AS FEATURED IN
Tarot & Writing Workshop
Do you find Tarot cards fascinating, but don’t quite understand them? Do you have a creative project and want to feel more momentum and purpose? Do you want to use the archetypes and symbolism of the Tarot in your work?
"Feel the Autumn vibes in this Tarot and Storytelling workshop. Learn
(or have a refresher on how the cards work, learn to do an intuitive reading about your creative process, and come away with some fresh pages of new writing."
This hands-on class will cover introductions to the card meanings (from a decolonized, anti-racist, and non-binary perspective) and lead participants through writing exercises that channel their inner High Priestess for the purpose of generating new work.
Be prepared to grab your journal and favorite pen, bring your deck or use the ones we provide and dig deep!
Learn interpretation and spread designing by doing the real thing. Channel the energy of the workshop into your own creative and spiritual practice. Handouts and Tarot decks will be provided for each student.
Started her career as a multidisciplinary visual artist, exhibiting her embroidery, drawing and installation work at the Queens Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and DUMBO Arts Festival before earning her MFA in fiction at Hunter College. She has received writing fellowships and awards from the Center for Fiction, Kundiman, the Jerome Foundation, Vermont Studio Center and New York Foundation for the Arts. Her fiction and essays have been featured in Guernica, The Offing, and The New York Times, and recently as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2019. She is a founding member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), a public speaker on feminist art/social media/activism, and her Tarot practice has been featured in Teen Vogue.
is a Brooklyn-based writer, journalist, artist, and educator. Her work focuses on desire, power and oppression, cities, exile, systemic and intergenerational trauma, and more. She completed her MFA in Writing & Activism at Pratt last May, and she has received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, BuzzFeed, and the Asian American Writers' Workshop. Her essays, commentary, and reporting have appeared in The Margins, The Porter Gulch Review, VICE, Open City, BuzzFeed, CNN.com, The Felt, Go Home! (anthology), and others, with her visual art having been shown at Project for Empty Space in Newark. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, about the impossibility of return after diaspora and the epistemic violence of colonialism. Chaya uses tarot to inform her craft, her healing practice, and guidance for others seeking to connect to their intuition.
Check out this interview with the instructors!
How Tarot Works
The Tarot is a tool for intuitive counsel. Tarot is more than a guidebook of explanations with a deck of cards. It is a way to meditate, set intentions, aid personal transformation, deepen intuition, and gain powerful insight.
The placement of cards in spreads and directionality (reversed or upright) deepen the meanings. The 78-card deck contains symbols, elements, motifs, and stories that speak to the human condition and resonate with astrological and numerological systems. The four suits—Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles—correspond to the Four Elements—Fire, Air, Water and Earth. These cards make up the minor arcana, which evoke different moments and transitions in a person’s life. The sixteen court cards, which incidentally is the same number of Myers-Briggs personality types, are all aspects of our own personality that are within us. The Major Arcana, the 22 cards that start with the Fool and end at the World, are archetypes that one could say evoke Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey—the major transformational moments in a person’s life. The most important part of the Tarot and how it works is through the engagement by asking empowering questions.
I don’t know exactly how the Tarot works, but it does. Even with my extensive and on-going study, I hold space for magic, mystery and the workings of the Universe. Sometimes the cards scream a message that is undeniable, and I notice that most when I read for strangers rather than for friends or myself. Sometimes the client offers a take on the card and a way to interpret the reading—my role then is to bear witness to profound personal transformation. Sometimes I have a way of talking about a card that may be informed by my formal study, but emerges as a channeled message. I truly believe that a Tarot reading is co-created by the reader, the client, and the cards themselves.
My Philosophy as a Reader
The cards contain factual information that can be studied. As a reader, I am biased, as I read with an open heart, deep curiosity, and belief in personal transformation and liberation.
The Tarot is a deeply powerful tool, and I seek to co-create a reading with the client by using the cards to ask empowering, open questions. I do not believe that Tarot is a fortune-telling modality; I believe that you create your own future. As a reader and a human, I hold space for trauma in my encounters, and I am aware of structural inequities that shape people's’ experience of the world; as such, I approach the tarot intersectionally. Within the awareness of trauma and anti-oppression, I believe there is a space for the client to shift their awareness, deepen their intuition, and develop actions that align to their soul’s highest evolution.
To my readings, I bring many different experiences. I was born in India to a Hindu family. Having developed a meditation practice since I was a child, I have now moved away from any formal practice of religion towards a contemporary spirituality which allows me to incorporate a life lived around the globe and among many cultures with my ethical and political beliefs. I live in a community that is Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, agnostic, and atheist—so I have an openness toward religious backgrounds, as well as curiosity toward symbolism and icons from different religious and spiritual practices. In the fifteen years since I completed reiki training, I have seen the power that exists in energy work. I hold graduate degrees in visual art and creative writing, which allows me to bring a creative perspective toward the cards, and deepens my ability to read Tarot. As someone who loves math and history, I can bring an academic and scholarly perspective to the Tarot. Depending on the client and the vibe of the reading, I can tap into all these modalities—artist, historian, reiki healer, intuitive, interfaith spiritualist, novelist, astrology student, probability nerd—and organically tap into a way that deepens connection and understanding. Whatever kind of insight you seek, I can't wait for us to work together.
