Interview: Jerico Mandybur, Author of Neo-Tarot

We discuss empowerment and self-care through an ancient practice

Writer/editor/speaker/podcast host, Jerico Mandybur is also the editorial director at Girlboss and the author of the brand new Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-Care, Healing & Empowerment. Officially releasing 2 April (but available for pre-order now), the book comes with a deck of tarot cards, and the set offers a unique, contemporary and thoughtful guide to tarot. Accessible for rookies, and useful for seasoned readers, the book and cards supply ways to tap into ancient practice through a contemporary lens—complete with insights, wisdom and exercises that have been crafted to not only heal but also explore the self. We spoke with the thoughtful and creative Mandybur to find out more. 

Can you tell us a little about how you started with tarot/healing?

I was fascinated with tarot (my dad’s girlfriend had a deck) and magical/mysterious things as a kid, but it also scared me. Like, I would only read spooky books during daylight hours, so I could sleep. So I repressed it for a long time. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20s and early 30s and desperate for healing and meaning, that I consciously got back into it.

You’re a witch too—for somebody who doesn’t understand, what does that mean?

Depends who you ask! I think what most have in common though, is a deep respect for the spiritual aspects of nature, the will to positively affect reality, ancestors, and healing. I’m a pantheist, so I believe that Spirit or God is everywhere, in everything at all times—and I try to act like it.

Why did you decide to write Neo-Tarot—what do you want readers to gain from the book and deck?

I’d like people who are intimidated by “inside baseball” tarot offerings to feel included, and excited to discover a new self-care—if not spiritual practice. I also wanted to see a tarot book that was actively against dogma or a one-size-fits-all teaching style. I also wanted the opportunity to represent a more radical, queer understanding of tarot and who it’s for.

Can you tell us a little about the book and card design? 

It was designed by Claire Warner, with book and deck illustrations by the incredibly talented artist, Daiana Ruiz. I consulted them both on colors and thematic elements, but their interpretations of the tarot and book in general took it to a different level and blew my mind. 

What do you feel is a common misconception about the term self-care?

That you have to spend lots of money to be doing it! And that it only equates to skincare regiments, somehow. 

It’s so subjective because it depends entirely on what an individual needs. For me, it’s meditating, taking long baths, doing yoga in the lounge room, breathing exercises, avoid strong smells (in order to prevent migraines), journalling, saying no, and being conscious about how much water I’m drinking—which is never enough!

The word “empowerment” has been taken on a wild ride over recent years. When you use it in your book title, what does it mean for readers?

Liberation from old stories and negative social modes of thinking. Owning one’s power. Standing in the truth, actively healing and not giving a fuck about how it looks. Empowerment to me is resilience—surviving and thriving.

Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-Care, Healing & Empowerment is available for pre-order now. Mandybur also hosts a podcast called Self Service which is released weekly. 

Images courtesy of Jerico Mandybur