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Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self through the Wisdom of the Cards

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,073 ratings  ·  136 reviews
The beloved literary iconoclast delivers a fresh twenty-first century primer on tarot that can be used with any deck.

While tarot has gone mainstream with a diverse range of tarot decks widely available, there has been no equally mainstream guide to the tarot—one that can be applied to any deck—until now. Infused with beloved iconoclastic author Michelle Tea’s unique insigh
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by HarperOne
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 ·  1,073 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Would have given it five stars if it wasn't for Michelle using the term spirit animal. We hold our faves to the highest standards cos we want them to do the best work they can <3 ...more
Madelene Antrim
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Though, in truth, I am currently reading this book I can already say that it is most phenomenal. The boomer's had 78 degrees of wisdom, we, Gen-X and the Millenials have Modern Tarot. Yes, it is *that* important, yes it is *that* intrepid, yes, it is that insightful, useful, and deserves a home on the shelves of every witch and reader of the tarot born 1970 and on. Michelle Tea is a genius, binding together the arcane with the every-day, the sacred and profane, the spark which leads so much of u ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book did a good job of positioning certain cards in a way that is less problematic for feminists, which I greatly appreciate. I would like the opportunity to purchase these cards as illustrated in this book. They are so dang well-drawn! I enjoyed the author's incorporating of her own life events to illustrate particular cards. I would have liked for the author to discuss her favorite tarot spreads and how she approaches her readings. ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: occult
"The High Priestess is a powerful, radical card that disrupts gender dichotomies and oppressions and makes space for banished knowledge."

"I don't know about you, dear reader, but for me, being told I'm being too emotional or sensitive smacks of patriarchy..."

"As you go about correcting the proportions of whatever energy is giving you grief, never ever blame yourself, beat yourself up, or demonize your demons. These aspects of yourself are gifts--they make you both universally human and individua
Hannah Garden
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do you already love Michelle Tea? If so, get this book. Do you not know yet if you love Michelle Tea? If so, read all her books until you realize you do and then get this book.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Library Read... (1.5)

There are some things that don't need a modern twist to it but if you decide to put that twist on it - make sure it's done the right way. Modern Tarot missed the mark on many levels. No matter how many people write books about Tarot - the meaning of the cards remains the same. I was disappointed in the author's interpretation of the cards. There is a part of me that understands what she was trying to convey to new readers of Tarot, but she should have left this one alone.
Catherine Eberhardt
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
The interpretations are medieval. Every tarot card has a light and shadow side, these interpretations are clearly very personal and subjective to the author, and therefor should not be utilized in ones own doing or situation. Very disappointing in that aspect, however the 'work with' section after each card interpretation are modern and interesting. If you really want to get to know the tarot in an in depth and profound way, beyond quick dogmatic approach, I suggest "The Way of Tarot" by Mariann ...more
Noah Moore
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
One of the few times I was ranting throughout the book, almost only finished it out of spite. I initially got annoyed at the absence of explaining how to actually make a spread and a really bad and weird interpretation of trans people. I later got very tired at her excessive materialism. Every spell included the need to buy crystals/pouches /candles/herbs they don't sell at tesco. It also felt like every other card wanted you to "treat yourself and buy this thing you want or take a trip far away ...more
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
Did not finish after reading through the Major Arcana. I was very frustrated that the author describes the Rider-Waite-Smith deck version of each card, but the reference illustrations included in the book look nothing like the RWS ones. If they were minor differences, that would be fine, but these illustrations cut out a lot of the symbolism that she writes about, which made it difficult to follow along at times. There were other issues as well, but those are more on a personal level.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i'd give this 2.5 stars max; tea's card interpretations just didn't ring true for me and the thing that got on my nerves the most was how she'd refer to certain cards as "bad" or "terrible" which imo is not a great way to look at the tarot. ...more
Anna (Bananas)
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tarot
This really helped flesh out my understanding of Tarot. I can’t give all the credit to this book of course but it’s very useful. The author definitely has her biases here and there (the Swords, probably my favorite suit, gets a lot of shade in the court cards, lol) but she gave a thorough, nuanced review of each card/theme.

She includes spells with each card also, for bringing in or flushing out that energy, which I mostly scanned through, but others may find helpful. I do respect how she incorp
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is pretty good!
Juli Anna
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit
I've spent several months referring to this book as my primary tarot guide, and I've really come to like it. The reservations I had early on still stand: I dislike the art on the cards used as examples in this book, and occasionally I find Tea's authorial voice to be a bit chatty for my taste. But overall, I appreciate her casual, humorous, cut-the-crap style and the focus on anecdotal information, which is really helpful for learning the cards. I haven't done much with the spells/rituals she of ...more
Kelsey Landhuis
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
A straightforward, contemporary guide to each of the 78 classic tarot cards, broken up into Major Arcana, Suits (Ace through Ten), and Court sections. I am definitely a tarot beginner so I can't compare to other resources or interpretations, but I found this book accessible and relatable. Each card is accompanied by a spell or spells to either bring the energy of the card into your life or help banish it--I mostly skimmed those, but they seemed similarly no-nonsense.

I checked this book out from
Luke Hartman
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have always held Tarot in a place of great mystery. So many cards, so many interpretations, so many differing opinions on use and the magic they hold - it can be overwhelming. Michelle does an incredible job of unlocking this magic and making very clear that the true power of the Tarot is directly influenced by the power you put into the cards, and the story you are looking to tell.

