Your Life’s Calling: A Real-Life Tarot Reading

I need career advice.

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.

Question: I need some guidance about my career. Thanks, Frank (via email)

Answer: Hi, Frank. I wanted to narrow down the focus of your reading just a bit, so I asked, “What career surprises are in store for Frank during the next six months to a year?”

Oddly enough, I pulled the Hanged Man card in response. That’s not a card I normally associate with surprises or career, but it is thought-provoking.

The first thing I did was start to think of you as the Hanged Man. I always do that when I read cards. In other words, I think of the picture in the card as a literal depiction of the person who’s getting the reading. It doesn’t matter if the card shows a man, a woman, or an inanimate object like the Wheel of Fortune or the Tower. The picture in the card represents one aspect of your personality. Once I pulled the card, I knew that you were the Hanged Man, on some level, at least.

Right away, I noticed the snake that lies coiled underneath your head. It’s hibernating now, but it looks as though you’re slowly becoming aware of its presence: Look at the rays pointing toward your head. I hope that you’re not working in a proverbial snake’s nest, but maybe that’s the surprise. Of course, if you’re involved in any sort of corporate career or work with other people, there are always a few snakes to be avoided. At any rate, that’s one item to note.

Next, I noticed the detailed gridwork in the background of the card. On first glance, it could be a brick city building, or a massive skyscraper with rows and rows of windows and floors. For the most part, though, it reminded me of an office cubicle. Do you work in a big building, or a cubicle? What’s more, are you planning or hoping to change jobs and break out? Maybe you will. Maybe that’s the surprise.

I actually think that you’re going to make a big change in your work life — not necessarily in terms of location or physical situation, but definitely in terms of your thinking. I’m basing that prediction based both on the grid behind you and on the way your face is depicted in this image. Despite the fact that you’re naked — which should make you stand out in a crowd — your face looks a little generic. I’d have to say that right now, you might not be doing work that sets you apart, or work that strikes you as particularly memorable. It’s possible that you’re not doing work that fills you with passion or fulfills your life’s mission.

In fact, if you think about the Hanged Man’s traditional interpretation, which is sacrifice and delay, you could even conclude that you’ve put off your higher calling for a time, and that right now you’re simply working to put food on the table and meet your basic needs. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. That is the reason most of us work.)

Like the Hanged Man, however, you’re also taking the time right now to contemplate both your surroundings and your future. On a very basic level, you have come to understand the value of self-sacrifice.

Stability is also important to you. That’s symbolized by the stable, square-shaped grid in the background, as well as by the fact that your legs in the picture are crossed in the shape of the numeral 4.

In fact, those two distinctions actually suggest a source of strength and some exciting new developments in your career. I think you’re going to climb down from that cross and find yourself in a new, upright position, with a new outlook and a complete reversal in your approach to your career. You might even find yourself adopting the pose of a related card in the tarot deck: the Emperor.

In most versions of the card, the Emperor is seated upright, on a four-sided cubic throne, rather than hanging around in front of it like the Hanged Man. Also, like the Hanged Man, the Emperor’s legs are crossed in the shape of the number 4. But the Emperor is a man who has lived through periods of sacrifice and self-reflection, and moved on to incorporate his wisdom and experience into a much larger framework.

I see the Emperor as the counterpart to the Hanged Man, Frank, and I think that’s the biggest surprise you can expect in your career. You’re going to move from being the Hanged Man to being the Emperor — and that’s a definite promotion!

Frank emailed me after he received the reading. As it turns out, he was trained as an actor, but he hasn’t acted for many years. He works in sales just to pay the rent. Maybe one day soon we’ll see him as an emperor on stage!