The Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea #bookreview #tarot

Today I want to introduce you to Michelle Tea, an American author, poet, and literary arts organizer whose (primarily) “autobiographical works explore queer culture, feminism, race, class, prostitution, and other topics.” (I quoth Wikipedia because I am lazy busy today.)

She’s the author more 14 or so books, and their titles kinda tell you what she’s all about:

  • The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America (1998)
  • Valencia (2000)
  • The Chelsea Whistle (2002)
  • The Beautiful (2003)
  • Rent Girl (2004)
  • Rose of No Man’s Land (2006)
  • Transforming Community (2007)
  • Coal to Diamonds: A Memoir (2013)
  • Mermaid in Chelsea Creek (2013)
  • How to Grow Up: A Memoir (2015)
  • Girl at the Bottom of the Sea (2015)
  • Black Wave (2016) 
  • Modern Tarot: Connecting with Your Higher Self Through the Wisdom of the Cards (2017)
  • Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms (2018)

But the book that we’re gonna talk about today is her Modern Tarot book. Cause before Michelle was famous as a memoirist, editor and activist, she read Tarot. On the streets. How’s that for creds?

It’s one of the most unique and accessible Tarot books I’ve read in a lifetime (I’m reading Tarot books intermittently now to inspire myself to revise All In The Cards, which is still a not-so-hot mess). There are so many unique thins about Tea’s book and approach…

The publisher says:

Beloved literary iconoclast Michelle Tea reinvents tarot for a new generation in this guide to using the Tarot as a twenty-first-century tool for connecting with our higher selves.

Long before Michelle Tea was winning awards for her poignant memoirs, she was a scrappy misfit on the streets of San Francisco, supporting herself by giving eerily prescient tarot readings. As her reputation as a writer grew, she stopped publicly reading the Tarot, though she never stopped doing it privately. Based on over twenty-five years of experience and a deep and abiding love of the cards, Modern Tarot brings the full force of Tea’s unique insight, inviting pop sensibility, and wicked humor to bear on the tradition of the Tarot in a fascinating journey through the cards that teaches us how to use this tradition for radical self-growth.

Whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool seeker or a digital-age skeptic—or a little of both—the power of tarot is open to you. Modern Tarot doesn’t require you to believe in the supernatural or to focus narrowly on using the tarot as a divination tool. Instead, it offers fiercely insightful descriptions of each of the seventy-eight cards in the tarot system (each one fully illustrated by Amanda Verwey) and specially designed rituals to guide readers on a path toward transformative personal growth.

Grounded in Tea’s decades of tarot wisdom and personal experience, this is a guide that beginners will fall in love with and experienced readers will learn from anew. With her trademark one-of-a-kind insight and wit, Tea shows how tarot offers moments of deep, authentic connection during a time when “connection” is ubiquitous but rarely delves beneath the surface—and how the affirming and personal nature of the Tarot offers a spiritual experience that is gentle, individual, and aspirational.

  • Most significant about this book:
  • It’s feminist
  • It’s queer, trans, and non-binary friendly
  • It’s modern
  • It’s funny

I’d recommend it for serious Tarot readers and Tarot dabblers alike. And also for fans of good writing.

Enjoyed immensely.

Borrowed from library and will buy.

Happy reading.



PS If you want more Michelle, here’s a podcast interview with her on The Feminist Crush:




About mjanecolette

Writer. Reader. Angster. Reformed Bohemian (not). Author of the erotic romance TELL ME, the erotic tragedy (with a happy ending) CONSEQUENCES (of defensive adultery), the award-winning rom-com (she's versatile) CHERRY PIE CURE, and TEXT ME, CUPID--a (slightly dirty) love story for 21st century adults who don't believe in love... but want it anyway. A sought-after speaker and presenter, Colette is also the author of the Dirty Writing Secrets Series, which includes the non-fiction collection of essays ROUGH DRAFT CONFESSIONS: not a guide to writing and selling erotica and romance but full of inside inside anyway, 101 FLIRTY WRITING PROMPTS TO SEDUCE YOUR MUSE, and ORGANIZED CREATIVE. She's also the curator of the fab YYC Queer Writers anthologies Queer Christmas in Cowtown, Screw Chocolate, and A Queer Summer Night's in Cowtown. Releasing Spring 2020: CUPID IN MONTE CARLO.

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