Tarot Movie #1: Free Will vs. Fate: Is it in the cards?

*Spoiler Alert* I will be discussing plot points that will give away key information if you haven’t seen the movie. Be warned. *Note: All discussion around tarot, meanings of the cards, etc is my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree. Take what resonates & leave the rest.

Who’s really in charge of our lives? Us? Or some Spirit in the Sky calling all the shots? Isn’t that the question…

As a professional tarot reader, trained mental health professional & fan of horror movies, of course I had to see the new movie, Tarot. In this horror film loosely based on the novel Horrorscope by Nicholas Adams (which I have not read), a group of college students rent a mansion to celebrate one character’s birthday. They find a tarot deck & encourage Haley, one of the friends who already reads tarot & has astrology knowledge, to read their “horoscopes” using the cards. The deck is cursed and a la Final Destination plot they begin to die according to their horoscopes one by one, specifically based on the final card pulled that is meant to represent the “overall theme” of their reading.

It is revealed that the deck was originally owned by “The Astrologer” who did a reading for a rich & powerful man predicting that his wife & unborn son would both die in childbirth. The man was convinced The Astrologer was a witch who cursed them & created the outcome the cards predicted. When The Astrologer ran with her young daughter, the man hunted her & killed her daughter (“an eye for an eye”). Overcome by grief, the Astrologer bound herself to the tarot deck & predicted the deaths of the man & all his friends. She killed herself & cursed herself to become each card bringing the predicted death to each person who’s horoscope was read with the cards. She got her revenge but all who had their futures divined with the cards would meet the death foreseen within days of the reading. The movie reveals that there have been several historical instances of series of deaths occuring over a short period of time all following a tarot reading using this deck of cards.

There are parallels between The Astrologer and Haley that weave throughout the story. Haley lost her mother to cancer & no matter how she read the tarot cards the end was the same - death. The Astrologer did the same for the rich man & the outcome never changed. She lost her daughter because of the “fate” the cards predicted. Both are still grieving. In the end they both choose to release their grief and The Astrologer’s connection to the deck is broken thereby lifting the curse.

The question that gets asked over & over again is “Are we bound to our fates or can we change them?”. I find it fascinating. Do we have free will? Or are we fated in some way to live our lives out as they were predestined by some all-knowing entity? The story of the movie switches gears & becomes more unpredictable once the main characters (Haley & her boyfriend, Grant) choose to fight their fates instead of giving in & allowing them to unfold. At one point Haley says something along the lines of “We’re dead already. We may as well hold on to hope while we can.” And isn’t that the point?

News flash: We are all going to die. It’s inevitable as mortals. One day our lives will end. That is something we do NOT get to choose. But we CAN choose what we do with those lives. The choices we make, the people we impact, the legacy we leave behind. Maybe fate does play a part, softly guiding us in one direction or the other. Maybe there are some things that we can’t change. But we always get to choose our response, attitude & whether we will choose hope vs fear.

Honestly, I appreciated that the REAL villain in this movie was not the tarot reader who inadvertently used a cursed deck that killed 4 of her friends nor The Astrologer who tied her soul to the deck cursing it in the first place. The REAL villain in the whole story is the rich man whose future was read accurately & he didn’t want to accept that sometimes bad things can happen to good people & it’s no one’s fault. Grief does things to people & can make people take out their feelings on others, but that’s no excuse for the action he took of killing The Astrologer’s young innocent daughter. If not for THAT singular action, The Astrologer would have escaped & started life anew somewhere else with her child in tow.

As a tarot reader, sometimes you deliver news that isn’t pleasant to hear. That’s the job. It’s not always going to be rainbows, unicorns, unlimited abundance & true love. It’s hard truths. It’s the mirror showing you what you try to avoid. I preface my readings in particular asking for information that is for my client’s “highest & best good”. That still doesn’t mean it’s what they want to hear. But my client ALWAYS gets the choice about what they do with this information & what action steps they will take next. We all have free will & can choose to create different outcomes if that’s what we want.

And I would certainly hope that if a client of mine heard some news that wasn’t pleasant - even though the message is in their best interest - they wouldn’t try to retaliate as violently as the man in Tarot.

I have many more thoughts on this movie & the role tarot cards play throughout. Stay tuned for the next installment of this blog series. Up next: Does the Death Card really mean death? If you want to be the first to know when this next one is published sign up for my FREE newsletter here & you’ll get a direct link to Tarot Blog #2 when it’s posted.