I always feel it this time of year: the chill in the air, the ghosts and ghouls and witches, the thinning of the veil. The appearance of pumpkins signal the harvest; the cycle of the year comes to an end and draws me towards inward practices. I’ve always had a fondness for Tarot—though it is still shrouded in mystery for me and I am definitely a novice reader – it is my favorite form of divination. The cards are based on powerful archetypes: a hero’s journey, and all the ups and downs along that path. I have a small collection of decks (there are so many beautiful indie decks out these days!), and I am always seeking to deepen my knowledge and understanding of this mysterious art.
Modern Tarot, by Michelle Tea, offers a rich interpretation of the cards along with charming insight. Tea explores the Tarot in a fresh, invigorating, conversational way that honors traditional interpretations while also making them both relatable and relevant to our modern world. In addition to exploring card symbolism and meanings, she also shares personal anecdotes to show how they might manifest in daily life. A long-time feminist, Tea offers interpretations that smash patriarchal and misogynistic old-ways of thinking, providing a more up-to-date and inclusive reading. She explains that “male” and “female” cards simply represent masculine and feminine energies, and can be valid for any gender identity. My personal favorite “smash the patriarchy” touch, however, is the way Tea has arranged the section on the suit cards. In true feminist fashion, Tea has flipped the King & Queen cards, so they are presented like so: Page, Knight, King, Queen. A not-so-subtle hint that it’s the Queen’s turn on top. Can I get a “Yasssss, Queen!”?
One extra special touch Tea includes for the magic-inclined are simple spells that invoke (or dispel) the energy of each card. The spells use minimal and/or affordable and easily accessible ingredients, but Tea is fast to assure us that if we find ourselves lacking a particular ingredient for a spell, “use what you have and don’t sweat it. Magic, like the Tarot, is 100 percent intention.” The spells Tea has concocted bring a new level of depth and personalization to the experience of the Tarot.
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your intuition, reconnect with your spiritual path, and make a little magic this Halloween season, then this is the book for you.