August 2022: Tarot Card Inspiration for…the End Times!


I took inspiration for this reading because of the current state of things, of course, and a little borrowed inspiration from all the talk of the Four Horse-people of the Apocalypse that seems to be floating around!

Curious about what fate could await your character(s) in your speculative, near-future novel or story? Read on!


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XVI The Tower. This card’s not so bad, you may be thinking. You’ll have to subject your beloved character to an intense period of turmoil or scorched-earth change, but they’ll emerge a better person, ready for the pot of gold at the end of the post-apocalyptic rainbow, right? Wrong! In this circumstance, I’ll interpret this card literally. We’ve got fire, storms, flooding, and maybe even plague that’s just dying to wipe out your characters. Now’s the time for you writers to indulge in your masochistic sides. Put your character at the tippy-top of a majestic castle that embodies the ultimate in human conceit or ego, or in a luxurious penthouse far above all the rabble, or even a sky village that symbolizes humanity’s supposed evolution above the gritty, grubby masses, then roll the literary plot dice and watch as your fictional settings come crumbling down. Then assuage your authorial guilt with a nice stiff drink or a pint of ice cream. It will all be better in the morning. Or not. They say life mimics art. Well, your characters would be saying it, if you hadn’t killed them all off.


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Five of Rods. Speaking of grubby masses, the near-future world around your character(s) is descending into utter chaos and anarchy. Predictable trope, right? The twist is that there’s nothing left to fight over. Unless you count all the plastic humanity’s left behind in its destructive consumerist wake, of course. There’s no food, no resources, and all over the surface of the planet, water is drying up. Maybe if the remnants of humanity followed the example of animals, they’d find a nice deep cave to retreat into. But, you know, all the fighting and war-mongering over that last handful of cookies probably makes for a better story. At least, until they get too weak to lift their creatively-constructed weapon of choice. Or eat cookies. (At least the characters are finally starting to give back to our animal friends, right? In more ways than one.)


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Seven of Swords. You never know, your character(s) may reveal themselves to have the same cunning and intelligence as their animal relatives. They’ve had the intuition and the foresight to start laying up food and water stores in a protected, hidden location. Maybe while all the fighting was going on over those last packages of cookies, they raided seed banks or garden stores and they now have a thriving garden illuminated by grow lights that, in turn, are powered by some ingenious solar energy setup aboveground. Perhaps they’ll even instigate a conflict between individuals or communities, and then slip away with the group’s limited resources. As long as this character doesn’t trust other people, they might have a chance at survival. If they’re not eaten by an even-more-savvy animal hiding in the same cave system they’ve taken refuge in, that is.


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Five of Pentacles. This character(s) is probably the one who will be a state of complete denial about what’s happening to the world around them. They may try to understand why these terrible things are happening, and perhaps even see them as some sort of divine retribution or cosmic/karmic justice and, instead of actively seeking ways and methods to survive in this changing, often hostile, world, they try to find ways to appease these disgruntled higher forces. That infected scratch from a rusty nail the character got as they were scavenging food from an abandoned building’s vending machine? It’s miraculously healed by the next morning. And, hey, look at those delicious red berries growing under that tree! It just has to be a gift from the higher powers that are in charge, right? Unless, of course, the berries are poisonous. In which case, no amount of miracle working can save the character from their fate. It was foretold, after all, if the character had read the signs from the universe correctly.


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