Everyday Tarot with Brigit Esselmont
Radiantly You – Episode 63
SUSIE: Good morning empresses and emperors, high priestesses, fools and magicians. Welcome to Tarot themed episode of Radiantly You. I’m your host Susie Hindle Kher and this half hour is going to be full of tips ideas and information that you can use immediately to start or even improve your Tarot readings Our guest today is amazing and she’s going to help erase any doubts and limiting beliefs that you might have about your card reading abilities.
Plus we’re going to be talking about her brand new book. So while you’re grabbing your Tarot deck, if you have one, I want to remind our listeners to please take the super quick KKNW listener survey. Your answers will help the station better understand what it is that you’re wanting to hear on shows.
So let’s get to it. My guest today is Brigit Esselmont. She is a wildly popular Tarot reader and she really is inspirational among aspiring Tarot readers and enthusiasts. She is the founder of Biddy Tarot, which is pretty much the go-to resource for learning how to work with cards – over 4 million people visit the site every year.
She’s a professional card reader as I mentioned. She’s also a teacher and author. Her latest book is called, Everyday Tarot: Unlock Your Inner Wisdom and manifest your future. It’s already a best-seller on Amazon, just a little more than a month after its release, which is no surprise to me. You can learn more about that book at the website everydaytarot.com. Now before I invited Brigit on to talk about her book, I didn’t realize that she is also an intuitive business coach and spiritual entrepreneur, but I loved reading that and I really love how she’s created a successful business that’s built around helping people tap into their own wisdom.
If you want to connect with Brigit on social media, you can pretty much go into any social media site and just use the words Biddy Tarot. So it’s like @BiddyTarot on Twitter, BiddyTarot.com is her website, and Biddy Tarot on Facebook and on Instagram, and she’s joining us today all the way from Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
And she promises there is no crystal ball in front of her and she’s not wearing a crushed velvet dress… And this ain’t your grandma’s Tarot. So welcome Bridget. Thank you for joining us.
BRIGIT: Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to be here.
SUSIE: I have to say I’m so impressed with how you teach Tarot. I wouldn’t say that I’ve like read your books lik cover to cover, like I’m going to sit down and learn Tarot, but I follow you on social media and every day you’re putting out such interesting prompts and things like that, that have just kind of shifted my own thinking and so when I saw that your book was out, I was really excited to get my hands on your book. And I’m curious, what was your intention in writing the book?
BRIGIT: Yeah. I mean when I first started reading Tarot, it was back when I was 17, which is over 20 years ago, a little bit more than that to show my age. But back then, you know when I started to read Tarot, I got so quickly overwhelmed because I thought my goodness, I’ve got to learn so many things. I’ve got to learn so many rules, and there’s all of these complex esoteric systems that sit behind the Tarot. So there were many times where I felt like I was ready to give up, because I thought that was just way too much to learn. And so these days, you know fast forward 20 25 years from then, what I’m really fired up about is making Tarot really accessible to people, and not so much completely doing away with all the complexity that goes behind Tarot, because it is a really beautiful richness to Tarot that I don’t want to ignore. However, we can start using Tarot straight away if we simplify the way that we connect with the cards.
So, there’s a long way of getting to the inspiration for the book, which is then to take this whole concept of Tarot and make it easy to connect with your cards. And more importantly to start connecting with your intuition and your inner guidance system, because I really believe that when we start to work on a daily basis from a place of intuitive guidance, that’s when we start to see really wonderful things happening in our lives. We become much more self-aware. We understand ourselves. We can start manifesting the outcomes that we want, and we can create the world around us. So that’s really the inspiration for Everyday Tarot, how to do that on a daily basis.
SUSIE: That’s really incredible because I think a lot of people don’t actually think of Tarot that way. Now, I love at the start of the book you tell a little story of yourself as a young teenager sitting there staring into the candle flame trying to access your ESP powers, and I loved it because that was so me also. In my early teens I had Tarot cards, astrology, Ouija board, the works… And I can relate to how you felt at that time, like you just didn’t have it, right, and kind of gave up, at least on that front. And I suspect there are more than a few listeners out there who can relate to some sort of youthful attempts to access this intuitive part of ourselves and then, that experience a feeling like they weren’t given – I’m putting this in quotes – “the gift” right? And yeah, you’re creating this book to help people realize that through the Tarot they can access that intuition, and everybody can do that. I’d love if you could explain that part a little bit more, you know, how does Tarot connect you to your intuition?
