Tarot for Change: Using the Cards for Self-Care, Acceptance, and Growth (Hardcover)
“An instant classic, a must-have for every tarot enthusiast, and a manifesto for insightful living.” —Chani Nicholas, astrologer and author of You Were Born for This
“Generous, practical, and gently radical.” —New York Times
Though tarot is often thought of as a tool for divination and fortune-telling, it also has deep roots in spirituality and psychology. For those who know how to see and listen, the cards hold the potential to help us better navigate the full spectrum of the human experience.
In Tarot for Change, Jessica Dore divulges years of hard-won secrets about how to work with tarot to better understand ourselves and live in alignment with what’s precious. Dore shows readers how to choose a deck, interpret images, and build a relationship with the cards, while also demonstrating how the mythic imagery of tarot supports modern therapeutic concepts like mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion. Her reflections on each of the seventy-eight cards are a vibrant tapestry that weaves together ideas from psychology, behavioral science, spirituality, and old stories, breathing new language into ancient wisdoms about what it means to be human.
This is as much a book for those who are new to tarot as it is for those who have worked with the cards for years. And it's a book for anyone interested in exploring what it means to experience joy, heartbreak, wonder, stagnation, grief, loneliness, love. A book of secrets, symbols, and stories, Tarot for Change is a charm for remembering that our problems are not new, we are never alone, and whether we know it or not, we are always in a process of change.
About the Author
Jessica Dore is a licensed social worker, tarot reader, writer, and teacher. Dore has studied and worked in the fields of psychology and behavioral science publishing since 2010 and holds a master's degree in social work. She spent six years at self-help and psychology book publisher New Harbinger Publications and two years as book reviews editor at Psych Central. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, VICE, and Psych Central, and her unique approach to working with and interpreting tarot has been featured in The New York Times, The Cut, Vogue, Yoga Journal, and many more publications.
“Tarot for Change won me over with its generous, practical, and gently radical advice. Dore repeatedly invokes the principles of dialectical behavior therapy (though she does not practice psychotherapy herself) and its emphasis on holding multiple, even apparently contradictory truths at once. ‘Holding paradox,’ she writes, ‘remains the continual lesson of tarot.’ No one and nothing is all good or all bad—no monster, no witch, not even ourselves.”
—New York Times
“While tarot readers are fairly common online, Dore is unique in her methods, combining more traditional aspects of tarot reading with behavioral psychology. Her multi-disciplinary approach to the cards indeed adds new context to the avenues of healing and self-exploration that tarot has always offered, and the results are often exceptionally effective.”
“Like all good mystics, Jessica Dore sits at the doorway between two worlds: She’s both a licensed social worker and a professional reader and interpreter of the tarot. . . . Tarot for Change isn’t meant to be a manual or a how-to, exactly. It’s a thought experiment, the opening of a dialogue, and a series of questions to be entertained. Change is itself a liminal space, the passage between here and there, and Dore’s hope is that the book will help readers use their decks for deep exploration that’s informed by both the ancient and the modern, and the mythic and the scientific.”
“Dore offers up thoughtful life lessons inspired by the symbols and historical meaning of each card. . . . [Dore has woven] a tapestry of ideas you’re liable to return to, again and again.”
“With this practical, carefully referenced guide, Dore brings together the scientific and the arcane, two spheres long believed to be antithetical—but increasingly less so. . . . Even if magic is a leap too far, in ‘reclaiming the imagination from the grips of doubt and rationalism,’ tarot may at least allow us to imagine a better world: the first step to creating it.”
“Tarot for Change is an instant classic, a must-have for every tarot enthusiast, and a manifesto for insightful living. Jessica Dore is a lighthouse whose wisdom permeates every page and a teacher who brings to life her subject with undeniable skill and depth.”
—Chani Nicholas, astrologer and author of You Were Born for This
“Jessica Dore has replicated (in wonderfully literary book form) the most expansive, juicy, intuitive, and transformative tarot session. She’s integrated so much wisdom from all kinds of traditions to make the spiritual feel splendidly accessible and the universal feel warmly personal. For people who think they’re not spiritual enough for tarot, Dore has created a very useful psychological framework from the card’s lessons, with plenty of research and insight to back it up. For those who feel a little too woo-woo for psychology, she’s presented the concepts with such artistry and soul that all will feel welcome. And that’s the gift that Dore has given us in Tarot for Change: the gift of feeling more welcome to the tarot, more welcome on our healing journey, and more welcome in our own lives.”
