A Reading for Kathleen Kelly

This post is meant to give you a sense of what to expect when you book a reading with me. Rather than share a private reading given to a real person, I decided to do a sample reading for a fictional character about whom I feel pretty sentimental: Kathleen Kelly from the film "You've Got Mail." This was my first time ever doing a reading for a fictional person, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I felt like the cards were pretty consistent  with what we as viewers know about Kathleen's situation and also shed some light on what she may be faced with after the movie's final scene.

The reading below reflects my general approach to tarot. If you'd like to work together, your audio tarot reading will of course be unique to you, but it might sound something like this.


Hi, Kathleen! Thanks so much for reaching out to me. The cards had some really clear things to say, and I hope the messages will ring true and be helpful. I'll start by giving a quick overview, then address each card individually, and finally offer what I think is the complete message of the reading.

If you have a personal reaction to the cards based on your own intuition or past experience, definitely pay attention to that, even if it completely contradicts what I'm saying. I do my best to translate the cards correctly and appropriately, but ultimately, this is a conversation between your intuition and your conscious self, so you're likely to see applications for these images that I can't.

On a related note, I'll mention that the tarot includes some cards that tend to really scare people because their imagery is intense. These cards can be intimidating when you first see them and can even feel like "bad omens" in a way, but I believe deeply that each card offers incredible, necessary gifts for our healing and self-reflection. The so-called scary cards of tarot are some of the ones I love most. When you see them in your reading, try to keep an open mind and not jump to the worst conclusion immediately. We'll get through them together. :)


The cards you'll see below come from a deck called The Fountain Tarot, which is a gorgeous, fine art deck that I love using. I did your reading in two phases. Phase 1 consists of five cards, each with a specific meaning based on the card's position. Phase 2 is made up of four cards, all of which represent something you can focus on as you walk away from this reading.


Card 1 -- The Emperor -- represents you in this moment.

The Emperor is the ultimate authority figure. He is steady, secure, a believer in tradition, and right now, he is you. This particular card shows The Emperor as a man holding an enormous cube. He seems triumphant, like he's literally holding it all together in the exact right way, and he's proud to be doing it alone. This tells me that you're in a place of solitude right now and are finding success and self-assurance in that place. You're drawing more from your own strength and talents than from the support of those around you, and that's okay. There's a time and place for everything, including standing in your own power, the way The Emperor does. He is firm. He takes up space. He believes fully in his right to exist and shine. He also tends to fixate on things being correct and well-ordered; I take this to mean that you're finding it important right now to make sense of what's going on in your life, to create plans and goals that are sensible.

Card 2 -- the Two of Coins -- represents what's behind you.

The Two of Coins suggests balance, but not in the sense of a peaceful, harmonious state of being; instead, it's a quest to keep things "just right," to keep all the balls in the air while you're juggling them, even at your own peril. We see a hand thrust out of a raging sea, and in that hand are two coins, balanced just so, being held out of the water as if their protection is the only thing that matters. What if the person holding them were to simply let them go and use that arm to swim to shore instead? But at least in this moment, it appears they would rather struggle or even drown than risk losing these precious coins, even knowing that if they eventually drown, the coins will be lost anyway. The coins are connected by a subtle infinity symbol, suggesting that this need to keep things in perfect harmony can last forever, can go on and on in a never-ending loop. Even describing the scene feels suffocating. This card appears in the position of "what's behind you," so paired with the meaning of the card itself, it looks like you're coming out of a phase where you were struggling to keep things afloat, struggling to protect and prioritize the things you cared about even though you knew you were fighting a losing battle. It must have been a difficult, exhausting stretch of time. You were carrying an enormous weight on your shoulders, and you were doing it all alone (or at least that's how it felt). This card connects very well with The Emperor, who is also holding something on his own, though he is doing it in a much safer, steadier environment.

Card 3 -- the Three of Cups -- represents what's before you.

If you look at the Two of Coins, The Emperor, and the Three of Cups as a basic progression of past, present, and future, it's interesting to note the way each card shows the act of holding. In the Three of Cups (your future/what's before you), as in the Two of Coins (the past/what's behind you), we don't see faces, only hands holding things up in the air. In the case of the Three of Cups, we see three separate hands holding individual golden cups, with water pouring between them. This is a card of celebration, friendship, community, and being united with others in common purpose. My sense is that you're about to undergo changes in the area of relationships, and the changes will be nourishing to you. They will fill you up. A willingness to both give and receive will be an important aspect for you, as the Three of Cups is all about the symbiosis and sharing that happens in reciprocal relationships. After a period of solitude (something that's emphasized even more through the next card in your reading), you're entering something new, and there are beautiful gifts to be savored in union as well. The transition may be tricky (isn't it always?), but these new opportunities are something to be welcomed, not feared. 

