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

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  732 ratings  ·  97 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
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by HarperOne
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  732 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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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 ...more
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
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.
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
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.
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 ...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.

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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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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 ...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).
Mary Beth
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Modern Tarot” is the perfect name for this book, because that’s exactly what Michelle Tea has done - she has modernized the tarot deck with interpretations and stories that are relevant and useful to modern, progressive feminists. This book really goes beyond the cut-and-dry of the tarot to craft an actual story behind each card. It’s a great resource for fostering intuitive interpretations of the cards.

In addition to an explanation of each card’s meaning, the author also includes spells and
Lord Beardsley
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have been working with the tarot on and off since I was fifteen, but this is the first book that I've read on the subject in order to get a better understanding of what the cards signify. I really enjoyed Tea's approach to the tarot. Coming from a feminist/queer perspective and applying that to the tarot was exactly what I've been needing. My only criticism is that I would have preferred if she had offered a basic introduction/overview to the major/minor arcanas and their general meanings, as ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Giveaway Win:

For someone who doesn't know really anything about Tarot, this book was great. Tea did a great job explaining what each card meant as well as making sure the reader knew that the meanings are never black and white. There will always be subtleties within the cards that the card reader must try to understand, and that comes with practice. Even if you don't believe in this sort of genre, it is still an interesting read. Tea is rather amusing as she combines old world history and
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to start by saying I knew absolutely nothing about tarot cards besides the fact that mine were read to me once &' I have to say I became very intrigued afterwards. This book by Michelle Tea is soooo good as a sort of "beginner's guide" or reference book. The cover itself has a texture that feels almost individually painted as if it were personally for me. I love that it wasn't a book to read in exact order but more of a jump around to what you need. Her take is that of interest. She ...more
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 ...more
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE this book. I have had a tarot deck since I was a young teenager. I've been looking for a book that gives me clear, concise and logical meanings to these cards that I've loved for so long. Michelle's book does exactly that with humor, explanations for symbols etc, and with an ease of delivery that makes reading this book a total joy. I've taken my time in reading this book because I don't want it to end. I'm absorbing what Michelle's written a small chunk at a time. I have no ...more
sophie ✨
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first real tarot-based book I've picked up, so have no point of comparison for this, but I absolutely loved Tea's work here. The interpretations of the cards felt modern, but not overwrought/overly dramatic, which is a pet peeve of mine with tarot. And I really loved her little connections to her own life with almost every card; I feel like I both got to know her and the tarot a little bit better at the same time. Which, in my opinion, is probably the only way to do tarot right. I ...more
I warmed to this book even from the very beginning where Michelle introduces herself, her history with and relationship to tarot and how she benefits from reading.
This has now become my go to reference when I really need some guidance on a draw. Michelle has reframed the tarot in a way that is far less problematic for feminists, and also really appeals to the modern reader. She explains the symbols and meanings behind the imagery in a way that is simple to understand and very relatable. The
Courtney Weber
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic primer or re-primer for Tarot lovers and would-be Tarot lovers. I've read more Tarot books than I can count, but I read through this one as though the information was all new to me because in many ways, it was! My favorite elements were the pieces of memoir that effortlessly illustrated the more traditional meanings of the cards. Tea breaks open the gender binary, which for me, as a professional Tarot reader, was helpful particularly in working with GNC clients and querents. ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: tarot
Did not finish. It felt a bit disorganized. Could have benefited from some keywords. I think this would be great as an audiobook, or a series of podcast episodes, one per card. For some reason this style is nicer to listen to than to read on paper/screen. I would not tag this as something to pull out as a quick reference.

Wasn't really into the spells. Did not vibe with the included card images, but if you, like the author, strongly identify as a "feminist, socialist, witchcraft-practicing,
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This was a decent book to use with any tarot deck, it doesn't work with reversals per se, but it does talk about the negatives and positives of each card. It also has tarot spells which I love. I love using tarot in my spells lol Remember to research which crystals you use in your potions/baths and which herbs you use as well. Michelle does give some warnings but it's always good to do your own research when it comes to your safety.
Joseph Hernandez
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun, exciting writing about tarot, good for beginners. The addition of "spells" felt silly and forced, but to each their own. Otherwise, good info here if you're just learning how to read tarot cards. Of particular note: Tea repositions many of tarot's more problematic elements (patriarchal, gender binary imagery and symbology) in a modern context that's queer- and feminist-friendly, which is much appreciated.
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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
“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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