Girlboss Jerico Mandybur teaches tarot
Here at The Wayward we’re a little bit tarot obsessed. So when we heard Girlboss co-founder and Self Service podcast host Jerico Mandybur had released her own deck we got very excited.
We’ve been using this deck for the past few weeks, and we’ve gotta tell you, it’s a delight! Believe it or not, every deck has its own feel and the empathy and intelligence that’s gone into creating this gender-fluid, culturally diverse masterpiece is palpable when you’re pulling cards. Jerico’s intention comes through loud and clear. If you don’t read tarot yet, this may all sound a little out there but trust us, not all decks read the same. Some will be sassy, some will be cryptic, and some like this one will be like a wise, supportive friend you can turn to when you’re feeling overwhelmed or need help coming back to yourself.
If you’re new to tarot, this is a great deck to get started because it builds on the theory and imagery of the iconic Smith Rider Waite deck (the most commonly tarot used) whilst evolving it beyond its cultural limitations (it is after all, a product of the Edwardian age). “We know tarot, like everything, is seen through the lens of subjectivity, prejudices and flawed psyche,” says Jerico. “Does it matter? Nope. The whole point of tarot is to examine our imperfect collective and individual journeys and offer a beacon of light in the form of self-awareness, acceptance and transformation.”
Here, Jerico talks us through how to get your head around each of the 78 cards so you can start reading for yourself.
While the Major Arcana are listed first in most tarot books, we’re flipping it here. This is because, as a new reader, the esoteric nature of the Major Arcana can be overwhelming at first, whereas the Minor Arcana’s 56 scenes depict experiences and reactions that we all have, as part of everyday life.
The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits: Pentacles, corresponding to the element of earth; Swords, corresponding to air; Wands, corresponding to fire; and Cups, corresponding to water. Each suit includes cards Ace through to 10, with court cards, too: a Page, Knight, Queen and King.
In Neo Tarot, the suits are ordered conceptually, from what I view as the easiest for beginners to grasp, to the slightly more heady. The traditional names of the four suits and cards have all been kept, so you can pick up any deck or book and know exactly what you’re dealing with. But if you want to change the names of any suits or cards, just grab some tape and a marker and be my guest. There is no tarot police, thank Goddess.
The 22 cards that make up the Major Arcana are the spiritually rich, highly esoteric signposts guiding our journey to better self-care and self-actualisation. You can consider these cards
a fifth element in the deck – that of spirit, or source. In other words, the divine, the universe, God, the force – whatever you want to call it.
Each card has a huge range of interpretations and meanings, but they all represent the eternal, timeless forces found in the collective unconscious. Their presence in a reading means significant life lessons and events, so pay attention to their healing messages.
If they were laid out in order, the Major Arcana cards would form three lines of seven cards each, called the Septenaries. The three lines are said to represent our outer world, or consciousness; our inner world, or subconsciousness; and our spiritual world, or superconsciousness.
The Major Arcana is traditionally called ‘The Fool’s Journey’ because it resembles a person’s path towards evolution or enlightenment, and because Card 0 (The Fool) is often depicted as the stand-in protagonist on this journey from individual creation to transpersonal rebirth.
Earth – Pentacles
The element of earth, corresponding to the suit of Pentacles, is all about our material needs, measurements and appraisals. It represents our physical energy, territory (like our home), abundance, health, prosperity and our place in the corporeal world of the senses, including in work and social groups.
Air – Swords
The element of air, corresponding to the suit of Swords, represents our mental world – our thoughts, ideas, guiding ethics – in essence the language and messages we communicate to ourselves and others. It’s the cerebral energy we put into gaining a higher and wider point of view.
Fire – Wands
The element of fire corresponds to the suit of Wands and represents our vital force; the creative will to make and do. It stands for desire, sexuality, enthusiasm, power and passionate creativity. Fire is the visionary energy that, at its infectious best, inspires others to ‘get up and go’.
Water – Cups
The element of water corresponds to the suit of Cups and stands for our receptive, emotional energy – our feels. Intuition, love of all kinds, stirring sentiments both positive and negative. Water is about compassion, faith, heartrending states and mysticism. Our deep inner world.
Just as the cards in each suit have a shared meaning, determined by their ruling element, so do the numbers in each suit, from Ace to 10. Numerology is a mystical system unto itself, so for the purposes of this book, I’ll lay out the shared meanings of each number as they pertain to Neo Tarot.
The Aces – Essence. The seed of something. Power. Potential. Blessings on blessings.
The Twos – Duality. Form. The union of two parts. Balance. Decisions.
The Threes – Growth. Expansion. Creativity. Progression. Energetic output.
The Fours – Foundations. Structure. Rationality. Consolidation. Conserving energy.
The Fives – Uncertainty. Change. Conflict. Adversity. Dealing with bullshit.
The Sixes – Equilibrium. Stability. Harmony. Communication. Transcending bullsh*t.
The Sevens – Spirituality. Soul motives. Keep going! Assessment. Endurance.
The Eights – Progress. Strength. Judgement. Movement. Making good choices.
The Nines ~ Accumulation. Realisation. Reassessment. Experience. Coming to a conclusion.
The Tens – Completion. The pinnacle. Ultimate outcome. The end is only the beginning again.
THE COURT CARDS
All tarot cards in the deck have an associated element, and The Court Cards are no exception. Actually, they get two elements: one for their suit and one for their position in the four-person court – that of Page (Earth), Knight (Fire), Queen (Water) and King (Air).
Traditionally, there are ages, genders and even physical attributes associated with each court card. You can forget about that. While it might be true that a Queen card represents energy typically associated with feminine qualities, that doesn’t mean it represents a woman, for example. Here’s what each member of the court stands for:
Pages – Excitement. Naivety. New beginnings. Optimism. Opportunity. No chill.
Knights – Action. Pursuit. Drive. Bravery. Needing to learn the meaning of ‘slow your roll’.
Queens – Emotional intelligence. Deep intuition. Compassion. Dignity. High vibe.
Kings – Experience. Perspective. Success. Wisdom. Leadership. Trustworthy.
This is an edited extract from Neo Tarot by Jerico Mandybur
Neo Tarot by Jerico Mandybur is published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $39.99 and is available in stores nationally