When writer Michelle Tea first came to San Francisco, she had yet to win awards or develop a diehard following. Instead, she supported herself on Haight Street by giving Tarot readings — as she describes it, an “ancient story system, a pack of cards that tell a multitude of tales depending on the ways in which they’re placed alongside one another.” In other words, a writer’s dream.
Tea’s new book, Modern Tarot (Harper Collins; $22.99), is a prismatically down-to-earth guide, and Tea is a sagacious tour guide. Hip and discerning, Tea shares personal anecdotes, shares some of her personal rituals to take each card’s meaning into her life, and, perhaps my favorite, decodes the symbolism of each card. (Tea describing the snow on which stands the Hermit, a sage old woman supporting herself on a staff: “If water is the emotions and air is the intellect, then snow is the emotions made tangible, by the cold air of logic.”)
Modern Tarot offers the most straightforward interpretation I’ve found about how Tarot cards work, and how the mythic journeys each card portrays can be used to harness a personal moment. So naturally, I’ve asked Michelle Tea to give the city of San Francisco a reading.
Below, Tea trains her eye on the City — and finds, among other things, that the tech bubble is not a bubble that will burst just yet; that the city needs to work on its partying; that it must get in touch with the emotional impact of its existence; and, she says, “If San Francisco can’t get itself together to honor the feminine, the feminine will just storm the castle.”
You’ve been warned, San Francisco.
San Francisco: The Future is Female
A Tarot reading by Michelle Tea
A reading I like to do, for myself and for others, is a general Celtic Cross. The Celtic Cross spread is a popular one for a reason — it’s simple, it’s thorough, it provides a good overview of…