Hello and welcome to the GRACED podcast! This episode is an introduction of who I am, the journey of creating Mystic Mondays Tarot, and what I’ve learned from building a spiritual wellness business so far. So grab some tea and cozy on up while I spill the tea on how I got started!
The GRACED podcast is all about enhancing your everyday life through spiritual wellness – so of course you can expect future episodes to center around tarot, astrology, healing, transformation, and so much more. A container for cosmic consciousness through cosmic conversation, if you will!
00:00 Introduction and why I’m creating a podcast
Hello hello and welcome to the GRACED podcast!
My name is Grace Duong, most known as the artist, author, and creator of Mystic Mondays, a popular Tarot deck and app that has now expanded into oracle decks, courses, and more. I almost named this the Mystic Mondays podcast but two weeks before the scheduled launch date, I had this intuitive download to actually change the name to GRACED because I have been so behind the scenes working on Mystic Mondays that in a lot of ways, creating this podcast is another form of expression of myself to claim ownership over – to be visible for who I am and not just what I can do.
This is a new chapter for me, so thank you for being here with me on this journey!
Also GRACED happens to be my name and the first letter of my last name. It’s very fitting and I’m so glad to have graced your presence with this podcast, my life’s work with Mystic Mondays so far, and for all the beautiful things to unfold in the future.
But I have to tell you the story of how Mystic Mondays began because it has led me to this point today, of branching out of creating decks into another form of storytelling and using my voice, which happens to be this podcast!
You see, I’ve always been a visual person and identify strongly with being an artist, and now that definition of art and creation is expanding, and stepping out of my comfort zone to do so. Which, time and time again, whatever is calling you that seems a little scary, is probably something you’re meant to do.
So let me tell you about how Mystic Mondays got started:
02:48 Why I started Mystic Mondays
Right out of college, I moved cross country from Philly to LA for a job, which after two months, I had gotten fired from. By the way, I had never been to the West coast, but my senior year of college, I decided I wanted to move to LA after an internship in NYC, and started putting it out there. Even though some people told me it’d never happen, it did – and I landed my first job offer in LA and I took it. This was probably one of the biggest realizations at the time that I had the power to manifest.
So after I got fired, at the time, I sought out an energy healer because she was cheaper than a therapist. I also lived near the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice where they had a rotating list of tarot readers and I went there pretty frequently. For me, it was comforting, and it felt like a form of therapy. And full circle, I ended up having my first author signing at Mystic Journey which feels pretty significant seeing as how it was a huge part of bringing Tarot into my life.
My background is in design and I was a freelance graphic designer, having had full-time roles before that. But there was always this nagging feeling that I was supposed to do more, that I was capable of more, and that this work I was doing was not meaningful to me. I really craved creating something with purpose, that was meaningful, and could positively impact other people’s lives.
I really dove into my spiritual journey in LA, which felt like the right environment for Mystic Mondays to be born. I had a particularly challenging year in 2016 where I moved a bunch of times without wanting to, stolen security deposits, apartment getting broken into, crazy stuff – a true Tower card moment.
04:45 Why I wanted to create my own Tarot deck
But one of my goals that year was to create my Tarot deck and find my voice and visual style. As a graphic designer, you tend to act as a chameleon, shaping yourself to the brand’s voice, but it had now come to a time where I wanted to find my own voice. Who was I? And what did I want to leave behind in the world? I used to have these morbid thoughts about, if I died, what would I be remembered for? And it would bother me! But now looking back, I know that frustration I was feeling was really opening me up to step onto the path that was meant for me, and if there isn’t a clear path, to make one.
I’m a full believer that if the opportunities don’t come to you, you absolutely have the ability to create opportunities for yourself.
Funny enough, a Tarot reader had told me I was going to make my own deck. And that was a year before I actually did. So even if the seeds are planted, it can take some time to grow. For anyone that has planted their seeds, don’t get discouraged if it’s taking longer than you like. Part of this process involves patience, care, nurturance, and divine timing.
