This magical portal is a work-in-progress. Much more coming soon!
I have so much I want to share, but am thinking about how I want to do that. I haven’t talked much publicly about my love of tarot and how much it’s helped me personally and creatively: I think I just want to make sure it stays mine and doesn’t become “work.” You know? My friend calls it “introspective guidance,” and I think that’s a great way of looking at it. It’s a spiritual and emotional technology to help you understand yourself and your world better. It’s not predictive, and its magic lies in what it brings up for you. It certainly is uncannily accurate, though…More soon! I’ll let you all know when this part gets more fleshed out.
In the meantime, Tantalize yourself with my fave tarot ladies below…
Susannah Conway: Best online tarot classes EVER. She is amazing. The 78 Mirrors Course is for practitioners who are familiar with tarot already, but I suspect her Daily Guidance is a great intro. I love her! So brilliant and creative.
Carrie Mallon: My go-to gal for interpretations. She’s also designing a gorgeous deck right now (The Spacious Tarot). Her Instagram and newsletters are fabulous. I adore her interpretations of the Wild Unknown deck, but you can use those for any deck—I certainly do. Play around on her site and get to know her. I also did a Skype reading with her and it was FANTASTIC. She’s the real deal.
Kim Liggett: Kim is a fellow YA author and I just love her Instagram because I always get deck lust and I love seeing a fellow writer incorporating tarot into her process. She isn’t a tarot teacher or anything, I just love her vibe.
Quickly: best to start out with the Rider-Waite-Smith, which is what everything is pretty much based on. Get the Centennial Edition - the colors are prettier. My current deck love is the Shadowscapes Tarot - it is perfect for creatives and beautiful and gives great insights. I bought it at a witchy store in Edinburgh called The Wyrd Shop, like you do. The Wild Unknown was my true gateway drug for tarot once I learned more about the cards - it’s a powerful deck, but it’s very different from the traditional RWS deck, so it’s not one to start with. It is the one that really spoke to me for the longest time. But! It’s messages are really blunt - it’s a punch in the vag sometimes, so just be ready for some BIG truth bombs. You might want to begin with an oracle card deck, just to get your feet wet. These are not tarot cards. You can just pick a card and read the interpretation on it and in the book that comes with it. I really love Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance cards, because they help me channel my inner lady fierceness.
*Decks in images above: Pics #1 and 3 from the Wild Unknown, Pics #2 and #4 from Uusi’s Pagan Otherworlds
Decks I’m lusting after and plan to buy pronto:
Go on Pinterest to check out different kinds of decks - it’s so much fun to see what’s out there, and to compare interpretations in all the different illustrations. Instagram will have a lot, too. There’s a #tarotforwriters hashtag, even!
Which Deck To Choose?!
It’s a personal choice, but I think most tarot people would agree with me that you’ve gotta start with the Rider-Waite-Smith because EVERYTHING is based on it, or in conversation with it. Tarot can feel intimidating at first because it’s 78 cards and they all have different meanings. You don’t have to memorize them all at once! I still don’t remember what half of them mean. Keep an easy guide handy nearby (all decks come with their own little white book). If you start here, then all future decks will make a lot more sense.
If you really want to dive in, I’d get the Rider-Waite-Smith Centennial Edition (same as the regular, but prettier, with Smith’s original coloring). At the same time, get a deck that really speaks to you. Usually you fall in love with the illustrations online or in a store and it just…calls to you. Get that one, too. Again, see my recs above as a starting off point, but have fun exploring!
Rider-Waite-Smith “Clone” Decks: These are decks that follow the same structure and concept of the original cards. So the illustrations might be VERY different, but the scene depicted, the message of the card, is the same vibe. Clones mentioned above include Aquarian tarot and the Uusi Pagan Otherworlds. Shadowscapes is kind of a clone, but also very unique. I’d say it’s a hybrid.
