In today’s GRACED podcast episode, we dive deep into the themes of the Hierophant card which represents tradition, being involved with an institution, and learning from mentors within the community.
The Hierophant can give us a sense of belonging within traditional structures and can influence the way you live your life. Ultimately, you can take these structures and create your own rules, honoring traditions that you grew up with, and creating your own.
In this cheerful conversation, our guest today is Brigit Esselmont, founder of Biddy Tarot, and who has also created a Tarot Deck called Biddy Tarot, which is featured on her website. Brigit and I talk about how she created her tarot community stemming from her own need of belonging, becoming the visionary in her business, growing her team, and so much more. Brigit also gives us a collective reading from her deck, which you’ll have to listen to the end for! This episode is packed with a great mix of practicality along with intuition, and how to use both skill sets in creating community, building a business, and living a fulfilling life.
01:15 Interview Begins with Brigit Esselmont of Biddy Tarot
05:19 How to Listen to Your Intuition in a Tarot Reading
13:24 Embodying the Themes of the Hierophant Tarot Card
15:07 Embodying the Themes of the High Priestess Tarot Card
22:04 Brigit’s Biggest Lessons Building a Community
24:28 Dispelling Tarot Taboos
31:25 Mid Ad
32:06 Building a Tarot Business with a Team
38:54 Brigit’s Process Creating the Biddy Tarot Deck
43:56 The Importance of Mentors and Teachers
49:39 Brigit’s Big Three – Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs
51:48 Brigit Gives a Collective Tarot Reading
55:54 Where to Find Brigit
57:31 End of episode – make sure to leave a podcast review!
Hello hello, and welcome to the GRACED podcast where we talk about how we can infuse more everyday magic into your everyday life and today, we will be talking about Tarot!
Today’s guest is Brigit Esselmont, the founder of Biddy Tarot, an online platform dedicated to providing Tarot resources with 15 million yearly visitors!
Brigit and I talk about the themes of the Hierophant card, embodying rituals and traditions to learn Tarot, becoming a guide and mentor for others, as well as building a beautiful online Tarot community.
We are also doing a giveaway of three of Brigit’s Biddy Tarot decks, which I did a collective Tarot reading on the last podcast episode, the Mysticscopes. Make sure to check out that episode out to see what collective card popped up and what message you need to see this week!
To enter the giveaway, leave a podcast review and follow us on social media, specifically, Instagram!
Now let’s dive in to this enriching episode!
Interview Begins with Brigit Esselmont of Biddy Tarot
Grace: Hi Bridget. Thanks for being on the podcast.
Brigit: Hello. I’m so excited to be here.
Grace: Me too. You’re like a legend in the tarot space.
Brigit: Aw, thank you. That’s very kind.
Grace: Yeah. So I would love to hear about the inspiration of starting Biddy Tarot, and today we are speaking about the Hierophant card, and I thought you would be a great fit because of the beautiful community that you’ve created.
Brigit: Yeah. Beautiful. So yeah, a bit about the background story of Biddy Tarot and how I came to build it. It all started like way back in the late 1990s, so I was about 17-18. I had my first tarot reading. It was amazing. I thought, this is great. I would love to be able to learn how to do this myself. So I started learning how to read tarot, and then at the same time, the internet was just starting to become a thing and I thought, oh, why don’t I just learn how to write HTML code? And I’ll just create a website and I’ll just put in there what I’m learning along the way. And then that started to grow, like albeit, with an audience of three people. But I just kept writing in there and kept adding more pages as I was learning more about tarot.
And kind of fast forward 10 years, I was starting to do tarot readings on that website. I was adding all of my different tarot card meanings and it started to grow a bit more over time. And then I found out about SEOs, the search engine optimization. I thought, okay, if I just do these simple things, let’s see what happens. And literally within two or three months, back in 2009, Biddy Tarot had hit like the top rankings in Google for tarot card readings, and we’ve pretty much stayed there ever since, which is a huge, huge blessing because it is what creates that community and that place where a lot of people go to find out, what does my tarot card mean? How do I interpret this in a reading?
So right now I think we have around 15 million visitors a year to the website, which is crazy. And of course, over that time I also built out different online tarot courses. We have a certification program, we have a membership, we have books, we have decks like you name it, it’s all there.
Grace: That’s incredible. I know that when I was Googling and starting out on my journey, your website would pop up and I would read descriptions and it was definitely a tool that I used learning tarot. So when you were learning tarot, did you go to mentors or did you read books or how’d you learn tarot?
Brigit: Yeah, I went like into full study mode. So I was at university at the time and I was a very good academic type student. I knew how to learn something, so I thought, okay, I’ll apply that same learning approach to tarot. So I read pretty much every book that was out there. I tried to find tarot groups that I could connect with, so other tarot people in my area. But to be perfectly honest, I was in my early twenties. I did not look like a typical tarot reader and the only groups I could find were those that had much older women who were very much in that kind of more esoteric, like typical tarot reader style. And I just did not feel like I really fit into that group. I couldn’t, just didn’t relate.
And so yeah, I just continued more and more down that path of self-teaching and self-learning. Later on, I’ve started to realize that okay, memorizing the book and all that sort of stuff actually isn’t the best way to learn to read tarot and a lot of it is just practicing your readings, learning just to trust intuition, letting it flow and just getting more and more practice. Cuz that I think was the big turning point for me was just to start actually reading, cuz that’s where all of those beautiful learnings really were versus just going, okay, what does the book say? And try and learn all those different spreads.
Grace: Yeah, I find that some people just get really stuck on whatever it’s supposed to mean, whereas reading it intuitively, it’s very much whatever is coming through your filter of experiences and whatever is coming through you and your spirit and whatever you’re meant to say, like you’re the divine vessel for whatever message comes through.
How to Listen to Your Intuition in a Tarot Reading
And so for anyone that is struggling to listen to that intuition, how would you guide them to trust themselves more when it comes to a tarot reading?
Brigit: Yeah, it’s interesting, I encounter a lot of people who are quite similar to me in that our natural state is to wanna have information, to wanna be right, to know that there is a container in which we are operating.