BRIGIT: Yes, I think you know even as adults we sometimes strive to be intuitive right was like yes, I’ve got to master this skill and you think of how you know, you might master other skills and you think okay, well, I just have to keep trying harder. But the way that intuition works is that trying harder actually takes you further away from the goal and it’s when you really surrender and let go of needing it to be a certain way, that that’s when your intuition starts to flow through. So with something like Tarot, so I think that Tarot’s a beautiful tool that actually helps you strengthen your intuition.
So a lot of people think, well do I have to be highly intuitive in order to be able to read the Tarot. But I say actually if you want to be highly intuitive start by reading the Tarot because it’s what helps strengthen that intuitive muscle. And the way that it happens is the Tarot cards, they have pictures on them and each picture it tells a story and then each story has a deeper meaning or a lesson to it. And in those pictures and stories there are also symbols that communicate to our subconscious mind, which is where our intuition sits, and that’s helps us like get in touch with what’s going on at a deeper level. So we’re not just kind of like living life as it comes and as it’s thrown at us, we’re living life from a much more conscious place, where we’re aware of those subtle influences that our intuition can really pick up and the cards are helping us get there.
SUSIE: So, how did you learn to work with Tarot?
BRIGIT: Well when I first started because I was studying at university at the same time, I thought that I needed to memorize and, you know, rote learn the cards because that’s what I did at University. I did that for a few years and then as I started reading for myself and for other people, I realized that I was just, like, skimming the surface, and in fact as probably doing myself a disservice by trying to learn Tarot in this way. And there was a point at which I thought, right for me to really get in touch with my intuition with the cards as a guide, I need to put down the books for a little bit, and I need to just really surrender and let go. And so it was when I really found myself in flow with my readings and inflows my intuition, like really trusting it, that’s when these Tarot readings started to come out in a really different way. And instead of worrying like if I got the right meaning am I doing the right thing, I was actually accessing that deeper part of my subconscious which had much more, you know, important messages for me and I think from that point onwards, that’s when I’ve really found my flow with Tarot.
SUSIE: I love that word flow because I feel like that that is would be how a really effective reading would go, right? It’s a flow. As you’re going through the cards. So, how did you how did Biddy Tarot come about from all of this. You started reading the cards and then you were getting in the flow and now there’s this incredibly successful website which inspires so many people.
BRIGIT: Yeah, so well again studying at university, I was studying accounting and economics, so I was very keen to have some kind of distraction. So while I was studying I thought, okay, I’ll just… I actually started learning how to write HTML, like how to code a website, and this is back in the late 1990s when you could get away with some really dodgy website design. So I just started a website to post what I was learning about Tarot as I was learning.
So I’d post things like new spreads that I discovered and then Tarot card meanings and so on. And then eventually I started offering very low-cost Tarot readings again purely like it was just a hobby. It was just something fun on the side as I worked in corporate throughout my 20s. And then by my early 30s, I had had my first kid and I started feeling like I just wasn’t connected to the corporate world anymore and I really wanted something different and I’d started playing around with a few different ideas of how you can build an online business, because I saw this great asset that I had with Biddy Tarot, in sharing what I’d been learning. And I thought well actually, what if I was to amplify this and start really serving and helping other people who want to learn Tarot as well.
So 2012 when how old was I then, I don’t know, 30s – 32 maybe 33. And 2012 was the year that I finally handed in my resignation at my corporate job and said, right, I’m going to do Biddy Tarot full-time, and now six years later the growth of this company has been exponential. I could never have imagined what we’ve created.
SUSIE: Tarot is kind of enjoying a heyday right now. I saw that you were pointing out that you can find the Tarot cards at Urban Outfitters. It’s on designer clothing. It’s in magazines like Vogue and online sites like Goop. So what’s behind the meteoric rise in popularity right now?
BRIGIT: Do you know, I think that the younger generation – I always feel like I sound really old when I say the younger generation.
SUSIE: You’re definitely not old.
