Reframing Heartbreak: Getting Over a Breakup with Tarot

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Has a breakup ever sent your world into a tailspin? When you’re not expecting a relationship to end, you can find yourself struggling to understand why things went south. The Tarot offers one way to help you put the pieces together and reframe your situation— it can even reveal aspects of a situation that might totally change your mind about the relationship.  It won’t make the pain magically vanish, but it can help you get on with your life. 

Broken Dreams of a White Wedding
Let me share one of the best examples I know of the Tarot totally changing the game for a person getting over a breakup. Jenn, 27, had just completed her doctoral degree in English literature and was doubly excited— not only was she now the holder of a PhD, but she was about to be wed to her long-term boyfriend, Patrick, 31. They had dated through the entirety of her graduate work and Patrick proposed a month after her dissertation, just like they’d planned. Jenn had a glimmering ring, a wedding venue booked, and even a dress when Patrick walked into the bedroom one day with his head down. 

He broke up with her right there, apologizing profusely. “My feelings have changed. I’m so sorry, Jenn,” he repeated like a mantra. Then he moved out, leaving Jenn in a half-empty apartment with her white gown hanging in the closet, perhaps never to be worn.

Jenn called me a few weeks later for guidance. The hurt of Patrick’s decision, which felt like a constriction in her chest, had gone nowhere— in fact, it seemed to be intensifying. “I just want to know what I did wrong,” she lamented. 

The Three Fates Clarify Jenn’s Heartbreak
My intuition told me that a Tarot reading would aid Jenn, who was mired in a myopic perspective of the breakup: that she herself was solely responsible. Because the deck is full of rich symbolism and readings weave together disparate events in time and space, the Tarot is an agile tool for deconstructing preconceived notions of a complicated situation. Simply put, Jenn wasn’t seeing the whole picture, but the Tarot, like a pair of prescription eyeglasses, could help her refocus. Specifically, I chose the Three Fates Spread, which unites the past, present, and future. In a breakup, putting the tragedy in a narrative frame— as a single happening in a long and complex life— can help the mind reprocess rejection. 

First, I drew a card to represent the past: the Three of Swords. “All is not what it seems,” I assured Jenn. “This card, which shows three swords piercing a heart, indicates a triangle dynamic in love. I sense that Patrick has not been only half honest with you— his feelings did change, but not because you failed him. He’s had a longstanding interest in someone else, a woman in his office, I believe. I have a strong feeling that they have texted and messaged behind your back. Expect them to get together shortly, but their love will be short-lived.”

Jenn stammered, “Andrea!”

“Is that the woman?”

“She must be. Andrea’s another member of his team, and they also go running together. I’ve always picked up a weird vibe between them, but when I brought it up, Patrick got upset. He said I was being possessive and jealous. So I dropped it, but I never felt right.”

Throughout their relationship, Jenn had downplayed her own suspicions about Patrick, and even now that he had left her, she was defending his honor by placing the fault for their breakup at her own feet. It just shows how much our “guts” or “instincts” matter.  When we don’t trust our feelings from the start, the consequences to our sense of self-worth can be crippling.

The next card I drew for Jenn represented the present: the Moon. “You’re experiencing incredibly powerful surges of emotion right now, like a tidal force— abandonment, rage at Patrick’s betrayal, loneliness, heartache, maybe even a little hope. These feelings can threaten to overwhelm you and send you into obsessive spirals of self-doubt and wondering. You must fight the impulse to fixate. Otherwise, you’ll drown in whirlpools of “what-if” and “if-only”. But there’s a flipside: in this season of heightened emotion and sensitivity, you’ll be especially keen to new insights and wisdom. Consider your creativity supercharged. Are there any artistic projects you have going now?”

“Actually, yes. I’m turning my dissertation into a book, but there are a couple chapters that have really eluded me.”

“If you can, find a way to connect your hurt to those pieces of your book, and channel it. This process will create your most evocative, masterful work yet.” 

For the final card, representing Jenn’s future, I drew the Six of Swords. “This card, which shows a boat passing through calm waters, is often interpreted as a sign of an impending move. I foresee that you will be given a marvelous job offer that requires you to relocate.”

“That’s interesting,” Jenn said. “Patrick and I were committed to staying put for his job, so I never dreamed of going elsewhere. But I did just see a posting for a tenure-track professorship in Pennsylvania. Perhaps I’ll apply.”

The Aftermath of a Breakup
When I heard from Jenn a few months later, I learned how things had played out after our session. Patrick and Andrea went Facebook official shortly after, but fizzled out after a few idyllic picnicking selfies. Jenn had finished her book manuscript and had found a promising agent to represent her to publishers. As for the move, the position in Pennsylvania went to someone else, but the application review committee referred her to an opening in North Carolina that ultimately offered her a job— and an all-expenses-paid relocation. Jenn was still a bit dizzy from the jarring breakup, but life was changing quickly and for the better. It felt like springtime, she wrote. 

Breakups always hurt, even when we know it’s for the best. But when we’re blindsided, being rejected can also leave us feeling confused, like it’s all a tremendous mistake. One of the Tarot’s greatest assets is its ability to put seemingly catastrophic life events into perspective, and a post-breakup consultation can clarify the subtle forces that lead to the downfall of cherished relationship. In some cases, a reading can reveal shocking details that, while upsetting to learn, ultimately free the broken hearted from wondering where they went wrong. 

If you’re struggling to move past heartache, Advisors at can help you move on with Tarot readings and more.

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