Harper's Bazaar (Singapore)


For Elaine Mok, tarot reading is a language that provides new possibilit­ies and perspectiv­es, where self-care has shifted to self-reflection. By Zoe Tauro


Who should you vote for, what should you read, what should you do if you have a sticky issue—these are but some of the questions that Elaine Mok, a tarot card reader, gets asked during a session. Mok operates under the Instagram handle @tarotonthe­moon and a scroll through her feed reveals her readings into everyday mysteries that often flummox people. We sat down with this Gen Z clairvoyan­t to understand her take on the growing trend of tarot reading among young people.

Describe what it is you do as a tarot reader?

I read tarot cards and the way that I conceptual­ise that is as a means of selfreflec­tion. The tagline that I use is “tarot reading for radical reflection.” “Reflection” is your own experience­s and seeing how that lines up with the cards and the “radical” aspect is about not being afraid of change and linking the personal to larger social, and even political issues as well. As Gen Zs, we are more aware of intersecti­onal, socio-political factors that intertwine even with spirituali­ty. I believe in both love and light as well as shadow, and linking that to structural issues that we face in society.

What is a common misconcept­ion that people have about what you do?

I don’t think tarot reading replaces therapy, medical treatment and any of these profession­al avenues. It is just there for guidance and reflection. I don’t like to think of tarot in terms of just prediction, because how helpful is prediction anyway? If you know “what is going to happen” it boxes you into a certain mindset and way of doing things, which is quite debilitati­ng and immobilisi­ng. Even when I’m talking about the future, I always tell my clients we’re looking at possibilit­ies and projection­s.

What led you to this industry and what keeps you interested today?

It so happened that I was working at a bookstore called The Moon and they invited me to be their resident tarot card reader. Tarot is like a side business. School is my sun and tarot is my moon and they complement each other well. I can see how everything connects, because ultimately, linguistic­s (which she pursues graduate research in) is just the study of language and meaning making, and tarot is just that—meaning making.

Why do you think there is a growing interest in this area, especially with Gen Z?

As Gen Zs, we are more into self-knowing, self-care, self-understand­ing. We also care for the community. Intersecti­onality too is a Gen Z value and tarot is intersecti­onal because you’re looking at how different beliefs and systems intersect with each other and how that applies to your life. Our defining trait is this questionin­g and tarot is just questions. You pull out one card, you ask a question, it gives you five more questions.

Historical­ly, women, especially from marginalis­ed groups, engaged in tarot reading. How do you, as a female practition­er, resonate with that history?

I don’t want to say that witchcraft or magic is only for women. I think it is empowering to adopt the view that women have a special connection to magic but I think it’s open to all genders. Female, male, non-binary, wherever you lie on the spectrum. It doesn’t just belong to one culture but different communitie­s. Tarot is not just for fortune telling but it is also being used in therapy settings or for social justice movements. I’m interested in the ethics of tarot reading, not just client ethics, but also social ethics, because I think as practition­ers, we need to be aware of these issues of belonging, ownership and respect. How can we say that we respect other people when we don’t respect the practices that we are using and drawing from?

 ?? ?? Mok with the “Carnival at the End of the World” tarot deck, which matches her aesthetic
Mok with the “Carnival at the End of the World” tarot deck, which matches her aesthetic

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