Tarot Top 5: Self-Love Works

I am a huge proponent of self-love. It's a subject that makes an appearance in practically every tarot reading I do. One, because the cards say so; and two, because I believe in it so strongly that even if the cards say nothing about self-love upon first glance, I manage to bring it up mid-conversation.

For most people, it takes a crisis (or a couple of crises) to wake up to the importance of self-love. I personally went through two critical health situations (yes, we're talking life or death here) plus a very dedicated meditation and yoga practice before it finally clicked. Caring for yourself and accepting yourself lovingly is the answer to so many of the questions we ask ourselves… and I'm so happy that tarot provides an avenue to discovering how essential self-love is.

1. Guardian Angel Tarot Cards (by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine, Hay House). It's hard to believe I actually went out and bought this deck, but really, the act of purchasing it despite my misgivings was an act of self-love in and of itself. This sweetheart of a tarot deck pairs every tarot card with a paragraph that is loving, positive, and reassuring. Its vintage angel images remind me of my first communion, and the "Angel of God, my guardian dear" prayer I recited at bedtime as a kid. This deck, in all its earnestness, sticks out like a sore thumb in my collection and I tried very hard to resist buying it primarily because it was "so not my type" but I caved and have been so thankful for it. These cards carry the kind of messages you want and need to hear after a long day. They do incredible work in lifting your spirits, whether or not you're into angels (take it from me!). PS: I'm doing a review on this deck in a few days, so stay tuned!

2. Dreaming Way Tarot (by Rome Choi, US Games). I love the lightness of this deck. Its fine illustrations and watercolor quality are airy and hopeful, even when depicting the darker, more shadowy cards of the tarot. Reading with this deck is like sleeping on a cloud—even if you run the risk of nightmares and meeting monsters under your bed, you wake up reassured that it's got your back. The Dreaming Way doesn't shy away from life's hardships, but its soft luster tugs at your heartstrings effortlessly and lets you know everything's going to be okay.

3. Food Fortunes (by Josh Lafayette). People preach against using food for comfort, but really, sometimes all I want when I've had a bad day is a scoop or two of my favorite Chocolate Therapy from the neighborhood gelateria (and this is saying a lot because I'm sensitive to lactose). This deck is a great picker-upper. It's not a tarot deck per se, but if you're truly looking for meaning, you really can find nuggets of wisdom in this smorgasbord of treats. Food Fortunes is cheerful, fun, and is wonderful at brightening my mood when I need to take a break from the difficult stuff. It provides the heartwarming comfort that food offers minus the calories. Caution: The cravings may hit after a couple of pulls from this deck.

4. Vessel Oracle (by Mary Elizabeth Evans, Spirit Speak). This oracle deck is easy, no-frills, and tells you what you need to know.  Some of its shadow cards push buttons that eventually lead to thoughts on self-love (hello, Self Doubt). On the other end of the spectrum, its Self Care card is one that so many of my clients have pulled and have instantly connected with. Self-love is such a simple concept, it's a wonder why none of us engage in it more often. Vessel reminds us of that with very clear and direct messages—almost like "here's what you need to know, now go and get it done."

5. Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot (by Nicoletta Ceccoli, Lo Scarabeo). My first four picks were all about self-love as a comforting, welcoming embrace you give yourself. This deck, I feel, approaches the topic of loving yourself differently. The Ceccoli's dark and twisty, whimsical but murky images are ones I turn to when I need to confront the parts of myself I really don't like dealing with. That probably explains why this deck doesn't come up in rotation quite as often for me as the others do—I don't think it's sustainable or advisable to stay in the shadows for long periods of time without coming up for air. A strong part of practicing self-love is being willing to work through the tough stuff. The artwork of this deck is delicate but holds strongly against issues we struggle facing.