Media figure and writer, Jerico Mandybur, has architected a blueprint for healing and discovery in a new project.
“They can do an astrogeography thing with your birth chart,” says Jerico Mandybur over coffee at Cafecito Organico, the Hoover Street haunt with strong cold brews and a large and cozy open patio. Mandybur fits right in with the collection of Silver Lake denizens scattered about — sitting on kitschy furniture, working, hustling, petting their rescue dogs. She is an ebullient figure with an infectious laugh, sporting cool tattoos and curly hair that bounces with her as she speaks. “They basically take the longitude and latitude — everything that was happening in the stars,” Mandybur continues, “They put it down against the image of the world map, so you can see the different parts of the world. If your Mercury is hovering over Hawaii, there’s something for you to learn about your communication. Things like that. My sun was over L.A., and that’s my identity, ego. I feel like I was supposed to come here and learn something.”
Mandybur is a recent L.A. transplant by way of Sydney, Australia. She is the former editorial director of Girlboss, where she worked alongside a few members of the Los Angeleno staff. She also identifies herself as “witchy” and is the author of the newly released “Neo Tarot: A Fresh Approach to Self-Care, Healing & Empowerment” published by Hardie Grant.
“Neo Tarot” is both a deck and a guidebook to understanding tarot — the mystical practice of reflecting on one’s current situation based on cards that are pulled from an illustrated deck. Argentinian artist Daiana Ruiz crafted the art featured on Mandybur’s cards.
“Tarot is a blueprint,” Mandybur writes in her book, “but you are the architect of your own life.”
“Neo Tarot” is full of affirmations in this vein; therapeutic reflections that could belong in a self-help book just as much as they could in a deep dive into the mystic. This is by design. Mandybur’s deck is easy to understand and decipherable by those new to tarot and by the more experienced. The book delves into the meaning of each card and provides specific, actionable advice for self-improvement. Pulled The Fool card? Mandybur recommends you “try performing spoken word at a public gathering, where you’ll feel supported.”
“Nothing that’s going on is ever objective,” Mandybur says. “Tarot was this random insight to think about things in a way you would have never thought of by choice, really. It’s all things I’ve done with therapists, but it doesn’t feel as good coming from them.”
Mandybur sees in Los Angeles a city at the nexus of mysticism and personal evolution.
“The way people talk about mindset and being blessed, whether it’s mystical or straight up the Tony Robbins version, there’s an underlying self-development thing among L.A. people … It’s part of the vernacular,” she says. “People will come up to you, like, ‘Isn’t today beautiful? There’s this energy’ … Manifestation is something that people in L.A. almost take as a fact.”
Back in Sydney, Mandybur says her friends weren’t quite so quick to accept her newfound focus on self-development.
“My friends from a long time ago couldn’t necessarily keep a straight face if I was, like, ‘Oh, I’m going to get Reiki.’ They would openly mock me,” she says with a chortle. “Which is totally their job.”
While doing professional tarot readings for the droves of Angelenos who have flocked to the cards in the last few years, Mandybur has found commonalities in the questions on the table.
“People always ask similar things, but I think that’s timeless,” she says. “People are having a hard time letting go of somebody, or they want somebody, and then they want to know about their career. People ask about that a lot in L.A. … It takes a lot to be one of those chosen people that’s successful in TV writing, or whatever it is. I think you just need all the help you can get to believe that you can do that.”
Mandybur actually turned to the tarot before deciding whether to move from Sydney to Los Angeles for a job, despite having never been to the United States.
“It was like, ‘Yes, it will be good, but you have to be really patient. Yes, you have to stick it out with full-time work, you can’t jump into doing what you want to do,’” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh fuck. Okay, I guess.’ It wasn’t a resounding yes.”
And yet Mandybur has made a life for herself here. She published a book, held high-power editorial jobs and met her partner — also an Aussie. The two actually had friends in common back home in Australia but didn’t meet until they were both in the states.
“Australians tend to stick together,” she says with a chuckle, “which is really upsetting and unfortunate.”
To this day, she’s somewhat intimidated by the breadth of L.A., a situation that wasn’t improved when she was stricken by illness soon after moving and fainted while getting an Uber to urgent care.
“I collapsed,” she says. “A woman took my key and I got her to walk me to my building. She wasn’t helping. She seemed kind of skeptical. She probably thought I was on drugs.”
Mandybur doesn’t concur with the notion of Los Angeles as a laid back place.
“L.A. … is the most frenetic, high-key place I’ve ever been,” she says. “It’s so intense. I remember my plane coming down, and I could see the ribbons of lights from the cars for just miles. I’d just never seen anything like it.”
She consults her cards to remain calm in the city. On her popular Instagram account, she offers advice that is as much for herself as for it is her audience. In one of her recent “card of the week” readings, Mandybur advises viewers to “take a deep breath” as she shuffles. She appears amused and unsurprised when the card she pulls is the Four of Cups reversed.
“The Four of Cups is so much about retreat, renewal and replenishment, and what it means to have enough of something in order to fully process it if that makes sense,” she folds her long neon-green nails into one another and considers her words before speaking. “Sometimes you can’t see the forest from the trees if you’re all up in it, and if you’re not in a good place to be in a good headspace to be engaged with something, then why would you do it?” she asks, to anyone who happens to be watching.