Sour Beers and Tarot Cards

One week into 2019, I had a tarot card reading at a brewery. This was a first for me. As a Hufflepuff, I tend to avoid The Dark Arts. And as an anxiety-ridden soul, I tend to avoid things I can latch onto as proof of my imminent death. (Web MD is among The Forbidden, as are thrillers about germ warfare and, for whatever reason, Gone Girl.)

However, while at the bar, a friend approached me with an interesting proposal: a tarot card reading for the mere price of a sour beer. Her friend needed practice—and a drink—and was willing to do some readings. I was nervous, but intrigued.

“Have you ever had a reading before?” she asked.

I hadn’t. But as a child, I’d been scarred by Muppet Treasure Island and the possibility of picking up something with The Black Spot.

muppet treasure island

Muppet Treasure Island’s “Black Spot.” The stuff of nightmares.

“It won’t be like that,” she said.

So I agreed.

I sat down, still unnerved. I waited for her to ask me about my life, to dish details that she would later reposition as revelations. But she did not. Instead, she asked me to shuffle the deck and think. Think about a problem I was having, something I was wondering or trying to work through. Several thoughts crossed my mind. “Am I on the right track here in Chicago? Which theater should I try next? What’s up with me and dudes?”

I cut the deck and placed it in three piles representing the past, present and future. The stacks were by no means neat; my dry little witch hands had failed to tuck them into three tidy piles. This, she explained, meant something.

She suggested I pull the cards that jutted out the most. These were the cards with something to reveal.

The first card I pulled was The Kindred, a card that represents home and welcome, but it was upside down. This, she said, could mean I haven’t yet completed the step before The Kindred. That I haven’t allowed my roots to sprout because I’m still waiting for some feeling of assurance.

This resonated with me. I don’t feel like I’ve really “dug in” to the whole comedy scene because I’m not sure where I fit in. Do I want to do improv? Or write? Or both? And where? And what if I fail? I haven’t allowed myself to fully commit to anything because I’m afraid I won’t belong.

The second card, representing the present, was Two of Knives, also upside down. Knives are useful tools, she said. But when the card is reversed, it means I’m harming myself in some way. That I might be beating myself up over a decision, or an indecision.

“Girl, you think too much,” she said. “Get out of your head.”


She also asked me to think about what I might be aggressively avoiding (the flu), if I’m in a rut (perhaps) and how I can fix it.

My future card was The World, which I immediately took to mean I was a warlock.


Actual image of me after drawing The World. Where my horcruxes at?

But it wasn’t what I thought.

It did not, in fact, point to my future world domination. Rather, it could mean that I feel like I’m back where I started. (Which is true, since I just finished iO classes.)

The fact that it appeared upside means that I haven’t yet completed the previous phase, The Awakening. That I need to look at myself and my gifts, learn to appreciate them, and learn to let go of past lives, relationships, insecurities, etc.

The last card we drew was my favorite. It was The Traveler of Knives, and it was the only card right-side up.

This, she said, was basically telling me to say, “Fuck it.” To get out of my head and follow what I feel is right—not to the detriment of others—but in a way that will allow me to carve my own unique path. It reminded me of some advice one of my favorite improv teachers gave me: “If you feel it, do it.”

In the end, I left this reading feeling really good. It reminded me of a therapy session: the practice of picking a specific thought, and dedicating some time to work through it, to consider it from all angles. (Side note: tarot readings would be a great way to sneak in some therapy for someone who “doesn’t believe in therapy.”)

Would I do it again? Yes.

Would I pay more than a sour beer? Probably not.

Will I, from this day forward, refer to myself as The Warlock Who Drew The World? Absolutely.

1 thought on “Sour Beers and Tarot Cards

  1. Pingback: The Hangover | Joanna Clark

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