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Turning to Tarot

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

The Cut

A weekly audio magazine exploring culture, style, sex, politics, and more, with host Avery Trufelman.

It’s safe to say that many of us are wondering what 2021 is going to look like. We can turn to polls and surveys and even horoscopes, but still we’re left wondering, what does the future hold? Cut senior writer Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz definitely shares these thoughts. So this week, Sangeeta, a non-believer in anything supernatural, has her fortune told by three different tarot readers: Jessica Lanyadoo, Nancy Hayes, and Jessica Dore. After each reading, host Avery Trufelman checks in with Sangeeta and the reader to hear about their specific approach.

First up, Sangeeta asks reader Jessica Lanyadoo a few questions about her future, and doesn’t receive the straightforward answer she’s looking for.

JESSICA LANYADOO: Nobody wants to fail. Nobody wants to make a mistake in their lives that will harm them. No one wants to be unhappy. No one wants to be lonely. And every single thing anyone has ever asked me — and people have asked me some nut banana salad questions over the course of time — every single question anyone has ever asked me has ultimately been, ‘if I do X, will I be happy? If I get X, will I be happy? If I don’t get X, will I be unhappy?’ That’s it. The only reason why we want things is because we believe that having those things will make us happy. 

SANGEETA: She kind of told me off for having a scarcity mindset and the questions I was asking being very fear-based, which I didn’t realize. And she also didn’t answer some of my questions, around whether my relationship would last and she was like, “If I do answer these questions, you will not stop thinking about it.” And I was like, okay sure. And the second reader, I did have those questions answered. And I was like, holy fuck

NANCY: So do I think that this is going to be a relationship that lasts forever? No. Based on these cards, I would say no. So just straight up no. Sorry. 

SANGEETA: Oh my God. I’m a little spooked.

Sangeeta was dreading her third and final reading, but in the end it was illuminating.

AVERY: Reading one taught Sangeeta that she wasn’t asking the right questions. Reading two taught her that she maybe didn’t want to know the answers. But then, the third tarot reading was a bit of curveball.

SANGEETA: Okay, so the last one — she didn’t tell me anything about the future, which completely floored me. 

JESSICA DORE: I think part of the hesitation among a lot of people is the idea of tarot as fortune telling and I don’t use cards in that way. 

SANGEETA: She wasn’t a predictive reader, which I didn’t know was a thing. 

Jessica Dore used the cards in such a way that allowed Sangeeta to explore the things that came up for her in the present moment.

JESSICA DORE: I think most of the cards are around, “what happens if I stop moving, what happens if I sit still for a minute?” How does that feel? How does that sit with you, what I’m saying? 

SANGEETA: Yeah, what you said about stopping moving. I can’t even imagine doing that. I haven’t done that since … I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I’m afraid that if I do that, I think I’ll fail. It’ll all fall apart. 

To hear more about Sangeeta’s readings and different approaches to tarot, listen below, and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Turning to Tarot