The Universe is Not Your Slot Machine

the universe is not your slot machine and your card reader is not your croupier

See that slot machine in the background in the image above? It’s not a metaphor for the Universe… and that croupier? I may shuffle and deal just as well as she does, but that is all we have in common.

Below you will find an amalgamation of what I would term slot machine questions for the Tarot. I have been asked all of these or similar questions from various prospective clients over the years.

Will I ever work for myself?

What line of work would make me happy?

Will I be rich?

What should I do about my current job?

What is my life purpose?

Is somebody out to get me?

Do I need to worry about anything?

When will he put a ring on it?

When will I have my own house?

When will I meet ‘The One?’

How many children will I have and when will I have them?

What clients who ask these questions seem to have in common is the notion that the Universe must be one great big slot machine and the Tarot reader knows the guy who fills it with coins, so she can tell them when they should gamble and how big the won will be.

That’s obviously not how creation works – Thank God, because it would be so utterly pointless! Not only would you not learn a single thing but it would be completely unfair. There are no secrets that will help you ‘win’ at the game of life. What you put in is more or less what you get out and the fastest path to contentment is to concern yourself with the happiness of others than your own happiness.

Let’s be very clear about the laws of cause and effect though: There is no such thing as ‘The Law of Attraction.’ I think the meme below sums it up beautifully 😉

law of attraction

None of us have been promised a trouble-free life. It is through life’s tests and trials that we grow. Elisabeth Kubler Ross said it better than I ever could:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Most of my Tarot colleagues wouldn’t touch most of the questions above with barge poles because of their high ethical standards. An ethical Tarot reader would strive to educate the prospective client about how things work and help the client reframe their question(s). Unfortunately, for every ethical Tarot reader, there are at least ten charlatans out there, so what we do often feels like a Sisyphus task. But that doesn’t make us give up… and I will keep using this platform to keep educating everyone about the true nature of the Tarot, how to best use it, which questions to ask and which to avoid.

Let me break the question examples down and answer them, free of charge, for everyone…

Slot machine questions for the Tarot

Will I ever work for myself? Yes, if you apply yourself, do the footwork, and read up on self-employment, the biz/marketing side of things. You also need a clear vision about what you wish to bring to the world, make sure there is a market for what you offer and confidence in your ability to create something new.

What line of work would make me happy? What do you do that makes people around you smile and want to be near you? What was your dream job as a child?

Will I be rich? Rich in what? If being rich in terms of making lots of money is important to you, you may have to sacrifice peace of mind and find, toward the end of your life, that you have been hoarding treasures that you can’t take with you. It is better to ‘lay up treasures in Heaven.’ The only thing you get to take with you is the love you shared with others.

What should I do about my current job? Keep it if it pays your bills – at least until you can come up with a viable action plan (see question one).

What is my purpose? See question two.

Is somebody out to get me? Totally irrelevant. All you have to worry about is your own upright walk. Unless, of course, it is a matter for the police… in which case, please phone them now.

Do I need to worry about anything? No. You need to pray:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

When will my partner propose? I don’t know, why don’t you ask him?

Will my relationship improve? Are both of you willing to do the work? If not, no.

When will I have my own house? When you have enough financial stability to buy one.

How many children will I have and when will I have them? How many children do you want and when do you want them? Please consider adoption – there are too many unwanted children in the world.

When will I meet ‘The One?’ You assume there is a fated ‘One’ that you will settle down with. This may or may not be the case.

Will I ever find true love? Ever is a very long time. I keep forecasts to a maximum of 12 months. The shorter the time span, the more accurate the forecast, just like with the weather.

Questions I can read on with the help of the Tarot

  • My dream is to work with ______. I want to look at taking some steps toward achieving my goal in the year ahead. What do I need to be aware of? Which of these two paths (a or b) would be the best way forward?
  • I’m in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t seem to want to commit. What do I need to know about how I contributed to this dynamic?
  • Which of these career options (a, b or c) would potentially lead to the greatest amount of financial stability with a view to saving up for the down-payment on a house?
  • What can I do to improve my relationship?

Okay, so this post may fall in the tough love category but it is written from the heart. I hope you can take something from it and approach the Tarot with a better understanding of your motivation for asking questions of the cards.

Love and Blessings,

Lisa Frideborg

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Comments 18

  1. Wait…I can’t tell what is being said about the law of attraction. Isn’t the law just about how people/life will reflect to us what we are thinking/feeling/how we behave? It’s not to say nothing bad will ever happen to us if our intentions are immaculate, it’s just a basic relational concept that describes what we can expect from others/life based on our behavior. Right?

    I think of the law of attraction as a fundamental law of human life. For example, we attract friends who are similar to how we feel, and the approach we take when interacting with others can influence the way people respond to us. Is “law of attraction” and “cause and effect” really different? Im having a hard time seeing how they are. I guess they could be depending on interpretations of those terms.

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      The difference is that the laws of cause and effect on a karmic scale are way too complex for us to understand. The ‘Law of Attraction’ has been made popular by people who claim to understand all spiritual laws. They don’t. Or there wouldn’t be thousands of people who can vouch for the fact that the tricks they teach to help us manipulate these laws of cause and effect don’t actually work. Spiritual laws of cause and effect are about what benefits the evolution of the soul. The ‘Law of Attraction’ is about satisfying the ego… Lots of money to be made in the latter category!

