Meet the Author: Nikki Van De Car, Interviewed by Editor Allison Cohen

Photo of author Nikki Van De Car. Credit to Johanna Reimer.
Author Nikki Van De Car / credit Johanna Reimer

Mystical powerhouse Nikki Van De Car is the bestselling author of 20 magical books, journals, and more for adults plus four enchanting books for middle-grade readers! And now, she adds her first two card decks to her collected works: The Junior Astrologer’s Oracle Deck and Guidebook: 44 Cards for Budding Mystics and The Junior Tarot Reader’s Deck and Guidebook: 78 Cards for Budding Mystics, both featuring delightfully illustrated tarot and oracle cards for young divination enthusiasts.

These unique decks have been adapted from Nikki’s previous middle-grade books The Junior Astrologer’s Handbook and The Junior Tarot Reader’s Handbook. The Junior Astrologer’s Oracle Deck and Guidebook is a perfect tool for young mystics to harness the energies of the cosmos as they figure out the role astrology plays in their everyday life, while The Junior Tarot Reader’s Deck and Guidebook allows new and current fans of tarot to continue growing their practice. Both decks come with a 96-page companion booklet offering a variety of ways to use the decks while navigating difficult life situations.

Photo of editor Allison Cohen
Editor Allison Cohen

To celebrate this incredible achievement, we invited Nikki and her editor on these decks, Allison Cohen, to chat about Nikki’s own divination journey and her hopes and dreams for all young mystics as their own paths open before them. Plus, we’ll take a deeper look at Nikki’s favorite tarot cards from her new tarot deck!

The Junior Astrologer’s Oracle Deck and Guidebook and The Junior Tarot Reader’s Deck and Guidebook go on sale August 1, and are available for pre-order now wherever books are sold.

Q&A with Editor Allison Cohen

Allison Cohen: How long have you been practicing divination? How did you get started?

Nikki Van De Car: This is a pretty silly answer, but I got started with tarot about twelve years ago, through fiction–one of my favorite book series is The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, and tarot features heavily in those books. Maggie Stiefvater then put together a Raven tarot deck, and when I started using it, I found it so helpful. It gave me a new way of working through my own thoughts and feelings about any particular topic, helping me consider them in a more creative way, and honestly I think it’s helped me gain greater self-knowledge.

Illustration from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook" showing three young girls sitting at a table reading cards

A: What advice would you give to young mystics setting out on their own divination journey?

N: I think the most important thing is to create your own relationship with the cards. There are universal, agreed upon meanings, but I found that as I worked with them, certain cards had more specific, personal meanings. And that might vary from deck to deck! For example, in The Junior Tarot Reader’s Deck, I find myself so drawn to the Fool. It’s honestly one of my favorite cards, because the Fool is so innocent and adventurous–they have no prejudices, no biases–and no fears, either! They live entirely in freedom and possibility, and that’s so inspiring. In other decks, I’ve found myself in the Empress or the Queen of Wands, but here I feel like the card that most represents me and my experience is the Queen of Cups–she looks so capable, so warm and creative and compassionate, all at the same time. Another card that I really love–and this might surprise you–is the Nine of Swords. It seems like such a harsh card, indicating that I’m having a really hard time–but it also tells me that while my heart is hurting right now, it’s going to pass. And there’s something about the illustration in this deck that really captures that feeling–that heartache, but also a sense of comfort in the sadness.

Illustration from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook" showing three young girls standing in a circle holding decorative cups

A: What do you hope young mystics take away from these decks? Is there a specific way you envision them incorporating the cards into their routines?

N: Tarot can be used in so many ways! It can work in the same way as an oracle deck, such as The Junior Astrologer’s Oracle Deck, where you draw just one card to inspire or advise you throughout the day or week. I go through periods where I do a simple three-card reading every morning–usually it goes, “What’s on my mind? What have I not been paying attention to? And what should I focus on today?” I find that those questions really help me keep my heart and mind open and centered throughout the day. But then, when I’m struggling with a big decision or when I feel at a bit of a loss, like I don’t know my next steps, I love to do a more complicated reading like the five card cross, or even the Celtic cross–there are so very many spreads out there, and I’ve found that it’s not really the spread itself that matters but how you work with it. I often pull an additional card, more than I’m “supposed to” for a spread if I need clarification on a certain question. So really, I hope that young mystics explore and get to know themselves and tarot, figuring out what works best for them!

