Today’s Tarot Cards

I’m still doing my daily two-card tarot reading, and will continue until July when I begin a three-card reading. I still don’t know what I hope to gain from the study of the tarot. It isn’t a great prognosticator; from what I’ve read, although the tarot is used for cartomancy (fortunetelling using cards), it isn’t supposed to be a fortunetelling tool. Which is good for me because I really don’t want to know the future. Obviously, I will know the future when I get there (though we can never really arrive at the future because “the future” is always ahead of us), but I don’t see any benefit to knowing either the good or the bad before it happens. All I can do is the best I can do each day, and hope those myriad small decisions lead me to where I need to be.

A lot of people use the tarot to help them make decisions, but again, that’s not something I need help with. At least not now. So many of the important decisions in my recent life have been made, such as where to move to, what to do once I get there, if I should buy a house, if I should get a job. The little decisions take care of themselves.

The real purpose of the tarot, or so they say, is to offer insights into our lives, to help us see our thoughts and behaviors (both past and present) more objectively, and to give us a better understanding of ourselves to help create a better future. It’s like an in-depth discussion with yourself, or if you’re doing a reading for someone else, the discussion is between you and that person. Although the tarot makes sense to me in this regard, it’s as little help to me as using the cards to tell the future or make decisions.

So far, in the almost two years I’ve been doing a daily reading (first, a one-card reading and now a two-card reading), I don’t think I’ve learned anything about myself that I didn’t already know. I’m sure there’s much that I don’t know — to be honest, I think there is much we can’t know — but so far, the cards haven’t been helping me reach any deeper understanding. Part of the problem, I suppose, could be in the question I ask. Since I don’t have any questions (I’ve pretty much given up on asking the unanswerable questions, and the answerable questions are easy enough to find answers to), I stick with “What do I need to know today?” And the answer often seems to be, “not much of anything.”

I do find it interesting that at times the cards seem to reflect what I am thinking (though that can be more a matter of my reading into the cards whatever it is that I am thinking). More often, they repeat themselves. For example, in today’s reading, the Six of Cups is about wish fulfillment. It’s also a reminder to see the beauty around us, to find pleasure in simple things, and to become more appreciative of the world. The Empress is about abundance and creativity. She calls us to connect with beauty to bring happiness to our lives.

Admittedly, that’s a nice reading, but does it tell me anything or bring to the fore any new insights? Nope. I already try to see the beauty around me, to find pleasure in little things, to appreciate the world with its beauty and bounty, though I suppose a reminder to continue trying to do so doesn’t hurt.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

More Tarot

I am continuing with my tarot studies — to the extent that doing a daily two-card reading can be considered studies — and even after more than a year, I’m not sure what to make of the cards. Although most cards do seem to resemble my life in some way, it’s the same sort of vague way that a newspaper horoscope represents one’s life. I am not learning anything about my life that I didn’t already know, and in fact, it’s my knowledge of my life that brings sense to the cards rather than the cards bringing sense to my life.

Now that I have progressed to a two-card layout (the first year was a daily one-card pick), I am noticing that even though the cards don’t seem to relate all that much to my life, they do seem to relate to each other.

For example, the other day, the cards I dealt out were the Empress and the Queen of Pentacles. As always, the question I ask is “What do I need to know today?” The first card represents my situation, the second the challenge I face.

Some readers interpret the Empress as the female principle the positive female attributes of creativity, love, abundance, intuition, nurturing, finding balance in our lives, connecting to the world through our senses. An earth mother archetype who loves beauty.

And some readers interpret the Queen of Pentacles as nurturing, filled with feminine creative energy, compassionate, hard-working, loving, intuitive. An earth mother archetype who enjoys the comforts and luxuries of life.

Such a correlation between the two cards! And a correlation between the cards and me too, I suppose, though these cards might be said to represent any woman. What I gathered from the cards is that my life is going well, and that I should continue to focus on creating a calm and balanced life for myself.

Since that’s what I am doing anyway, this personal interpretation might have nothing to do with the cards and everything to do with my own inclination. Which leads to another possibility — instead of me reading the cards, perhaps the cards are reading me.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

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Tarot Classic

The tarot deck I am using this month is called “Tarot Classic,” and is based on medieval woodcuts. As with most decks, the given meanings of the cards are brief because tarot readers are supposed to assign their own interpretation to the cards based upon their impulses, subconscious, and conscious association of ideas with the symbols. I suppose some people can do that, but I am stuck with traditional interpretations because I look at the cards and feel . . . nothing, really. Luckily, I have a notebook full of various interpretations, so I can get a general idea of what each card is supposed to signify.

Today starts my second year of doing a daily tarot reading. Up until now, I’ve just picked one card per day, but it’s time to expand my studies, so today I picked two cards. Wow! So daring! I’m being silly, but I suppose in a way it is daring. It was hard enough to relate one card to my daily life, I can’t image what I will do with two. Still, it’s a way of using the dozens of tarot decks that were handed down to me from my now deceased brother.

Most layouts seem to be done with five or more cards, but even with two cards, there are myriad ways of reading. For example, the first card can demonstrate a strength, the second a weakness. Or perhaps the first can represent an emotion, the second a thought. Other possible readings:

Valid fear/invalid fear
Mistake made/lesson learned
What empowers/what disempowers
Situation/main challenge
If this, then what
What to act on/what to leave alone.

A two-card layout can be about almost anything. So can a one-card, really, but I stuck with “What do I need to know today?” I decided to stick with the same question as well as adding an addendum for the second card, “What do I need to let go today?”

The first card was the Empress, the second the four of swords. (I got a kick out of the four ones for the Roman numeral four rather than the usual IV.)

The Empress is about beauty, creativity, entering a period of growth, feeling rather than thinking, being grateful for the bounty that surrounds you. The four of swords is about rest, replenishment, letting go of anxiety, taking time out to restore your energy.

I suppose those two cards fit — if what I need to know today is that I’m going to be entering a time of growth, then for sure I need to let go of any anxieties that might be keeping me back.

Even if that’s not what the cards mean, apparently the tarot means whatever anyone wants it to mean, so that’s what those cards mean to me today.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

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