A Piece of My Mind: Tarot is Hilarious

By Jeanne Fiorini

I was sitting with a client, trying to define some of the dynamics at work in his life as they were depicted in the Celtic Cross layout we’d placed in front of him.

“There’s a lot of activity, a lot of action, but not a lot of forward movement. Things are moving frantically in a vertical direction, but not much is moving horizontally. It’s as though you’ve got lots of tennis balls in the air and you’re doing a good job managing them all, but this effort makes it difficult to focus on much else, let alone think about or be able to move ahead toward new things.”

This situation, along with the appearance of all four Minor Arcana “five” cards, was giving the client a run for his money, though he was managing it all pretty well. Those “5’s” were especially interesting since, numerologically, this particular client is mid-way through a “5” cycle. (If you’re not familiar with the numerological method of calculating yearly cycles, check out Mary Greer’s Tarot for Yourself, pp 11-18.)

Later in the session, the client asked about his financial outlook for the rest of the year. From the entire pile of faced-down cards, he drew the 2 of Pentacles and The Chariot. The Tarot is hilarious; this is a literal description of things as we’d seen in the beginning of the reading, but this time with some horizontal action! All his juggling (2 of Pentacles) will soon allow for some sort of forward progress (The Chariot). We also could mention that The Chariot’s number “7” minus the “2” in the 2 of Pentacles equals “5” … would that be stretching the point? 


My daughter (and only child) is expecting her first baby this October. She and her husband have opted not to know the gender of the child, although sonograms have given the doctor a good indication of who to expect on the day of delivery. The “answer” is written, sealed in an envelope, should the expectant parents change their minds about becoming informed any time between now and then. 

Now, I do respect their decision. However, not with conscious intention mind you, I recently found myself about to draw cards regarding the sex of my grandchild. “Why are you doing this, you really don’t want to be doing this, stop it right now, don’t do it!” But my hands kept moving across the Tarot pile and I pulled out two cards: 9 of Wands and The Moon.

“HA! So there, you big nosey grandma. You’ll just have to wait along with everyone else! Nine months, the usual gig. The Moon is minding (and obscuring) this one big mystery. ” The Tarot showed me who was boss….and I was glad. Hilarious. 


When looking at relationship issues within the context of a reading, I like to begin by having the client draw two cards for themselves and two cards for the other person with whom they are in relationship. The beauty of this simple method is that it allows a look at dynamics between people without having to ask a question. Believe me, questions will emerge from what is shown by these four initial cards.

A woman struggling with an on-again/off-again long-term relationship recently used this method, drawing the Hermit and the 5 of Swords for her, and the King of Cups and Temperance for her partner. Not by accident, perhaps, we were using The Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, a deck whose card colorings are especially evocative of the elements at play. 

In the Mythic interpretation, the Hermit and 5 of Swords are mono-chromatic cards: severe, self-contained, staunch personas placed in dry-as-dust gravely landscapes enveloped in clouded gray skies. Both the King of Cups and Temperance cards depict, by contrast, brightly-colored blue and green images with softly flowing edges, sun-lit skies, grassy landscapes, and water abounding. Could these two pairs of cards be more different?

This woman has her work cut out for her. She finds herself in the perfect set-up for practicing the assertion of her boundaries and the development of clear thinking within this complex relationship, a relationship between two diverse personalities who cannot seem to live without each other. Not so hilarious for her, but an intriguing portrayal of the dynamics at work within this complicated scenario, nonetheless.


I read cards at a business trade show last week. The “business” had nothing to do with Tarot, those who hired me thought that having readings would draw people into their booth … and it did. I take events such as this as opportunities to reach people who would never think of calling for a Tarot session, a great way to reach those who are unacquainted with, intimidated by, or are first-timers to the Tarot. 

A young woman came to the table late in the day. From the 78-card pile she chose the Ace of Swords, the King of Swords, and the 8 of Wands. (Did some of you just say “Wow”?)

“Well you have made up your mind about something, my dear. There’s not much that can stop you now. Between the conviction of your principles (Ace of Swords), your clear-headed perception of matters (King of Swords), and the blessings of the Universe (8 of Wands), you are on your way toward some major sort of adventure!”

I was struck by this strong and powerful, clear combination of cards. But the woman seemed perplexed, and was not immediately forthcoming with anything she could identify regarding these cards: she wasn’t taking a trip anywhere, she wasn’t changing her job or moving or beginning a new relationship. Eventually she said, “Maybe this is talking about my decision over the weekend to enter re-hab for my drinking.”

Hilarious? No; Wonderful! Inspiring! What remarkable confirmation for her that this is the right decision at the right time, that she has what it takes to move through this in a positive manner, that this can be an empowering adventure toward self-determination and clarity. 

There are the moments when the intersection of two peoples’ paths is saturated with meaning, with purpose, and seems an act of unconscious intention. How remarkable that Tarot holds both the power to amuse and the power to change lives, sometimes in the same breath. Now there’s a system I can live with for a long time.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2010

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