The other reason why I wanted to create my own Tarot deck was because I realized after a while receiving reading after reading for many years, I was seeking outside of myself, looking for external validation that I was on the right path. I wanted to create my deck, really learn what the cards mean, and empower myself to listen to my own intuition.
06:18 Using modalities to better your life through self-awareness and perspective
So much of the messaging that we get in the world, is that somehow we’re not enough, but for me, using tools like Tarot, astrology, human design, etc are all modalities to increase inner awareness, gain perspective, access your higher self, ancestors, guides – whoever is on your spiritual team – and to ultimately trust that you are making the best decisions for your own life. The point of this is to strengthen your inner voice so that in the noise of the outside world like the news, and well meaning family members and friends, that ultimately you do know what is best for you.
The other reason why I wanted to create a Tarot deck was at the time in 2017, there weren’t a lot of modern Tarot decks, which is not the case today! Now, there are so many beautifully designed decks by wonderful artists in all type of styles all over the world. But at the time when I created mine, I couldn’t truly see myself in the Tarot decks that were available, with outdated medieval imagery and figures like white men in robes that didn’t represent me – it didn’t resonate with my experience as an ever evolving human on Earth. And I figured, if I felt this way, somebody else probably does too!
07:42 My design choices with the Mystic Mondays Tarot
So bring on the vibrant colors! And the magic of transporting yourself and receiving messages through beautiful cards, that even if you didn’t have the meaning memorized, you’d be able to interpret it intuitively through the simplistic shapes and colors. Color has a healing frequency so the saturated color was intentional. And I also wanted to approach Mystic Mondays as getting to the heart of the matter, simplifying imagery for direct messages so that you wouldn’t be intimidated by the cards and therefore gatekept from having an enriching experience with Tarot.
I find that a lot of people are intimidated by just getting started – which is totally fair – with 78 cards and when you count upright and reversed meanings, it’s 156 card meanings! Not to mention when you start pairing cards with one another and reading them in spread – that is a lot to interpret! So I was also hoping that the deck I create would help ease the pain point of not even knowing where to begin and just trusting your gut based on what’s in front of you, trusting your experience and your own inner wisdom.
And sometimes we do need to seek externally and we do need that support. Sometimes we can get in our own heads, feel anxious, and need that reassurance reflected back to us. There’s no shame in asking for support, and ultimately that’s what I needed whenever I sought out a reading. Non-judgemental, high vibe support that gives me guidance and affirmation in whatever situation I was looking into.
Also, if you happen to be the Tarot reader, facilitator, astrologer, etc – you are the unique vessel to deliver that information to whoever you’re reading for. Your unique experiences provide the filter for you to then deliver the messages in a way the other person can receive and understand – which is the gift of your intuition!
10:01 Preparing for a Kickstarter Launch
So after that hectic year settled down and I was safe and comfortable in my new apartment, I remember locking myself in my apartment all of December 2016 so I could finish the first 22 Major Arcana cards. I just knew I wanted to do a Kickstarter. I don’t know why or how and I didn’t look into any other options. It was just an intuitive knowing that this was how I wanted to unveil this project and bring it into the world.
Leading up to the Kickstarter launch in May 2017, I remember taking months off freelance work to finish up what I needed to do to get the campaign ready. It was a risk for me because I didn’t have any income coming in those months, but I knew I needed to do it and remove any distractions so I could fully concentrate and get it through to the finish line.
The day it launches, I was up all night, hit the launch button, and within 5 minutes a complete stranger backs the project and within 10 minutes, it’s selected as a kickstarter project we love. This to me felt huge because I had never done a Kickstarter before and it really felt like a Fool card moment where I was leaping off this cliff and had no idea what would happen other than trusting that the Universe would catch me.
