Tarot Debate Analysis: The Moon Upturned

I asked my tarot cards, “Show me the energy going into the final presidential debate of 2016,” (coming up on Wednesday of this week). Here’s what my Crowley/Harris deck revealed:

The center card shows Trump coming in with a big burst of drive and energy as the Knight of Wands upright. A strong start. His energy stays high, and two more knights charge across the spread. The second and third knights are reversed, however, reflecting Trump’s tendency to lose focus. When reversed, the Knight of Swords can be aggressive and mean. The Knight of Disks reversed can be boorish and overbearing. Energized and impulsive, these knights lash out forcefully in every direction.

Hillary shows up in card #2, the 9 of Coins, which represents the energy crossing the Knight of Wands. This card is associated with powerful feminine energy, and while the deck I used features only shapes and symbols, the more familiar representation (the center image, below, from the Rider/Waite/Smith deck) shows an accomplished woman standing in a plush garden of her own making. It shows Hillary entering the picture in her most collected posture — relaxed, confident, and at the ready. She has a tamed, hooded raptor perched on her gloved hand. Let’s call it “Bill.” Secretary Clinton appears again in card #10, “the outcome” card, where she shows as the proud and victorious Empress, pantsuit and all. To enjoy some tarot synchronicity, read my post about the democratic convention from September 19th.

A quick walk through of the other cards before getting to the crux:
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These 2 cards form a pillar that is our democratic machine — grounded in a mighty status quo (4 of Coins) that’s slow to change (10 of Wands). This is a reminder that no matter how frenetic the energy of the moment, it takes place in a context of tradition and structure.


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These two cards show the anxiety and incredulity that fuel our hopes and fears. “When will this ever end?” (10 of Swords, reversed) “Tell me when it’s over!” (Death) For more tarot synchronicity, check out the placement of the Death card in my post about the republican debates from August 30th.


All of these cards are thrilling and provide that tarot-specific chill you get when things resonate with what you already believe. But in a full reading, you want to find the message that reveals something deeper that you didn’t already know or fully appreciate. For me, the crux of this spread is found in cards #7 and #8, the Moon, reversed, paired with the Knight of Coins, reversed. The reversals are important, but I will show them upright here to make it easier on the eyes:

The Moon card shows the querent in relation to the question being asked. On the smallest scale, that’s me, the person doing the reading. However, this is not a small-scale card. It is the first Major Arcana card to show sequentially in the spread. This particular Major is about the female experience. It represents the deepest, most watery, mysterious pockets of our subconscious — those parts of our psyches that we can only see with great effort (counseling) or trauma (the 2016 presidential campaign). Hidden undercurrents appear in this card as sound waves beneath the water. A solitary mother spider protects her fragile, golden secret. Upside down, this card touches a nerve. It unearths the things we have repressed for so long that we’ve almost convinced ourselves they don’t exist. Because this is a Major, it is both personal and collective.

The Knight of Coins (aka Disks) shows the “House,” or the energy surrounding card #7. This is the boorish card described above — forceful physical energy that presses down on the card below without consent. It’s the kind of card that sticks its tongue down your throat, that gropes you and then pretends you imagined it. This is the energy Trump let loose in the Access Hollywood van, doing us all, it turns out, an enormous favor. It is not easy to shine light on something as vast and hidden as rape culture. Ask Anita Hill. But miraculously, we enter this next presidential debate with a bright light reflecting on these deep shadows which, it turns out, have been beneath all of our feet for far too long. The Moon, upturned.

While I find it most compelling to examine the present in my readings (hence the name, Present Day Tarot), a tarot reading isn’t as much fun without a nod to the future. The Celtic Cross spread used here features three cards that are oriented towards the future:

First, the Knight of Swords, showing reversed in the “near future” position. I read this as an angry and increasingly mean Donald Trump, diminished in stature from the kings or Major Arcana cards that might have shown instead. Wielding two daggers and traveling at breakneck speed, this knight is reckless. We are in for a show during and after the debate. This will not be boring.

Next, the Empress, showing as the “outcome” card. Hillary supporters, rejoice! Does this mean she’ll win the debate? The presidency? It’s not a stretch to predict either and both. But any female card upright would point to that. This is a Major Arcana card, and it shows not just the person, but all of us together. The Empress shows Hillary not only emerging victorious, but existing in an environment of harmony and balance. What are the chances of that, given this starting point?

I see a reality check in the “crowning” card, the 10 of Wands, shown above in the Rider/Waite/Smith version. This card position represents the overarching energy and the lesson the universe has for us at the moment. My translation: It will be a slog. Hard work, heavy lifting, enormous responsibility, moving each stick one by one. The Empress paired with the 10 of Wands is an uncanny representation of this steadfast public servant with leadership aspirations. By putting one foot in front of the other, she is poised to gradually shift our landscape to a more healthy and sustainable terrain. Let’s each grab a stick and help to lighten her load.


If you’ve made it this far into my long blog post, here’s a reward for you: Book a reading with me before the presidential election and I will give you a follow-up Q&A session for free (usually $15). Readings must be booked before November 8, 2016, but may be scheduled for a later date depending on availability. Hope to see you soon!


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