Author, Comics Writer and Tarot Expert Rachel Pollack Nears the End of Her Life


By Arlo Marler, Arts Writer


Many may have not heard of the name Rachel Pollack. I know I hadn’t up until around a week and a half ago. But even discovering her from a post made by Neil Gaiman about her declining health as per the request of Pollack’s wife Zoe, I immediately started doing research as everything he mentioned about her intrigued me. Now, a little while later, I have listened to many of her talks and interviews and have done some research into her and can firmly say that she is one of my new inspirations and I only wish I found out about her and her body of work at an earlier time.

The Writing of Rachel Pollack

Pollack is a prolific writer of both comics and fiction, though many may not have heard of her work. Most notably in her body of work she wrote a run of Doom Patrol following the very successful Grant Morrison run. Pollack took over the series at issue #64 and ended her run with issue #87 in 1995.

For many years, DC had overshadowed her run on the series despite how groundbreaking many consider it to be. Pollack is largely considered to have created the first mainstream transgender superhero named Kate Godwin, aka Coagula, who had the power to both dissolve and coagulate solids inspired by occultism and Baphomet. Perhaps even more iconic is the pin Coagula wears that says “Put a Transsexual Lesbian On The Supreme Court.”

Pollack, who is a transgender woman, said she created Coagula after talking to a group of her trans friends, one of which asked her to write her as a superhero. Coagula even fights a supervillain named the Codpiece who tries to compensate for his ascribed phallic inadequacies after being rejected by a woman that he constructs a literal codpiece that shoots cannonballs. The comic series was a boundary-defying and surreal creative work from beginning to end.

Pollack has also written a plethora of fiction in the form of both novels and short story collections. Two of her novels have won prestigious science fiction and fantasy awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction for her book “Unquenchable Fire” and the World Fantasy Award for her book “Godmother Night,” all of which draw from occultism or esoteric practices in some way. One of her most recent books is a collection of short stories called “The Beatrix Gates” published by radical publisher PM Press.

The Tarot of Rachel Pollack 

Rachel Pollack has been considered by many in the tarot community to be one of the foremost experts on divinatory tarot. In the 1980s she wrote the book “Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom,” which many consider to be the tarot bible and has been massively influential in the world of tarot. It also goes into incredible detail on not only card meanings but also the history of tarot. In addition, she has written and illustrated her own tarot deck “The Shining Tribe Tarot,” which is inspired by tribal and prehistoric art and she has written for many other tarot decks as well.

An Underrated Creative Visionary

Rachel Pollack is an underrated creative and more people should know more about and reach her extensive body of work, especially as she nears the end of her life. In being a Jewish transgender lesbian, she has pushed so many boundaries and blazed her own path in many different creative fields. Pollack passed away on April 8 of Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. She will be deeply missed by many around the world. If you would like, draw a tarot card for yourself in her honor today, read her comics and fiction and take a moment to honor her contributions and her spirit. 


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