Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Rebecca Szymczak — also known as tarot reader Cardsy B — was drawn to the mystical world of tarot from a young age. She would save up her allowance to buy new decks from the occult section at the bookstore, learning about the practice of tarot readings through unbridled exploration and curiosity.
As she entered her teen years, Szymczak moved away from tarot in an effort to fit in with the “cool crowd” at school. She later forged a career in the New York City fashion world, designing for brands like DKNY, Nike and Playboy.
Using Tarot Readings as a Self-Healing Tool
It wasn’t until she was hit with a period of intense depression and anxiety in her 30s, or “the dark night of the soul,” that Szymczak returned to the spiritual healing tools she had gravitated towards as a child. In a synchronistic hint from the universe, a colleague gifted her a tarot deck out of the blue, and as she rediscovered the practice, she began performing readings for others in 2017.
“It was kind of like a little wink from my spirit guides, like, remember this used to help you,” she says. “I came back to it as a self-healing tool and started pulling a card a day for myself. I found it to be a very accessible healing tool and it didn’t require any investment.”
Tarot Reader Created Her Own Deck Featuring Empowering Women
Later, while searching for the perfect tarot deck during a trip to Amsterdam, Szymczak’s best friend suggested she put her skills as an illustrator to good use and create one of her own. Upon returning home to New York City, she set to work creating her first tarot deck filled with images of empowering women like Oprah and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, fused with the core elements of the major and minor arcana — the standard cards that make up a tarot deck and provide insights into your life path.
“I started illustrating whatever resonated with me in that given moment and I wrote the guidebook in six months, so it felt very channeled, I still don’t know how I did it,” she says. “It snowballed and now it’s sold all over the U.S., Canada and Europe. I’m incredibly grateful.”
Tarot Readings Expanded Into Badass Bitches Tarot Lifestyle Brand
Since then, Szymczak’s business, Badass Bitches Tarot, has snowballed into a complete lifestyle brand including products, tarot decks, classes, readings and a podcast called Hex and the City. She says one of the things she loves most about tarot is that there’s always more to discover about its roots and history, and an infinite number of layers to unlock like numerology, astrology and the cabalistic tree of life.
In her tarot readings, Szymczak says she receives downloads about whatever is going on in her client’s life at that moment, including past, present and future energies. She says she begins with taking a bird’s eye view at their energies and chakras, and then if they have specific questions or areas they’d like to focus on, she zeroes in on that topic, using the cards as a guide.
“Some psychic readers can just get downloads and spit it out and I admire that, and I always joke that I would need an accessory coming from fashion design,” she says. “The cards help me to ground and focus and see it come to life.”
‘Huge Uptick’ in Tarot Readings Due to Pandemic
Over the past couples of years and especially since the pandemic hit, Szymczak says as a tarot reader she’s seen a huge uptick in interest in one-on-one readings and group classes. She believes that for many of us, the pandemic knocked us out of autopilot mode and forced us to be more intentional about the way we live our lives.
“People are becoming more interested in learning for themselves, so I really want to help democratize the information about this powerful healing tool,” she says. “I think that a lot of people are seeking a deeper connection to themselves, and tarot is a huge tool for learning how to tap into it ourselves and we all have the ability to do that. Everyone always asks if I’m psychic and I say yes, but we all are.”
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Lead photo courtesy Rebecca Szymczak.