Can tarot cards predict the Superbowl winner?

The short answer is no.

On Sunday morning before the Superbowl I noticed that several gifted tarot readers had posted predictions for the Superbowl.  The consensus was that the Broncos would win.  Obviously, all those predictions were wrong.

Curious about what the cards would show if I also tried to predict the outcome, I drew three cards for each team.  Here is what emerged:

Broncos:  Queen of Swords – Judgement – The World

Seahawks: 8 of Coins – The Lovers – The Hanged Man

I drew three cards for each team.

I drew three cards for each team.

The Broncos seemed to have the better tarot hand, which was in accord with what other tarot readers were seeing, so I posted my “prediction” along with the rest.  I generally don’t use the tarot for such predictions, so I added that we all had a 50-50 chance of being right.  At the same time I felt that a win by the Seahawks would expose the hubris of all of us who were attempting to predict the future with tarot cards.  Since I’m very unlucky with speculative risks, I added that if I were to bet on the Broncos, it would all but guarantee a win by the Seahawks.

The prediction in favor of the Broncos was at odds with what most sports commentators were saying.  The Seahawks were generally favored to win by the experts but there was a sentimental wish that the Broncos would win because of Payton Manning’s status in the game.  Even though I knew the odds were in favor of the Seahawks, I was hoping Payton Manning would win for such sentimental reasons.  The cards seemed to have picked up on my wishes rather than the facts of the matter.  In addition, I had some misgivings about my interpretation because the Queen of Swords is usually someone who is grieving a loss and the eagle (substitute for Seahawk) is elevated above the bull (substitute for Bronco) on the World trump card.  Nonetheless, the Hanged Man ending the Seahawk’s spread seemed to imply an upset of what the experts were predicting.  Like the other tarot readers, I was simply wrong in the end.

Many years ago when I was first learning tarot, I experimented with a large number of yes-no questions and with predictions of the outcomes of elections and sporting events.  After keeping careful records for a period of over a year, I concluded that the tarot, in my hands at least, was no better than chance in predicting the outcome of a yes-no question or contest situation.  It may be that other readers are more fortunate, but when I followed all such predictions that I made in the course of a year, the tarot was not better than flipping a coin.

I found in the tarot literature that many tarot experts were of the same opinion. For example, Mary K. Greer advises in Tarot Mirrors (1988) that instead of using the cards to try to predict the future, the tarot reader better serves the client by rewording the question to “transform all questions and statements into forms that are empowering.”  In the case of the Superbowl, instead of asking who will win the game, one might ask, “What do the Broncos (or the Seahawks) need to do to be able to win the game?”

Following Mark K. Greer’s lead, James Ricklef in Tarot Tells the Tale gives an example in which a querent asks a fortune-telling question “Will I be successful at …” which he transforms into an empowering “What can I do to be successful at ...?”

The books by Mary K. Greer served as my mentor when I was seriously studying tarot in the 1980s.  I ignored her wisdom on Superbowl Sunday and used the cards to try to predict a predetermined future rather than empower the querent.  I hope in the future I can avoid ignoring Mary’s wisdom and my own research into the matter.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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5 Responses to Can tarot cards predict the Superbowl winner?

  1. Kelly says:

    Thank you for this very important reminder with how to best empower our clients (and ourselves) in terms of forms of prediction. This insight applies to many forms of divination as well as wishful thinking.

  2. Eric says:

    Not surprising, I’ve also found that Tarot cards and I Ching are better at guidance and insight than for absolute yes/no issues. Which explains why no tarot reader I know of is a millionaire gambler! Have you ever tried using astrology for sports prediction?

  3. Eric,
    I’ve had better luck with astrology for sports prediction, but it’s a lot of work and I’m usually not that interested in predicting such outcomes.

  4. Stephen says:

    With all due respect the Tarot is quite capable of judging what energies are coming — be it a Superbowl loss or a romantic disappointment or a job change, etc. — if one uses the appropriate technique. All this business of converting the Scorpionic eagle into a symbol for the Seahawks is NOT how one goes about divining the future using Tarot. Instead one bases the judgment off of numerological and astrological factors associated with the particular cards. First of all, there are very specific spreads designed to answer YES/NO questions. I’m a professional Taroist and use it all the time. That spread works, and the testimonials of my clients satisfies me that the odds are statistically more significant than simply flipping a coin. One has to use the proper deck. One has to use the proper spread. And one has to know how to interpret the cards in a way *other* than the New Age baloney popularized by many occult authors today, Mrs. Greer included. Sure, it’s great to “empower” your client — nothing wrong there. But if horary astrology can predict the future, why can’t the Tarot if the Taroist is reading the cards using astrological sensitivities? It works fine for me. I didn’t try to predict the outcome of the Superbowl, mainly because I could care less about sports. I’ll be a sports fan when the winning team is allowed to kill and eat the loser. Until that time, the stakes of athletic events just aren’t high enough to interest me. But if I had been interested in the Superbowl, I’m pretty sure I would have gotten the right answer. Naturally, I could be wrong. This isn’t X-Ray technology. It ain’t an MRI. But I find that when I’m wrong it’s usually because I overlooked a very important feature in the spread. In other words, human error is the culprit and not a fault in the Tarot. In Mr. Louis’s spread above I would have posited an entirely different conclusion. First off, in my deck the World is attributed to Pluto and is considered a sign of folly and error. The Queen of Swords indicates the wrong way to open a contest. A poor opening gambit. First of all, it’s a feminine energy in a man’s game. No room for Queens in football! And second of all, I’d attribute that Queen of Swords to the sign of Virgo. Hardly a positive testimony for athleticism. Trump 8 holds no special significance because it’s in the middle of the game. The end is really the only thing that counts. So, I’d say that the Broncos ended with folly and Seattle ended with a game-winning sacrifice. But of course, it’s very easy to render judgments after the event has already passed. This comment is just to rebut the notion — which is ridiculous in my opinion — that the Tarot is no better than flipping a coin when it comes to divination. That could not be more wrong. Just because Mr. Louis got a spread that he read wrong does not nullify the entire art of divining the future using cartomancy.

    • Stephen,

      Thanks for your detailed reply. I don’t doubt that some tarot readers get better results than I do with yes/no questions. My own systematic test of the various techniques I could find in the literature over the period of a couple of years showed that they were correct about 50% of the time in my hands. I was struck that the majority of tarot predictions for this year’s Superbowl by people who had predicted the outcome accurately in the past were also wrong.

      If you have a method that works most of the time, I would be eager to learn it. Have you published your technique so that I can read it? If not, would you be willing to write a synopsis of your method — what deck & spread you use, what associations you use, how you interpret the cards — which I would be happy to post here in my blog if you don’t have another forum, giving you full credit, of course.

      I look forward to learning from you,


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