Discovering tarot on a wander through a suburban mall bookstore at the age of fifteen opened a doorway that allowed Holm to create a private solace in the chaos of her tumultuous upbringing, a doorway she credits with saving her life. After leaving home at sixteen, she found her way to Seattle where she spent her twenties, earning a BA in Art History from the University of Washington. Her study of the symbolic languages of art and their ability to evoke particular emotional and spiritual resonances contributed greatly to her appreciation and understanding of tarot.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2011, tarot and magick quickly came to the forefront of Holm’s life personally and professionally. She found spiritual family and magickal mentorship in Mark Phillips and Martin Aguiano, owners of beloved LA metaphysical shop Spellbound Sky, where she worked for four years, advising clients on the use of crystals, candles, and cards to help them navigate life’s twists and turns. Holm began reading tarot professionally, started a metaphysical jewelry line and her tarot beauty line Melinda Lee Holm Beauty, and published rituals for the full and new moons online to reach people beyond the doors of the shop and the boundaries of Los Angeles.
Her efforts caught the attention of London-based publisher CICO Books, who reached out to Holm in 2019 asking whether she wanted to create her own tarot deck. She of course said yes, and in 2020, Holm’s first published work, Elemental Power Tarot, hit stores. The deck was illustrated by London artist Rohan Daniel Eason whose hand-drawn pen and ink method of working and timeless storybook style were a perfect fit for Holm’s concept for the deck. Elemental Power Tarot was quickly picked up for release in France (where it was released under the title Le Tarot des Cinq Éléments) and more book deals followed.
Between 2020 and 2023, Holm released five titles, four of them illustrated by Eason, plus two foreign editions.
Holm and Eason developed a visual language and world that extends from Elemental Power Tarot through Holm’s book on magick and ritual, Your Magickal Year, to their second tarot deck, the storybook themed narrative deck Tarot of Tales, and to her most recent release, Your Tarot Guide. Their collaborations invite readers to step into the world of tarot and magick and explore the possibilities that await when we open our hearts and minds to the power of creating our own stories.
Holm is currently earning her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of California, Riverside’s Low-Residency program. She is working on a memoir that explores how the magickal and the mundane circumstances of her youth formed the unique perspective that makes her life possible today.
Find out more about Melinda Lee Holm’s work at melindaleeholm.com and on instagram @melindaleeholm.
Melinda Lee Holm is the author of Your Tarot Guide, Tarot of Tales, Your Magickal Year, and Elemental Power Tarot, co-author of Divine Your Dinner, and creator of Melinda Lee Holm Beauty. She has been featured in Vogue, InStyle, WWD, Condé Nast Traveler, and the Hollywood Reporter. Melinda has been reading and studying tarot and magick for over thirty years. She lives in Los Angeles, USA.
excerpts from Divine Your Dinner (Clarkson Potter 2021)
Tarot decks have been around since at least the mid-fifteenth century when wealthy families in southern Europe had fancy decks of cards hand-painted for fun and status. While these decks were originally made for card games, we now know them as a tool for divination—for gaining insight into situations through magickal means.
Tarot decks are made up of seventy-eight cards, fifty-six of which are organized by suits, similar to modern playing card decks. The playing card suits of hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds correspond to tarot suits of Cups, Wands, Swords, and Coins, respectively. These suited cards are collectively referred to as the Minor Arcana. The other twenty-two cards have no suit, but they do have formal names and numbers. These cards are called the Major Arcana. All tarot decks conform to this structure.
There is a growing movement of readers and mystics using tarot and divination for spiritual growth, personal empowerment, and even therapy! Instead of predicting a set outcome, these readers open up possibilities by unveiling larger truths, hidden gems, and pitfalls in the cosmic field.
excerpts from Your Magickal Year (CICO Books, 2022)
The practice of magick is as old as civilization and just as diverse. When you say “bless you” after someone sneezes, you are practicing a form of magick, reciting an incantation meant to keep that person safe from harm. Wear a special piece of jewelry to feel powerful for a big meeting? That’s a talisman. And the special soup you make when someone is sick is a kind of potion.
There is nothing inherently scary or dangerous about practicing magick. Just like most things in life, it’s all in the attitude. Approach magick with the intention of deepening understanding and encouraging empowerment of yourself and others, focus on your own work, and leave others to theirs. Magick is an expression of your personal relationship with yourself, your guides, the Earth, elements, universe, and all that is divine. Treat it with reverence and love.