Lighten Up: A Real-Life Tarot Reading

Are we more than friends?

A note from Corrine: This real-life reading highlights some of the techniques I incorporate in my tarot practice. To schedule a reading with me, in person or online, click here.

Beth, a 30-year-old businesswoman, is the divorced mother of a four-year-old son. Recently, she has been finding herself drawn to a 39-year-old widower with two small children. She wants to know how she should pursue a relationship with him. She’s especially concerned about the impact a romance might have on their children.

Corrine: We’ll start by looking at the center card in this spread, the significator. This is the card that signifies, or represents, you. Because the Three of Cups is your significator, it shows that you are basically a social person. You enjoy your time out with friends — but you don’t necessarily find yourself out much with a romantic partner. You seem to be spending most of your time with girlfriends, like the three women dancing in the card.

Beth: Actually, I usually go out with my sister and her fiancé. It’s fun, but lately I feel like such a tag-along. They’ll call me up and say, “We’re going out for dinner. Let’s go.” I can’t believe they want me on all of their dates. I actually introduced them to each other, because we were friends, but I’m ready for a change.

Corrine: Well, your social life is changing. Your covering card, the World, shows that you’re coming to the end of this cycle in your life. The World is a card of completion and preparation for new beginnings. It’s a powerful card: It’s the last one in the portion of the deck called the major arcana, which means “big secrets.”

The next card, the crossing card, will show you what kinds of energy you’re dealing with as you conclude this cycle in your life. It’s the Two of Pentacles — the Juggler. Usually, when this card comes up in a reading, it means that people are juggling two major concerns in their life, like work and home. In this case, I think you might be trying to juggle the rest of your life as you begin a new relationship.

Beth: That’s true.

Corrine: Your foundation card, here at the bottom of the spread, will show us how you manage to keep all of those balls in the air. It’s the King of Pentacles. That tells me that you’re used to taking an active role in managing your time and your resources, because Kings are actively involved in managing their realms, and the suit of Pentacles represents physical existence.

Beth: Yes, I’m usually in control. I run a business.

Corrine: Let’s look at your recent past, the last six months to a year. This card is really interesting, in light of your question about a new relationship. It’s the High Priestess, who is usually associated with intuition, and psychic ability, and the cycles of the Moon. You can see here the crescent Moon at her feet, and the three phases of the Moon in her headpiece, waxing, full, and waning. In the last six months to a year, you’ve been developing and relying on your intuition.

Beth: That is so weird, because something really is going on with me. Three years ago, I would have said you were crazy to believe in this stuff. If I had walked into a room and seen tarot cards, I would have turned around and walked right out. I wanted nothing to do with any of this. But something has changed, and I’m feeling like there’s something more to my life than I ever realized before. I feel things, and I see signs everywhere I look, and all I know is that this is much bigger than me. So now I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. It’s my life.

Corrine: Well, that makes sense, especially when you look at your crowning card in this spread, the Hermit. When most people look at the Hermit, they think, “Oh, here’s someone who is isolated and doesn’t want to be with people.” But it doesn’t mean that you’re running away. I think this card shows that you’ve learned a lot from your own experiences, and you still need some time to work through it in your own mind ¾ but in the meantime, you’re willing to share what you know with people who seek you out. But you’re not the kind of person who is going to go looking for followers.

Beth: That’s right.

Corrine: The next card in the spread, the Judgment card, represents the near future, the next six months to a year. It’s really interesting that the past, present, and future cards in your reading are all such powerful forces. You’ve got the High Priestess, the World, and now, Judgment. You’re not dealing with little concerns here.

The Judgment card is the card of resurrection and forgiveness. The angel Gabriel is blowing his horn, and an entire family is rising up from their graves. It’s especially interesting in light of the fact that you’re dealing with a widower, so there is kind of a ghostly third party involved in your relationship.

Beth: I was good friends with his wife before she died, and she was such a great person. I don’t think her memory would interfere. Actually, I really believe that once someone dies, they want the people they left behind to be happy.

Even so, I don’t know if that’s really an issue yet. We’ve talked about going out, and he’s told me that he hasn’t been on a date for almost twenty years, since he met his wife. So in some ways, we’re still talking about how we would even start a relationship.

