Rachel Pollack
BornAugust 17, 1945
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York
Alma materNew York University, Claremont Graduate University

Rachel Pollack (born 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.

Tarot Reading

Her work 78 Degrees of Wisdom on tarot reading is commonly referenced by tarot readers.[1]

She wrote 78 Degrees of Wisdom on tarot reading, and has created her own tarot deck called "Shining Woman Tarot," (later "Shining Tribe Tarot."[2]) She also aided in the creation of the "Vertigo Tarot Deck", with Illustrator Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman and wrote a book specifically to accompany it.[3]


She is best known for her run of issues 64-87 on the comic book Doom Patrol, on DC Comics' Vertigo imprint[3]., 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[4] Although the letters are a matter of record[4] it's unknown if they were actually the cause of her employment. During her tenure she 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.


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.

Her science-fiction novels explore worlds imbued with elements pulled from a number of traditions, faiths, and religions.


Pollack is Jewish,[5] and has frequently written about the Kabbalah, most notably in The Kabbalah Tree.[6]

Pollack is a transsexual woman and has written frequently on transgender issues.[7][8] 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," [9] instead saying that it is a passion. She has emphasized the revelatory aspects of transsexualism, saying that "the Template:Sic 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 transgender 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."[10] 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 Pollack's writings. Her new book, Tarot of Perfection, is a book of fairy tales based on the tarot.


For nearly twenty years Rachel has been teaching seminars with Tarot author Mary K. Greer at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York.[11] Rachel has also done seminars for several years in California in conjunction with Mary K. Greer, and she co-presented a breakthrough seminar with Tarot author Johanna Gargiulo-Sherman on Tarot and Psychic ability, using Rachel's Shining Tribe Tarot and Johanna's Sacred Rose Tarot.[11] Rachel 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[11] 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 New York State University.

Degrees, Awards, Memberships

  • 1997 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel winner for Godmother Night
  • 1994 Nebula Award for Best Novel nominee for Temporary Agency
  • 1989 Arthur C. Clarke Award winner for Unquenchable Fire
  • Certified Tarot Grand Master (CTGM) with the Tarot Certification Board of America[11]
  • Tarot Sage (TS) with the American Board For Tarot Certification[11]
  • member of the American Tarot Association (ATA)[11]
  • member of the International Tarot Society (ITS)[11]
  • member of the Tarot Guild of Australia[11]
  • member of the Tarot Association of the British Isles.[11]
  • Honours degree in English from New York University[12]
  • Masters in English from Claremont Graduate School[12]
  • Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing Program, Goddard College


  1. Llewellyn. Retrieved on 04-08-2008.
  2. Shining Tribe Tarot. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Vertigo Tarot. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Vertigo Tarot" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jim Morrison, Doom Patrol 
  5. New Worlds Article. Retrieved on 2008-09-06.
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named book biblio
  7. Valerio, Max Wolf (2006). The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male. Berkeley: Seal Press, 147. ISBN 1-58005-173-1. 
  8. Israel, Gianna E. (2001). Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information & Personal Accounts. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 269. ISBN 1-56639-852-5. 
  9. Pollack, Rachel. "Archetypal Transsexuality." Retrieved on 10-20-2008.
  10. Pollack, Rachel. A Secret Woman: A Mystery. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 Women In Tarot.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named biblio

External links

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