—Mari Andrew, New York Times bestselling author of Am I There Yet? and My Inner Sky
“Tarot for Change is the very best kind of tarot book: one that contains magical hidden depths, and rewards careful readers with truly astounding wisdom and generosity. Jessica Dore combines ancient spirituality with modern psychology to share insights that feel both timeless and brand new. Tarot for Change will teach you about tarot, but also about yourself, and all the joy, heartache, and mystery of being human.”
—Claire Comstock-Gay, author of Madame Clairevoyant’s Guide to the Stars
“Tarot for Change is a wondrously inviting book from a writer who envelops any reader—from the curious and the amateurish to the refined and masterly—into her prose and knowledge. Though this is a written document, the words are the kind that settle into the grooves of your spirit and encourage you to reconnect with the unseen in order to find new discoveries about what is seen.”
—Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing and Caul Baby
“In over forty years of studying esoteric schools and Western psychology, I have not come across a more lucid and useful integration of effective psychotherapeutic wisdom and the archetypal power of the inner traditions of global culture than Jessica Dore’s flat-out awesome book. I would recommend this to all my clients.”
—Dennis Tirch, PhD, founder of the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy
“This is not so much a book as it is a collection of doorways. By uniquely cross-stitching spirituality, psychology, and behavioral science, Jessica Dore centers tarot as a practice to ‘place us back into a mythic context.’ Through her guidance, tarot becomes a verb, a sensitive conversation ripe with symbolism, possibility, and sacredness. Tarot for Change is a choose-your-own-adventure self-help book that eggs us on like a mischievous and wise best friend. Dore wants us liberated. To get us there, she fans an empathic resourcefulness, utilizing ancient myths and modern physics alike. Dore’s deep respect for human vulnerability and the power of tarot to support us perfumes every page. Yet, among the various theories and tools she offers, a respect for mystery permeates. Gently, she reminds us, ‘Something immeasurable moves us along.’ Endless doorways require endless trust. Dore is a gentle and generous shepherd.”
—Shira Erlichman, author of Odes to Lithium and Be/Hold: A Friendship Book
“I’ve long awaited a book like Tarot for Change, a template for a tarot novice or observer. Jessica Dore brings you into the allegory, the storytelling, into the abstract as well the imaginal, while giving a condensed explanation of what each card has the potential to mean. I’ve noticed those who are drawn to tarot are people who seek solace in the mysteries of life and who aim to understand themselves through the paradigms of the oracles, knowing there’s wisdom in observation and tracking symbols. Dore helps aid this process by synthesizing the deck, displaying a resilient servitude in her dedication to teach what she has learned on her path through her study of psychology, incorporating this perspective into the journey of the cards. This book is an incredibly important handbook for those invested in the ritual of tarot and healing. Particularly those who are hungry for change and want to break through patterns to see themselves a little more clearly, with Dore’s help. I sincerely love this book.”
—Fariha Róisín, author of Like a Bird, How to Cure a Ghost, and Who Is Wellness For?
“Jessica Dore’s unique reading of the tarot has opened a new realm of possibilities for psychological growth and behavioral change. Her interpretations of the cards in conjunction with her psychological background are the perfect combination for the needs of our current times: facing hard truths, sitting with discomfort, and learning to see hope and potential in the midst our often challenging lives. This book has renewed my love for the tarot, specifically because of the way Dore brings the images to life for me in a new way, and ties the images into profound meditations on the hidden aspect of our psyche. It is practical, useful, inspirational, and is bound to be a go-to for tarot lovers for years to come.”
—Eddie Stern, author of One Simple Thing
“Times being what they are, an uptick in conversation around self-care and coping with grief feels appropriate. We’re all, it seems, looking for ways to make sense of, or at least soften, our experience of the everyday, and in this climate, interest in the ancient practice of tarot is resurgent. I’m among the curious dabblers who are digging deeper, and I’m glad to learn from Jessica Dore’s Tarot for Change. . . . Dore, a licensed social worker, roots her study of tarot in psychology, but she also pulls from folk traditions, personal anecdotes, mythology, literature and much more for a depth-charged exploration of the major and minor arcana. Tarot, her book suggests, deserves to be seen as a therapeutic modality like any other. ‘Efforts to boil the study of the soul down to a science have led to great strides in the treatment of mental illness,’ she writes, ‘but have relegated mystery and magic to the edges.’”
—BookPage (starred review)