Word Play

By Jeanne Fiorini

If you’ve worked with the Tarot for any length of time, you’ve probably come to recognize that metaphor, analogy, and simile are sometimes the best way to convey the message of a reading. Precise articulation often fails us, and we’re left with something like, “It’s as if you have to pull a sleeping elephant through the center of town and no one seems to be paying attention or willing to help.” If I’d had prior knowledge of the weird analogies that would pop into my head over the past eighteen years, I would have been writing them down from the beginning.

How funny the Tarot can be! Sometimes I am simply blown over by the amusing truth that is on the table— two feuding sisters being depicted by two Queen’s with their backs to one another, a nasty boss appearing through The Devil card, or a hot new love affair represented by the Ace of Wands. It can be extremely satisfying when the literal and the figurative come together to tell their story. (Have you had a similar experience? Please feel free to share in the Comments blog below.)

And if you’ve read any of my articles in the past few months, you know that I appreciate a good Tarot pun. I love that this very serious and impactful system can be playful; it’s a most enjoyable aspect of the system we all appreciate for so many and varied reasons. 

A good laugh is priceless in any age, but in the days when the status quo is being shaken up and energies are being ratcheted into a higher gear, laughter might well be our best medicine. In an effort to do my part in that realm, here are a few musings on the RWS Tarot deck.  Please note, the following is rated PG:

Fool: It’s All or No-Thing.

Justice: My karma ran over my dogma.

Ace of Pentacles: Need a hand?

Six of Wands: Back in the saddle again. 

Page of Cups: Feeling like a fish out of water?

Emperor: Be careful not to get stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Knight of Wands: That guy’s up on his high horse…again.

The Star: A place of re-nude hope.

Chariot: Have hurts put you in the driver’s seat? (You may have to be over 40 to get that one.)

Nine of Pentacles: A bird in the hand is worth nine in the bush.

Two of Swords: Ignorance is Bliss.

Queen of Wands: Love me, love my pet.

Seven of Pentacles: Hoe Hum.

Five of Swords: Good fences make good neighbors.

Wheel: #*!@ happens. Why ask why?

Death: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Judgment: Payback’s a bitch.

Page of Pentacles: He’s out standing in his field

The Hermit: I wonder as I wander.

Five of Pentacles: Life’s a drag and then you die.

Ten of Wands: Time to quit smoking?

Ace of Wands: Stick it!

Do you have a Tarot pun that you’d like to share? I have a feeling this little list is just the tip of the iceberg of word plays that could be derived from any version of the Tarot. 

After all, the Tarot is a system that connects us with The All: the spiritual, the physical, the sexual, the serious, the bawdy, and the serene. The quote, “I’d rather be whole than good,” (attributed to Carl Jung) seems relevant. It’s all a part of who we are, and is a simple matter of what’s on our plate in any given moment.

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. 

Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2009

Questions? Comments? Contact us.