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Rachel Pollack (born August 17, 1945)

Rachel Pollack (b. August 17, 1945 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American science fiction author, comic book writer, and expert on divinatory tarot. Pollack has been a great influence on the women's spirituality movement.

Pollack's work 78 Degrees of Wisdom on tarot reading is commonly referenced by tarot readers. She has created her own tarot deck, Shining Woman Tarot (later Shining Tribe Tarot). She also aided in the creation of the Vertigo Tarot Deck with illustrator Dave McKean and author Neil Gaiman, and she wrote a book to accompany it.

Pollack is best known for her run of issues 64-87 on the comic book Doom Patrol, on DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, which became a cult favorite under Grant Morrison. A comic fandom legend has it that Pollack was assigned to write the series after writing persistent letters to the editor. Although the letters are a matter of record, it's unknown if they were actually the cause of her employment. During her tenure Pollack dealt with such rarely addressed comic-book topics as menstruation, sexual identity, and transsexuality. Pollack's run ended two years later, with the book's cancellation. Pollack also wrote a Brother Power the Geek one-shot, and eleven issues of a New Gods series for DC Comics (the first five co-authored with Tom Peyer). Author Neil Gaiman has sometimes consulted Rachel Pollack on the tarot for his stories. Pollack created an actual tarot spread for one of Gaiman's books.

Her magical realism novels explore worlds imbued with elements pulled from a number of traditions, faiths, and religions.

Several of her novels are set in an alternative reality that resembles modern America, but an America of Bright Beings, where magic and ritual, religion and thaumaturgy are the norms.

Her book The Body Of The Goddess is an exploration of the history of the Goddess. Rachel Pollack uses the image of the Goddess in many of her works.

Pollack is Jewish, and has frequently written about the Kabbalah, most notably in The Kabbalah Tree.

Pollack is a transsexual woman and has written frequently on transgender issues. In Doom Patrol she introduced Coagula, a transsexual character. She has also written several essays on transsexualism, attacking the notion that it is a "sickness," instead saying that it is a passion. She has emphasized the revelatory aspects of transsexualism, saying that "the trance-sexual woman sacrifices her social identity as a male, her personal history, and finally the very shape of her body to a knowledge, a desire, which overpowers all rational understanding and proof."

A Secret Woman features a police detective who is transgendered and Jewish. The detective utters the prayer, "Blessed art thou oh G-d who made me not a woman. Double blessed is Doctor Green who has." Rachel Pollack created the characters known as 'the bandage people' for her Doom Patrol run. The bandage people are 'sexually remaindered spirits' who died in sexual accidents. The initials srs came from the medical term 'sex reassignment surgery'. Rachel wrote the essay "The Transsexual Book of The Dead" for the anthology Phallus Palace. This article is concerning transmen.

Fairy tales such as the Brothers Grimm have influenced many of Ms. Pollack's writings. Her new book 'Tarot of Perfection' is a book of fairy tales based on the tarot.

For nearly 20 years Pollack has been teaching seminars with Tarot author Mary K. Greer at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, New York. She has also done seminars for several years in California in conjunction with Greer, and she co-presented a breakthrough seminar with Tarot author Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman on Tarot and psychic ability, using her own Shining Tribe Tarot and Gargulio-Sherman's Sacred Rose Tarot. Pollack is also a popular lecturer at Tarot seminars and symposiums such as LATS (Los Angeles Tarot Symposium), BATS (Bay Area Tarot Symposium), and the Readers Studio. Pollack currently teaches creative writing at Goddard College. Her most recent work is included in the anthology called Interfictions: An Anthology of Interstitial Writing edited by Theodora Goss. Pollack has taught English at State University of New York.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Pollack

Further Readings:

Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Abacus Books (November 7, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0349108366
ISBN-13: 978-0349108360
Amazon: Godmother Night

Set in an alternate world, this modern fairy tale tells the story of two women, Laurie and Jaqe, who become lovers but are separated by Mother Night, a small elderly lady, who is death. Along with her gang of riotous bikers, she cruises through their lives, leaving a trail of heartbreak and joy.

The Journey Out: A Guide for and About Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens by Rachel Pollack & Cheryl Schwartz
Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Puffin (November 1, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0140372547
ISBN-13: 978-0140372540
Amazon: The Journey Out: A Guide for and About Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens

A calm and practical exploration of teen sexuality and the special concerns of lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens offers clear advice on such issues as homophobia and harassment, provides information on gay health and political issues, and much more.

Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community by Noach Dzmura
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: North Atlantic Books (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1556438133
ISBN-13: 978-1556438134
Amazon: Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community

***WINNER, 2011 Lambda Literary Award - Transgender Non-Fiction

While the Jewish mainstream still argues about homosexuality, transgender and gender-variant people have emerged as a distinct Jewish population and as a new chorus of voices. Inspired and nurtured by the successes of the feminist and LGBT movements in the Jewish world, Jews who identify with the “T” now sit in the congregation, marry under the chuppah, and create Jewish families. Balancing on the Mechitza offers a multifaceted portrait of this increasingly visible community.

The contributors—activists, theologians, scholars, and other transgender Jews—share for the first time in a printed volume their theoretical contemplations as well as rite-of-passage and other transformative stories. Balancing on the Mechitza introduces readers to a secular transwoman who interviews her Israeli and Palestinian peers and provides cutting-edge theory about the construction of Jewish personhood in Israel; a transman who serves as legal witness for a man (a role not typically open to persons designated female at birth) during a conversion ritual; a man deprived of testosterone by an illness who comes to identify himself with passion and pride as a Biblical eunuch; and a gender-variant person who explores how to adapt the masculine and feminine pronouns in Hebrew to reflect a non-binary gender reality.

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Tags: author: rachel pollack, boys like us, gay classics, persistent voices
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