I absolutely loved the personal anecdotes when discussing the cards and the stories behind them as well as the or
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this modern and practical take on tarot. Each card is described in a way that could relate to life in the contemporary West, and includes spells/advice on how to work with the message or energy of the particular card. Whether you're witchy or just want to meditate on the archetypes of the tarot, it's a very interesting read that will supplement traditional views on tarot. ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
This is great and has the most information about the individual cards, but I’m not so much into the spells that were offered to put the cards into real life
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Michelle Tea’s take on the tarot cards. She’s very much about tarot for self-knowledge and empowerment. Sounds like she’s led an interesting life!
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Helpful new way of reading into tarot. Gives spells and actions to take if you feel the need. Personally I never do but it’s nice to know they are there in case I need a calming action after a hectic tarot reading.

Lost a star for occasionally having poor formatting, spelling and grammar.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: witch-shit
As a 90s 3rd waver, I've been reading Michelle Tea forever, and I'm delighted to see that she has hopped knowledgeably on the witch trend b/c it gives me all the cozy Bust magazine feels. Be aware, Tumblr witchlings -- she's got spells for every card in here, and she thinks of the whole thing very approachably as spiritual crafting! ...more
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Popsugar 2021 has a heart, diamond, club, or spade on the cover
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been browsing a lot of books on tarot recently from the library, Kindle Unlimited and elsewhere. This one is my favorite. There's not much in here about spreads; it's really just information about each of the cards, along with some "spells" using crystals, herbalism, etc. that complement each card. A lot of them involve making teas or bath treatments or burning candles. She calls it "spiritual crafting." I can be down with that. I really like the way she draws meaning from and illuminates ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Michelle Tea presents a great guide to the Tarot with 'Modern Tarot.' Her introduction discusses the background she has with the cards and her personal use. The balance of the book is devoted to the variety of readings and meanings that, to her, are evoked from the imagery - and often, a personal anecdote or experience pertinent to the card's message. In addition, with each card, a short description of a ritual is included - on some scale of hokey to interesting/insightful.

She works within the
Jayne Lamb
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like most Gen X wi.
tchy chicks and riot grrrls, I love Michelle Tea. This is a great, chatty refresher on the Tarot (and how to make it more inclusive and up to date), she includes at least one spell for working with the energy of each card, and Amanda Verwey's art is quirky and cute. There isn't much in terms of spreads/ readings, so it's not for complete beginners, but it's probably the most enjoyable non-fiction I've read this year.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been bouncing around this book from card to card and while I haven't gotten to every page, I feel like I've read enough to give this a review.

This is the book that has given me, after 5 years of owning a tarot deck, a lasting understanding of my cards. Finally! Each description of the cards is so relevant and relatable that I'm using my deck more and in ways that were previously closed off. I'm seeing patterns I wasn't before and have much easier time understanding the narrative between ca
Jamie Newman
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's never wise to comment on someone's mental health based on anything other than one-on-one interactions/first-hand experience. However, the impression I am getting from Ms. Tea is that she's DONE HER WORK. I loved the card explanations-they are some of the best, most relevant, unesoteric interpretations that I've seen yet. I was a little less into the spells-that's not my jam. But I will say this: I believe in the power of ritual and I believe that it is a missing element in our society. If y ...more
Allison Canagasaby
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've always been interested in Tarot and it was reignited when Tavi Gavinson recommend this book on a podcast, on which she interviewed the author.

Together, they framed Tarot really well for me in a practical way. It's less about the woo-woo witchy side where you can tell the future through cards. It's more about honing your intuition, and helping you work through tough questions. When the cards reveal something, it's your reaction to the cards that really tells you about how you're feeling. An
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spooky, div, to-buy, reference
I bumped this down a star because although the book itself is great, I would have appreciated a little more advice on how to integrate it with whatever you're currently doing with your tarot. There aren't any spreads or reversals in this book, just a lot of ways to connect the cards with actions you can take to either enhance or ward off the energy they herald. I really like the idea of the intentionality this asks you to move forward with and most of the spells/exercises are things a person cou ...more
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: witchy
I loved this book. I love Michelle Tea’s interpretation and descriptions of the cards and I love the spells she provides to connect with each card. I wish there was more explanation on the logistics of reading tarot (spreads, shuffling, etc).
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_in_2020
I approached this book with an open mind to learn about Tarot, and use Tarot as a way to generate story ideas. To be honest, I haven't used the book and Tarot deck to write stories yet; but I am reading the book to learn more about each card.

So the way I've been using this book exactly looks a little like this. Every morning, I pull a card, and read about it from the deck's guide, and Michelle Tea's book. I keep a journal where I write down the card, whether it was upright or reverse, what each
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Michelle Tea (born Michelle Tomasik) is an American author, poet, and literary arts organizer whose autobiographical works explore queer culture, feminism, race, class, prostitution, and other topics. She is originally from Chelsea, Massachusetts and currently lives in San Francisco. Her books, mostly memoirs, are known for their views into the queercore community. In 2012 Tea partnered with City ...more

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“Our future-focused, technology-obsessed world seems to be hurtling down a bad path. People are turning to ancestral practices for a sense of enduring longevity, and comfort. To help stay sane and grounded in the midst of so much cultural insanity. To source a different kind of power in hopes of making changes both personal and political. From learning meditation to fighting off a cold with some homemade fire cider; from indigo-dyeing your curtains to strengthening your intuition with the aid of the Tarot, such old-world practices are capturing our imaginations and providing us with meaningful ways to impact our world.” 0 likes
“Pages are the students of the suit, suggestive of a person who has yet to master its special powers but who is earnestly engaged in figuring it all out. Knights are super action-oriented, ready to GO, on the double, like, yesterday! Queens are self-assured and generous, a bit interior, strong and meditative. Kings are likewise so but more extroverted and action-oriented.” 0 likes
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