Meet Jessica Dore, a tarot card reader and graduate student of clinical social work.
• Her tarot technique: “My style is less about giving answers and more about asking questions.”
• It was in the cards: “I feel like Philly has chosen me a little bit. And it feels nice.”
When Jessica Dore decided to pursue a career as a therapist she worried about how those in the field might perceive her other, less-than-orthodox pursuit.
“I had all kinds of fears about coming out as a tarot card reader," she said. “What would people think and say, particularly in the mental health community?”
Dore came out quietly, posting a tarot card a day to her 2,000 or so followers on Twitter. She captioned each card not with prophecies but with powerful insights she’d learned about mental health.
That was two years ago. Today Dore, 33, of West Mount Airy — a graduate student of clinical social work — has more than 90,000 Twitter followers and counting who eagerly await her daily tarot tweets.
For instance, on Aug. 7, she posted “The World” tarot card and wrote: “Whatever is troubling you, zoom out, just for a moment, for you’ve forgotten that you are part of something much, much bigger than this experience of separation & selfhood you’re having. We can hold that, too, there is space for it. But please let’s hold it lightly.”
One follower responded: “I needed this reminder. Thank you."
Another wrote: “Again surprised as to how on point your posts have been for me Now I’m a believer.”
But as prophetic and unique as Dore’s posts may seem, they aren’t specific to any one person. Instead, they speak to the human experience as a whole. And therein, lies the comfort they provide.
“I think that’s really soothing for people to realize ‘Oh. I’m not the only one that’s having this very specific experience,’” she said.
Dore’s biggest secret, perhaps, is that her popular tarot card account isn’t really about tarot cards at all.
“I’m using a tarot card to show you a picture of something that may help you better digest an idea and catch your attention,” she said. "It’s just a different way of delivering that information.”
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A native of Massachusetts, Dore settled in the San Francisco Bay area after college and worked as a publicist at New Harbinger, a publisher specializing in self-help and psychology books.
As the newbie, Dore was assigned to the books and clinical manuals none of the other publicists wanted because they were too dry.
But she found them fascinating.
Around the same time, some of Dore’s coworkers began holding tarot study groups. Then, during a particularly difficult period in her life, Dore went to the store and bought her own tarot deck.
She would pull one card in the morning and another at night. She’d look up their interpretations and write about those that resonated with her.
“One of the things that struck me most about the cards is that as alone as I might sometimes feel, someone made this illustration about this particular experience,” she said. “It made me feel less alone. I think that was really important.”
Over time, Dore began to see parallels between the cards and the books she was reading at New Harbinger.
“I recognized there was something there that was really special that I didn’t see anyone else doing,” she said.
After stays in Jamaica and Nashville, Dore moved to Philadelphia in 2017 and enrolled in online Master of Social Work program through Edinboro University, in western Pennsylvania. Then, her Twitter account blew up.
“I wasn’t really expecting this," she said.
Dore starts every day at 5 a.m. and pulls three cards from the tarot deck. Then she practices ashtanga yoga. When done, she chooses one of the three cards, posts a picture of it, and writes the accompanying tweet.
“If I just posted the tweet without the card would it resonate the same?” she said. “I doubt it. I think there’s something about the element of tucking something into an unexpected place.”
“I’ve realized there are important differences around our experiences but also a lot of the things we’re going through are remarkably similar," she said.
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