Corrine: Okay. Well, let’s look at the next two cards together, because they work in combination. One shows how you see yourself, while the second shows how others see you. In your case, the two cards don’t mesh very well. You tend to see yourself like this Five of Wands, struggling to coordinate your efforts, but feeling a little disorganized. Others see you as being much more pulled together than you feel. They see you more like this Knave of Swords, very pulled together and clear-headed, with a real ability to communicate clearly. When they look at you, they see that you have a point to make.

Sometimes when people see that there’s a disparity between the two cards, they realize that they’re not communicating how they really think and feel to the people around them. What do you think of the difference between these two images?

Beth: Well, I do feel more like the Five of Wands … but I’m glad others see me as the Knave of Swords. That’s not a bad image. I’ll take it.

Corrine: This next card, the Page of Cups represents both your hopes and your fears. Those two ideas are two sides of the same coin. Sometimes we hope that something will happen in our lives, but at the same time we fear it, because if it happens, it will change everything else we’ve got going on.

Even so, I think this is really a romantic card, and it definitely applies to your situation. Here’s a young man, offering you a gift in a golden cup. But it’s not a very well-developed image: pages are young. They’re like children. Like you’ve said, I think it shows that you’re still in the early stages of developing this idea of a relationship.

Finally, we look at the card that represents the most likely outcome of your current path. Now this is a surprise. It’s the Knight of Swords. This isn’t the same person shown in your hopes and fears cards. It’s someone new. The Knight of Swords comes into your life quickly and unexpectedly. He’ll have a fling with you, and then he’ll be gone.

Beth: Oh, I hate hearing that. I’ve never gone out with anyone just for fun. I’ve had friends who’ve gone out with guys they didn’t really feel serious about, and I’ve thought, “Why would they do that? What’s the point of being with someone you wouldn’t want to be with forever?”

Corrine: So you’ve never gone out with anyone, just for a date or two?

Beth: No, never. I wasn’t really all that serious about the last guy I dated, but we went out for nine months.

Corrine: Let me throw another card on top of this Knight, just for clarification. Okay, it’s Justice, the card of balance. I was really surprised when that Knight showed up, but I think the message is pretty clear. You need more balance in your dating life.

Beth: That’s for sure. I take everything way too seriously.

Corrine: Well, let’s pull another card to look for some advice. What do you need to do to find more balance in your life?

It’s the Sun! The cards are reminding you that you need to feel radiant, and optimistic, and like this child on the horse, you need to be playful. Literally, you need to lighten up.

Beth: Everyone always tells me that. But how? I’m dealing with serious issues.

Corrine: Well, for one thing, maybe the cards are trying to tell you that you can stop thinking of a new relationship as a serious issue — so you can stop worrying about the affect that it would have on your kids. Don’t even think of “dating” in the traditional sense. Just get together and play with all three kids. Don’t make a big deal out of it.

Beth: That might work.

Corrine: Okay, we’ll pull a final card that will give you specific, practical advice that you can actually use today. Choose any card from the deck.

Beth: All right. Here: It’s the Queen of Wands. What does that mean?

Corrine: I’m not sure. The picture shows a woman, sitting in a sunflower field, kind of like the child in the Sun card. She’s holding a wand, and there’s a black cat at her feet. What does this image look like to you? What do you think it means?

Beth: I think it means I need to wear a low-cut shirt and show some cleavage, like the woman in the picture.

Corrine: That’s a great idea. That’s something you can do right away, and it will make you feel playful. Really, it’s all well and good to get high-minded advice from a tarot reading that says, “Don’t take yourself so seriously,” but I think that taking a step like changing into some playful clothes would be a step in the right direction.

Beth: Okay, I will. But I want to know if I’m going to have a relationship with this man. Can’t you look at one more card and tell me what’s going to happen?

Corrine: What, do you want to see a wedding in the cards? I can try. We’ll just look at the next card in the deck … Sorry; it’s the Four of Swords, the card of rest and recuperation. You’re still in a phase where the possibility of any relationship with this man is still in limbo. You’ll just have to wait and see what develops.

Beth: All right. But in the meantime, I’m definitely going to get some new clothes.