BRIGIT: So but I do I think the younger generation of becoming a lot more self-aware and spiritually conscious, which is really lovely, because at the same time Tarot is evolving into a spiritual tool. I mean, look, it’s always been a spiritual tool. Don’t get me wrong. But I think the way that we’re using Tarot now is much more around self-awareness versus predicting the future. And I feel that this resurgence around Tarot and Tarot really coming into the mainstream is because people are looking for that deeper connection with themselves and a deeper connection with their soul, their inner guidance system, their intuition, and so on. And Tarot is certainly a tool that can help you get to that place.
So I’m overjoyed to be saying Tarot coming out in so many different ways. Not everybody is, but for me, it’s my mission to really bring Tarot into the mainstream and make it something that’s so modern and accessible.
SUSIE: Yes. I feel like we should be happy cheerleaders here going go, go, go, keep doing what you’re doing. One of the things I love about the book is that you also have a little section in there where you bust some popular myths about the Tarot cards. What’s your favorite myth that you busted in there?
BRIGIT: Oh gosh, there’s so many.
SUSIE: I know.
BRIGIT: I think one of the big ones that comes up with people that stops them, one from getting a Tarot reading, and two from even wanting to touch Tarot cards is this crazy belief that Tarot cards are evil and that they make bad things happen.
Like let’s be real they are. You know they are pictures on cardboard, and of course is a huge amount of symbolism that goes into them. And there’s a huge amount of intention and sacred intention around them. However, the Tarot cards themselves can’t make things happen. They can’t make good things happen. They can’t make bad things happen.
And there is really, there’s nothing evil about it because you know, if you’re getting into a place using the cards, where you are becoming so much more aware of who you are, why you’re here and, you know, the intentions behind your actions, like I cannot see how that is a bad thing. I can only see good that comes out of it.
Now of course Tarot is a tool. So tools can be used in whichever way they want and they can be used for good and bad. But as far as I’ve seen with Tarot, it is something that can be used for good in so many ways and so it makes me really sad when people say, oh I’m not going to use Tarot cards because I think they’re evil or they’re bad or it’s against, you know, my religion. I certainly respect different belief systems and it makes me sad because I do think there’s a huge amount of spiritual potential and opportunity with these cards to really get in touch with who you are.
SUSIE: Well, and then you get the movies, right, where their getting a reading and it’s the death card, and cue the scary music.
BRIGIT: I know, they ruin it for everybody those movies.
SUSIE: So, you know, lots of people want Tarot to tell them exactly what’s going to happen in the future. And you say in the book that that’s not really their purpose. So why don’t the cards work that way, it’s not like you can say, ‘what’s going to happen next week?’
BRIGIT: Yeah, so look, it’s very possible to use the cards in that way, but I want people to think about this. When you start asking about what’s going to happen in the future, what you’re doing is you’re transferring your power to an thing outside of you, whether that’s fate, destiny, the universe, whatever … or other people. And so when you’re saying, ‘what’s going to happen to me?’ it’s as if you don’t have any responsibility for what you create in your life. Now for me as someone who’s very empowered and likes to manifest things, that makes me feel very uncomfortable.
So, I like to read the cards in a way that is, ‘what’s happening around me right now,’ so I’m very present focused. And then, ‘what actions can I take to create the outcomes that I most desire?’ Now when you start asking questions like that of the Tarot, you’re reclaiming your power, you’re accepting responsibility and accountability for what happens to you, and you become the creator of your life – not something else outside of you.
So for me, it’s a much more empowering experience when we move away from predicting a future, to more so creating that future and being responsible for that future.
SUSIE: Wow. I absolutely love what you just said. I mean again, you’ve now again sort of deepened my appreciation for the cards. So I wonder – you have amazing activities in the book, you are always sharing little activities online. I wonder if you have a little something that you could share right now for listeners who are interested in doing something to help expand their their confidence, their intuition with the cards, their connection to the cards.
BRIGIT: Yeah, one of the activities that I really love sharing, because it’s so simple but so effective, is the self-love daily ritual. So I don’t know about you, but I think everyone can do with a little bit of extra self-love and yes appreciation, right?
SUSIE: Yes. I got that.
