We need to talk about Appropriation in this Community,

Over the past 6+ months, I have come to understand the reasons why I took many breaks from the tarot community over the past 2 years, why I felt unspeakably lost in this New Age/Healing Industry. I wanted so bad to fit in and really be part of the community but, like in the rest of my life, I faced subtle to overt racism. I shifted between two underwhelming positions of being overlooked and held at a distance or held tight and looked upon as a token. I allowed myself to be okay with cold shoulders or hollow welcomes as I thought that that was the cost of belonging. Now I have come to realize that I do not want to belong to a community that is extractive of my ancestors and unable to fully embrace me.

I had to decolonize my own work, vetting myself and my practices. I realized that I too had appropriated and didn’t educate myself on the harm spawned by appropriation. What began as just feeling uneasy churned and grew until I felt sick to my stomach and knew that I had to change my practice and my views on the community. We all have a lot of work to do when it comes to appropriation.

I began asking myself what is my place in this community, in these practices, as a Xicanx and Indigenous womxn with light skin privilege? Where is my place in a community where BIPOC narratives were being written and sold by those who aren’t? Where is my place in this community as we are relegated to a romanticized past and left out of the present? 

I had to unlearn so many ideas planted in me about my identity. I had to unlearn the entitlement that fuels the notion that culture is free. I had to unlearn the assumption that my creative license gave me the right to abduct other people’s culture.

I began to allow myself to seek education and history on my own magic, my lineage, my family, my ancestors.

This research surfaced familial and ancestor trauma. I could no longer look at my own work or the work of others in the same way. Something was seriously wrong.

For too long false narratives have been taken as sacred knowledge from populations affected by racism, poverty, genocide and outright culture and land theft. I hope that by doing this work and sharing my process that we can change and understand that appropriation is not needed for healing and further our practices. This has led me to create Not Your Ancestors. This is a living document that I will continue to add onto in order to tackle the very real issues in this “New Age” realm.

I also would like to also stress that I do not speak for all Indigenous/Latinx folx, that I cannot speak on traditions outside of my own lineage and to do so is to take space that does not belong to me and also would be a case for appropriation and bypassing as well. To seek further knowledge and information on specificity, one must see to the rightful owners.

Thank you.

-Marisa de La Peña