This Twitter Tarot Reader Finds Mental Health Wisdom in her Tarot Cards

In Person of Interest, we talk to the people catching our eye right now about what they’re doing, eating, reading, and loving. Next up is Jessica Dore, a tarot card reader and social worker currently writing a book reflecting on tarot through the lens of behavioral science and psychology.

Jessica Dore doesn’t have the answers. When she pulls daily tarot cards for her 132,000-plus Twitter followers or 50,000-plus Instagram followers, Dore does not forecast the future or make predictions. Instead, the social worker turned tarot reader uses the cards to give her audience daily, thought-provoking mental health advice.

As a tarot reader and Big Fan of therapy myself—seriously, I can’t shut up about it—I was floored the first time I interacted with Dore’s work. I don’t ascribe to tarot’s reputation as a divination tool, but over the past decade or so, I’ve found real value in the cards as a medium for self-reflection and understanding. Dore’s daily readings echo my own practice, while also distilling teachings of compassion, empathy, avoidance, obsession, and more into 280-character nuggets of wisdom. But she doesn’t shy away from the harder truths, either. “Our inability to understand reality beyond pairs of opposites (this/that, good/bad) leaves us boxed into a flat & monotone shadow box life,” she wrote recently about the Seven of Cups, which depicts jewels, a castle, and a laurel wreath floating in a cloud.

Like many, I’m all but drowning from near-constant anxiety and information overload. Dore (who holds a masters degree in social work and is a former publicist for New Harbinger, a publisher of clinical psychology literature targeting therapy pros) provides a modicum of comfort. When I find myself doomscrolling, her posts of brightly colored cards from the classic Rider-Waite deck stop me in my tracks.

One particular reading about the Nine of Swords—a card often associated with fear and despair that depicts a person in bed, face in hands—stood out when I was particularly anxious. “Sometimes feelings are so laden with judgments & evaluations that we lose contact w/ what’s at the heart of our experience,” Dore posted. “Feeling rejected, attacked, uncared for, all are valid. But these feelings also contain assumptions about reality that we may want to explore.” Succinct and universal, she touches on subtle but deep truths about anxiety and depression, or rest and recovery, or any number of topics, seamlessly weaving together tarot’s ancient archetypes with modern therapy.

Curious about her tarot practice and self-care in a time of deep uncertainty, I called up Dore to talk about how her routines ground her, how tarot helps her make sense of the world, and how she almost ended up as a bread baker.

Many of the things I talk about in my tarot practice...manifested in my own life via my relationship with food. I had an eating disorder for a long time, and that’s probably my biggest mental health challenge. A big part of my interest in psychology and understanding obsession, compulsion, anxiety, dysmorphia, control and avoidance stems from it. I’ve been in recovery for several years, but when I started doing a daily yoga practice almost 10 years ago, my practice was so rigorous, it kept me hungry. I had to eat to sustain that practice. I need routine, and yoga helped me develop regular mealtimes.

Before I went to grad school...I thought I wanted to be a bread baker. I considered going to culinary school, and I even worked at a bakery here in Philly. I only worked there for two weeks—I couldn’t handle the manual labor—so I have so much respect for professional bakers. But at home, I’ve been getting back to baking bread, which reminds me of my Ashtanga yoga practice. I’ve been performing the same postures for 10 years, but every day is different depending on the temperature in the room, my headspace, whether my body feels stronger or weaker depending on the day before. Bread is the same. You may have mastered it last week, but the conditions change and now it’s a new world. Like recently, a friend and I were baking, and then it got too cold so we were putting the bowls of dough against our bellies in an attempt to warm them up—you constantly have to attend to the present moment. You can’t get caught up in the technique, like “Oh I did this one time so I’ll always succeed at achieving a great crumb.” Nope. Bread does not conform to you, you have to adapt to the bread and the conditions you’re dealt with.

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