Non-clone decks would be the Wild Unknown, one of the most popular decks in the world right now, the Naked Heart tarot, and the Spacious tarot (see above).
Where To Get Decks
You can get them in a lot of places, but I recommend checking out your local witchy store first. Support your local woo! I also feel like when I get cards from a special place, it tends to make that deck a little extra special. That being said, I bought two of my decks on Amazon (don’t judge me) because it can be hard to find the specific deck you want. If you’re patient, I bet they’ll order for you at your local.
This is going to be updated, but below are my current faves:
Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom (Rachel Pollack): The tarot bible. A must-have. There’s a new edition (the yellow one) that is the whole thing in one book. Back in the day, it was two volumes.
The Creative Tarot (Jessa Crispin): A great book for artists who do tarot. Lots of fun activities and interpretations.
Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self Through The Wisdom of the Cards (Michelle Tea): The book kicks ass. Michelle is a writer outside of this book, so she really gets the whole creative deal. Her interpretations and illustrations take all kinds of diversity into account. She has great interpretations with funny asides, and she’s not afraid to get vulnerable and share her own story to help you. Also, she has fun weird, witchy activities for each card, if you want to play Sabrina for a night.
Biddy Tarot: This is how I first started to really learn about the tarot world. There are lots of great interviews and insights, as well as tons of resources.
Channeling the queen of wands
A fun thing to do is figure out which of the tarot’s court cards you are. The court cards, also called the “face cards” represent aspects of ourselves—and sometimes the people in our lives. They’re also great archetypes that can help you as you’re building your characters in your books. (Fun exercise: go through the court cards and figure out who all your characters are AND your fave characters in the books you love).
The tarot teacher I adore, Susannah Conway, took the trouble of figuring out the Myers-Briggs for each of these cards (you can learn all about that in her 78 Mirrors Course, which I am obsessed with). No surprise to me, my court card is the Queen of Wands - INFJ, baby. Even if you’re not an INFJ, the Queen is a card card to prop up in your writing area because she’s basically the patron of us lady writers. Read on for more (this is all from Susannah Conway, btw)…
The queen of wands
Motivation: The Embodiment of Passion and Creativity
Keywords: vibrant, warmth, sensual, visionary, magnetic, dramatic
Element: Water of Fire
Wands: Active/yang energy
She is the witchiest of the four queens. Strong-willed and confident, but that fire is tempered by water energy, so she’s not too full on. (The wands are the fire element of the cards, representing creativity, passion, action, and energy).
Self-expression is her obsession and she inspires others to let their creativity flow. She teaches us how to embody our creative power and recognize our own magnificence. She encourages us to trust our desires and live out our creative dreams.
She has a tendency toward the dramatic. The shadow side of her might result in lethargy, a lack of direction, or impulsiveness. But she’s strong and she’ll overcome those tough times.
The Queen of Wands reminds us to give in, or to give up our dreams.
I also really love Carrie Mallon’s take on the Queen, which you can find here in her Wild Unknown interpretations (in this unique deck, the Queen is known as the “Mother of Wands”).
An excerpt from Carrie on the Mother of Wands:
The queen radiates the energy of the suit of wands from the inside out. Devotion is one of the keywords I associate with this card: she is clear about her passions and devoted to nurturing them. Others gravitate towards her inner warmth. She sets a keen example for living a creative, passionate, radiant life.
In many decks, the Queen of Wands is shown with a sunflower. This symbolizes her blossoming life force. She knows who she is and lives securely from her glowing center. She is not oblivious to the hardships of life – she is willing to stand up completely for what she believes in, even if that is risky or uncomfortable. But even so, she’s an eternal optimist, always oriented towards the good in herself, and drawing out the good in others.
In a reading: The Mother of Wands may be asking you to follow her example. Practice gratitude and protect the things that matter to you. Keep your attitude bright and good things will come your way. Live with your whole heart, be devoted to your path. You’re not here to half-ass things. Let your zest for life color everything you do!