BRIGIT: Good, so instead of you know in the mornings instead of reaching for your phone or you know, grabbing your alarm or whatever it might be, put your Tarot deck next to your bed and a journal with a pen and paper. And what I want you to do is shuffle the cards and, as you’re shuffling, think about what do I most love and appreciate about myself? So shuffle the cards and then pull a card. And then look at that card and, look, you don’t need to be an expert in Tarot to know what that card means. All you need to do is look at the imagery and see what comes up intuitively and from within you about what it is that you love and appreciate about yourself. So for example, and the empress is coming into my mind. So this beautiful woman lounging on this gorgeous, like velvet lounge in nature. And maybe that, you know, you’re seeing the nature, you’re like: yeah, I really love that I have an appreciation for nature. I love that I can spend time in in nature. I love that I make time to spend time in nature, and so on so. You know, just write for three or five minutes about everything that you love and appreciate about yourself, prompted by the Tarot card. And again, you don’t have to worry about, have I got the right meaning, you know, I better look this up on a website, no, that’s not the idea. The idea is more that it is a prompt to your subconscious mind to then lift out all of this beautiful yumminess around your appreciation for yourself. And then, just imagine, if you did that every day, even as for seven days how much better you would feel about yourself and how much better a day you would have, as well, instead of having just checked your email, now you’re in this state of loving and appreciating yourself.
SUSIE: So I’m going to issue a challenge everybody listening who has Tarot or wants to go get Tarot. This is the time to go do it and try this self-love ritual for a week. I’m really curious to see how you notice a shift when you do this. I think this is really a beautiful way to use Tarot.
BRIGIT: Yeah, and you know what, like again, we so often think that Tarot is about like, you know choose a Tarot spread, lay out cards, see what the reading says to you, right? But I think that there’s such a more elevated and evolved way of working with the Tarot, where it’s more about discovering who we are. And you know, using it to, again, connect in with our intuition. You would probably have noticed like we’re not using the cards to tell us why we’re good. We’re using it to prompt what we already know about ourselves and what we already appreciate about ourselves. So again, all of that knowledge and that wisdom is all sitting within us and it’s using the cards more as this reflection or, you know, the mirror to the soul so that we can then take that out of our subconscious and move it into our conscious mind. And once it’s in our conscious mind, that’s where we can start to take action and start to see real change. Because when it’s just stored in our subconscious, that can affect us, but we don’t really know why. So bringing it into that conscious place is what makes it really powerful, and of course the Tarot cards help that process.
SUSIE: So I know one of the things I hear people saying, is: okay, I think I’m getting something, I think I’m getting something, but wait a minute…maybe it’s my imagination. Or maybe it’s maybe I’m just overthinking this. Is this my intuition? Like, how can you tell when you’re reading, if you’re at that place where it’s where you’re kind of like connecting to that deeper into intuition like you were just describing verses that ego mind.
BRIGIT: Yeah, do you know it’s so funny because I don’t know why this happens, but we seem to be in self-sabotage. So as soon as soon as we get an intuitive hit we’re like, oh no, that couldn’t have been anything, not really. I’m just making it up or something happened there. But I want to give you a possibility like what if that was your intuition? What if that was the message you needed to hear? So sometimes even just holding that possibility that it is already your intuition will give you the space to try that on and see if that resonates. Now another thing that you can do is keep an intuitive hit diary, I suppose. So, you know, as soon as you have a hit, like, write it down and then come back to it, if you see that intuitive message coming into coming into fruition. So that way you start to get some real evidence to say, okay well, I thought this thing might happen. Oh my goodness, look, it just did. And that can also give you that extra confidence to say, okay, yeah, I know when it’s my intuition, and also I know when it’s not. Because you’ll get those additional experiences that show you, well actually when I was really pushing it or it came through, more through my head than it did through my heart, then I know that’s probably not my intuition doing the talking.
SUSIE: I’m really curious about what deck you use what Tarot deck you use and how you picked it, or do you have multiple decks?
BRIGIT: Well, of course I use the Everyday Tarot deck.
SUSIE: Okay yes, you know, I didn’t even I didn’t even mention the deck when we were talking about the book. So there’s also the Everyday Tarot deck.
BRIGIT: That’s right. No, but you know, I’m that aside. I mean I do I do tend to use quite a few different decks and for very long time I used the Rider-Waite, because it’s the most popular Tarot deck. It’s got the most resources available with it, and I’m someone who really likes mastery, so I’m really wanted to master that deck and every time I tried a new deck, I’d go, oh my goodness, this is new, I can’t handle it…no, I’m going back to my Rider-Waite.
