Rachel Pollack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rachel Pollack
Born (1945-08-17) August 17, 1945 (age 76)
Alma materNew York University, Claremont Graduate University
Notable work
Unquenchable Fire
Issues 64–87 of Doom Patrol
StyleMagical realism

Rachel Grace Pollack (born August 17, 1945) is an American science fiction author, comic book writer, and expert on divinatory tarot. She is involved in the women's spirituality movement.[citation needed]


Tarot reading[edit]

Pollack has written Salvador Dali's Tarot, a book-length exposition of Salvador Dalí's Tarot deck, comprising a full-page color plate for each card, with her commentary on the facing page.[1] Her work 78 Degrees of Wisdom on Tarot reading is commonly referenced by Tarot readers.[2] She has created her own Tarot deck, Shining Woman Tarot (later Shining Tribe Tarot).[3] 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.[4]


Pollack, known for her run of issues 64–87 (1993–1995) on the comic book Doom Patrol, on DC Comics' Vertigo imprint,[5] a continuation of a 1960s comic which had recently become a cult favorite under Grant Morrison. She took over the series in 1993 after meeting editor Tom Peyer at a party, telling him it was the only monthly comic book she would want to write at the time, and sending him a sample script. Towards the end of Morrison's run Pollack began writing monthly "letters to the editor" in what she describes as a "gee-whiz fangirl" voice asking to take over the book when Morrison was finished. In the final letter, she claims that she had already told her mother that she had been given the job. Peyer then used that response to that letter to officially announce that Pollack was, in fact, taking over the book. As a result of these letters being printed in the letter column of Doom Patrol issues, some people seem to believe that the letters are the way she actually got the job.[6]

During her tenure, Pollack dealt with such rarely addressed comic-book topics as menstruation, sexual identity, and transsexuality. Her run ended two years later, with the book's cancellation.

In addition to Doom Patrol, Pollack has written issues of the Vertigo Visions anthology featuring Brother Power the Geek (1993) and Tomahawk (1998), the first 11 issues of the fourth volume of New Gods (1995), and the five-issue limited series Time Breakers (1996) for the short lived Helix imprint.

Author Neil Gaiman has sometimes consulted Pollack on the tarot for his stories.[7]

In 2019, it was announced that Pollack was reuniting with Doom Patrol artist Richard Case and letterer John Workman to create a short story—titled "Snake Song"—for the Kickstarter funded "music-themed horror anthology" Dead Beats.[8][9]


Three of Pollack's novels have won or been nominated for major awards in the science fiction and fantasy field: Unquenchable Fire won the 1989 Arthur C. Clarke Award; Godmother Night won the 1997 World Fantasy Award, was shortlisted for the James Tiptree Jr. Award, and was nominated for a Lambda Award; Temporary Agency was nominated for the 1995 Nebula Award and the Mythopoeic Award, and shortlisted for the Tiptree.[10]

Her magical realism[11] 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.[12]


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


For nearly 20 years, Pollack has been teaching seminars with Tarot author Mary K. Greer at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, New York.[13] 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.[13] 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.[13] She 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. She has taught English at State University of New York.


Pollack is Jewish,[14] and has frequently written about the Kabbalah, most notably in The Kabbalah Tree.[15]

She is a transsexual woman and has written frequently on transgender issues.[16][17] 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.[18] She has emphasized the revelatory aspects of transsexualism, saying that "the trance-sexual [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."[19]

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."[20] 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 trans men.

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

Degrees, awards, and memberships[edit]

Published works[edit]

Non-fiction books[edit]

  • Anderson, Hilary (1989). New Thoughts on Tarot. North Hollywood: Newcastle Pub. Co. ISBN 0-87877-139-5.[15]
  • Hillman, James (1997). Marriages: Spring 60, a Journal of Archetype and Culture. City: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 1-882670-09-4.[15]
  • Livernois, Jay (1996). Archetypal Sex: Spring : a Journal of Archetype and Culture. Irving: Spring Publications. ISBN 1-882670-05-1.[15]
  • Mckean, Dave (2001). Bento. Pacific Grove: Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. ISBN 0-9642069-4-3.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1985). Salvador Dali's Tarot. Salem, New Hampshire: Salem House. ISBN 0-88162-076-9.
  • Pollack, Rachel (1986). Tarot. Wellingborough: Aquarian Press. ISBN 0-85030-465-2.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1986). Teach Yourself Fortune Telling. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-0125-5.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1990). The Haindl Tarot. City: Newcastle Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87877-156-5.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1990). The Haindl Tarot: the Major Arcana. City: Newcastle Publishing Company. ISBN 0-87877-155-7.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1990). The New Tarot. City: Overlook Hardcover. ISBN 0-87951-395-0.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1991). Tarot Readings and Meditations. London: Thorsons Pub. ISBN 1-85538-049-8.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1995). The Journey out. New York: Viking. ISBN 0-14-037254-7.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1997). The Body of the Goddess. Tisbury: Element Books. ISBN 1-85230-871-0.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1998). Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. New York: Thorsons Publishers. ISBN 0-7225-3572-4.
  • Pollack, Rachel (2000). The Power of Ritual. New York: Dell. ISBN 0-440-50872-X.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2001). The Shining Tribe Tarot. Saint Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1-56718-514-2.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2001). The Shining Tribe Tarot, Revised and Expanded. Saint Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1-56718-532-0.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2002). Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot. City: Element Books Ltd. ISBN 0-00-713115-1.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2002). The Forest Of Souls: A Walk Through The Tarot. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 1567185339.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2004). The Kabbalah Tree. Saint Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 0-7387-0507-1.[15]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2005). Seeker. Saint Paul: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 0-7387-0521-7.[15]
  • Robbins, Trina (2002). Eternally Bad. City: Book Sales. ISBN 0-7858-1565-1.[15]




