MADAMENOIRE PRESENTS: The Hoodoo Tarot, It’s The Read You Need To Get Ya’ Life Right

·7 min read
The Hoodoo Tarot
The Hoodoo Tarot

Source: Tayannah McQuillar, Katelan Foisy | Artwork

The History

Welcome to Hoodoo Tarot, but first, let me tell you a little bit about tarot. The origin of tarot has been debated for centuries, but the accepted history among scholars is that the cards originated as a game known as tarocchi in northern Italy during the 14th century. Tarochhi was a card game very similar to what we understand to be bridge and was enjoyed by European nobility. The cards didn’t have the mystical themes associated with it until the 18th century. That didn’t occur until a protestant pastor named Antoine Court de Gebelin proposed the idea that the cards contained the wisdom of the ages from Kemet (ancient Egypt). Specifically, the teachings of the Kemetic deity, Tehuti aka Thoth.

Gebelin’s ideas spread throughout the European continent and eventually throughout the world. Jean Baptiste Alliete is credited with creating the first tarot deck specifically for the purpose of divination. In 1909, A.E. Waite created the Tarot as we know it today using the illustrations of a Black woman of Jamaican descent named Pamela Smith. If you’ve ever seen tarot cards before then most likely you’re imagining the artwork of the classic Waite-Smith deck.

The Practice

What is tarot and how does it work? Tarot is a tool to help people tap into their own intuition. It’s not fortune telling. The purpose is to reveal deep inner truths regarding the query so solutions to any problems we may be experiencing can be handled quickly and efficiently. We can all relate to having an issue but not realizing until later after several attempts to solve the problem that we were wasting precious time and energy. Well, the tarot can help identify our blind spots, fears, haters, excuses and rationalizations, so we know exactly what to do next with eyes wide open. Thus, it is a very powerful tool facilitating self-reflection and spiritual growth and is no more a “fortune telling” tool than your GPS.

  • The structure of most tarot decks is based on the original deck that consists of 78 cards divided into the major arcana and minor arcana. The 22 major cards represent broader philosophical themes in our lives and the 56 minors reflect day-to-day matters.

  • The minor arcana is further divided into 4 “suits” that represent the four elements: air (swords/knives); earth (pentacles/coins); fire (wands/staffs/sticks) and water (cups/baskets).

  • Each of the minors are numbered 1-10 with four additional cards known as “court cards” that represent personality types and their characteristics.

As tarot grew in popularity exponentially in the 20th century, people began creating specialized decks that reflected almost every aesthetic taste and a diversity of ethnic groups, cultures, spiritual paths and interests. Specialized decks often use the standard Waite Smith structure but some creators decide to switch things up a bit to make more relevant correlations with the subject matter of their decks.

The Hoodoo Tarot was created to pay homage to Southern Black American history and culture. This deck is void of medieval European imagery or its language. Hoodoo Tarot is Black and abundant and speaks to Blackness wholly. Instead of the “Queen of Swords” you will find the “Mother of Knives.” Its illustrations and terminology are in alignment with the lives of people here.

The objective here is to meditate and reflect on what the MADAMENOIRE community needs to know to improve your lives by pulling the cards–and giving the read. For the month of October, the first pull represents the challenge you face in relation to the area of life of most concern. The second pull represents the most auspicious attitude or action that will help you resolve the issue. The third pull represents the energy of this month’s affirmation to keep you focused on what you want or need most.

The Pull

The Hoodoo Tarot
The Hoodoo Tarot

Source: Tayannah McQuillar, Katelan Foisy | Artwork

Two of Sticks … Four of Sticks … Four of Baskets

Affirmation: “There is always another opportunity once I choose to perceive it”


If your relationship has started to feel stale, predictable, distant or boring it may be time to reignite the passion. What topics, interests or activities excite you both? What did you do together during the high noon of your relationship? Did you forget the basis of your connection? It may be time to reconnect and spend more time together–just the two of you.

Perhaps you’re in a relationship that you would like to take to the next level. If that’s the case, then make sure you’re clear about your motivations and if you’re truly ready. If after careful self-examination you realize you and your honey are on the same page, then go for it.

If you’re single, but rather not be, then it would be a wonderful idea to accept happy social invitations at this time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quinceanera, wedding, baptism, outdoor concert, virtual dating event, etc. There is a higher chance of meeting that special someone now.


If you’ve been feeling off lately, don’t ignore it. If you know the impetus of your stress or depression, then it’s time to restore balance. This is best accomplished by paying extra attention to what you’ve been feeding your mind and body. Eat healthier, exercise and don’t waste precious time and energy on gross, grotesque or disempowering messages. The idea is to retain your energy, those things only dissipate it. If you’ve been overworking then it’s time to slow down a bit. If you get sick mentally or physically you won’t be effective anyway. It isn’t worth it. If your goal is to improve your general wellbeing then it is advised for you to rely more on your community for assistance. You will feel so much better delegating tasks to others instead of shouldering most of the burden on your own. Make time to have fun and celebrate life.


If you’ve been expending a lot of energy helping or tending to the affairs of others at the expense of your needs, then it’s time to reflect on why you think that’s okay. If you’ve ever flown a commercial airline, then you may recall when the flight attendant instructs passengers to put on their oxygen mask first before attempting to assist their fellow traveller. Makes sense right? Well, apply the same concept to your spiritual wellbeing as well.

If you’ve been considering booking an appointment with a specific doctor, therapist, diviner, or energy healer for a consultation, do it. This spiritual partnership may be just what you need to get to the next level, but do your research on if the practitioner is the right fit for you. Now is an excellent time to attend events and workshops related to your spiritual interests. You will find joy socializing with like-minded people and learning from experts in their respective field.


If financial security has been weighing heavily on your mind, then now is a good time to brainstorm ideas for long term stability. Consider your talents, skills and passions, then start creating a plan for success. Don’t forget to take note of people you know who may be able to help you strategize or assist in your efforts. If you’ve been thinking about leaving your job or industry, then now is the time to figure out an escape route.

If you’re wondering how to get ahead on the job, start socializing with your colleagues more. As tempting as it may be to skip the potluck, work mixers and Zoom parties–don’t. Go and attend with a positive attitude and an open mind. You’ll be in for a very pleasant surprise.

Tayannah Lee McQuillar is a tarot reader and researcher of religion, esoterica and mysticism. She is the award-winning author of several books and divination decks, including The Hoodoo Tarot, Astrology for Mystics and The Sibyls Oraculum. Tayannah has been featured by NBC News, Cosmopolitan and several mind/body/spirit focused podcasts. She lives in North Carolina.