But actually, I think it’s really when I started to trust my intuition again that I became more open to trying different decks. And it really depends on the mood that I’m in, you know, what kind of question I might have. Because each deck has a different kind of energy. Some decks, you know, are very strong, maybe even a masculine energy. Some might be more feminine. Some might be more loving. Some might be more, like, hard talking, and it really depends.
SUSIE: So what would be some suggestions you’d have for listeners on how to pick the right deck for them.
BRIGIT: Yeah, well, look I do actually recommend starting with a Rider-Waite deck or a Rider-Waite derivative. So of course, Everyday Tarot is based on the Rider-Waite. And what we’ve done with the Everyday Tarot deck is we’ve simplified it, but we haven’t made it simple, if this makes sense. So when I was working with the illustrator I said, okay, let’s take out the stuff that doesn’t necessarily get to the core message, and let’s only include the symbols that really get to what this card is about. And the intention with that, is that it would make it so much easier for beginners, but also experienced readers, to be able to pick up these cards and use them quite quickly to access their intuition.
So I’m incredibly biased, but I would say I’d absolutely recommend the Everyday Tarot deck because it is based on the Rider-Waite, and it is a more modern interpretation. And it’s, I would say, it’s a lot more accessible for beginners as well. So it’s good to keep that Rider-Waite derivative in mind, because again, there’s so many resources based on that deck and it’s also much more story-based. So there are some decks that are very abstract or they don’t really have many pictures. I find those incredibly hard to read. You’re more likely then to need to rote learn those decks and memorize what the card meanings are, which isn’t that exciting for me. So I would recommend steering clear of that. And also the, you know, find a deck where like you can pick it up and go, yeah like that imagery, you know, it’s nice. If you’re picking up a deck and you’re looking at thinking, oh no, it’s too dark or just it’s not speaking to me, then don’t force yourself. You don’t need to… That’s not the deck for you. So definitely feel into the energy of the deck. And also from that more practical sense, think about, are there sufficient resources to help me learn this deck as well.
SUSIE: So one of the things that I was mentioning earlier is that you like to put out on social media these little prompts, I guess you could call them. And I think one that you just recently put out there, which I really liked, which I’m going to throw back at you, so that you can give us an example of how we can work with the card. You said the Tarot card that describes my year best so far is blank. And so then the person would work with that to help connect with the card. So I’d love it if you could give me an example. So for you, what would that card be?
BRIGIT: Oh goodness. Do you know, ok, so I’ll just give you whatever popped into my head first and that was the star card. Now in the star, it’s a naked woman and she’s under this beautiful starry night sky. And what I love about the star card is she’s here in her pure essence and in almost this state of vulnerability, like being naked under the starry sky. And I really feel that, like, with writing this book, Everyday Tarot, it’s got a lot of my personal story in it. And of course, whenever you write a book, it’s like pouring your heart onto these pages, and then putting it out in the world and going, ‘here I am, love me, accept me,’ and all this kind of stuff, right? So for me, I feel that this year has been very much about being more open, more vulnerable and even more authentic, and really expressing myself in a big way to the world. And doing it in a way where I don’t like I don’t have an attachment. So again like, with writing a book, it’s a little bit scary because you know, it’s like, well what if what if people don’t like it?
SUSIE: Yes, you’re putting yourself out there.
BRIGIT: Yes, I know and then they think oh, it’s all personal, what if they don’t like it. But here’s the thing. I’ve just really seen the book as his opportunity to birth an idea into the world and then let it take its course. So the book itself has its own soul, its own destiny and so on. And what I’ve discovered throughout this year in launching the book is, you know, you nurtured this little baby and then you can just let it go and let it be exactly what it needs to be. And then that’s absolutely fine
SUSIE: And I’ve got to tell you, this book is going to be a shining star for so many people. Thank you for sharing your love of Tarot with us today. I’m sure you’ve inspired a lot of listeners and giving them the confidence to give Tarot cards a try and I know you made me aware of some things that I hadn’t really known. So thank you, thank you for joining us. And thank you out there in radioland for tuning in. If you want to hear more shows or catch the recording of this one, head over to my website at radiantriverwellness.com, and while you’re there check out my upcoming Retreat to Budapest. I might even bring some Tarot cards now. I’m feeling really, really inspired. Until next week, this is Susie. You’ve been listening to Radiantly You.