Card 4 -- The Hermit -- represents what you're standing on.

As I mentioned before, you're coming out of a period of solitude, and no card in the tarot represents solitude more fully than The Hermit. This is the ground you're standing on, and it's clear that you've had a lot of time to practice being on your own. This doesn't necessarily mean that you've been without support, without cherished friends, without community, but on some level -- literal or otherwise -- you've been a lone wolf. You've been independent. You've looked to your own self for whatever you've needed. I want to reiterate that this isn't a flaw or a failing; it's entirely possible that this was exactly what you needed in order to grow and understand yourself. A degree of solitude allows you to do deep inner work and gain greater knowledge of your desires and calling. The Hermit chooses this life of separation and even poverty because she knows the value of it. This is a strong, sturdy foundation on which to build.

Card 5 -- The Devil -- represents what you're reaching for.

As you may have guessed, The Devil is one of those cards that can make people's hearts race a little bit. The Devil, in simple terms, stands for the ways in which we are in bondage, the imprisoning beliefs or circumstances that we sometimes get trapped in. This card is in the position of "what you're reaching for," and in fact whenever The Devil shows up, it's an indication that the person is ready to look at their own imprisonment; the fact that this is "what you're reaching for" just emphasizes that point all the more strongly. You're building on a foundation of the inner work of The Hermit, you're currently in a place of confidence and power shown by The Emperor, and having been laid bare by the struggle of the Two of Coins, you're ready to face some difficult things. You're ready to address your fears and the limitations that have been handed to you by circumstance or by your own ego-driven thought patterns. Part of you knows that it's time to look these things square in the eye. Your own intuition will be the best authority on what specific fears and limitations you need to address, but based on the entire reading taken together, I'd venture to guess that you'll be presented with opportunities to look at your sense of worthiness and security in relationships. Being on your own is probably very comfortable at this point; you've had a lot of time to get used to it. It's possible that even the relationships you've participated in over the past years have more or less reinforced your independence, haven't pushed you to get too vulnerable or interconnected. Now, with the Three of Cups in your future, that's about to change, and it will mean you have to deal with the messy feelings and fears that come up. If you're feeling trapped, particularly in the face of commitment or emotional intimacy, work with those feelings. Don't take them as a sure indication that you need to make a break for it. Look at how those feelings are challenging you to grow beyond your supposed chains, and recognize that -- just as The Devil card shows -- you aren't alone in those fears. The people with whom you share relationships are dealing with tender feelings and emotional weight of their own, and they have their own challenges to face. You aren't broken or wrong for having a difficult time. And you are more than equal to the task.

That's the end of Phase 1. In summary, I'd invite you to think about this act of holding once again and to look at what forms of holding are represented in the cards. Notice how they make you feel. Think of what you're holding onto in your own life. Are you holding too tightly in some areas? Or not tightly enough, worried that you'll be disappointed eventually? Are you confident that the things you're holding onto are what you really want? What if you were to let go and be free to hold other things instead, or to let your hands rest for a while? Furthermore, is there anything holding you, whether in a supportive way (embracing you, cradling you) or a toxic way (holding you back)? These would be some great questions to journal about, if that's something you're drawn to doing. I'll also add that the issue of being in community and relationship rather than being alone seems to be an important one, something you'll definitely want to be sensitive to going forward.


The remaining cards -- the Six of Wands, the Three of Coins, Death, and the Queen of Cups -- are invitations for what you can focus on during this upcoming phase of your life.

Six of Wands

The Six of Wands stands for a moment of triumph, the realization of victory and even the catharsis that can come after you've dealt with something enormous. I'm reminded again of the Two of Coins that appeared earlier in your reading; having this difficult episode behind you suggests that you are now in a position to celebrate your progress and to consider the emotional aftermath of this battle. This card is a pat on the back, a congratulatory handshake, inviting you to feel proud of what you've done. Is that difficult to do? Are you prone to downplaying your successes, minimizing your achievements? Think about how you can accept praise from others and how you can let them into your life to cheer you on, even if doing so feels a little vulnerable. 

Three of Coins

This card is very much connected to the Three of Cups, which appeared in the first phase of your reading. Both cards are Threes, of course, but more than that, they have to do with building something you're proud of in collaboration with others. Where the Three of Cups focuses on the emotional side of that undertaking, the Three of Coins asks you to get more practical, to dig in and look at things objectively. It asks you to look at your strengths and weaknesses and those of the people you're collaborating with, to evaluate where everyone can make their most complete contribution and how to support one another along the way. Now, what does this mean in your actual life? That will largely be up to you. In the weeks and months ahead, I invite you to think about what you want to create. It could be something obvious, like a book or an event, or it could be something more subtle and personal, like a relationship, a particular home environment, or a state of being. Whatever it is, consider who's beside you in the creation of that thing. Who are your allies? Who's supporting you, and how are you supporting them in return? Be objective in thinking through how you can best work together, appreciating everyone's unique genius and allowing it to blossom. 


