PHILADELPHIA – When Jessica Dore decided to pursue a career as a therapist she worried about how those in the field might perceive her other, less-than-orthodox pursuit.
"I had all kinds of fears about coming out as a tarot card reader," she said. "What would people think and say, particularly in the mental health community?"
Dore came out quietly, posting a tarot card a day to her 2,000 or so followers on Twitter. That was two years ago. Today Dore, 33, a graduate student of clinical social work, has more than 89,000 Twitter followers. For instance, on Aug. 7, she posted "The World."
One follower said: "I needed this reminder. Thank you."
But as prophetic as Dore's posts may seem, they aren't specific to one person. Instead, they speak to the human experience as a whole. And therein lies the comfort they provide.
"I think that's really soothing for people to realize 'Oh. I'm not the only one that's having this very specific experience,' " she said.
Dore's biggest secret, perhaps, is that her account isn't really about tarot cards.
"I'm using a tarot card to show you a picture of something that may help you better digest an idea and catch your attention," she said. "It's just a different way of delivering that information."
A native of Massachusetts, Dore settled in the San Francisco Bay Area after college and worked as a publicist at New Harbinger. As the newbie, Dore was assigned to the book and clinical manuals that none of the other publicists wanted. But she found them fascinating.
Around the same time, some co-workers began holding tarot study groups. Then she bought her own tarot deck. She would pull one card in the morning and another at night. She'd look up their interpretations and write about those that resonated with her.
"One of the things that struck me most about the cards is that as alone as I might sometimes feel, someone made this illustration about this particular experience," she said. "It made me feel less alone. I think that was really important."
Over time, Dore began to see parallels between the cards and the books she was reading at work. "I recognized there was something there that was really special that I didn't see anyone else doing," she said.
After stays in Jamaica and Nashville, Dore moved to Philadelphia in 2017 and enrolled in online Master of Social Work program through Edinboro University in western Pennsylvania. Then, her Twitter account blew up.
"I wasn't really expecting this," she said.
Dore starts every day at 5 a.m. and pulls three cards from the tarot deck.
"If I just posted the tweet without the card would it resonate the same?" she said. "I doubt it. I think there's something about the element of tucking something into an unexpected place.
"I've realized there are important differences around our experiences but also a lot of the things we're going through are remarkably similar."