Tarot at Tax Time

As is likely the case with many of you, dear readers, the Great Recession and its lingering aftermath have posed, shall we say, some challenges in my life. I’ve had to tighten my belt and watch my spending like I hadn’t needed to do for many years before the Crash, and I know my sometimes-precarious financial state has taken a toll on my psyche. Ring a bell, anyone?

This morning, for instance, I awoke in a near-panic at 3:00 in the morning, and all I could think of was money: Where’s my next freelance job coming from? What’ll I do when my money runs out? How will I ever be able to afford to retire? This probably wasn’t the ideal time to consult the Tarot—I think we get the best results when we are in a calmer state of mind—but lighting a few candles on the dining table, I said a prayer for inner peace and laid out this ten-card Tree of Life spread:

Screen shot 2015-04-11 at 2.05.33 PMWithout getting into the significances of the particular positions on the Tree (we’ll cover that in an upcoming post), most anyone with a halfway-decent knowledge of the cards would see this as a fairly encouraging spread, particularly the unambiguously strong Middle Pillar. It was as if the cards were trying to tell me, “Things are nowhere near as bad as you think. Your emotions may be fraught (Five of Cups) and this has made your mind restless (Eight of Cups), but cheer up—the sun (The Sun) is shining on you today. So get some sleep (Four of Swords), and when you awake again, rise with a sunny attitude; for the fates smile fortunately upon you now (Six of Cups). With the proper outlook, any change coming your way today (Death) is likely to be favorable, so worry not—your life in the here-and-now is meant to be celebrated (Ten of Cups), and the fact of the matter is, you are exactly where you belong right now (King of Swordsmy personal Significator, smack in the middle of the spread).” Needless to say, none of this made much sense to me at the time since it seemed so at odds with how I was feeling. But after “dialoguing” with the cards for a few minutes more, I felt my eyelids growing heavy, so I trudged off to bed and grabbed a few more hours of sleep.

Reexamining the spread in the morning over a cup of hot tea, I still couldn’t make much sense out of the cards’ upbeat message for me, but with a few hours’ extra sleep, my emotional state was somewhat more relaxed, and I resolved to keep the cards’ exhortations in my head as I went about my daily walk, putting material concerns in the back of my mind as much as possible.

A few hours later, the phone rang. It was my accountant with news about my tax returns, which he sent off to the IRS over the weekend. As it turns out, I “overpaid” for my health insurance last year (as per the Affordable Care Act, I’m enrolled on the individual exchange), and because of this, I had accrued a sizable tax credit that translated into a generous four-figure refund.

Amazing how this Tarot stuff works, now, isn’t it?

Of course the cards were right. Life is made to be celebrated, and we should never lose sight of that, no matter how dire the day-to-day particulars may seem at any given moment. Austerity and belt-tightening can wait another day—I’m treating myself to sushi tonight.

Dante DiMatteo

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