And so I think if you think in that kind of way, then it can be really helpful to go and study the books. In between readings, right? So get all of that information, put it all into your brain, and then when you go and do a reading, trust that you have all the information that you need, that your brain is an amazing feature of your body, and it will store and retain all that information. Because when you sit down to do that reading, your beautiful, intuitive subconscious mind is gonna be pulling exactly what it needs to out of what you’ve already read, but also what you’ve experienced and out of the whole collective consciousness. So I really trust that it’s about putting the book away during a reading and then just really being in that state where you’re ready to receive.
And actually something that I teach in my programs is this whole concept of sacred space. We skip it so many times, right? We’re like, oh, I just need to find out what the cards say, quick grab the cards, just shuffle. But if we don’t stop and pause and go, okay, just be present, just tune in. We can end up dismissing all of those messages.
So that time just to tune in is also what really lays the foundation for having a much more intuitive reading. Because we’re like, okay, clear away everything. Yep, be the empty vessel or be the Divine Channel, like let it come through and then do the reading, cause that really supports it.
Grace: Yeah, I absolutely agree that there’s validity in learning all of the meanings and studying it. However, I do find that there’s value in your intuition and value in whatever wants to come through your vessel at that time. And since you’re talking about sacred space and rituals, what is your ritual before reading? What is your sacred space and what does that look like?
Brigit: It really depends and I think it’s a funny question cause I bet people think, oh, I’m sure Brigit does like four directions and then she lights candles and she does incantation and all the things, right?
Sometimes, sure. I might incorporate that into a more ceremonial type ritual with tarot. But to be perfectly honest, when I am just about to do like a quick reading, to check-in, it can be as simple as just closing down my eyes, taking in a few deep breaths, just noticing all that tension dropping out of my body, becoming really present, opening up to receive, then opening my eyes and shuffling, or at least being intentional about the question that I’m asking. And then shuffling the cards.
And I think this is what is really important, is that we don’t have to be like all the bells and whistles of creating this sacred space. It really can be as simple as even just taking a few deep breaths or even just closing your eyes for 15 seconds. We live in such a fast paced world. Even that moment of closing your eyes can just feel like an absolute luxury and to bring your focus back in.
So it can be so simple and yet so powerful, like you just don’t have to overdo it. But if you do wanna overdo it and you wanna have all the crystals and everything, going for it can be quite simple as well.
Grace: I love that. I love how simple it is to just take a breath whenever you need it, and to get really clear, because I think similar to how people might get intimidated by all of the card readings, they might get intimidated by a ritual before reading, and so by simplifying it, just by taking a breath, doing whatever it is to get present in your space, that can be enough.
Brigit: Yeah, I might like, wouldn’t that be way better than not doing the reading at all? Cause you’re stressing about if you’ve got the right equipment and so on. Just use what you’ve got. Cuz you could be out traveling and you wanna do a reading. You don’t need all your stuff. You’ve got it already in here.
And I think that is actually the whole essence of tarot, like reading tarot and trusting intuition. Anyway, you don’t need all that stuff that’s outside of you. All you need is this inside, tarot cards would certainly help, but you can also just do it without tarot cards and just by tuning in.
Grace: So what is the value for you to have spiritual tools? Because you mentioned that sometimes you don’t even need the tarot cards.
Brigit: Yeah, I like to have the cards when I’m bothered by something, but I don’t know what it is, and it’s not yet fully in my conscious awareness. Like I can feel something’s off, but I don’t know what that is.
So the cards can really help me go, oh, okay. It brings that thing from the subconscious into the conscious. And when it’s in the conscious awareness, that’s when we can take action. We can do something. If it stays in the subconscious, it’ll be affecting us, but we won’t necessarily know what it is that’s affecting us.
And so we can kind of feel a little bit more outta control in that way. So I certainly love using the tarot cards just to help bring those things into more conscious awareness. But equally, I just, I am really training myself to be in an intuitive space so that when I do need to tune in, I can do that easily and quickly.
I know it’s just something that I can just switch on and off as I need it. I mean, to be honest though, really our intuition is always switched on. Once it’s on, it’s on, right? But a thing too, like where intuition and tarot and spiritual tools also really come into play is in business. And Grace, you’re doing amazing work as well. And no doubt you are integrating your intuition and your spiritual practice into business because I think this is what really amplifies our success. Like when we know how to tap into these deeper energies and influences, like our opportunity for success just expands like nothing else.
Grace: Yeah. You know, the metric of measuring intuition is not a thing. There’s just a lot of thoughts going in my brain about that. But I’d love to hear from you about how you amplify your intuition and how you use that as a guiding force in your business and practice.
Brigit: One thing is definitely having pauses and breaks. So I have a very active mind. It loves thinking things through. It loves doing things. It just goes, if there’s a problem, I’m like, how do I solve it? Right? But I know that isn’t necessarily the best or the only way to go about it. So often if I’m perplexed by a problem, say in the business or with a team or whatever it might be, I know that like I’ll just go out for a walk.
I’ll go and just have a pause and just gaze up at the trees and over the clouds because in that space is where most of the insights will really drop in. It’s similar to doing meditation, but it doesn’t have to be like, you don’t have to do meditation really to drop in. It can just be, again, as simple as just sitting somewhere where you don’t have your phone, you’re not distracted, and you’re just letting your thoughts roll through beautifully.
And then I think the other piece that I’m really tapping into at the moment, It’s this whole concept around be then do. So I often wanna jump into do, take action and so on. But what I’m realizing more and more is it’s so important that we be the person that we wanna be, that aligns with the state that we wanna create before we start taking action.
So if I’m thinking, if I’ve got a problem in the business, let’s say. What do I need to embody as a leader of a really successful business? What are those qualities and characteristics? Okay. How can I bring those in now? And to be honest you can use tarot cards to do this as well. You could choose a card that really represents the energy that you wanna bring into your energetic system. And then once I’m in that state of being, then all they’re doing actually will just flow. I don’t even need to think about what I need to do if I’m in the state of being, things just flow. And I think that is also really where intuition comes in as well, because when you’re in that being state, you can be intuitive and allow things to flow. And then you do things that are intuitive just by default.
