She won’t read your fortune like a psychic might, but 29-year-old Skye Marinda will guide you through a tarot reading to try to find clarity in the present. A self-described “tarot coach” who lives near Capitol Hill in D.C., Marinda began reading tarot decks on her own five years ago and hoped to start publicly reading for others in early 2020.
“I did one event in person at a bar in D.C., and I was like, ‘This is fun, I should keep doing this,’ ” she said. “Two weeks later, everything shut down.”
With public readings no longer possible, she transitioned online where she does readings over Zoom, becoming part of a pandemic boomlet of interest in tarot. A new generation is embracing the 78-card decks thanks to postings from influencers on visual platforms like Instagram and TikTok and unboxing videos on sites like Twitch and YouTube.
For some, it has become a kind of vocabulary for people to talk about themselves or their feelings, said Tara Isabella Burton, author of the book “Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World.” It’s part of a wider trend of younger Americans mixing and matching different forms of spiritual or religious practices with one another.
“Tarot is a highly visual creative product that fits into the ecosystem of the Internet very well,” she added. “You have the Internet, attention economy, personal algorithm, done alone or over Zoom. It’s the perfect phenomenon.”
Marinda, who considers herself spiritual but not religious, is part of a cohort of tarot users who are not turning to the cards for divination, or the practice of seeking knowledge of the future. Before she starts a reading, she always prepares people by saying she can’t predict the future.
“More people are now more interested in it for the self-reflection or space to get validation and clarity versus hearing, ‘You’re going to meet a guy in three months,’ ” she said. “Tarot is great for anxiety. While you may not be predicting the future, you can slow down and shuffle and look at pretty pictures and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m overthinking this.’ ”
Tarot has no singular owner or perspective on how to use it, and its modern iterations are diverse; some people use it in psychotherapy, life coaching and yoga studios. For many, tarot cards are used as a tool for self-care and for guidance on what’s going on in various aspects of someone’s life, from love interests and personal finances, to career paths and other goals.
Brittany Muller, an Austin-based stay-at-home mom who is working on a book about a Christian interpretation of tarot said she got into tarot about six years ago through friends. Muller, 31, had grown up in the Catholic Church but after leaving it, she missed the rituals of organized religion, like prayer. So she got her own deck to pull a card every day.
“It became a nice ritual that replaced what that I got from religion,” she said. “Then it turned into its own kind of prayer. During the pandemic, tarot felt like another ritual I could perform at home that seemed prayerful and steady during a time when nothing felt steady.”
Muller said that because she doesn’t use the cards as a form of fortune telling, she believes they can still be used in line with [Catholic] church teaching. Every morning, she goes through prayer and scripture readings for the day, and then she pulls a card from the Rider-Waite deck.
[TBC: "“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one who maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or who useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all who do these things are an abomination unto the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee."]