View Full Version : Bad Tarot!

Noah Body
12-18-2008, 01:37 AM
I'll start this off by saying, yes, I know Google is my friend!

But since there's a diverse pool of talent here, maybe one of you could give me some pointers...I'm tackling a scene where a tarot card reader (a Santa Monica psychic) is always turning up a bad reading, and the reading is more than just death, it means damnation. Is there such a sequence, or something similar?

A thousand thanks.

12-18-2008, 01:38 AM
I played strip poker with a deck of tarot cards once. Got a full house and three people died.

Ba-doom TISH! :D

Noah Body
12-18-2008, 01:39 AM
Wow, that's almost as bad as Derek's former career in porno!

It's always good to prank a supermod, until you get banned.

12-18-2008, 01:42 AM

Well. It's been a while since I was near a deck of tarot cards but even though the death card doesn't always mean death, if it constantly showed up near the devil and the ten of swords, I'd be a tad concerned.

12-18-2008, 02:04 AM
I've read that there are "stress cards" - the more of them surrounding each other, the greater the stress (7 of wands, 10 of wands, 8 of swords, 9 of swords, 5 of Pentacles, Kinght of Swords, the Devil, the Moon, Death, the Tower).

The Death card often indicates change, not so much death itself.

I recommend visiting a Barnes and Noble - a friend and I picked up a deck of cards and a Tarot book set for around $20 (Easy Tarot, book by Josephine Ellershaw) a year or so ago - lots of info in there.

12-18-2008, 02:23 AM
As has been mentioned, the Death card does not always - in fact, seldom - predict death. What truly matters in a Tarot reading is not just one card but the alignment of the cards. The position of one card to another is what can make or break a "good" or "bad" reading.

12-18-2008, 02:35 AM
not that I know anything about Tarot...

but maybe if you could tell what you want the reading to be, some kind and knowledgable soul, will tell what cards would likely be in the lay out.

just a though...

Noah Body
12-18-2008, 03:00 AM
Like I said in the OP, "damnation" is what I want the reading to be. Which might be too explicit, but basically a harbinger that says, "Folks, you are totally screwed without a tube of lube in sight."

12-18-2008, 03:34 AM
There are cards with negative connotations (the 10 of swords, the Tower, the Devil, etc) but all of them can be read different ways, and vary depending on the context of the reading. They aren't the most specific of divination systems. There is no "you're screwed" card. And even if there was, it would probably be "you could possibly be screwed" and not "you are unequivocally screwed" because the tarot is nice and vague like that.

Tarot readings, even with only a few cards, have a lot of layers of meaning. Though of course, it depends on how good your reader is, too.

If you want a general overview of the cards learntarot.com (http://www.learntarot.com) might be helpful.

Noah Body
12-18-2008, 03:39 AM
Yeah, from what I see on paranormality.com, the 10 of Swords, the Devil, and the Tower all seem to indicate bad juju on the horizon. I'll check the other site as well. Thanks to all!

12-18-2008, 03:48 AM
I don't know your scenario, but it occurs to me that a responsible reader would probably not interpret any spread, no matter how ominous, as just, "You're screwed." From what I can tell (I know very very little about Tarot) there seems to be a built-in philosophy that endings tie into beginnings and the world keeps turning. That's why the Death card stands for change; death begets life, you've got to finish the old things before you can start the new ones, etc. And beside that---well, if you think someone's heading into bad trouble, you give them what warnings you can think of, you don't just sit back and say, "Yep, you're doomed."

Which wouldn't stop the psychic from getting very nervous his/her-self, of course, especially if cards like the Devil or the Tower start turning up for everyone.

I keep thinking about it, though, and I'm not sure that Death would necessarily pop up in a really dire spread. I mean, if the message you want is, "You're screwed and it's going to get worse," that's more about continuation than change and endings. I'd kind of expect the Devil, though. IIUC (if I understand correctly) the Devil is about corruption and temptation and all the things that drag you down to the worst you can be. If you're looking at some kind of impending disaster (as in, the psychic is getting bad readings because California is about to fall off), well, I don't tend to believe that Tarot is much more than a mythically charged Rorchach---but if it works that way, you'd see the Tower. The Tower is about catastrophic change, about things that come out of the blue and explode your life, or your perception of who you are, or whatever. (Like Death, not necessarily bad---but never comfortable.)

Other people know more about this, so I'll leave the description of other cards to them.


12-18-2008, 04:10 AM
Also the fives of the suits tend not to be a lot of fun--set backs, doubts, plans unraveled. Not as full of strife a the Tower or the Devil.

12-18-2008, 04:43 AM
Yeah, from what I see on paranormality.com, the 10 of Swords, the Devil, and the Tower all seem to indicate bad juju on the horizon. I'll check the other site as well. Thanks to all!My second book, a thriller, was titled Ten Of Swords. It's about as bad a card as you can find in the deck.

I think the major arcana cards (Devil, Tower, Wheel of Fortune, etc) have a lot more room for interpretation than the minor arcana, (Ten of Swords, Eight of cups, etc.) which tend toward the more specific. Ten of Swords is never a good card to come up in a reading, as far as I can tell.

You might want to try posting in the Pagan sub-forum -- there are some people there who know what they're talking about.

Captain Howdy
12-18-2008, 06:37 AM
ditto on Ten of Swords. Look at it. Person laying daid on the floor with ten sticking straight up. Can't get more damnationed than that. Try not to describe an entire layout because you will get tons of letters from readers who know you faked it. I think a constant appearance of the Ten of Swords would get the point across.

(Death, Devil, and Tower cards really have far reaching interpretations. If you want quick and cliched, fine, if you want subtlety, Ten of Swords. Your "tarot wise" readers will think you know what you're talking about!

12-18-2008, 07:03 AM
Ten of Sword is probably the most "oh no!" card...

Death has never meant death for me and, as far as I know, rarely does. It points to changes more often, which death is but apparently the cards don't work like that.

The Tower is usually something pretty bad, too. The Tower and the Ten of Swords together in the right spots would definitely make me worry for the querent, depending on the reading.

Noah Body
12-18-2008, 07:15 PM
Thanks again, folks.

12-18-2008, 07:32 PM
Of course, there's always the reading every reader (at least I did) dreads--when the cards are on the table what what's falling out of your mouth is purely from your other awareness (and it's almost always some kind of dire warning) and the querent comes back with "What card says all that?"

When you say "None of them, it was just there for you" or you manage to BS your way through some kind of explanation pulled out of your butt to pin it on the cards, they always walk away with the aire of someone who doesn't believe. Though that's not the reason I dread those kinds of readings. Being mocked is part and parcel to being a reader for the public, after all.

No, I dread it because the few times I've had that happen, I've had people come back and tell me how right dead on that non-card-related reading had been. Fortunately, most of them remembered the warning and sustained minimal damage.

The thing to remember is that the cards are merely a focal point to let readers tap into whatever it is (always a subject of debate) we tap into for the knowledge. Once the tap is open, who knows what could spill out.

12-18-2008, 09:16 PM
Another thing to keep in mind about Tarot readings is that it isn't just about what is in the cards; the cards are more of a focus for the reader using his or her psychic ability.