The Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-care, Healing & Empowerment
The Neo Tarot is written by Jerico Mandybur, the editorial director and co-founder of Girlboss, and host of the hit podcast, Self Service. Mandybur is a writer, self-care advocate and queer leader known for tarot readings and trauma-informed healing. The deck is illustrated by Daiana Ruiz, a visual artist, illustrator and designer whose illustrations and animations have been exhibited around the world and featured in both print and digital media. The Neo Tarot deck and guidebook/boxset is published by Hardie Grant Books, Building 1, 658 Church Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Australia, with offices in Sydney, London, and San Francisco.
The deck itself consists of 78 cards, and it comes in an inner box that fits snugly into a pocket in the very sturdy boxset along with a beautiful color fully illustrated 144-page hardcover guide book. The boxset is designed so that the book’s back cover is actually a part of the box, which offers a sturdy receptacle for both the deck and the guidebook, but makes working with the book itself a bit challenging.
The deck is printed on sturdy cardstock with a matte finish, almost powdery to the touch. The stock is sturdy enough that my first shuffle was a bit difficult, but the cards quickly adjusted and shuffling became a breeze. The cards are 2¾ by 4¾ inches, very nicely substantial to the hand, with a narrow white border around the images; the name of the card in an easy-to-read black print is found in a white banner at the bottom of each card.
The images on the cards themselves are lush and attractive, with vibrant jewel colors and easy-to-decipher artwork. The style is RWS, but the figures and their surroundings are without ornamentation, presented in a gentle and timeless style yet with a vibrant palette and flowing curves. The clean lines, blocks of color, and animated figures invite the viewer into each image, where symbolism abounds. The artwork of Ruiz is brilliant, and I could randomly choose a card and frame a full-sized image and hang it in my home with pride and joy. The backs of the cards are dark blue with white line drawings that hint at ancient sigils found carved into standing stones or painted on cave walls, a homage to divination methods that predate the Tarot.
The guidebook is beautiful, with a dark blue matt finish, soft front cover with white lettering and a bit of the beautiful line drawings found on the backs of the cards themselves. The back cover, which is substantial as it is part of the boxset, is also dark blue with white lettering, and contains images of five of the cards along with a description of the deck. The pages of the guidebook are substantial and durable, with the paper colors alternating between white and cream. The print is black and easy to read, but a bit small. However, because of the denseness of the card information, the small type is worth the minor inconvenience.
The hardcover guidebook/boxset begins on the very first page with the words “Know Thyself,” a very appropriate beginning for the Neo Tarot. Personally, I have always seen the Tarot as a counseling and healing tool, either for self or for others, more than a tool to see and understand the future. Mandybur took this concept and created an entire deck based on not only self-understanding, but self-help and self-nurturing. In this day and age with its stresses and lack of moments to pause and reset, the Neo Tarot could be a useful tool for finding balance and contentment.
The first chapter begins with a few pages describing why Mandybur has combined the Tarot and self-care, and then continues with a “Manifesto” that affirms that Tarot is real, it never tells us what to do but rather offers self-reflection and options, and that Neo Tarot is for everyone, exactly as they are. Next is a very brief history of the Tarot, followed by a breakdown of the structure of a Tarot deck. In keeping with the theme of self-care, the next chapter connects this concept with the deck, and then offers some sample self-care spreads.
Then we get to the card descriptions. The Minor Arcana cards each get a page that contains a full color image of the card, upright, reversed, and self-care card meanings, astrological signs/planets, themes, and an affirmation. The Major Arcana card descriptions take up two pages, with one page containing a large color image of the card and the name of the card in large print, with the facing page containing upright, reversed, and self-care meanings, a number, an astrological sign/planet, themes, and an affirmation. The book finishes with an Acknowledgements page, and a bio of Mandybur and Daiana Ruiz.
The Neo Tarot is literally for everyone, and it joyously celebrates the beautiful uniqueness of each of us. The images are pleasing, fluid and easy to personalize in a deep and transformative way, and the guidebook offers options for healing and understanding the whole self, physically, emotionally and intellectually. Even a new Tarot enthusiast could enjoy working with this deck and its new interpretations of traditional symbolism. The deck and the guidebook are way more than a divination tool, and someone who is not interested in “reading Tarot” would find the Neo Tarot a useful part of daily self-care routines. The Neo Tarot is worth holding in your hands and incorporating into your daily life.
About the Author:
Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher. Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.