lil’ goat demon. Sometimes The Devil has bat wings and horns, sometimes its tongue is out (cute), sometimes it has breasts (even cuter!), sometimes its crotch is aflame (bummer). The Devil is usually the 15th card in the major arcana, ruled by Saturn (earth signs 4ever). The card before The Devil is the ever-elusive Temperance, the card following is the third-eye opening Tower.
This card is historically associated with greed, materialism, addiction, suffering, oppression, and hedonism. The Devil is definitely not a mommy, but maybe a daddy? The Devil is shame personified, ruling humans forever shackled to its pedestal by keeping them in the dark–much like capitalism. Capitalism casts us as both the oppressed and the oppressor. We are exploited and asked to exploit at the same time in an apparently never-ending cycle. And we are often willing participants.
Sometimes it’s hard to look around at late stage capitalism and not see the world as an absurdist nightmare. Many of us are ashamed of the things we do to survive, whether or not we should be. Around us, income inequality grows, rents rise and healthcare slowly becomes inaccessible for everyone but the extremely wealthy. And yet, the majority of us are conditioned from birth to want material success, even if it is absolutely unnecessary for survival. But no one NEEDS to be a billionaire. They just don’t.
When The Devil shows up, we’re being called to re-examine the shame we feel when we look at ourselves. To transmute this shame, we need to understand the framework in which we live and appreciate our strength for still being alive, and sometimes even flourishing. We want stuff that hurts us, and sometimes that’s not our fault. Of course we want butter. We deserve butter! Of course we want to live deliciously. And we should! But that doesn’t need to come at the expense of others, or ourselves. That’s a trick that The Devil loves to play.
Sure, we might be naked and attached to a sadistic goat creature, but we don’t need to stay here and we don’t need to be ashamed for entering into bondage. Sometimes, bondage can be fun! It can be thrilling to feel a little shame once in awhile. But the point is not to let it hold you hostage, no matter how sexy you think that goat is. Don’t let shame consume you. Like anything, it’s only temporary. – xo, m
Van Tran Nguyen, For Vanessa, 2018