Tarot has long been part of the cultural consciousness, appearing in television, movies, and even in your favorite music. Although Tarot is sometimes (wrongly) referred to as a tool for evil influences or as a trade for conmen, others look to it for guidance or inspiration. Because of this, the modern music industry has created several songs about tarot cards, spanning across genres.
From indie pop to heavy metal, artists reference tarot readings and the cards that are pulled, often reflecting on their own beliefs about the accuracy of Tarot. Repeatedly, the beautiful and mysterious tarot reader is the object of their affection.
Even when tarot cards are only mentioned in passing, they give life to the arcane picture the song is painting.
With so many songs about tarot cards to choose from, we’ve put together a list of 12 songs for your listening convenience. So take a deep dive into the tarot through song, and let the music speak for itself. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even find your new favorite song in the process.
1. The Fool on the Hill – The Beatles
Paul McCartney revealed in his book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now that the Tarot inspired “The Fool on the Hill” from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album. The song references several tarot cards, including The Fool, The World, and The Sun.
At one point, McCartney avoided the Tarot because he was afraid of the Death Card. That was until Marijke Koger gave McCartney a tarot reading that changed his perspective.
During the reading, Koger pulled the Fool card. While those unfamiliar with the Tarot believe the Fool card to represent naivety and stupidity, this Major Arcana card actually represents a person on their path to spiritual wisdom. Paul McCartney wrote “The Fool on the Hill” as a nod to tarot readers and gurus, claiming that those touted as fools are often more enlightened than those who criticize them. Sadly, John Lennon did not agree with this sentiment, but the message of the song still stands.
2. Tarot Woman – Rainbow
This 1976 metal classic was written by Ritchie Blackmore, the lead guitarist and founder of Rainbow. The song’s narrator travels to a carnival to meet with a tarot reader who has promised him insight into his future. The Tarot Woman tells him to “beware of a place/the smile of a bright shining face,” implying that his lover will betray him. To no one’s surprise, he was notably bummed.
3. Between the Zero and The One – Dawes
The title of this song by folk rockers Dawes is a reference to binary code, which consists of zeros and ones. A follow-up to “Most People,” the song is about how the truth will always come out in the end, no matter how hard we resist it or deny the part we played. The female protagonist wants to forgo her responsibility in the dissolution of her relationship, consulting a Ouija board and tarot cards in hopes that they’ll offer a simpler explanation.
She pulls the Tower card and the Moon card, which she “did try to disregard.” Sometimes, the answers we want just aren’t there, no matter how many times we shuffle the tarot deck. The harsh reality is that most stories cannot be neatly wrapped up with a bow. Our actions don’t always have clean justification. Unfortunately, the truth of the situation is rarely black and white, leaving us somewhere between two sides of a story or two binary numbers – between the zero and the one.
4. Two of Cups – Valley Queen
Valley Queen’s song “Two of Cups” is an ode to the tarot card of the same name. The Two of Cups, which is part of the Minor Arcana, represents harmony and cooperation, as well as a balanced exchange between two people. When pulled in a reading, it usually implies that partnership and mutual understanding will bring success.
The lyrics of the song touch on the vulnerability of love and how it can be difficult to let someone in, even when the love is as magnetic as the tides. As is true to the Two of Cups, the rejection that she fears never comes, leaving her “shaking on the edge of a feeling.”
5. Am I Alright – Aly & AJ
Once Disney darlings, Aly & AJ have since broken into the adult pop scene. Their single “Am I Alright” touches on mental health problems and the importance of checking in on oneself. The first verse represents the monotony and stagnation of depression with the lyrics “every day, every day, I’m pulling the same tarot cards.” No matter how much the duo wishes for a change, the melancholy drags on.
6. Queen of Wands – Kainalu
This dreamy indie-pop track by Kainalu is about being frustrated with the modern dating scene, longing for a meaningful connection while navigating the social complexities of romance. The Suit of Wands is ruled by the fire element and represents power, sexuality, and passion, making it the perfect metaphor for Kainalu’s desire.
The Queen of Wands is one of the court cards, and she signifies a powerful, driven female persona that embodies these qualities. Kainalu can’t deny or resist the energy of the Queen of Wands, knowing that he has to surrender to her despite feeling scared. In other words, he can’t find the connection he needs if he doesn’t keep putting himself out there.
7. Tarot Cards – Carpool Tunnel
Carpool Tunnel’s song “Tarot Cards” speaks about feeling lost and turning to the Tarot for answers. According to the band, the theme of the song came about after a discussion about “why tarot cards seem to be so true.” They built the chorus around the questions people ask themselves during a tarot reading, such as “Has it been too long?” and “Has it done you wrong?”. The song itself has several renditions, reflecting how tarot cards are highly interpretative and contain many meanings.
