The Fun Factor

Parsifal the Scribe
5 min readApr 23, 2022


Let’s be honest. As solemn as we can be about our sacred mission of helping people with our divining skills, reading the tarot cards for others can be just plain fun! Ideally, my sitters will get enjoyment as well as useful insights out of the experience, so I hope the pleasure is mutual (unless they’re so distraught that it would be better to have them seek professional help). I frequently encounter other readers online who say they are emotionally drained after a reading and have to recharge. I’ve never experienced that drawback since I’m invariably energized by the inspired interaction with my sitters, even if I’m doing back-to-back readings at a psychic fair. The worst I can say is that I develop a powerful thirst.

I won’t go so far as to call what I do “for entertainment only” since my State doesn’t require that disclaimer in order to erase the onus of “fortune-telling,” and my first objective is always to put clients in touch with their own subconscious awareness of the situation. (To that end I explain the purpose of the shuffle-and-cut.) But the cards on the table are both an intellectual and an emotional stimulus to the sense of satisfaction I get when I successfully connect with a stranger over a tarot spread. I believe this also makes me a better reader because two-way communication is the critical factor in any reading and the immediate feedback I receive encourages me to even greater creativity as we jointly zero in on the answer.

The storyteller’s art is what puts the “fun” in functional card-reading. Those who complain about being too awkward in their oral presentation should cultivate a little light-hearted whimsy in their approach and not obsess over being “right.” My favorite way is to introduce what I call imaginative “storytelling tropes” into the dialogue as a way to break any conversational barriers and hopefully give the sitter a brief laugh in the process (even if I only elicit a rueful chuckle in trying circumstances). There are usually shared cultural, social, literary or historical metaphors and analogies to be found in more mundane references that relate to the subject of the reading. All readers have to ask themselves is “What does this image make me think of that the sitter might recognize?” and they’re off and running on a “free-association” tear. Sitters will retain only what they want out of anything we tell them anyway, so we might as well make it intriguing as well as informative.

I have a few favorites as shown in this list of “Tarot Euphemisms” based on the Waite-Smith tarot deck that I’ve posted before, but it bears bumping. I’ve since discovered a few more but haven’t updated the list yet; when I do that I’ll add the court cards as well.

Ace of Wands — The “burr under the saddle” card (aka the “just do it, already!” card))

Two of Wands — The “one foot in the past, one foot in the future” card

Three of Wands — The “patience is a virtue”card (aka the “look before you leap” card)

Four of Wands — The “enlightened self-interest” card (aka the “bring home the bacon” card)

Five of Wands — The “collision of competing ambitions” card (aka the “aggravation” card)

Six of Wands — The “pride goeth before a fall” card (aka the “overconfidence” card)

Seven of Wands — The “fight fire with fire” card (aka the “from the frying pan into the fire” card)

Eight of Wands — The “discretion is the better part of valor” card (aka the “strategic retreat” card)

Nine of Wands — The “bloodied but unbowed” card (1)(aka the “last stand” card)

Ten of Wands — The “slouching toward salvation” card (aka the “lookin’ for a place to hide” card [2])

Ace of Cups — The “All You Need is Love” card (3)

Two of Cups — The “lovers’ pledge” card (aka the “puppy love” card)

Three of Cups — The “three’s a crowd” card (aka the “lovers’ triangle” card)

Four of Cups — The “one big yawn” card

Five of Cups — The “take the best and leave the rest” card (aka the “ashes of remorse” card)

Six of Cups — The “Neverland” card, where nobody grows up (aka the “don’t worry, be happy” card [4])

Seven of Cups — The “I don’t know what it is, but I’ll know it when I see it” card

Eight of Cups — The “poisoned well” card

Nine of Cups — The “fat, dumb and happy” card (aka the “Mr. Creosote” card[12])

Ten of Cups — The “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” card (3)

Ace of Swords — The “Aha! moment” card (aka the “bright idea” card)

Two of Swords — The “mental block” card (aka the “horns of a dilemma” card)

Three of Swords — The “no pain, no gain” card (aka the “wrestling a porcupine” card)

Four of Swords — The “pause that refreshes” card (5)(aka the “lying down and avoiding” card[6])

Five of Swords — The “might makes right” card (aka the “kick in the pants” card)

Six of Swords — The “betwixt-and-between” card (aka the “unsettled mind” card)

Seven of Swords — The “false pretenses” card (aka the “gaming the system” card)

Eight of Swords — The “follow your heart, not your head” card

Nine of Swords — The “dark night of the soul” card (aka the “it’s darkest before the dawn” card)

Ten of Swords — The “scorched earth” card (aka the “feelin’ ‘bout half-past dead” card [2])

Ace of Pentacles — The “ace in the hole” card (aka the “golden opportunity” card)

Two of Pentacles — The “if you see a chance, take it” card (7)(aka the “tipping point” card)

Three of Pentacles — The “we can work it out” card (3); the “plan the work and work the plan” card

Four of Pentacles — The “I, Me, Mine” card (3)(aka the “Show me the money!” card [13])

Five of Pentacles — The “beggars can’t be choosers” card (aka the “Born Under a Bad Sign” card [8])

Six of Pentacles — The “embarrassment of riches” card (aka the “salving a guilty conscience” card)

Seven of Pentacles — The “unfinished business” card (aka the “nothing to offer” card)

Eight of Pentacles — The “perfectionist” card (aka the “nose to the grindstone” card)

Nine of Pentacles — The “Garden of Earthly Delights” card (9)(aka the “Hotel California”card [10])

Ten of Pentacles — The “Pangloss proposition” card (aka the “all is for the best” card [11])

References: (1) William Ernest Henley, from “Invictus;”(2) The Band, from “The Weight;” (3) the Beatles, various; (4) Bobby McFerrin; (5) Coca-Cola slogan; (6) Monty Python, from the “Australian Table Wines” sketch; (7) Steve Winwood; (8) bluesman Albert King; (9) Hieronymus Bosch; (10) The Eagles; (11) Voltaire; (12) Monty Python from “The Meaning of Life;” (13) Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire. Also various adages, homilies, platitudes and biblical aphorisms.

Originally published at on April 23, 2022.



Parsifal the Scribe

I’ve been involved in the esoteric arts since 1972, with a primary interest in tarot and astrology. See my previous work at