...For writer and intuitive tarot reader Swati Khurana, the Autumnal Equinox is a profoundly personal holiday. After Khurana began shifting away from the label of “Hindu” 20 years ago to separate herself from what she called a "tradition that was connected to caste violence," she said she started questioning and opting out of holidays and traditions that felt like they no longer fit into her “post-colonial intersectional feminist perspective.”
"The cards contain factual information that can be studied. As a reader, I am biased, as I read with an open heart, deep curiosity, and belief in personal transformation and liberation."
“I loved the rituals of being among women in temple, applying mendhi on my hands, creating trays of offerings, and walking into the moonlight,” Khurana told Teen Vogueabout her appreciation of certain aspects of some Hindu holidays. “As I started observing the Equinox, I used elements that I still find so beautiful, but recast them in a ritual that centered self-actualization and personal freedom. Observing the Equinox became a way for me to reclaim the season [that] includes my birthday and my two favorite holidays — Diwali and Halloween — from a feminist perspective”....
"I don’t think that labels matter but sometimes they act as containers for different communities, and that’s something I’m still seeking, even here among Asian-American women who read tarot and are interested in astrology. It isn’t easy to find. I’m not interested in spiritual communities who don’t think about the stakes of the world we’re living in and the actions we’re taking as a collective in that forum, in addition to our own."
Tarot, Astrology & Storytelling: A Conversation with Chaya Babu & Swati Khurana
New Podcast Coming Soon!
With support from The Freya Project's Meret Grant, Swati is developing “Tarot Books Radio”--a podcast that uses the format of a Tarot reading to have conversations that center women of color artists, writers, and activists. The preview above was made as an assignment for Podcast School, an intensive summer course at UnionDocs. The creative team includes Rhea Nayyar (illustration) and Andres Marquez (audio+). When it launches, it will follow the lunar calendar and new episodes will be released on the new and full moons, with special episodes on the Equinoxes and Solstices.
CODE OF ETHICS
I combine my skills as an empathic and intuitive tarot reader along with other modalities such as creativity, reiki, scholarship, community organizing, and transformational coaching. My aim is to provide you with as much insight, loving encouragement, information and possibilities to enlighten you, so you can make beneficial and powerful choices in your life.
I am so excited you found me and to be of service to you. Everyone--regardless of ethnic background(s), religious denomination, nationalities, gender(s) or orientation(s), disability--will be treated with respect and compassion. I do not read for anyone under 18.
All sessions are confidential. Information you shared in our reading will be kept private, unless otherwise requested by the client or required by a court of law.
I believe firmly in consent; this cannot be said enough. Readings will not be given about anyone other than the client. Please ask questions about yourself. If there is a person about whom you are curious (e.g. third parties, such as partners, family members, colleagues, etc.), a reading about your relationship can be posed, and actions you can take can illuminate something.
The future is ever-changing. Life happens and changes can be instantaneous. You can shift previous patterns, behaviors and actions with soul-centered awareness. As a Tarot reader, I will approach you with curiosity and an open mind towards possible outcomes, and I hope you feel empowered to do the same for yourself.
I am not a mind reader, future-teller or clairvoyant. Concise questions with relevant background information are the best route to have a soul-centered conversation with the Tarot. I will not predict exact dates, though I can give you some guidance about timing, based on what the elements of the cards tell us, and what soul-centered actions you can take..
With Tarot readings, I aim to empower you by delivering the information I receive with humor and a lack of judgment, enabling you to gain clarity on the best course of practical action in your life.
Tarot is a tool that can be used to examine where you are at a specific point in time and the choices that are available to you from this point. Nothing is set in stone and having this information can help you to create a more empowering future. The readings are done with the viewpoint that you create your future through the choices you make in any given moment and by examining the options available to you, and then taking steps towards creating a future that you want.
My aim is to serve the best interests of my clients, by conducting my professional activities without causing or intending to cause any harm. I present myself, my study of the sacred arts & my gifts with integrity and the full acknowledgment that my learning and evolution continues.
I believe firmly in consent. If you are called to have a Tarot reading with me, I am available for you, you can reach out to me. If someone else told you to get a reading, and you do not feel ready, please do not inquire about a reading at this time. I will never bother you to have a Tarot reading, nor should anyone else. These boundaries are sacred.
An underlying principle of a Tarot reading is that you are an empowered individual with agency. I cannot be held responsible for any actions or circumstances that may occur after our session. My aim as a Tarot adviser is to give you information so that you your actions and core values are aligned.
As I believe in taking time to absorb the lessons of the reading and take meaningful action, I discourage over-dependence on a Tarot reader. I will not do a reading on a given topic more than once in a month, unless there is a major update to the situation.
The readings that I provide are for guidance only. What you decide to do, including any actions you take with the information that I give you, is based on your own personal responsibility and choice. All readings and questions answered should at no time be regarded as legal, medical, financial, psychological, or business fact and are subject to your own interpretation and judgment. Legally, readings are for entertainment purposes only. This service is not intended to address any medical, psychological, and/or legal issues. You should, therefore, consult a medical care, mental health care or legal professional for any physical, emotional and/or legal issues that need professional attention.