8. Me and the Bean – Spoon
Although “Me and the Bean” was originally written by the Sidehackers, the alternative track gained recognition on Spoon’s Girls Can Tell album. The song opens with lyrics “There’s a girl in my yard/Reading to me tarot cards/She don’t know anything/But she’s beautiful to me.” Fans debate what the true meaning of the song is. While most agree it is about a naive, youthful girl, there is ambiguity about what relationship the singer has with her.
From the lyrics “you’ll bring me youth when I grow old” and “I have your blood inside my heart,” it is possible that he is an older family member observing her. However, the lyrics could also mean that he is her lover, happy that she’ll keep him young as they grow older, the blood signifying their bond with each other. No matter how you interpret the lyrics, this catchy song is sure to make your Tarot playlist.
9. Queen of Coins – Nikitaa
If you want to feel divinely inspired, look no further than this pop song from Nikitaa’s album High Priestess. Influenced by Indian classical music and R&B beats, Nikitaa sings about her success in “Queen of Coins.” The Queen of Coins (also known as the Queen of Pentacles) is one of the court cards. It represents abundance, self-reliance, and wealth.
Nikitaa’s lyrics reflect the richness of the Suit of the Pentacles: “abundance, yeah I’m fertile soil/I sow and reap my gains.” She speaks to the power of the earth element, her self-described “Goddess Pop” is the perfect mood music for an evening with candles, incense, and tarot readings.
10. Let’s Be Friends – Carly Rae Jepson
Nobody’s dying, but Jepson’s boyfriend is certainly dead to her in this upbeat breakup song. The unity of the Lovers is broken with the line “baby it’s me, not you.”
The pre-chorus bounces around the promises made versus the reality of the situation. “So take the tarot card/And tell a fortune gold/The past heartbreaks, the lies we told, we tell again.” Despite the agreement that she’ll stay friends with her ex, Jepson vows to never speak to him again.
“Let’s Be Friends” has the feel of sarcastic quips behind a saccharine smile, complete with tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a snappy beat. For us, Jepson’s Tarot reference is the icing on the cake of this fun song.
11. Tarot – Small Million
If “Let’s Be Friends” had a darker indie-pop prelude, “Tarot” by Small Million would fit the mold. Full of warped vocals and synth-heavy melodies, “Tarot” centers around a tension-filled, contradictory relationship.
Three of the four suits are sprinkled throughout the lyrics, but the Empress tarot card serves as the primary metaphor for the lovers. Small Million sings, “if I’m the Empress, you’re the Empress upside down,” describing how the lovers are opposites doomed to clash. The Empress upright signifies creation, protection, and abundance, while the Empress reversed represents stunted growth and neglect.
The singers read tarot while their lover reads tea leaves, hoping their fortune will turn around. Deep down, they know their differences are too great for them to have peace. The lyric “we tied the knot to hang beneath the bough” could reference the Hanged Man tarot card, which aligns with the couple’s uncertainty and resistance to letting go. The song closes without a resolution, Small Million still holding onto hope that their star-crossed relationship will survive.
12. King of Swords (Reversed) – The Dear Hunter
The Dear Hunter’s “King of Swords (Reversed)” is a powerful track about the consequences of misusing power. The reversed King of Swords signifies the misuse of one’s mental power, authority, and drive.
As part of their album Act IV: Rebirth in Reprise, this song is part of a multi-album storyline. In this track, Hunter runs for office against his opponents, the Pimp and the Priest. For those who study the Enneagram, the protagonist resembles an unhealthy, manipulative Type 2 that has taken on the aggressive traits of Type 8. While he may begin with good intentions, his thirst for revenge is overcoming him, evidenced by the lyrics “Now I can’t stop till everyone who ever done me wrong/Knows I’m not willing to take it.”
This modern rock narrative is still ongoing. We wonder if the hero will become a villain by the end of the story – and if the Tarot will appear again in The Dear Hunter’s chronicles.
Tarot Music Beats On
The Tarot has long been a source of guidance and power, its meanings providing insight into our relationships and life paths. These twelve songs have each used the tarot in their own unique ways to explore the nuances of relationships, both personal and cosmic. No matter which suit or court card is drawn up next, one thing remains clear: the tarot will continue to have a lasting presence in music for many years to come.
Want to learn more about the Tarot? Check out our other articles!
- King of Wands
- The 7 Unlucky Tarot Cards You Should Avoid on Friday the 13th
- What Does The The Queen of Wands Tarot Card Mean?
- King of Pentacles
- What is the Most Powerful Tarot Card?
- What Does The Nine of Wands Card Mean?
- 54 Best Tarot Questions About Love
- What Does the Eight of Cups Tarot Card Mean?