Tarot Movie Blog #4: 2 More Deaths & 2 More Majors…

*Spoiler Alert* I will be discussing plot points that will give away key information if you haven’t seen the movie. Be warned. If you want more background regarding the plot of the movie, please read Tarot Movie Blog #1. *Note: All discussion around tarot, meanings of the cards, etc is my personal opinion. Feel free to disagree. Take what resonates & leave the rest.

Please read Blog #1 for a recap on the movie Tarot before reading this post. Also, please note that descriptions of death scenes are described - be warned.

In the movie, Tarot, four of the seven friends who have their horoscopes read by a cursed tarot deck die based on the cards they receive as the “overall theme” of their reading. Follow me as I explore each reading, death & card with my personal opinions about how relevant the tarot card actually was to the portrayal in the movie.

Madeline is the 3rd character to die according to her horoscope tarot reading in the movie. Through interactions between the group of friends we learn that Madeline & Lucas like each other, but neither of them takes any action to make a love connection happen. Ironically, Lucas died via the Hermit card, alone & loveless, after walking Madeline home & choosing not to make any moves or communicate his feelings before heading off on his own. Perhaps had he chosen community over isolation, he might have lived.

Madeline receives the Hanged Man as her card to represent the overall message. Madeline is portrayed as someone who likes to be in control & who loves her technology. She records her reading when it occurs so she can remember it later. Madeline is told “not to panic” when she feels out of control and that she should just “surrender” & learn to go with the flow more. Haley says she needs to “fight the urge” & “don’t run” even though technology might be failing her.

            At this point in the movie a pattern has been created & two friends (Elise & Lucas) have died. The remaining friends all stick together in an effort to keep each other safe. They have consulted someone who has been through this situation in the past & have determined they must destroy the original deck so they pile in a car & head back to the mansion they rented. Madeline plays back the recording of her reading while they are in the car. While crossing a bridge the car comes to a complete stop for no apparent reason. Madeline’s prediction seems to be coming next & her friends try to keep her calm as an image of the game of hangman is traced on the car window revealing the word “RUN”.

What does she do? She runs. *Face palm* And then gets a noose lasso’d around her throat & is hung.

The Hanged Man in tarot represents times in our life when things are out of our control. The image on a traditional RWS deck is of an individual hanging by one of his feet with hands tied behind his back. He is not panicking or afraid, though. He seems calm & serene with a halo of light radiating from his head. When life throws you curveballs, trying to catch them all & keep moving according to YOUR plans is not going to work. Surrendering to the flow of the Universe is sometimes called for. We can’t always be in action mode & don’t often get to determine how our life plays out. There will always be moments that are dictated by forces beyond our control. That is the time we are meant to still ourselves & pay attention to what is going on around us.

If you are working towards a promotion & seem to find yourself at a standstill, maybe it means now isn’t the right time. Or there are other things you should be focusing on right now. We move through phases in our lives - active & passive. There are times to take action & make moves. There are times to slow down & appreciate the moment. Oftentimes the Hanged Man comes at a time when you haven’t been slowing down or when you are moving too fast for your plans & other aspects aren’t in place yet. The Universe puts you on “pause” to help behind the scenes. Can it be annoying to not have movement when you are ready & raring to go? Yes.

Would it be hard to not run when an invisible hand threatens to hang you & tells you to? Yes. But would it have kept her safe in the car with her friends? Very possibly. We’ll never know.

I’m annoyed that this card seemed to be used because it was so easy to equate The Hanged Man with hanging as a way to die. However, there are some connections to the true card meaning in that Madeline needed to accept where she was out of control & listen to others to help her stay safe. She chose to panic & take action, instead of calming herself down & going a different way. She paid the price. A lesson we can all learn from, when feeling out of control & struggling to determine what comes next. Sometimes, you just need to take a moment to be still & see what comes next instead of trying to influence the outcome.

Last to die, but not least…Paige. This character was in a relationship with Elise & is still grieving her loss. She receives The Magician card as her overall. Paige is told that she “goes out of her way for her friends” but she should beware the Magician’s “bag of tricks” & not let his “deception prevent her from seeing clearly”. This one was almost as bad as Lucas in terms of tarot meanings not even coming into play in this movie.

At this point now that Madeline has also died, Paxton leaves the rest of the friends in the car & goes off on his own (more on him next blog). Paige, Haley & Grant continue driving back to the house to find the deck in order to destroy it & try to break the curse. When panic ensues in the house the characters get split up & Paige finds herself isolated. She hears Haley’s voice & goes to try and help her friend. She finds herself in the basement where lightbulbs explode & glass goes into her eyes. Then she wanders onto a stage with a creepy zombie-like Magician (top hat, maniacal smile, magic wand & all). The audience is made up of similar creepy zombie-like looking people with massive smiles. She tries to run & hide in a box, but gets locked in & then sawed in half on stage by The Magician. Classic horror movie but not really representative of The Magician card of the Major Arcana.

Historically, the Magician card did have some roots of magicians of old & carries some of that trickster energy to it. It could represent manipulation in a reversed sense. However, more modern interpretations of The Magician card are all about self-empowerment & the skills & talents we have innately within us. The image on the RWS deck shows the symbols of the four suits of the Minor Arcana (wand, cup, sword & pentacle) in front of a man holding a wand up in one hand & pointing down with his other (“as above, so below”). He’s not touching any of the tools in front of him because the power is within. He already has it. It’s not about the tools. It’s about his belief in himself & his ability to achieve his goals. This card is really the confidence required to manifest our dreams into reality. If you don’t think you can do it then you won’t be able to. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

This card in tarot is an action-oriented card & if someone was asking about whether or not they should take a risk & go after a dream or new goal this card would be a big, resounding “yes!”. There is opportunity in the card & potential that is only limited by yourself. The Magician card almost asks “What will you create with the magic within you today?”.

So when Paige tries to run away from the Magician & is locked in the box unable to save herself it is in direct opposition to this meaning of the card. She has no power & no matter how much she believes she will be able to escape or tries to, it is beyond her control. We don’t get perspective with the movie. No first person narrative, no voice over with Paige’s thoughts. So it’s unclear if perhaps the real reason she fails is because she believes it’s ultimately useless or if it’s just that the cards must resolve themselves - ie kill. Who knows.

In the end, I found this one a difficult correlation & I’m not a fan. Plus, if you’re gonna do a creepy Magician at least have a creepy ventriloquist dummy to go with. 😉

More on the boys who live & the remaining 2 tarot cards featured in the movie in my final blog post…. Stay tuned!