Tarot Connections

I see tarot cards in the world around me.

I do it for sport, like the time I got Pete to pose as the 4 of Cups as we endured a long airport layover.


The card spoke to the moment. Boredom, dissatisfaction, and being too caught up in tedious expectation to welcome in the unexpected. Cup #4: a ukulele! Did we take the advice of the card and play it? Energetically, yes. We had fun staging my vignette and eventually had to run to catch our plane.

Another pip card moment: I happened upon some large-scale groundskeeping when I visited the MIT campus last week. I suppose they were preparing for graduation. Continue reading “Tarot Connections”


Struggling Lovers

Civil Rights, Art, and Tarot together at the Seattle Art Museum

They say the Lovers card is about choice, which means it is equally about consequence. That often overlooked corollary of this tarot card is, for me, the central take-away from Robert Colescott’s paintings currently on exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. (The exhibit, Figuring Historyruns until Sunday, May 13th 2018). Thanks to Colescott, the American struggle for civil rights will forever more inform my understanding of the Lovers card, and vice-versa.

A Visual Parallel

Because of the composition, the connection is most obvious in Natural Rhythm: Thank you Jan Van Eyck, from 1976 (below, left).

Continue reading “Struggling Lovers”

Tarot Royalty at the Conservatory

To get to know the tarot suit of Swords, I suggest spending an afternoon in the cactus room of a plant conservatory near you. I recently went to the big glass house in Volunteer Park to soak in the energy of these prickly friends.

Here’s the diminutive Page of Swords, which Benebell Wen describes as, “an aggressive but graceful young woman. She is a strong intellectual, with great capacity for learning, great potential for diplomacy, and likewise, great potential for becoming a fighter.” (Holistic Tarot, p. 202). You go, girl!

Page of Swords cactus

Her sibling, the Knight of Swords, is messier and more reckless, but still has a tender side. Arthur Waite describes him as “riding in full course, as if scattering his enemies. … A prototypical hero of romantic chivalry.” (The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, p. 230). Angeles Arrien says this card “represents the inspired mind that does not want to be limited, restricted, or restrained in any way.” (The Tarot Handbook, p 111).

Knight of Swords cactus

The Queen! I found her in the most mammary of the Mammillaria! She has order, finesse and beauty, with a biting sense of humor. Most textbook definitions describe her as angular and refined, but mine has an additional layer of irony. Isn’t this the design my grandmother once stitched on a pillow? What does that say about the Queen of Swords through time?

Queen of Swords cactus

How does she differ from the King? The King of Swords is someone who knows what he does well and does it repeatedly. “…Someone of authority who is on guard all the time” (Thorson’s Way of the Tarot, p 121). Up close, you can see that each leaf of this mighty aloe holds an imprint of the leaf that grew before it, informing its shape and determining a pattern that won’t easily change. Until the spring, when a towering pink flower shoots up from its center, surprising us all.

King of Swords cactus

My prickly d8I can spend hours in the conservatory! All the tarot cards can be found there — sometimes distinctly, but often overlapping in thought-provoking ways. This particular outing was inspired by my lovely d’8, disguised here as the matronly Queen of Pentacles. She took me to this earthy place for my virgo birthday, knowing I would revel in it. (Thanks, Rojo!)

If you want to see the card images referred to in this essay, check out my Facebook post.


The Earliest Tarot Cards

Handmade cards dated 1430-1540. These are photos from my visit to the Cloisters Museum in New York City, Feb 2016. So grateful to the museum for allowing pix!


I documented many more of the cards and dates in a Facebook post on February 11, 2106. Look here for the whole installation:


The sun came out today, and along with it, mountains that have been prettying themselves up behind clouds.

The card to sum up this moment is the Last Judgment card, aka “Judgement,” which tells you that a glorious change is underway. You are emerging from a long, dark gray time, and have the sun’s warmth to welcome you to the next chapter. This card comes up for new jobs, finalized divorces, improved health and more. When this shows in your reading, you are moving swiftly into a promising new stage of life, old negatives falling away like the rain.

Treat yourself to a reading with Present Day Tarot! Visit my FB page and message me (facebook.com/PresentDayTarot), or email PresentDayTarot@gmail.com to set a date. Gift certificates available.

Congratulations, All Blacks (all Wands)!

It was impossible for me to watch today’s Rugby World Cup without imagining the fiery suit of wands playing out across the field. The New Zealand All Blacks gave the best rendition ever of the 9 of Wands (with Death and the Ace) in their amazing pre-game Haka:


My friend Ken has taught me that the most common version of the Haka — different than today’s — starts with the words: Ka Mate Ka Mate (It is Death, It is Death) and then Ka ora Ka ora (It is life, it is life). Death, Vitality (the Ace of Wands), and Strength (the 9 of wands) are embodied together in the pyramid of All Blacks teammates. Don’t mess!