It took almost 2 years of daily shuffles + card pulls before Tarot started speaking to me. But shortly thereafter, I learned it could also sing. I began looking at card fronts and heard songs playing in my head. Sometimes I hadn’t heard a song for years, and there it was; popping in. It made me giggle. So, I tried incorporating the songs I’d hear in readings for friends, and they appreciated that method — how it simultaneously expanded + connected both the tarot cards and the songs being referenced. As more songs-as-tarot-cards came to me, I eventually picked up the thread and continued weaving. On June 1st, 2018, I launched a project called: Tuned in to Tarot.
Pairing tarot cards with songs to create playlists, I then dance through (embody) the energy as a means of connecting to and consciously experiencing what is reflected in that moment. Inspired by Gabrielle Roth’s practice of 5Rhythms, I allow my body to experience ecstatic, free-flowing movement; and sometimes a surprising amount of emotion wells up as I am pulled through the “Wave”. It’s always a journey, often taking me to a place I could sense existed but didn’t know how to access. Regardless of the shape it takes, an embodied tarot reading + playlist experience ultimately ends up leading to the center. To the place that radiates from within.
Tuned in to Tarot can work at any level of physical interaction ranging from sitting and actively listening to songs that are paired with a reading, to a full-on cardio-level dance party. The flexibility of free-form movement + embodiment practice makes this an ideal wellness tool in its seemingly endless adaptability.
Not feeling very energized? You can sway your arms loosely, shake out your hands, or drape your body and breathe deeply. Experiencing limited mobility? Maintain a comfortable seated position or lay down. The point is to let the music + the moment wash over you. Any way you approach this project it can unite the head and the heart in deeply restorative ways.
This practice organically fuses 2 very powerful (and relatively accessible) wellness tools: 15-20 minutes of time engaging one’s intuition and body, working through any emotions that surface. Use the tarot spread of your choice for randomly selected cards, or specifically choose cards from a deck to call in energy. My go-to method is a random 3-card pull.
Let’s look at an example of a 3-card pull and create a playlist. I keep a notebook with 5-7 (or more) songs per card as a reference for compiling playlists. It also helps me deepen and continue to develop my understanding of tarot card archetypes.
The deck I’m using is the deck that first started singing to me: LOVE IS IN THE EARTH Crystal Tarot by Melody + Steve Goins. This deck is a Thoth variant with a splendid Aquarian-age vision, but I will use RWS suit names for the playlist.
- 3 of Swords: “Don’t Wanna Fight No More” by Alabama Shakes
This song embodies the fatigue of old wounding — that which still leaks + drains energy. The first stanza of lyrics into the chorus moves right through the 2, 3, and also initiates movement towards the 4 of Swords: “My life, your life, don’t cross them lines” (the sacred + necessary boundaries of the 2 of Swords) / “what you like, what I like, why can’t we both be right? Attacking, defending, until there’s nothing left worth winning” (3 of Swords) / “Your pride and my pride, don’t waste my time, don’t wanna fight no more” (4 of Swords). Also, the guitars are really angular sounding, and there’s a bit of melodic dissonance in this song, which feels like the 3 of Swords to me.
- Queen of Swords: “Let’s Go” by Matt & Kim
This minimalist, 2-member band delivers potent energy. Particularly, in “Let’s Go” the sing-songy floating of the chorus stands in stark contrast to the pumping drum beat; which just feels so Queen of Swords to me. Dynamic and strong, but also able to float above. The lyrics speak to this, “I gave it all I had, show me what you’ve got, there’s some things I found that make so much sound, all these words, I don’t need ‘em now…cause I don’t care anymore”.
- XII — The Hanged [Man] One: “Ego Trippin’ at the Gates of Hell” by the Flaming Lips
The haunting and almost weepy, but somehow still playful + light melody of this song, paired with the lyrics wholly sums up The Hanged One for me: “I was waiting on a moment, but the moment never came, all the billion other moments were just slipping all away…(just ego trippin) but the moment never came”.
If Tuned in to Tarot is to add anything truly meaningful to tarot discourse, it has to become a chorus of voices singing all the melodies tarot can embody. If you feel inspired, please add to this project by starting + sharing your own tarot playlists and let’s build something intersectional + interdisciplinary.
Find Sarah’s tarot deck reviews and lots of other amazing stuff over at Indie Deck Review.