Explore Nikki’s Favorite Tarot Cards

Image of The Fool card from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Deck and Guidebook"

The Fool
IDEALISM, INNOCENCE, POTENTIAL
ELEMENT: Air
RULER: Uranus

The Fool is often said to represent our journey through life. It is the first card, and yet it is numbered zero because it is always starting anew. There’s so much imagination and possibility in the Fool, that despite what its name might suggest, it’s a positive card. It represents fresh starts and clean slates. The Fool is off on an adventure, and nothing is going to stand in their way.

INTERPRETATION:
A past version of yourself.
A need to go out and play and have fun.

REVERSED: The reflective version of this card may indicate a longing to grow up, to put away childish things.

The Empress
EARTH MOTHER, CREATION, FERTILITY
ELEMENT: Earth
RULER: Venus

The Empress is nurturing, creative, and loving—you know you’re safe when the Empress is present. She represents creativity and production, whether it’s art or gardening or writing or whatever else brings you joy and fulfillment. Most importantly, she reminds us to get out into the natural world and feel the embrace of the Earth Mother.

INTERPRETATION:
You’re in need of love and support.
You are about to create something new in your life.

REVERSED: You might be feeling blocked creatively or as though someone in your life is too overprotective.

Image of The Empress card from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Deck and Guidebook"
Image of the Queen of Cups card from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Deck and Guidebook"

Queen of Cups
INTUITION, NURTURE, IN THE FLOW
ELEMENT: Water
RULER: Gemini + Cancer

The Queen of Cups is a loving, nurturing mother figure. Her instincts are good, and you can trust her guidance, even if it doesn’t make sense at first. Depending on where she appears in a reading, the card may be letting you know that if you take a certain path, things will be easier for you.

INTERPRETATION:
Let go and allow events to unfold as they will.
Feel your emotions and let them be your guide.
Pay attention to any intuitive messages you receive.

REVERSED: Your cup is running empty. It’s time to take care of yourself.

Nine of Swords
ANXIETY, FEAR, DEPRESSION
ELEMENT: Air
RULER: Gemini + Venus

You’ve gotten caught in a downward spiral, and even though you know your anxieties and worries aren’t necessarily real, you can’t seem to turn them off. The Nine of Swords is here to tell you that everyone goes through this, and there will always be someone who can help you get through it now.

INTERPRETATION:
You’re going to be all right.
It’s okay to feel sad or anxious sometimes. We’ve all been there.
Ask for help! The people who love and care about you will be there for you, always.

REVERSED: You’re being incredibly hard on yourself, and you don’t deserve that.

Image of the Nine of Swords card from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Deck and Guidebook"
Image of the Queen of Wands card from "The Junior Tarot Reader's Deck and Guidebook"

Queen of Wands
POWER, DETERMINATION, COURAGE
ELEMENT: Fire
RULER: Pisces + Aries

The Queen of Wands is a powerful, determined woman! This is a queen in every sense of the word. She is fearless, and she is radiant. When this card appears in a reading, it is saying that you, too, carry those same qualities within you, even if you don’t feel like it.

INTERPRETATION:
Express yourself fully and allow yourself to be seen as you truly are.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
Stay fierce, but also dance with joy.

REVERSED: You have found a new level of self-awareness and self-respect—even self-love.

Dive Deeper

Nikki Van De Car

About the Author

Nikki Van De Car is a blogger, mother, writer, crafter, and lover of all things mystical. She is the author of ten books on magic and crafting, including Practical Magic and The Junior Witch’s Handbook, and the founder of two popular knitting blogs. Nikki lives with her family in Hawaii.

Learn more about this author