I held a pre-debate tarot reading for the Democratic presidential candidates. Is the universe Feeling the Bern?

Elena Scotti/FUSION

Gather round, little Hobbits, for it is debate tarot time again!

The cards have so far predicted the ascendance of Carly Fiorina, the quiet power of Marco Rubio, and the utter eating it of Chris Christie, so let's see what they have in store for the five Democrats in the running. (With a bonus reading for one Democrat who hasn't declared his candidacy but has a podium set aside for him just in case he wants to drop in from the ceiling, Mission Impossible-style.)


As always, our mystical guide is my friend Emily Hex, an intuitive tarot reader currently living in Vermont. Emily used a Rider-Waite deck and pulled a single card for each candidate to represent their frame of mind going into the debate. She also offered predictions on what the cards might mean for their performance.

So does the tarot favor anyone this time around? After channeling Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb, Emily says she sees the universe Feeling the Bern. "The Ten of Pentacles gives Bernie an edge, but I'd say Hillary's card, the Four of Wands, is in the second chair."

Let's begin!


Hillary Clinton: Four of Wands 

Wands represent the self, and this card is really about harmony and balance within your community and a celebration of arriving home. You see the way these wands are aligned on either side, framing these two women who are throwing bouquets up int he air? There's a garland of flora. It's about celebration, bounty, and friendship. This card is about being your best self when you're paired with another person. There is an aspect of not just yourself, but the way you create your relationships. That's how I take the sense of arrival in this card, it's less about coming home and more about showing up and being that person who is strong inside of you and having that mirrored by another person.


For the debates, it could be that there aren't as many attacks or that Hillary isn't attacking. And if she is attacked, I think she will maintain an open, celebratory attitude. She may try to keep a sense of camaraderie and friendship—even among her opponents tonight.

Clinton living her best life

Bernie Sanders: Ten of Pentacles

Pentacles represent wealth, not only in the financial sense, but in terms of joy and abundance and freedom and all of the things that fill you up. The Ten of Pentacles depicts a man, an older man, sitting in a courtyard with two dogs at his feet. There are men, women, and children in the background. There are vines overflowing his seat. The sky is a beautiful blue. There are coins just scattered all throughout the card. It's pure abundance in all of its forms. This card and the Nine of Pentacles are so exemplary of the feminine side of abundance and the masculine side of abundance. This man is rooted in his home. He has family, he has a relationship with nature, and that grounds him and feeds him.


If I were to say how this bodes for the debate, this card reflects someone who is grounded and has a wellspring of inspiration that will come in handy. The character in this card is very solid.

Martin O'Malley: Two of Wands

This card depicts a man looking over his castle wall holding a wand in his hand with another at his side. He's looking out over the countryside and is contemplating his next move. He's thinking about whether or not to leave the safety of this castle wall, the thing that's protecting him. He's just contemplating if he should experience the world and questioning what the right path is for them.


In terms of the debates, I would say that they might illuminate a path for him, whether or not to forge ahead or to stay wherever he is now. He's already on this journey, but there is something on this card that is about a choice and balance for what's next.

Lincoln Chafee: The Emperor (reversed)

Every card reader has a different relationship to how they perceive reversals, and I'm an intuitive tarot reader so I just do whatever feels right. The Emperor in the upright position means strength. It's a strong, fortified, masculine, fearsome man who rules his kingdom with an iron fist. The reversal is the opposite of that, someone who is not grounded. It's someone who doesn't have their shit together, basically. They haven't harnessed that aspect of themselves. Even if it's potentially there, it isn't in alignment for them. There is the potential for it to be activated, but at this time, it is not. Whatever the circumstances are, things aren't falling into place in a way to illuminate that. He's not in his power.


In the debates he'll be shaky. Not calm, clear, or confident. It might be a little bit of a mess for him.

Chafee IRL

Jim Webb: Two of Pentacles

We've seen this card before, for Jeb Bush in the second reading. Contextually it doesn't vary all that much from what I said then, so I'll be saying something quite similar this time. What's interesting is there have been two twos tonight. The twos represent a decision that needs to be made within somebody's thinking. The suit reflects what aspect or what door of their life they're having trouble with. All of them can transmute into each other, but the suits do give a certain twist to each two. So with the Two of Pentacles there's this man who has tumultuous waters behind him and he's juggling two pentacles that have an infinity loop around them. His body language is very unsteady.


In the debates, I think this card depicts someone who is distilling their beliefs. For Jim Webb, I'd say this card represents a lack of clarity about what is beliefs are, and that will come through in the debates.

Joe Biden: Four of Cups

Cups represent relationships and creativity, and what's being shown in this card is a man who is sitting at the base of a tree looking despondently at three cups. The way that they're arranged in the image, it seems as though there's a missing cup because there's an empty space. This person is focusing on the empty space, and they're unable to recognize that they're being offered a second chance or another opportunity in the other aspect of the imagery—a hand holding out a cup for the person to take and feel fulfilled.


What's crazy about that part of the card is that this is the only time, outside of the suit of the Aces, that the image of a hand comes up. Ace cards are hands, no matter the suit of the minor arcana that they're depicting. So this is a magical moment within the tarot where we're kind of getting a guest appearance from the Ace of Cups. They're like, "Hey, we're coming in!" But it's up to this person to decide if they'll look up and receive that or if they'll keep their gaze downward and focus on the things they've lost or the things they wish they had but don't have.

So what does this mean for Biden? I don't think he knows if he wants to run for president or not. This speaks to a state of mind that may not be prepared to recognize opportunity. His focus is not on that opportunity right now, but it is right in front of him. But this person may not want the opportunity—that's what I'm reading.

Biden is contemplative

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