Book Review: WTF is Tarot? by Bakara Wintner
I discovered Bakara Wintner early on in my deep-dive into tarot. I love her Instagram feed (if you haven't checked it out, please click out of this and follow her *now*)—it was the perfect mix of witchy + New York City vibes + white space + tarot. I bought my the deck that really connected me to the tarot from Urban Outfitters, so when she was featured on the site a couple of years back, I totally fangirl-ed and reached out to her online.
YES, it may was random and kind of embarrassing (even now LOL), but through our email exchange, I found out that she used to work in the publishing industry. No wonder I liked her content so much! I've worked in print magazines (RIP) since the early 2000s and probably intuited the writer/publisher connection.
Bakara's move from New York City to Durham, North Carolina resulted in the opening of Everyday Magic, this magical witchy store that I'm so sad I don't have real world access to (for now, I live vicariously through the people who visit the shop and the store's IG Stories). I had the immense pleasure of having one of my best friends visit the shop while she was in Durham and take home the Wooden Tarot for me for Christmas two years ago. #bless
When Bakara announced she was working on a tarot book, you best believe I was on it immediately. Unfortunately, the book came out while I was traveling and while it would have been convenient for me to purchase the Kindle version on Amazon, I wanted a hard copy. So I waited a couple weeks after its release to finally order it. I actually debated keeping the package sealed 'til Christmas but I didn't want to wait any longer and dove into the book as soon as I got it.
WTF is Tarot? … & How Do I Do It? is a guide book after my own heart. It doesn't get too esoteric-y and historical (although it does make mention of all of this); it's very real. Bakara's language is relatable, gritty and irreverent in the best way possible. Reading her book is like casually talking to a friend who knows how to get into the deep and important stuff without batting an eyelash. The book tackles the cards, the suits, the courts in a unique way: by discussing what they mean, yes, but also by putting all these tarot-related things in a more modern context via personal anecdotes (I have legit shed a tear in a couple of the stories in the book), hard-hitting questions, and concise but meaningful descriptions.
Anyone who's read through a tarot guidebook knows how things can get really repetitive really quickly—WTF is Tarot? is different. It doesn't sound like a rehashing of things you already know (for the seasoned tarot reader). I think it's because the book presents rehashed topics through Bakara's unique lens which has a very specific perspective that I definitely relate to. I honestly wish I had found out about this guide book when I was a tarot newbie because it would have seriously made things very easy. I had given up learning the tarot and "memorizing" all the meanings a couple of times during my first foray into the cards because I couldn't relate to the little white book included in my deck. If I had had this, I would have latched on to the cards straight away.
As part of my New Year ritual, I actually did a Bullet Journal spread of the keywords and meanings in the book so I have something tarot-related to shift to when I'm feeling particularly bored at work (shh). I'm not yet done with it because I'm still making my way through the Major Arcana, but already, I have noticed how my readings have shifted considerably because of the insights I have gotten from this book.
I literally cannot sing this book enough praises. And the best news? Bakara and Autumn Whitehurst (the book's illustrator) are working on an accompanying tarot deck set to be released this Spring.
You know how I've been talking about how I'm only using one deck and how my wish list has suddenly been relegated to ZERO? That's all changing when The Wayhome Tarot comes out.
Until then, I have been pairing all the insights I've gleaned from the book with the Illest Tarot by Kristi Prokopiak (sorry, it's already out of production—but just the same, do follow Kristi on her Ritual Tarot Instagram account).
I was going to write about the deck in this post too, but after all my gushing about Bakara's book, I think the Illest deserves its own post… because believe me, there will be a ton of gushing *again* when I talk about that deck. I'll write about it next week! xx
In the meantime, please please please get yourself a copy of WTF is Tarot? … & How Do I Do It?. I promise, it will be worth it. I'm even considering getting an e-version so I have it in my phone at all times 🤓