Embodying the Themes of the Hierophant Tarot Card
Grace: That’s beautiful. I feel like I needed to hear that message because I was just listening to a recording that literally said the same thing, so thank you for that. What archetypes are you embodying now? We are talking about the Hierophant and that is something that I think you embody really well in terms of being this mentor for tarot enthusiasts. People that wanna learn tarot and expand that into certifications, courses, books, your deck, which I have right here, the Biddy Tarot. And so I’d love to hear how you infuse that Hierophant energy into your practice. But also if you’re embodying any other archetypes in your everyday life.
Brigit: Yeah, well, funny story, you already know this story, but Grace, when you reached out to me and said, oh, can you do the Hierophant? And I’m like, do I really have to do the Hierophant? Is there a different one? Cause actually the Hierophant is one of those cards and I think we all have them, like where you feel a bit of like, ugh. You know, resistance. Because I think oftentimes I associate like the Hierophant with like being indoctrinated into a certain belief system and that’s not how I wanna operate. I don’t want people to think that they have to do exactly what I tell ’em to do. That said, you gently reminded me that actually the higher is also about community and that’s very much what Biddy Tarot is about.
And I think when I do tap into that side of the Hierophant. Yeah, absolutely. Like I really see that kind of teacher/mentor role in the Hierophant that I’m definitely embodying and I have done for the last probably 10 years or so. And I’m truly grateful for that role and it’s amazing to be able to lead so many students through getting to know the tarot and discovering not just how to read tarot, but how to actually get in touch with themselves and get in touch with their intuition and so on.
Embodying the Themes of the High Priestess Tarot Card
So that’s a role that I definitely do not take lightly, and I think it’s a very important one. And I feel like perhaps the next kind of evolution for me is embodied in the High Priestess. And that’s probably why I see her on pretty much every part we just created.
But I will tell you why I love the High Priestess. I think she is like the embodiment of the divine feminine and she is so wise and knowledgeable, but also such an important guide to us all because she is that transition point between our conscious and subconscious realms. The known and the unknown, the seen and the unseen. And what she really represents to me is this deepening of the work that we do around tarot so for a long time I’ve been very much about, okay, how do I make tarot as accessible to as many people as possible? How do we just get tarot out there, bring it into the mainstream and make it really easy to get to know tarot? And now what I’m starting to feel into is on the flip side of that we have over a thousand certified Biddy Tarot advisors now, and I’m looking at like, okay, we’ve got these beautiful students who have done amazing things. How do I support them to now take it to that next level? How do we go deeper with this? How do they also step into their High Priestess energy and really become like little beacons of light out into the world. And so I’m looking at like, what role can I play in that way? Both deepening it in myself, but deepening it in them as well and supporting them in this longer journey.
Grace: I’ve gotta tell you, Brigit, there are no accidents because the poster behind me happens to be the High Priestess card because I didn’t have the Hierophant card poster in my studio, and so I was like, we’re just gonna have to roll with this. The High Priestess is behind me, but I feel like that poster was really meant for you.
Brigit: I love it actually. Yeah, cause I was admiring your posters. I thought, oh, I’m gonna have to print out the High Priestess and pop her up on the wall. So that’s really cool. And it’s interesting cuz High Priestess, she’s just showing up in so many different ways, like when I’ve done meditations and some really deep journey work.
She just pops up everywhere. And this whole, there’s a whole beautiful energetic exchange that’s happening with me and this archetype of the high priestess. Yeah, I think she’s such a powerful card. So relatable. I don’t know if you like, really connect with her energy as well. Yeah.
Grace: Yeah, definitely. And I say I connect more with the Magician, but I feel like the balancing between the feminine with the High Priestess and the masculine with the Hierophant does go well together. And I know for a lot of people that have businesses, a lot of small business owners, a lot of tarot readers, because essentially they are starting a business when they offer that service to other people. How do you balance that masculine energy with this feminine energy?
Brigit: Yeah, it’s such a good question because I think we’ve been brought up in, I’m sorry, I’ve been brought up. Maybe you haven’t. I don’t know. But I feel like society is quite a masculine, like energetically a masculine dominated society. So, it’s all about structures and following a path and going from A to B and doing all of the things. And I’m very good at that. Like my brain is wired to operate in that way. So certainly like when I’ve been creating a business, it’s been quite strong in the masculine of having all of those things set up. What I’m finding now though, and I think it’s always since been feminine included in that, but I feel like I’m stepping more and more into the feminine side. So it’s balancing out actually. And I have a team of 15 people, so they are awesome. They do pretty much everything, like all the day-to-day stuff. And that’s great because it means that they can take care of business. And for me, I’m now stepping more and more into this visionary role, which means I’m stepping more into that feminine, the divine feminine.
And I actually don’t have to worry as much about the masculine. Cause I know my awesome team has got that all taken care of. So for me, that means I’m in much more of a creative space. I’m creating courses again, I’m creating content. I feel much more in flow. And yeah, we’re also really integrating more of these divine feminine practices into the business. We have a much more intuitive flow with how we operate the business now. So yeah, it’s just evening out really nicely.
Grace: Yeah, so when you mention that you think of the Hierophant as this indoctrinated personality, and in some ways a High Priestess is also indoctrinated too, but in the mysterious void.
Brigit: Yeah, it’s interesting and that you said that, cause that made me like, oh, is she indoctrinating? I guess she’s. But you know, I think what I love about her energy is that even she’s got that book on her lap, which is kind of like all of the knowledge all stored in that book and she’s the keeper of the book. So she keeps the knowledge and everything, but, and she’s only really letting those initiated ones through. So I like, what I like about her is she has that sort of air of like, I’m here for you, but I’m here for you only when you are like, ready to really step through this curtain. And when you do, I will be there with my knowledge, my support and all of that and I will indoctrinate or lead you through that kind of process to step into these hidden realms that exist. And so I think I’m really tapping into that level of it is for the initiated ones. It’s a different level of working with tarot or intuition and so on.