Another card that puts people on edge. You can take a very philosophical, meditative view of Death (both the card and the actual event) and see it as simply a natural transformation, nothing to fear, something we only resist out of ego or weakness. On the other hand, Death is earth-shattering, and fearing it is the most normal, healthy thing in the world. Death means that something literally ceases to exist in the same way it once did, and that can be terrifying. It can be heartbreaking. It can be confusing. It's all these things. Death, simply put, is profound change that humbles us and feeds the soil of our lives. When I see the Death card, I think of it as a harbinger of deep transformation and also an acknowledgment of how difficult that transformation can be. This card's appearance in your reading is a signal that you are indeed going through some massive shifts, and it's okay to feel overwhelmed or discouraged by that at times. It's okay to feel like your world is falling apart -- because it is falling apart. And that's a big deal. But it is also being put back together again, in ways you will begin to understand little by little. Let this time be what it is. Let yourself mourn the changes while also feeling excited for whatever's around the corner. Death is all the things. It is complexity itself. Focus on letting Death take its natural course in your life, with all its gifts and challenges.

Queen of Cups

As the only Court Card in your reading and the final card as well, the Queen of Cups offers a bold invitation to embody her as you go forward. She is the ultimate keeper of emotional depth, of letting things flow and being willing to flow with them. She isn't so interested in the external world, preferring instead to care for herself and go within. I imagine this way of being sounds a little foreign to you, at least in some ways. Right now, you're living in the skin of The Emperor, who is mighty and public and solid. The Queen of Cups moves with the water and retreats into her rich emotional world at will. Though it might feel strange, try to cultivate moments in your day when you nourish yourself and look at what's going on in your heart. This might be achieved through meditation or writing in a journal or implementing personal routines that feed your soul. Let your instincts guide you, for the Queen of Cups is nothing if not one who follows her instincts. You don't need to have any specific goals in mind as you do this, and in fact, goals might be entirely counterproductive. Just feel your way through. Let that be enough. The Queen of Cups is a reminder not to get too lost in your head or too caught up in the hustle.


A few more thoughts before I leave you:

There was such variety in your cards -- variety of feeling, of color, of suits, and of card type. The only kind of card that didn't make an appearance in your reading was from the suit of Swords. The Swords represent thinking, logic, the mind, and the fact that no Swords cards showed up this time gives me the impression that this part of life might need to take a bit of a rest right now. Rather than emphasizing the mind, let yourself be in the heart, in the body, in the spirit (symbolized by Cups, Coins, and Wands, respectively). All these parts of ourselves have their place, but sometimes if one is overburdened and others are neglected, we can get caught in unhealthy cycles. Your logical mind might need to take more of a supporting role right now rather than being the star of the show. 

The major arcana cards of the tarot (cards like The Emperor, The Hermit, The Devil, and Death) stand for major themes or turning points. The fact that you have so many in your reading suggests this is a key moment for you, a point of significant transition and of grappling with the biggest lessons imaginable. I hope that's validating. If you feel like this is a weighty season of life, the cards are confirming that, saying, "Yeah, there's a reason this feels so serious." But there's not really anything for you to "do" about it, nothing to overcome or defeat or wrestle to the ground. Things will unfold, and you'll learn, and you'll grow, and the Kathleen that will eventually emerge is already inside you.


So let's summarize:

  1. You are standing in a place of strength and confidence. You're emerging from a difficult battle, and you have emotional connection waiting in your near future.

  2. Solitude has been an important place of growth for you. As you evolve into new relationships, you'll need to face your fears and self-imposed limitations around what it means to love and depend on others.

  3. Pay close attention to this idea of holding, in all its forms.

  4. Think about the support you need from others and how to allow it into your life.

  5. Notice what you want to create, and evaluate how you can best work with others to create it.

  6. This is a time of immense transformation for you. Accept the emotions that come up as you move through it.

  7. Make room for self-care and for listening to your heart's voice. Be tender with yourself. Let your feelings and instincts guide you.

It was an honor and a sincere pleasure to do this reading for you. The cards didn't hold back or mess around, but I felt as I was interpreting them that there was a lot of love coming through for you. I'm never sure if the tarot is a manifestation of the universe or of a higher power or simply of our individual wisdom, and maybe the distinctions between those things are blurrier than we think, but in any case, I felt a great deal of affection being sent your way. I only hope you feel it too.

If you have any questions about your reading or want to talk about anything that came up, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me.

With respect and thanks,

Cottonwood Tarot

Interested in receiving a reading? You can book with me whenever you're ready.