The other important thing about this Kickstarter was that I went into receptive mode – most of my life I’m very much in my masculine mode of being and the doing of everything, but when it launched I went more into my feminine energy and the receiving mode. Asking for help is vulnerable, especially when I’ve identified as being very independent for most of my life. It can be a very scary thing!
11:32 Trusting the Universe, even in Tower moments
But for whatever reason, I just trusted that it would work out. Until it didn’t. So not knowing this would happen obviously, the holographic foil on the back of the cards would scratch the surface of the cards when it shipped out. Which means most of the decks ended up having scratches and I remember taking out an entire week just to check boxes in my apartment for damaged decks. Like going through a sea of boxes, checking deck after deck after deck.
12:08 Getting a literary agent and a publishing deal
However, I am a believer that everything happens for a reason. Had this not happened, I don’t think I would have cold-emailed one publisher, Chronicle Books, who picked up the Mystic Mondays Tarot deck. Within 3 weeks I had a publisher and a literary agent. It was also published that same year in 2018, which is rare in the publishing industry, but most importantly told me that this deck really wanted to be out there in the world.
Since then, I have four decks I’ve created to date, creating about one per year. I’ve got the Crystal grid deck, the Cosmic Creatures deck, and very recently launched on February 28 of 2023, the Astro Alignment deck, which are all published with Running Press and you can see those decks behind me. There’s also the Mystic Mondays app but that journey I will have to entail in a whole other episode – because just like this, there were ups and downs and all in-betweens.
13:03 Why I call building a purpose driven business soul evolution
So I tell you all this because it hasn’t always been an easy road! But I have learned so much about myself, and continue to do so, as I evolve and grow. I like to call creating a purpose driven business soul evolution just because of all the challenges you have to face for your own personal growth. You have to grow past any perceived limitations and confront any fears in order to keep growing. Constantly more layers revealed like an onion, and I found that in my life, growing my business Mystic Mondays has also provided so much healing and transformation in my personal life as well.
For example, before Mystic Mondays was published, I never considered myself to be a writer. My identity was so rooted in being this designer avatar. I now embrace my multifaceted AND multi-passionate self in being a lot of things – designer, artist, writer, entrepreneur, spiritual being having a human experience. The journey of creating Mystic Mondays has unearthed a lot of healing for me as I shed layers of learning and continually embrace the unknown, which can be scary!
14:18 What to expect from the GRACED podcast
So with this podcast and entering this next chapter for myself, for Mystic Mondays, and for whatever exciting things lie ahead, I hope to have this podcast be a source of inspiration and support for you in your own lives, give you thoughts and introspection about lessons that I’ve gone through and can also apply to you, and also cultivate a community where there’s belonging, connection, and ultimately love.
This podcast is all about enhancing your everyday life through spiritual wellness, so of course we’ll be chatting about Tarot, Astrology, healing, transformation, and so much more. Basically, this is the container for cosmic consciousness through conversation.
15:02 Joining our free online community at coven.mysticmondays.com
If you haven’t joined yet, we do have a free online community at coven.mysticmondays.com and I would love to see you in there. When I was growing up, I was really into Harry Potter and was so disappointed when I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter at age 11. I’m hoping that this community will feel like that, a place for magical beings to get together and to share your magic. Think of this as an invitation, that you’ve just received your letter to the Mystic Mondays Coven, and all you have to do is head over to coven.mysticmondays.com to accept!
All right, that is all from me for now! Thank you so much for tuning in to the very first podcast episode. The first three episodes have all been released today so you can check out the Mysticscopes of the week and also our very first podcast guest, AdamJK, who has created the OK Tarot. We talk about themes of the Fool card, acknowledging fear and doing it anyway!
If you enjoyed any of today’s episodes, I’d really appreciate your support in leaving a podcast rating and review – this is a completely new podcast and all of your support in helping the GRACED podcast gets noticed makes all the difference.
I am so incredibly grateful for you for being here and for us to go on this journey together.
Until next time, friends!