Yeah, but actually, okay. No, here’s the other thing too that’s coming to mind is what’s really important to me, and I do this in our courses, it’s like I really wanna be able to activate intuition within others and I’m teaching our students to also do the same with their clients. So when you read the cards, you don’t just go, oh, this is a Seven of Swords, there’s betrayal. You’re like, okay, what do you see? What, okay, what’s happening in the card, right? Because then we’re activating intuition within you. We’re not the whole keepers of the knowledge, and you must only consult me to find out things, but I can actually show you how. How to now be intuitive and then you can have this ripple effect as well.
Grace: Yeah. And I feel like you can feel that energy when someone is really channeling a message versus reciting, whatever the card is supposed to mean. And then I find that when I piece the cards together, it just tells a story. So it’s very much activating the parts of yourself that wanna create a narrative.
Brigit: Yes. Yeah, and I think the narrative is so important, cuz again, if you end up just going card by card, which is fine, like if you’re a beginner, that’s how you get started. You go, oh, that’s what that means. That means that. But then you start to go, okay, well now I’ve got these three cards. What does that mean all together? What does that really look like? What is the story that’s being told here? And where do I fit into it? And what meaning does that have for me? Yeah.
Brigit’s Biggest Lessons Building a Community
Grace: Yeah. So since you’ve built such a beautiful community of tarot readers and enthusiasts, what are some of your biggest lessons from creating a community?
Brigit: Yeah, I think certainly from the outset, it’s always been important to me that we are creating a very open, inclusive, warm, friendly type of community. And again, I think this comes back to like when I first started out and I just could not find my people. I just couldn’t find anyone that I could really relate with who shared a similar passion with tarot. And even when I tried to enter some of those groups, it felt really yucky and exclusive. You had to know certain things. You had to be certain esoteric, blah, blah, blah. It did not feel inclusive at all. And even I remember this was a long time ago. I remember being asked to leave groups because I didn’t, I don’t know, I didn’t conform to what they wanted or something, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, you know what? This is stupid. Like we better change this. And I was sick of being in say Facebook groups too, where you’d have these negative keyboard warriors talking about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, no. What I wanna create is a space where we can feel safe, we can feel inclusive, we can have a diverse group of members, but everyone there is sharing the same love and passion for tarot, and we’re doing it in a way that creates an open space for open discussion. It’s okay to like to have a different opinion, but so long as we’re respectful of that opinion and we’re open to listening to each other, that’s really important.
So now, like inside of our Biddy Tarot community, we now have, I think it’s about over 1500 members and we have one of our team, Hillary May. She’s amazing. She runs these beautiful community connection calls, so we might have up to 60 people on a Zoom chat at any one time, and everyone’s just sharing and talking about tarot. We’re doing like breakout rooms, and they get to chat, and make these connections. And it’s so special because oftentimes like in your local community, if you’re outside of a major city or if you’re in a place that’s not particularly conducive to tarot. It can be hard to find those people. So yeah, we’ve been, we just really want to create that safe space for people to be able to gather and support each other.
Cuz how much does that impact things? Like when you’ve got people around you that are like, yeah, you’re doing awesome, or you can go and ask a question. That’s what really lifts up your whole practice and your whole connection to tarot.
Dispelling Tarot Taboos
Grace: Absolutely. I think that has everything to do with how much further along you go in your journey. So for example, I was actually gifted a tarot deck from my cousin, I believe, back in college. But I don’t think I actually really took it seriously until I moved to LA for my job at the time, and tarot and energy healing and crystals and all of that stuff is just so much more accepted out there. I know it’s much more accepted now, like everywhere, but I don’t think I would’ve cultivated that interest as much if I wasn’t in an environment that wasn’t necessarily like supporting it.
And I do agree with that. There’s just something about mainstream culture mentioning, oh, I read tarot. This is my business. This is what I do. When I’m explaining that to people, that’s even still like a, how do I explain this to you in a way where you understand? Have you ever experienced that?
Brigit: No, never. I don’t know what you’re talking about. No, quite, quite a bit and actually, so here’s what I’ve learned over the years. So early on when I first was talking about tarot and then I read tarot, I’d be kind of nervous and I’d be like, oh, I dunno what are they going to think? And then I’d say the words, and I’d come out really weird. And then people would look at me funny and go, urgh, you’re doing tarot, are you like a witch? I even had one person at a business conference. She asked me what my business was. I told her, and she literally said nothing. She stood up, she walked off. I was like, holy moly, that is crazy. But over the years, the more that I got so clear in my own mind about the impact, the positive impact of the work that we’re doing in Biddy Tarot and that collectively we’re doing around tarot. We are a greater community who’s really lifting up tarot in really great ways. The more I got really in tune with that and felt really good and strong with that. Then I could just talk about tarot in such a different way.
And if I encounter people these days who are like, urgh, isn’t that weird? And I’m like, not really. There’s many other things that are weird. What’s so weird about looking at a picture and seeing how that might relate to you in life. And I’m now at a point where I actually feel a little bit of sympathy if someone can’t really grasp, there might be some value in tarot. I’m like, oh, that’s pretty sad. They’re missing out. Oh, well, okay, next. Who else can I chat to? So, yeah, I’m kind of in a different space with it now. But you know, every now and then, it’s funny, like it can come up where people think, oh, it’s witchcraft or like, isn’t that evil?
And what if it tells you something that you don’t wanna know or it makes something bad happen? And I’ll go, great. This is a time to educate the world and share a different perspective because like you’ll know, there’s all the media has just kind of ruined tarot I think, um, because it sort of portrays this like dark, mysterious element of the tarot and then we know that that’s not what it is. It can be that. But generally speaking, the work that we are doing is about how do we make this into more of a create your future instead of a predict your future type tool.