Short fiction[edit]

  • Pollack, Rachel (1971). Pandora's Bust.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1973). Tubs of Slaw.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1975). Black Rose and White Rose.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1976). Is Your Child Using Drugs? Seven Ways to Recognize a Drug Addict.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1982). Angel Baby.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1984). The Malignant One.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1984). The Girl Who Went to the Rich Neighbourhood.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1984). Tree House.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1984). Lands of Stone.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1986). The Protector.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1989). The Bead Woman.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1989). Knower of Birds.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1989). Burning Sky.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1990). The Woman Who Didn't Come Back.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1990). General All-Purpose Fairy Tale.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel; James Patrick Kelly; Pat Cadigan; Nancy Kress (1997). Making Good Time.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (1998). The Fool, the Stick, and the Princess.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2001). The Younger Brother.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (2003). Delusions of Universal Grandeur.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel; Michael Cisco; Jeffrey Thomas; Eric G. Schaller; K. J. Bishop; Stepan Chapman; Richard Calder; R. F. Wexler (2003). Reminiscences.[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel (May 2010). "Forever". Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.[23]


  • The Wild Cows (1993)[23]


  • "Introduction: A Machine for Constructing Stories" (1989)[23]
  • Read This (The New York Review of Science Fiction, October 1991) (1991)[23]
  • Read This (The New York Review of Science Fiction, July 1995) (1995)[23]
  • Read This (The New York Review of Science Fiction, August 1996) (1996)[23]
  • Pollack, Rachel. "Death and Its Afterlives In the Tarot". Parabola.[23]


  • The Book of Embraces (1991) by Eduardo Galeano
  • Outside the Dog Museum (1992) by Jonathan Carroll
  • Coelestis [vt Celestis](1996) by Paul Park



  1. ^ Pollack, Rachel (1985). Salvador Dali's Tarot. Salem, New Hampshire: Salem House. ISBN 0-88162-076-9.
  2. ^ "Llewellyn.com". Retrieved April 8, 2008.
  3. ^ "Shining Tribe Tarot". Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Vertigo Tarot". Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  5. ^ "Doom Patrol". Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  6. ^ Pollack, Rachel (2019). ""Radical, Sacred, Hopefully Magical" Outspoken Interview with Rachel Pollack". The Beatrix Gates Plus... PM Press. pp. 99–100. ISBN 978-1-62963-578-1.
  7. ^ Davis, Erik (1994). "The Gods of the Funny Books: An Interview with Neil Gaiman and Rachel Pollack". Gnosis. Archived from the original on May 29, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  8. ^ "Dead Beats By Tyler & Wendy Chin-Tanner". Kickstarter. April 9, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019. Notably, the book includes a reunion of Doom Patrol alums Rachel Pollack and Richard Case, working together for the first time in more than 25 years!
  9. ^ Corallo, Joe (April 19, 2019). "Rachel Pollack Signed Bookplates, Bigger Doom Patrol Reunion, and New Artwork!". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 23, 2019. We are also absolutely thrilled to announce that our Doom Patrol reunion just got even bigger! Legendary and award winning comics letterer John Workman, whose work includes having lettered Doom Patrol for all of Grant Morrison and Rachel Pollack's runs, will be lettering Rachel Pollack and Richard Case's story in Dead Beats, Snake Song! He's excited to be part of this reunion and we hope you're excited he's on board too!
  10. ^ "sfadb : Rachel Pollack Awards". www.sfadb.com.
  11. ^ "GLBT Fantasy review of Godmother Night". Retrieved September 19, 2008.
  12. ^ "Temporary Agency". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Women In Tarot".
  14. ^ "New Worlds Article". Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "biblio.com". Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  16. ^ Valerio, Max Wolf (2006). The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male. Berkeley: Seal Press. p. 147. ISBN 1-58005-173-1.
  17. ^ Israel, Gianna E.; Tarver II; Donald E. (2001). Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information & Personal Accounts. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 269. ISBN 1-56639-852-5.
  18. ^ Pollack, Rachel. "Archetypal Transsexuality." Retrieved October 20, 2008.
  19. ^ Pollack, Rachel. "Abandonment to the Body's Desire." In: 'Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community.' Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  20. ^ Pollack, Rachel. A Secret Woman: A Mystery. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur, 2002.
  21. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  22. ^ a b c d "The Shining Tribe". Retrieved November 19, 2008.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae "Internet Science Fiction Data Base". Retrieved April 15, 2008.

External links[edit]