Tarot Beyond the Basics by Anthony Louis


We humans have been known, at times, to take ourselves just a little seriously. We can take our tarot seriously, too. Which we should, of course. But tarot is about balance and there are times when tarot gives us something we don’t expect. Please enjoy this excerpt from Louis’ Tarot Beyond the Basics.

Tarot Sarcasm

Not only can tarot cards potentially represent the opposite of their accepted meanings, but at times the tarot even seems to employ sarcasm. For example, one day my wife phoned to say that a restaurant near her office was offering for take-out one of my favorite dishes, stuffed peppers. Because this establishment generally has excellent food, she planned to bring some peppers home for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised but skeptical because in my experience, good stuffed peppers are extremely hard to find.

I happened to have a tarot deck at the office and for the fun of it drew a single card while pondering the question, “Will I enjoy the stuffed peppers tonight?” What to my wonderng eyes should appear but the Three of Swords with all three swords pointing diabolically downward! Not exactly Santa Claus. What could this card have to do with stuffed peppers? Would I be disappointed with their quality? Would I need a sword to cut into them? Would the peppers make me sick, cause indigestion or even the need for surgery? The image on the Waite-Smith card shows three swords piercing a bright red heart suspended amidst rain and storm clouds. Would the peppers be colored red like the heart? I concluded that the tarot was most likely saying I would be somehow disappointed. The Three of Swords looks quite dramatic, as if to imply I would end up heartbroken. Etteilla delineates this card as “separation.”

At the end of the day, I drove home anticipating delicious red stuffed peppers for dinner. Shortly thereafter my wife arrived and informed me that when she went to buy the take- out, the attendant told her there was a mistake on the menu and no stuffed peppers were available. Rats! As the card had warned me, I felt disappointed although not exactly heartbroken. The Three of Swords, after all, does indicate separation from something or someone you love. I did feel, however, that the tarot was having a laugh at my expense. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer. There I was suffering separation anxiety from my beloved stuffed peppers, and red ones at that. And to make matters worse, I was the victim of tarot sarcasm!

Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...