Grace: Ooh. I love that distinction. And actually when I do get a lot of DMs or messages about like, oh, is this related to the devil? Or is this evil or whatnot, I’m just like, listen to yourself. Because a lot of these messages are also are like, oh, I come from a religion, or my parents don’t agree with this, and I’m just like, well, why don’t you? See how you feel when you interact with the cards and that way you’re listening to your intuition versus your conditioning. And I think a lot of people that get into this, myself included, it’s about releasing these limiting beliefs or releasing these things that don’t necessarily align with your values. And if they’re saying like, I mean, essentially a tarot card is paper, right? That has meaning to it, that we assign meaning to it. You could say the same thing about money. What is the value of this versus a dollar bill?
Brigit: I love that you just have a dollar bill sitting on your desk.
Grace: Just so happens to be in front of me.
Brigit: Yeah. I was talking to a friend last night. I’m like, Yeah, tarot is just a tool. It’s just like a knife. We don’t call a knife evil, do we? Because a knife can be used to stab, or it can be used to make a beautiful meal. We don’t go, oh, let’s not touch any knives. They’re very bad, like tarot can be used for not so great things, unfortunately, you know? Scammers and who knows what else. But it can be used for such beautiful things and it’s such, it would be such a waste if we just wrote it off and go, oh, no, can’t touch that. No, that’s bad. Doesn’t make sense.
Grace: You know, there are a lot of scammers, especially on Instagram. How are you dealing with that?
Brigit: As a team, our time and our energy is finite. We only have so much of it. And I think about, okay, we could spend time trying to deal with all this scammer stuff, or we could invest it in building up our community, serving our customers, and so on. So we’ve made quite a conscious decision that we don’t like to spend a lot of time on it. If we do have people that send in and love them, say, okay, I think this is a scam account. We just say, please report it. Cause you know, at the end of the day, I dunno if you’re experiencing this, but Instagram is not doing anything. We’ve got our little verified tick and nothing happens. These scam accounts just keep going. We’re trademarked on the name. I don’t understand why it’s allowable. It’s very odd.
Grace: Yeah, even before the scam accounts got popular, I would say there was an account that literally had our logo in an account spelled very similarly, and I’ve been trying to take it down, it feels like for years now. But yeah, it just seems like there’s nothing to do other than to shine your authentic light on social media. People hopefully understand what the difference is.
Brigit: And I just hope though that our communities have enough good sense to know, okay, if someone’s DMing me from this account asking to do a reading, it’s probably not us. It probably is a scam. And just to have that awareness because what bothers me is to think that these scammers are successful in scamming our own communities because they’re trying to pose as us and trying to sell things and so on. I think that’s definitely the downside, but hopefully by now it’s been long enough, hasn’t it? It’s been years of not addressing this issue. But I’ll just tell you a quick funny story. Even TikTok, we didn’t set up our account until recently and I noticed someone had the @biddytarot account. I’m like, how is this possible? So I put in a whole trademark thing and it got taken down. I was like, oh, great. Now we can have that. But no, now that like @biddytarot is blocked, we can’t even get it. We own the trademark to it, and so now we can’t use that handle on TikTok. Maybe it’s a sign just not to be on TikTok, but it’s crazy.
Grace: Oh my goodness.
A short interruption to let you know about the Tarot resources that we have on mysticmondays.com – check out the full blog to not only see the Tarot card meanings, but the full meanings of the Tarot cards and the Mystic Mondays Oracle cards!
Also, this Saturday kicks off the two part Tarot workshop series where I am teaching an Intro to Tarot workshop and a Train to be a Tarot Reader workshop. You can buy one ticket or both, and yes, sliding scale tickets available! You can get your tickets at tarot-training.mysticmondays.com
Back to the episode!
Building a Tarot Business with a Team
Grace: Yeah. So I know we talked about you instilling your teachings onto your tarot students and building your community. I’d also love to hear about how you passed along your visionary ways to your team, because as relating to the Hierophant, you are passing along knowledge and wisdom, and I’d love to hear how you’re doing that from growing your team to just you to one to 15 now. How has that journey been for you?
Brigit: Yeah, it’s such a learning evolution, I would say. So I hired my first team member back in 2013, and her name’s Kim and she joined like for about five, 10 hours a week. She just did basic stuff like uploading to the blog and what have you. That was a really good opportunity for me to learn how to delegate tasks. And then from that point it started to grow and I started to hire more VAs onto the team so that they could take care of things that anyone could do, like I really wanted to stay focused on what only I could do. Cause that’s where I could create the most value. And anything that anyone else could do, I could delegate it. Then kind of fast forward to probably about 2018, by then I had a team of a couple of managers and a couple of admins, and what that meant was I would come up with, say, a launch strategy. I’d map it all out and then I could hand it to my team. They would get it into, well, we were using Trello at the time, so project management software, and then they could start executing it and I’d still be in there like writing copy emails and so on. But they would be doing a lot of like the work. So that worked really well.
And then I thought, okay, I’m gonna tap out at this point, like I’m gonna reach a ceiling with how much I can personally do. So then I started to look for someone that could start to work as like a COO. To me. So if I’m the CEO, then I have a COO who’s kind of taking care of more of the business and can start working on like strategies.
So I think that was 2019. I brought in, Kaylene, who still works. She’s like my right hand woman. She’s like my business wife in a way. So now like she’s over these sort of three, four years, she’s really stepped into that role where now she is running the business in that type of integrator role. But that took three or four years.
So if I think about like back to the Hierophant, a lot of that was just what’s been so important for us is this whole energetic alignment. So I’ve been really working with Kaylene to make sure she sees how I think through certain problems and how I do things and what’s important to me and what’s not.
And so over these three years, it’s really been about instilling that within her so that now I can be at a point where she can kind of think like me, but also think like her. Cause that’s really important, and then work with the team from there. So it’s definitely like, it’s a long journey. I hear a lot of people go, I just want an OBM, like an online business manager. I need them in the next two weeks. And I think, oh, okay, good luck. Cause it takes a while, like to make sure that you can fully trust that person to be operating and making decisions. Like on behalf of you. So yeah, that is a shortened version of what it takes to really expand the team.
But, and also like throughout that whole time, it’s a personal evolution as well, right? Because what made me successful 10 years ago, which was being able to do everything all at once, is definitely not gonna make me successful now. There’s no way I should be the chief everything officer of the business. I need to be in that creation and visionary type role now. So you have to keep shedding that skin and sort of stepping into a new version of yourself. Yeah.