  2. The “beautiful people” that Kubler Ross mentions are also the ones who tend to call bullsh!t on the notion that everything happens for a reason.
    “why did my child die?” or “why was I sexually assaulted?” is not assuaged with “in 20 years you will become a beautiful person!” I hate that explanation as much as I dislike the so-called law of attraction.

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  3. I almost broke out laughing at the list that responsible readers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole,because again I had another friend who just wanted the cards to tell her everything without doing any inner Spiritual reflection.
    I do readings to try and help people “see”, but very few want to see.
    I have learned so much about Tarot from you, Lisa, and now I only want to help people grow in Spirit and awareness.
    The Devil, always meant “bad” to me also, eventhough, I bought the New Age crap for a bit. Not anymore!
    I was also guilty of wanting to be led down a flower strewn path, now I know it is only by my taking personal responsibility for getting off my ass to make life happen, and nightly prayers of Gratitude, for a happier life.
    Love, Light and Blessings!

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  4. It’s very clear then 🙂 No one needs tarot readers. Take the responsability for your own life.
    Slome of the content in this blog is not in line with previoous content.
    The best medicin is humour i think 🙂

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      That’s right, nobody NEEDS Tarot reader, just like nobody NEEDS artists, or energy healers… but as you can see in the concluding statement where I talk about how the Tarot can be used in a meaningful and holistic way, it does have a place for those who realise that it can’t be used to replace common sense.

      You are spot on about the change of direction, I have taken with my blog since I began in 2006 (Yes, quite the journey!). This comes from contemplating deeply the impact of my during my personal Death year. Some of it was already in place from returning to the TABI ethics early last year and the rest is a result of my decision to walk in the light of Grace, as a Follower of the Way, which has allowed my work to be more fully illuminated with truth and light.

      Humour and laughter is GREAT medicine. I make sure I get at least one deep belly laugh every day. I hope you do too!

  5. OMG I’m your fan!!!
    Reading this article made me feel very sure that I’m on the right path!!!
    You are incredible, straightforward and truly enlightened!!
    Someone who really knows and understand how the tarot works and most importantly, how it SHOULD be used!!
    Thankfully I’m also the one in 10 readers!!
    Can I please share this article on my page and also other learning groups??
    And again, LOVED IT!!! keep writing your amazing knowledge!!

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  6. Very interesting post! 😉 One question I’ve gotten a lot of times is “Will I move somewhere else in the coming year?” and it always stumps me. I mean, do you want to move?! Are you looking for a new home? Are you just waiting for someone to call you up and say “Hey, I have a house here for you, you can move in during August!” or what? Everytime I ask one of those clients if they believe that everything in life is predetermined they say that they don’t! Very confusing to say the least…

    I really wish people would think it through when they order a reading or go see a reader. What do they expect? What beliefs do they subscribe to? Most readings don’t cost as little as a take away coffee so why not think it through?

    I often think a lot of people are super afraid of making decisions. They are too afraid to apply for a new job (because what if they hate it?!) so they want someone to say “Oh yes, you will apply for that job and get it and you will love it!” and just forget about all the worries. Though of course an ethical reader would never say such a thing… I’m thinking of all the friends I’ve had, asking for my advice (without cards that is), asking things like “Should I leave my husband for that gorgeous co-worker who seems amazing?!” – How in the world can anyone else make that decision?! But people love to stay away from accountability and responsibility unfortunately… :-/

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      Accountability and responsibility are impossible without moral moorings… and we live a post-truth society. The BIG question is how we can re-establish moral moorings as a society when there supposedly is nothing but subjective truth. Plus, the devil, (who is having the time of is life in this post-truth world of ours) has so many greedy servants in the charlatan readers that destroy all the good work ethical readers do. Let’s be loud. Let’s be very fucking loud on behalf what is right and good.

      1. I’m with you. I might not share your Christian base fully, but I am completely with you that the greedy LoA and manifestation trend needs to be examined in the open. I am seeing very little critique against it, and people are not interested in hearing how it’s a scam, the video I made about it has the least amount of views out of any of my videos… People love to believe that their material success is something they got from a higher power because they’re just such good lightworkers sigh…

        Have you thought about how The Devil card in the tarot has went from a negative card to a positive card in modern times? When I started learning the traditional TdM my teacher made it clear that The Devil is bad and negative, because umm hello, he’s the king of evil basically so how could that be good? But in many modern books and YT-channels The Devil has changed meaning into being about lust, passion, shadow work, following our instincts and such… I just thought it was interesting to notice that and wondered if someone else had… 😉

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          I might have to pop over and watch that video of yours! Yeah, don’t get me started… The Devil good? How utterly f*cking ridiculous! I was pulled in by that lie myself… I thought, hmmm… I suppose that if you see the Devil as sexuality with complete abandom or some kind of Pan-like force of nature… bla bla bla… If we don’t have a card that represents evil and temptation, how can we even claim to have a complete system?

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