When I was growing up in the tarot world, the only Asian I knew of in this field was Robert Wang. Times have changed some, and I’m pleased to share with you many who are contributing incredible work to the tarot community.
In no particular order, here’s who I’ve been fangirling hard over as of late:
T. Susan Chang is the author of Tarot of Magical Correspondences and co-author of the forthcoming Tarot Deciphered. She hosts a podcast with M. M. Meleen, Fortune’s Wheelhouse, which by all accounts is one of the best tarot podcasts around. Follow her work or sign up for one of her online courses here.
I love being able to follow tarot deck creators on social media and getting to know the personalities behind the creativity. If you do, too, check out Kimberly Tsan (Fables Den), who created Way of the Panda Tarot and the Spread Machine Cards and Oracle, among other decks.
Wai Yim of On the Cusp Tarot and Juli Rose of Peekaboorose produce some of the most positive and inspiring videos on Tarot Tube. Also, they were both there for me through some tough times and I’m forever grateful as a friend, in addition to really enjoying their content. Wai inspires me. He is fearless, opinionated, charismatic, and full of love.
Also, Pamela Chen created the Witchling Academy Tarot, along with illustrator Mindy Zhang, and the Crystal Unicorn Tarot. Psst… no idea if she knows this, but I’m constantly lurking in her Livestreams on High Magick Divination, which she hosts with fellow deck creator Leeza Robertson. The two are amazing and produce such incredibly uplifting and healing energy.
Chaweon Koo of Witches & Wine is perhaps better known in occult circles than in tarot, and has been blowing up on WitchTok @hichaweon, making every witchy Asian super proud. But she does tarot, too. So I’m introducing you to her. =)
Seo Kelleher @seokelleher is a Korean shaman and creator of the Morning Calm Oracle. She offers an incredible roster of online courses. I also want to give a signal boost to a group she started, in case there are any spirituality-curious women from the Korean Diaspora reading this. Go check out Unnie-ne.
Greg Traw @nohheechul is the creator of the Dracxiodos Tarot, which I’ve reviewed on this blog here. That intoxicatingly beautiful deck is chaos magic in a box. If you want to witness modern alchemy in pictorial form, check out his art.
Tina Gong has published several luscious modernist decks. The painstaking efforts she devotes to the production value of her tarot and Lenormand decks means they’re some of the most attractive ones in town. I reviewed her Golden Thread Tarot here. She’s the founder of the popular Labryinthos Academy.
Lucy Morningstar @lucymorningstar.art is a multi-talented traditional artist who has collaborated with Ethony Dawn and Theresa Reed (The Tarot Lady) on some incredible tarot decks that are forthcoming, so stay tuned!
I was thrilled for the opportunity to meet Charlyn Gee @charlyngee at Readers Studio in New York City a few years back. She creates these hand-crafted tarot stones that I love. Becky Wong is the founder of Estrella Studio and hand-crafts the most magical crystal jewelry. I’m lucky enough to have several pieces of her work.
Rome Choi, who has a smile and swagger that lights up a room, created the Dreaming Way Tarot, has been involved in the tarot world since the 90s, and teaches tarot. He also contributes a great deal of work to The Tarot School in New York. We met at Readers Studio where I laughed at his jokes and talked shop.
The True Black Tarot by Arthur Wang has been on my radar for a while now. His stunning design skills and the artisanal craftsmanship he dedicates to the production of his deck broke tarot Internet and continues to position him as the platinum standard. Then there’s Yoshi Yoshitani, who exploded onto the tarot scene last year with Tarot of the Divine.
Maria Wander @maria.wander is another kindred spirit I’ve had the great luck of getting to meet in person. She’s a cartomancer, teaches different forms of cartomancy, and is an astrologer, all while sharing lots of witchy goodness.
If you’re looking for a tarot reader to book yourself a reading, check out Gaius Wong Tarot. Meanwhile Liz Hong @l.izhong offers spiritual business coaching and specializes on helping tarot readers go pro.
Jeff @mytarotreader does this great photo series on the Otherkin Tarot and @twisttheleaf shares his personal tarot readings in a way that’ll inspire your own tarot journey. Tamsara Grey @mysticalmagpie shares glimpses into her deck collection, tarot spell workings, and her personal spirituality. Simone Grace Seol, whose tagline is “I am your Asian mom” (love it!), is a marketing, media, and life coach. I mention her in this post because she started out as a tarot reader and hypnotherapist.
If you’re interested in Hmong shamanism, follow Tassie Yang of Shaman Memoirs. She has the coolest and most informative videos on her YouTube channel. I also love Master Shaman PaLiChee’s channel. She offers some free faith healing videos that I think will pique your interest. Both have done videos on tarot cards in the past, so there’s the tarot connection! =)
There are for sure so many more names and faces I’ve missed, and I preemptively feel awful about it! Please help me out by leaving their names and info in the comments section. Specifically, I wish for more Diasporic South Asian tarot voices on my radar.
Once upon a time, I was that girl with a mic standing on a raised platform in the middle of the student union reciting spoken word poetry about Vincent Chin, lessons learned from the L.A. Riots, the need for solidarity among the marginalized, political apathy in the Asian community, and cultural imperialism. Once upon a time I published pamphleteer articles ranting about race, intersectional feminism, and politics. Those were the days before Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Pamphleteer culture was literally writing and printing out your manifestos from the school library, taking it to Kinkos to make two hundred copies, and disseminating them across campus grounds, passed from one hand to another. We stayed up all night painting posters, then stood outside of city hall in throngs, chanting into megaphones.
But aging, the corporate life, and adulting mellows you out; you become jaded. Once upon a time, the 20-year-old me really believed that I could single-handedly change the world by shouting my words into the crowd. At some point, reality sinks in. Also, life experience. You come to understand that it takes a lot more than words; it takes empathy, and patience, and humility, cooperation, and demands that you walk the path of your higher angels.
I am in awe at the new rising generation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who now bear the torch. I am even more touched to the brink of tears that so many of them are witches, occult practitioners, tarot readers, who openly practice shamanism, divination, psychic mediumship, and who are intrepid enough to pursue careers in the creative arts, defying parental and social expectations.
(Check out “Can Asian-Americans be Witches?” where Chaweon, journalist Fei Lu, Ryan the Conjure Man, and I chat. The video was inspired by Fei’s article in Paper, “Asian Americans Can Be Witches, Too.”)
I remember in undergrad, a professor of Asian American Studies called me in to her office after reading one of my articles and she said to me, “It’s funny, you know, how your generation reexamines these issues we were dealing with back in the 70s and 80s.”
And here I thought I was a pioneer, writing about new issues that no one has ever talked about before us. The professor smiled and shook her head. “Oh no. These problems were talked about in the 1800s–the massacre of 1871, the riot of 1877– on through the 1950s after the Internment, the 60s, the 70s, and are still perpetuated and unresolved today. Perhaps you’ll be the generation that changes it all.”
We weren’t. Maybe we moved the needle. I’d like to think we did. But no. Those problems we faced in the 80s, the 90s, and even the early 2000s are still being tackled today.
Maybe this Gen Z will be the ones who change it all.