Grace: So what were some signs for you to let go of some things? Cause it sounds like control that you’re letting go of.
Brigit: Yeah. Ugh. It’s hard. Even these last few years, I’ve still been quite involved in the business and what I found was because I was caught up in solving business problems and figuring stuff out, I was actually left with very little energy to be in creation mode.
So things like our Biddy Tarot podcast took a five year hiatus because I just didn’t have the time and the energy for it. Our YouTube channel didn’t really have much activity on it. There were a lot of things where typically as a founder you’d be more present, but because I was so absorbed in the business and marketing strategies and so on, I just didn’t have the space for it.
But I think the more that I’ve had Kaylene really step in, the more space I’ve been able to create, the more energy I’ve been able to kind of reclaim and now I’m pumping out these like new courses. I’m doing all the YouTube content, I’m getting the podcast up and running, like my energy has changed and shifted in such a positive way, and I know that this is going to positively impact our community.
So I think out of all of that, I found that I reached a ceiling point where like, if I invest all my energy here, I’m not doing it here, and which one is actually the most important and which one can I only do I really like? I am still the face of the company, so I need to really be invested in that space and my team can take care of the doing stuff.
Grace: Yeah. So with you stepping into this visionary side of yourself, what would you say to anyone that is doing both right now?
Brigit: Yeah, I think there’s definitely a time and a place for it. Like I’ve been through that time and it’s probably a good five years of my business journey of being both the visionary and the integrator and there’s certainly a time in that business journey that that absolutely makes sense, and you’ll feel great doing it. You’d be like, yeah, I love making my content. Maybe you’ve got a small team, maybe it’s about three people, five people. But it’s also really important to maintain that balance and just start to notice and observe where am I putting my energy? And does that feel like it’s right for where I’m at in my business? If you start to find like, oh, I’m putting way too much time in this integrator role and I’m not doing enough in visionary. Okay. Well, what’s the impact of that? Because like I experienced not being in that visionary role and kind of the front of the company means that maybe we start to lose a little bit of connection with our community, and maybe I’ve gotta rebalance that.
Equally, there’s many people who love being on the visionary side. They’re like, yeah, I’ve got so many ideas and there’s no integrator. And so if you’re in that space, and like sometimes that’s really hard, if you’ve got team members and you’re like, let’s do this thing. Oh no, I’ve had a new idea. Let’s go and do this thing. And the team’s like scrambling. What? What are we doing next? Right? So you’ve also gotta have that balance as well. I think those roles always need to be in really nice balance, but the question is, who needs to be doing them? Because maybe you are doing both, but at some point you might go, okay, it might actually be better to have someone take on more of this integrator so I can be in my visionary space.
Brigit’s Process Creating the Biddy Tarot Deck
Grace: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. And I’d love to hear about your process creating the Biddy Tarot deck. And I know this is your second deck. I’d just love to hear how you have been stepping into your visionary side of yourself when creating these decks? And have you always wanted to create a deck and what has that been like manifesting into reality?
Brigit: I’ve always tentatively wanted to do a tarot deck. I’ve imagined it to be a very long process and I thought, oh, it would be nice, but I think I probably wanna do other things instead. Because they’re quicker and they have a big impact. But then back in 2018, or actually no year or two before that, I got the book deal with Running Press and they were like, oh, how do you feel about doing a tarot deck to go with the book?
I was like, great, that sounds good. And then we got it done within two or three months. I worked with the artist and it moved so quickly and then they took care of everything else and it was fantastic. It’s now sold over 400,000 copies, like amazing. But I guess the downside of that is that we don’t have that full ownership of the IP and so on with those decks it’s great because it gets out into so many other places, but then we can’t necessarily connect with those customers easily. So like, okay, well what if we did like a Biddy Tarot deck and we self-published, let’s try self-publishing. Because we’ve self-published books before and that’s been pretty easy.
So we actually started with more, with having like a digital deck in mind that we’d use on our site so that we didn’t have to worry about licensing and all of that kind of stuff. And then halfway through that we’re like, oh, let’s, yeah, let’s print this deck. We’ll make it an actual deck. And so that was really an 18 month process compared to the two or three months with the publisher.
And yeah, so there’s probably a good 12 months of just designing the deck cuz we kind of had it as a low priority, but just something that was tinkering the way on the side. And my vision with the deck was really like, how can we honor the traditions of the Rider–Waite–Smith deck, but also apply our own Biddy Tarot flavor to it. So it’s kind, it’s a little bit more simplified than a Rider–Waite–Smith and it’s got all of our beautiful colors and I find it a much more modern, approachable, accessible type of deck and that’s certainly aligned with our brand as well. And we also have a lot more diversity in skin tones and so on. So it’s a more inclusive deck as well. So yeah, we designed the deck, then we got into the whole printing of the deck. Hope you, you are all traditionally published, not self.
Grace: I self-published the first one as a Kickstarter. So yes, I have went through my own troubles where actually most of my stock ended up getting damaged, unfortunately, and that actually led me to a publisher. So, yeah. But what happened with yours?
Brigit: So we started like the printing, like finding a supplier first, and we probably went through, I don’t know, three or four different like potential suppliers, but it was like getting the samples that we really underestimated. So we probably went through about four or five rounds of samples and we’re talking at least maybe four to six weeks per sample because they’ve gotta create it especially, then they’ve gotta send it, then we need to review it, and then it’s not quite right and then we do it again.
So that was this very long drawn out process and no matter how much, like in fact, the more specific we got with some suppliers, The worse the sample got. We like, oh my goodness, this is not working. But we eventually landed on a couple of suppliers that actually really got our vision and what we wanted to do.
Then they started in a really awesome way, so we finally got the sample that we could sign off on. And then, yeah, so then we were able to launch the deck and we launched that in March of this year and that was really awesome.
