Fool’s Journey: Tarot School Is In Session

The Fool is the first card of the tarot’s Major Arcana, and represents someone starting off on a journey of learning about themselves and the world. That could be you! Learn how to read your cards and develop your mystic prowess with Autostraddle’s Tarot School. Or if that sounds like too much work, get a tarot reading right here!

What if there was this deck of cards where there was one for every feeling and experience you could possibly go through, and when you felt a little lost or confused or messed up you could pull them out of your pocket, ask a question, sling a few down and start making sense of your head and your heart?

Bingo! It’s called tarot, and it will totally change your life.

When I was first introduced to tarot years ago, I was a full-time cynic. I’d never seen a tarot deck, never given divination more than a derisive snort. But super-cool storyteller, zinester and fisherwoman Moe Bowstern was in town and she offered my friend and I each a reading. “What the hell,” I thought, and I watched as she laid down my cards.

I was grappling with something pretty major at the time, and as Moe described card after card, I was drawn in by the way they spoke to me so personally, addressing the innermost secret workings of my heart and mind. And those pictures! Charismatic queens, stormy seas, animal helpers, mythical symbols and all those weird-ass colors and patterns…they captivated me. Each image seemed to illuminate and clarify a part of my experience. After my reading, I felt strange. And good! Like I knew how to move forwards. Like everything was gonna be fine and I could totally do this shit because, whoa, The Universe Had My Back.


So many pretty decks, so little time

My friend got the bug. She got herself a deck and a book and we spent many nights in my attic bedroom, fervently turning cards, working out the intricate details of our complicated love lives and emotions, reconciling our heads and our hearts. We and our then-partners were entering into a polyamorous situation at the time, so it’s fair to say there was a lot to discuss. Tarot became the perfect tool to feed our obsessions with ‘getting it right’ and ‘holding on to our truths’ and ‘considering all the angles.’ It was the vehicle and the road and the signage that brought together all of the confusing and disparate elements of our situation.

There seemed to be nothing we could do or feel that the cards would not comment on. It was incredible. I developed a strong relationship with The Moon in those early days — a card which would repeatedly show up in my readings, prodding at me with her weird little crayfish, eerie towers and howling wolves. At the time I felt she was celebrating and encouraging my super-cool, right-on approach to relationships, and my leap-before-you-look attitude. Looking back, I’m preeeetty sure she was pointing out a long series of self-delusions with increasing urgency. Oops.


Learn how to not ignore repeated important messages from The Universe

Fast forward a year. The shit hit the fan, big-style. There were breakups. My friend and I were no longer friends. I was heartbroken and moved out of town. But you know what, those 78 cards got me through. Where I didn’t have the words to describe what I was experiencing, tarot helped me to articulate stuff. Where I wanted to blame others for my own mistakes, tarot gently made me face up to my responsibilities. And when I wanted to retreat under a blanket of self-pity, tarot showed me how awesome my life could be. Four years on, reading tarot is my *actual* job.


After Jamila dashed my hopes of TV stardom with my incredible fortune-telling cat, I realized I would have to do it myself.

Everyone should have a tarot deck and their own cool way of using it. Here’s why:

  1. You’ll get to know yourself. Tarot makes you face up to what’s really going on, and it also reminds you how ace you are. It shows you what resources you have to work with and helps you work out what might be missing. Handy!
  2. You’ll get to know your friends. Once they learn of your mystic prowess your mates will start bringing you all kinds of weird and wonderful dilemmas. Tarot takes Deep Friend Talks to the next level.
  3. You can use tarot for life planning. You can use tarot to work out how to approach all sorts of projects and goals and things and get an action plan and a really smart kick-up-the-ass from the universe. Planner-types beware: this is addictive.
  4. Tarot is super social. You can do readings at parties and events and you get to talk to *everyone* about stuff that really matters to them. Which is nice!

Tarot School will be all about developing your confidence with the cards and giving you loads of exercises and tips for working tarot into your life.

Maybe you’ve got a deck tucked away somewhere but you’re not really sure how to use it. Maybe you’ve never even touched a tarot card before but you’re curious about what the hell all the fuss is about. Or maybe you’re all over this tarot shizzle and you’ve got loads to contribute in the comments (which BTW would be awesome.) Wherever you’re at, let’s make some cool tarot shit happen.


You will need: Tarot deck, beautiful new journal, nice pens

“But I don’t believe in tarot!”

Okay, okay, I get it. You’re in the “how can a deck of cards predict the future that’s like totally ridiculous” camp. Here’s a thing: so am I. While I’m not here to argue with the psychics among us, I’ve never seen tarot as a way to find out what’s around the next bend (or for that matter magically tell you what colour your brother-in-law’s grandma’s cat was.) For me and for the purposes of this column, tarot is a tool for self-discovery and self-development right in the here and now.

There is a tarot card or card combination for more or less every experience you can go through in your wonderful, messed-up, brilliant, queer little life. There is rarely a decision I’d make or a problem I’d solve or a rut I’d get out of without a word of advice from my 78 friends. Does that sound needy and weird? It ain’t. Tarot adds an “aha!” kinda richness to this business of life, and in Tarot School, I wanna show you how to use your cards to understand and articulate this shit and to proactively move yourself forwards.

We’ll do fun exercises and experiments, create our own spreads, queer up our cards, explore different decks and get to know the kooky characters that make up the tarot. We’ll look at practical stuff too, like reading for friends, dealing with dodgy energy, reading at events and more. And if there’s something special you’d really like me to cover, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my very best to oblige.

And oh oh oh! Dear reader, I will also be reading your cards!

Hit me with your questions and once a month, I’ll be digging one weird and wonderful dilemma out of my sack and offering up the wisdom of the cards. You got a business idea but no idea how to start? Struggling to get over a break-up? Want a hand to help define some kick-ass life goals?

Go ahead: ask my cards. Email me at beth [at] autostraddle [dot] com!

Shit. Or maybe yay! Seriously.

Shit. Or maybe yay! Seriously.

In the meantime, if you haven’t got one already, grab yourself a tarot deck and a brand spanking new journal and get ready for Tarot School to begin next month!

Rules and disclaimer-type thing for readings:

  • In sending in your question, you’re allowing Autostraddle to publish your dilemma for five hundred thousand curious eyes to see
  • But don’t worry – we’ll keep you completely anonymous (and we’ll let you know in advance if you’ve been picked.)
  • No third party stuff. This is all about you. That means no “does she love me?” and no “why is she doing this to me?” Sorry guys, but that shit ain’t cool.
  • This is entertainment. I am so not responsible for anything you do as a result of your reading and neither is Autostraddle. Dear reader, you are a full-grown person with a brain and you (not I) are 100% in charge of your own destiny. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Machynlleth, mid-Wales. She has two cats, a hot builder girlfriend, far too many tarot decks and not enough coffee cups. She's really into bread, the colour red, camping and brand new notebooks. She'd love to cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on her blog, Little Red Tarot!

Beth has written 111 articles for us.


  1. Yay! Somebody like me! I use tarot more as an advice tool, and occassionally to help my creativity as a writer. You’d be surprised how useful tarot can be in forming plot, coming up with conflicts and resolutions for characters, and just for getting yourself out of a writer’s block.

    Thank you for your article, I’m going to read all your other articles too. :D

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