In 1996, actress Rachel True starred as Rochelle in the occult (and now cult) movie The Craft. What most people don’t know is that this was a bit of typecasting. Long before she got the role in The Craft, True was into tarot cards. It’s an interest she’s now sharing with her new book and card set, True Heart Intuitive Tarot. In the following interview, True explains how she came to write this book, and why she wrote it the way she did.
So, what is True Heart Intuitive Tarot?
In a nutshell, it is as much a tarot how-to guide as it is a personal memoir as it is me sharing a tool that has been extremely helpful for me in my life. And this is really how I feel. Over my life, tarot — in tandem with therapy, because my approach to tarot has always been Jungian — has been a shrink in a box. I mean that so much. One of the things I realized as a grown-up was that using tarot as a tool to learn to self-soothe before you dump all your stuff on other people, is a really great thing. And I know I’m not the only person who can benefit from self-reflection.
Is that why you wrote the book?
That and also because it’s been a tool that’s helped me stay really grounded in a town that’s all smoke and mirrors.
Non-fiction books, including ones that are instructional, can take different approaches. Some are super serious, some are super detailed, while still others take a more light-hearted approach, though while still being informative. What approach did you take in True Heart Intuitive Tarot?
I think the tone I tried to take was like you’re hanging out with a friend. There’s a lot of information jammed in there about what the cards are and how to use them, but with personal essays layered in there that makes it like a friend is explaining how to use this tool and explaining themselves as examples of someone who has.
In regards to this friendly tone, did you set out to write the book this way or did it just emerge naturally as you wrote it?
As a first-time author, I just wrote in a way I thought people would connect with, and wouldn’t just be cold words on a page. Kind of like how actors tap into feelings as a way of tapping into a character, I wanted to tap into the same kind of energy, but in the written word.
I also hoped people would think I have my own voice, that my personality would come through.
When you started to put this together, did you look at any other books — tarot or otherwise — to get a sense of what to do and what not to do?
Oh, there’s a cornucopia of memoirs out there…though I’m blanking on the names of them right now. I’m an avid reader, and even though I wasn’t going to be writing in that vein, I read many different and varied memoirs.
True Heart Intuitive Tarot opens with an essay about the role of tarot cards in your life. And in it, right at the beginning, you note that your interest in tarot cards precedes your role in the movie The Craft. Why is it so important for you that people know you didn’t gain an interest in tarot cards from being in The Craft?
Well, plenty of actors get into something because they did it in a movie. So I don’t think there’s any shame in that.
But it was important that it be mentioned because tarot has been a big part of my life from a very young age. It’s important that people know that I have a basis because that’s the truth.
Though I did want people to know that I’m not just trying to capitalize on the fact that I was in a witch movie. That movie came to me because I was into these things and studying, in my estimation.
Wait, do you mean the movie people knew you were into tarot cards or that the universe…
The universe. One of the things about my book is that they’ll notice is that there’s not a lot of mystical woo-woo talk at all. I like esoteric studies, but I’m not a witch, and there’s a lot of witchlings out there who think everything is magic. My thing is, hey, let’s try to get in touch with your intuition, because a lot of people’s intuition is blocked because the world we live in, the food we eat, blah blah blah. That’s why, with this book, you have to learn to walk before you can fly your broom, little witchlings.
The intro also mentions that your Craft co-star Fairuza Balk has an interest in this stuff, and that she even owned a Wiccan store in Hollywood called Pan Pipes. What was her reaction when you told her you were putting True Heart Intuitive Tarot together? Because I could see someone being like, “No, you must not share these secrets with non-believers.”
Fairuza is one of my really good friends, and she was delighted for me. She’s been into these esoteric studies since she was a small child, so she really loved that I not only wrote this but that I also included the memoir essays as well. I said to her the other day that I wish everyone had a friend as supportive as her.
Now, the cards in True Heart Intuitive Tarot were designed by artist Stephanie Singleton. Why did you have her design them?
My publisher actually gave me a choice of a few illustrators, but I think Stephanie was one of the ones that my lit agent and I found and threw into the ring ourselves. We found her on a website of black illustrators, and it was important to me, as a mixed chick, a black mixed Jewish chick, to have someone on board who was also similar. I’m not sure exactly what her background is, but if you look at her picture, she looks like she could be anything from middle eastern to east Asian to a million things, she’s very mixed herself. I also wanted to work with a woman.
I think she’s super talented. Some of the cards are absolutely beautiful.
How much guidance or feedback did you give her? Like, did you ever say anything like, “No, don’t make The Hierophant card look so much like The Pope”?
Yeah, it was an interesting process. I would’ve preferred to go there and brain storm, but she works a little differently, so we more related through messages. What I would do is pull pictures and artwork and explain what I wanted for that particular card.
I was inspired a lot by art. The Lovers card, for instance, was inspired Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden Of Earthly Delights.” I’m a huge fan of Bosch. But it was a collaborative process. Some cards are more me, while some are very me and Stephanie.
Finally, if someone wants to read another book about this stuff, what would you recommend they check out next?
I’m a huge fan of Mary K. Greer. Her books are older, but she has a terrific website on tarot. She’s like me in that she’s into all of the magic and all that, but she’s also Jungian. Even though we’ve never met, I consider her to be one of my teachers.
I’d also recommend a book called Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn. It’s a good book.