But then of course, there’s all things like the shipping and the fulfillment that ended up being way more expensive than we had calculated. Because there are a ton of hidden fees that they didn’t let us know about and then that affects the pricing and whether we could do free shipping. Like it’s just been a very big learning journey from a logistical point of view. But that said, what I know is anytime someone receives our deck, they are like enamored, enchanted by this deck because it’s so beautiful. It’s got so much love in it, and I like to think that we’ve created a really high quality deck that people really love. Yeah.
Grace: Yeah, absolutely. So I’m opening up your deck just to show people, but something that I personally love about your deck is the purple foil on the edges of the card. I think it’s just so royal.
Brigit: Yeah, actually that came about almost by accident because you see like with the print, like we’ve got this purple bar, and so originally we didn’t have the side, but you could then see like, oh, is this card upright or reverse? Like, oh, how will we get rid of that? Oh, I know. Let’s put foil on. And then that ends up being probably one of my favorite features as well of the deck. Yeah.
Grace: That is such a funny, happy accident. It worked out well.
Brigit: It did, yeah.
The Importance of Mentors and Teachers
Grace: Yeah. So what has been the importance of teachers and mentors in your life? Whether they’re spiritual in nature, or whether it be in business or what has been really impactful for you in your life and what you’ve learned?
Brigit: Yeah, I think teachers, mentors, guides have come in at all stages of my life in all aspects. Even think back to, say my corporate days, I was working as a management consultant, I’m in my like early twenties and some of the partners that were part of that consulting company just lay down the foundation for like massive possibility for me, which I know I use that now as I look at Biddy Tarot and where we can take things. So I’m deeply grateful for that from very early on.
Spiritual teachers in terms of people I’ve done workshops with. I was lucky enough to have an in-person workshop with Alana Fairchild, who does all the oracle decks. And that was just amazing and really paved the way for the work that I’m doing now and just seeing like teachers and guides come in at all of these different points, and I think true, what happens is they have seasons. They come in just the right time, and then they’re done. Then they go, I’m not really one that kind of has just one person all the time, but I definitely enjoy just talking, yeah. Connecting in with their energy and seeing how that can kind of infuse my own work, even like locally, where I am now. I did a feminine embodiment program last year with Zoe. And just even just being in that magical energy has really sort of changed the way I see things. So it happens on all different levels. Yeah.
Grace: That is so lovely that you did a workshop with Alana, or collaborated with Alana, because she was the guest for the High Priestess episode on the GRACED Podcast. So funny enough, the same poster for Alana’s episode is up for your episode. So funny. It’s funny.
So the Hierophant, to wrap up on this theme of today is also about tradition, and I’m wondering what traditions you have, whether it be with your family, in your everyday life, or spiritual or whatnot, or even business, what traditions are important to you because it does sound like you have set up some really great systems for you to step away, for you to then be fully in that visionary mode and to also trickle down that knowledge to other people so that they can fully understand how to take your vision and run with it without you necessarily being there to manage every little thing.
So are there traditions that are important for you in your life and in what aspect?
Brigit: Yeah, what an interesting question. Well, I would say I’m like less of a traditional person, but now I reflect on it. There are definitely some traditions that come into play. So in a business context, we have a lot of like structures set up and we have organizational like team values that are in place that are really important to us.
And we have things like Asana, project management that is kind of the systems and the processes of the business, that’s the mechanics of the business. So I suppose in some way, having those structures in place are like our traditions.
And even if I’m thinking of say, my approach with tarot, I’ve always honored like the Rider–Waite–Smith deck as the traditional deck. And I think that’s why I really chose to keep this one acknowledging and honoring that tradition because like I learnt with the Rider–Waite–Smith deck, that was my deck. I did not touch any other deck cause I was like, no, that’s not the right one. I want this one. But I got to a point where I was like, oh, I’m not really relating now with the colors and it doesn’t match our website, and that sort of thing.
So I think, yeah, I really do honor the tradition that is within tarot, and I do honor too that like its centuries of wisdom. In fact, it’s probably even way more than just the centuries of, since tarot was created because the symbolism that’s in tarot is so age old, timeless, and so on. And I think it’s really important, like even though we’re bringing tarot into more modern context, we still need to pay homage to the traditions of the tarot cuz they do play like a really important role.
So yeah, and I think like family wise, No, I don’t know. We don’t really have a lot of traditions. One of my values is freedom, flexibility, so that’s probably why I was like, oh, Hierophant. Oh, not sure.
Grace: Yeah, that’s one of mine too.
Brigit: So actually I think it’s, maybe it’s in the Osho Zen, that’s my other favorite deck. I think the Hierophant, they have it as the rebel. I think that might be the complimentary card as well. So it’s interesting that sort of interplay between tradition versus freedom, what that might look like.
Grace: Yeah. So what does freedom look like for you?
Brigit: Yeah. I think having freedom to choose, certainly like when I stepped out of corporate and into my own business. What I love is that I have freedom to choose when I work, where I work, how I work, what I work on. There’s freedom in how much abundance I can create, not a job. You’re limited to your salary. Whereas when you have your own business, it’s unlimited. I love that feeling. I work really well when I have freedom in my schedule, so I don’t really attend any team meetings anymore. Cause like I dread, I dread it if like my calendar’s all full. Like where’s the space to be creative, right?
And I think like for us stepping into this intuitive work, like a whole piece of that is freedom to create your future, freedom to trust yourself, freedom to go within the flow of where life takes you. I think that’s really important.
Brigit’s Big Three – Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs
Grace: Yeah. Do you know what your big three in astrology is? Your sun, moon, and rising.
Brigit: Wait, I know Virgo’s the rising, Taurus is my sun, so Taurus must be my moon as well. Yeah, it’s a lot of earth.
Grace: Lot of earth. That makes sense. Very grounded, very practical, very strategic.
Grace: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would you say?
Brigit: Oh, it sounds so cliche, what was just coming in my head. I’m like, just believe! The reason why I think that might be true is, even if you just go back and say five years, and if you asked yourself five years ago, oh, do you think you’ll have all these tarot decks and this amazing business? And you’ll be reaching people through your podcast, all of that. And you asked yourself five years ago you’d be like, what are you talking about? No way. I can’t do that. And then you get here and you’re like, oh, well of course I did that. I know I could probably do even more, right? And so I think for anyone who’s on any journey, just a reminder that where what you’re capable of in five years or three years, or even one year is so way beyond what you could even imagine.
