Retelling The Present

“It’s not necessarily about telling the future. It’s about retelling the present.” That’s from the introduction to Jessa Crispin’s book The Creative Tarot. It’s a nice way to sum up her story-based and pragmatic approach to Tarot reading. Crispin, a writer, literary critic, editor, and tarot reader who has co-designed a deck of her own (the Spolia deck with artist Jen May), wrote the book to fill the gap she saw in readings and spreads specifically geared to creatives.


The Creative Tarot is a funny, modern, down-to-earth text, intended as a starting point in a Tarot education. It contains history of the tradition, Crispin’s own spreads, illustrations from the Spolia deck, and advice for the beginner. However, it’s the card descriptions where it really shines. Based on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, each card is given one and half to three pages where the author deconstructs the symbolism and meaning as well as relates stories about famous creatives that reinforce the meanings. In addition, she gives three “recommended materials”: books, movies, paintings, etc. to illustrate her point and encourage cross-pollination across genres and mediums.
Although I have so far only dabbled in Tarot, taking an online course through the Los Angeles Public Library [] (for LAPL cardholders only, unfortunately), and doing my own readings, I’ve found Crispin’s book to be extremely useful and easy to understand. More so even, than the booklets that came with my decks (Rider-Waite-Smith and Salvador Dali). I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for down-to-earth guidance in their creative and spiritual practices. You can get a sense of her style by signing up for her Reading the Tarot newsletter [].

-Katta, Magus Minion