By Rebeca Ortiz | THE RIDER
Since a young age, José Rolando Rivera, a UTRGV alumnus, always wanted to write about something he knew well, tarot cards.
Rivera, who is now 29 years old, started reading Tarot cards on his own at 13 using a Latin American tarot deck gifted by his mother and grandmother. Since then he has worked on other Tarot related projects as well as reviewing other people’s work. He said he would also like to write a horror story in Spanish as well.
“Beautiful Creatures Tarot” (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,2015), which was published last year, has won four awards: the “Reader’s Choice Award” and “Best Tarot Deck of the Year” from the American Tarot Association; and two CARTA Awards for “Best First Work by an Author” and “Best Tarot Deck of the Year” both from the International Tarot Foundation’s. It is competing for “Best Iconic Product” by the Coalition of Visionary Resources, “a nonprofit trade organization that helps facilitate and support business in the Mind Body Spirit industry,” according to its website.
For each chapter of his book, Rivera wrote 80 quotes or short stories to interpret what the characters are saying.
“It bases more in the metaphysical and not about fortune teller tarot, but the kind that makes you reflect about what you are lacking and what you need to enforce,” Rivera said in an interview with The Rider on Aug. 16.
The book has sold out its first print; and a second reprint is scheduled for Spring 2017.
Rivera graduated cum laude from UTRGV in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in English, French and Spanish.
What makes “Beautiful Creatures Tarot” fresh and unique among the tarot deck competing market, according to reviews on Amazon, is it’s artwork by popular illustrator Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Rivera’s fresh “twist” on the court cards, which instead of having the classic king and queen it display the horoscope signs.
“My goal was to make it innovative,” Rivera said. “I wanted to make something totally different but at the same time to keep it as traditional as possible.”
Asked what advice he would give to other young Hispanics from the Valley, he replied, “Keep doing what you are doing and if you ever get tired and want to give up, take a short break and go at it again.”