Cuz you’re in this current state. So you’re based on, when you’re in a current state, you’re based on the past and the present. You have no idea of your future potential. And I think that that is what is. The most exciting thing because you and I, we might be on the precipice of something so amazing that we can’t even like imagine. So I think it is really just trusting and believing that anything is possible, even though that sounds awfully cliche.
Grace: You know, belief and imagination I think is everything because the thought form then allows you to take the action steps to make it into a physical thing. And if you had told me that I’d be making tarot cards now I would be like, what? I never thought I would be doing this. So life takes you in some funny directions, but also more in alignment with who you truly are and I feel like every step we take towards that alignment, we just reveal more and more of our authentic selves that perhaps we weren’t allowed to express before.
And so I would love to end on you giving us a collective tarot reading with your deck.
Brigit Gives a Collective Tarot Reading
Brigit: All right. Okay. So I always have these little moments of panic when I do a live reading and I think, oh, come on tarot. Don’t gimme a bad card. So let’s see what happens. And of course we know that there are no good or bad cards in the tarot deck.
So let’s see, what can we tune into collectively at this time? And also knowing that we are going beyond time and space, because you might be listening to this, well, everyone’s listening to this now, but now might be. 2024 might be 2023. So let’s just travel wherever you are right now and let’s see what comes up.
Oh man. Okay, so actually it was, I have to be real. Okay. It was reversed. So this is the Six of Swords reversed. And so in this card we see someone, a woman and a child being rode across the water with the six swords. And often this is kind of like making that regretful transition, but, maybe this is where it all comes into play, because when it’s reversed, I actually work with the visuals of this because it looks like all of those sorts, which are our thoughts and our worries are almost starting to fall out of the boat, and we can keep moving forward, but without worry, maybe without expectation. And so maybe this is an invitation to keep making that journey forward, but to release any of those thoughts and limiting beliefs that might be blocking that journey.
Sometimes I think we have to make journeys that don’t necessarily feel great. Even like the journey towards embracing one’s intuition or embracing one’s sole path, or finally becoming a tarot reader. Like there’s hardship that can go with that. There’s worry and there’s concern, but maybe this is just a sign of just let that go, just be present with what it is. I also think about like the water in this card, even though it’s a Swords card, we still have that element of emotion and just being really present with your emotion, your feelings. Anything that you would add? What do you see in here, grace?
Grace: Yeah, so the Six of Swords always reminds me of migration, and I was actually featured on another podcast, Amanda Garcia’s Between the World and the Six of Swords was the topic, and actually what came through me was talking about how my parents and my grandparents, were refugees and they had to basically ride a boat out to escape the Vietnam War and were picked up by the Hong Kong National Guard. And I think for me that card represents some ancestral ties, but it also represents going on a journey and not necessarily knowing where you’re going to go.
And so back to your advice to your younger self in holding that belief, sometimes you don’t really know what is on the other side and what is on the land that you’re embarking on this trip into? And I think that this trust that whatever is on the other side is for your highest good. I think that in relying on higher power to help guide you through some troubling waters perhaps, but even just being able to rely on yourself. I think you know a lot about tarot and what I resonate with is giving people the tools to trust themselves because oftentimes we’re told all these things from the external world society, what we should do, what we should look like, what we should, you know, there’s so many shoulds, and I think a lot of times we forget about our internal compass.
And so what I’m gathering from the card you pulled and you’re reading is ultimately if you don’t know what’s on the other side, It’s okay to trust that everything will be okay when you get there, and that this does seem like a very transitory time for a lot of people, and there’s a lot going on astrologically. I don’t know if you’ve been feeling it, but I’ve definitely been feeling it and then the transition part can be scary. And so for anybody that might be feeling overwhelmed or anxious about whatever is on the other side of the future, per se, I think it’s gonna be okay. That’s what I’m getting.
Brigit: Oh, I love it. Oh, so good. Yeah. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that too. Yeah.
Where to Find Brigit
Grace: Yeah, definitely. So where can people find you?
Brigit: Well, you can find us over at biddytarot.com and you’ll find us on Instagram @biddytarot. You won’t find us on TikTok, cuz someone stole it. But yeah, come over to Biddy Tarot cuz we’ve got so many free resources to help people read tarot. We’ve got tarot card meaning, keyword charts, and free training and all of the good stuff. And it’s perfect for just getting started or developing out like your reading practice.
Grace: Beautiful. So Bridget, thank you so much for your infectious positivity and all of the service that you’ve been doing for the tarot community for so many years. I know that anyone that’s starting out on their journey with tarot has probably come across Biddy Tarot because whenever I search any tarot card, your website is the first to pop up and I think that, I think it’s a great entryway into tarot. So thank you.
Brigit: Oh my pleasure. Yeah, it’s been wonderful. Oh, and I forgot, I did forget to say too, if you would like to check out our Biddy Tarot deck that’s also over at biddytarot.com/deck, nice and simple.
So, it’s been so good to chat today and connect around tarot. I love the work that you are doing, you are definitely paving way for a very modern approach to tarot, which I just think is awesome and amazing. So thank you for all the work that you are doing as well. And hopefully collectively we’re all raising global consciousness and this is like a new connection to tarot in a much more modern and approachable way. So it’s pretty cool.
Grace: Absolutely. Thank you.
End of episode – make sure to leave a podcast review!
Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode with Brigit Esselmont!
I’m so grateful for Brigit’s bright spirit and for sharing her insights today around connecting to Tarot cards, building a powerful online community, and sharing her journey as a spiritual entrepreneur. A soulpreneur!
The Hierophant can be quite a traditional card, but Brigit demonstrated that while we can honor and respect tradition, sometimes you can defy tradition to make your own path that feels more authentic and true for you.
As a reminder, you can win the Biddy Tarot deck by leaving a podcast review and following us on Instagram! Links will be in the show notes.
As always, sending you so much Grace, today and everyday.