The Tarot Buzz

By Jeanne Fiorini

Sometimes things get a little raucous at the South Portland Tarot Palace. The South Portland Tarot Palace: that’s what I call my house when it serves as host to a class, group, or workshop. I like to think of it as “Sopotaropal,” with the emphasis on the third “o” like “Constantinople.”

As you know, things happen when working with the Tarot that fall into the “you can’t make this stuff up” category. This is a story about last month’s Tarot Salon, a meeting which turned into one of those times. 

The Tarot Salon is a combination of “Reading Night” with “Tarot Class,” an opportunity for participants to have and share readings, and also to ask questions about the reading process, to delve more deeply into card meanings and interpretations, and make whatever rabbit-hole comments might be apropos to the conversation at hand. The whole thing is lots of fun, is educational, and is unpredictable.

You can never totally prepare for what might happen when any given collection of people come together for a Tarot class: maybe it’s the participation in the nebulous inner realms; maybe it’s the fact that people in class are essentially strangers to each other and have no preconceived notion of one another’s “normal behavior”; maybe it’s the high that comes from being in touch with The Mystery; maybe it’s those brownies Debbie always brings … just kidding. 

But seriously -- what is it about the Tarot that turns well-mannered, educated people, relative strangers to one another, into a rowdy mob of heathens who have apparently forgotten the rules of civilized social interaction?

It started out innocently enough. (Doesn’t it always?) The person who takes the first turn usually sets the tone for the evening in terms of how deep we may be willing to go and how serious of a conversation we’re going to have. On the night in question, the first reading was quite informative, and even though we had relatively few cards on the table, we distilled some good information and had an insightful dialogue as a result of the draw.

Two hours later, we’re winding down to the last few participants. By now we’re all a little buzzed and not just a little punchy. You know that feeling when you’ve “been in the pool too long,” when your brain is a little fried but you’re still bouncy and all a-twitter? I call that a state of being “wired-tired and we were there. (Usually I need a cheeseburger and a beer to get me down from that place, but we still had two more people to go.)

The next participant was in a deep and sincere state of processing Life. Her long-term ordeal of confusion and misdirection had been confirmed by an astrological reading, citing some unpleasant crossing of various heavy-hitting planetary forces, all of which were making her weary of where she’d been and wary about where she was headed. 

As I’ve stated many times before, an important factor in successfully obtaining a clear answer from the cards is the asking of a clear and concise question. And so after some talk about what it was she really wanted and needed to know from the cards, we came up with the query, “What is trying to happen in my life…What is trying to emerge from this chaos?” (We figured that if we knew what was trying to be birthed it might make the laboring process more bearable.)

This is a “one-card” query, the kind of question that is best served with a direct and to-the-point response. From the complete 78- card pile, our querent drew The World card.

The seriousness of her situation was underscored by this Major Arcana card. Not to mention, as a card which represents a person’s conscious incarnation of the authentic Self in the world (what C. G. Jung would call a successful individuation), The World card told the client that she was working out how to become, in its fullest manifestation, who she came here to be.


When clients get information which is especially meaningful or significant, I usually suggest ways for them to allow the card to continue “communicating” throughout the ensuing days and weeks: “Hang this card on your refrigerator for two weeks and pay attention to how it hits you” or “Put the card under your pillow and see if dream life informs your process” or “Carry this card in your purse for strength and empowerment.”

Apparently the forgetting of decorum and civilized behavior is not limited to paid participants, because I heard myself begin to say and I could not stop it even though as the words were leaving my mouth I was unsure of their propriety: “You really need to get The World card tattooed to your ass.”

Yeah, I did.

Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it should be said, and so I was very thankful when everyone laughed uproariously. But the real story here is that the client turned to me and said, “I do, you know.”  

Say what? 

“I do have The World tattooed on my ass.”

She later emailed me a photo of the tattoo on the upper part of her left hip, an image of a chalice, a snake, the dancing goddess Shiva and another symbol in a four-square pattern, clear as day. The dancing Shiva image itself is sometimes correlated with The World card image, but also on the hip are a couple of elemental symbols in the pattern of completed form.

I’m still a little flummoxed about this event. What possess a person to make such a random, rude comment about something which is, in fact, a physical reality? Blame it on the Tarot Buzz and would someone please pass me a cheeseburger?

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