Ann’s Fashion Tarot: Apotheosis Edition

Here’s a way to be less “I’m so sad these icons died because I wanted more-more-more of what they had to give” and more “WHOA I can’t believe the wondrous guidance these collective deaths provide, I wish we could sanctify and turn to them for inspiration and direction in the new year ahead.”

We can. I did. Let’s welcome a select seven of 2016’s lost icons to the Tarot’s Major Arcana:

The Princess

On one side of the screen, Carrie Fisher inspired and led revolts. On the other side she gave us an early definition of heroism and independence. In the sometimes unflattering spotlight, she helped others find their way through personal troubles by exposing her own and offering new hope.

What’s it mean when you pull The Princess card? When it shows up first in your seven-card spread? It means you better think fast and hard back to the most recent time when you were fierce, raw, fearless, genuine and generous. Whenever you were all that, reach back there and make your body and brain remember how you did it and do it again. Be that again. She was, and she expects you to do something useful, something real, with the gifts she gave you.

The Chocolatier

Because Gene Wilder followed his heart — and the heart rarely provides solid direction — he brought a gentle but intense confidence to seemingly impossible tasks. The mad spark in his eyes betrayed a drive that pushed him to explore creative landscapes including farce, action and fantasy. He found his way, always, and he invited us to laugh at his missteps along the path.

The Chocolatier says keep going. Weird times? Please. There are no not-weird times. Keep moving. Twirl things, twirl around things. Wear velvet.

The Eagle

Happy to blend in for the greater good, Glenn Frey nourished and deepened our love of timeless melodies and harmonies. He was rightly celebrated for his words and music, his voice forecasting the inevitable fear of a heartache tonight and his words celebrating a peaceful and sincere easy feeling.

The Eagle says yeah, it might hurt. Ok to shut down a little bit when that’s the case. Shut down and let me sing you through it and into the sweetness that follows, because hang on long enough and sweetness always follows.

The Spider from Mars

Never predictable, reliable only in that he would surely change directions and his new work would be strong, David Bowie was the restless and limitless possibility of art and music personified. He enraptured us with sound and vision and imagination, inspiring those who might have otherwise hidden in the fringe to accept and enjoy themselves, to dance to some of the most powerful music on this particular planet.

The Spider From Mars says the only thing in the way (if you think something’s in your way) is you. Change direction. Imagine a thing and then move to the pulse of that thing. Be limitless. Paint your face.

The Prince

Prince crafted music as others would make meals. He shared profusely. His music was yours and he released more of it than most could collect, each work noteworthy for newfound energy and direction. He preached love, sex, funk, and Jesus, with equal conviction and élan. He was the nasty that the 80s needed, the soul the 90s needed, and he was the hardest-working royalty of the 21st century.

The Prince says do it full-on. More than you already are. You think you already are? The Prince says, show me. Show me yours. Show me more. Whatever you’ve got, do it and make it and give it even more.

The Greatest

Muhammad Ali called out hypocrisy in unrelenting detail. Powerful in body and mind, he withstood scorn, hate and ridicule and stood with his people against injustice. He was discipline, discernment, strength and flight.

The Greatest says stay sharp. Love yourself with focus, without apology. Be relentless and beautiful and relentlessly beautiful.

The Worker in Song

Beloved as a poet, a musician, a monk, Leonard Cohen was evidence that art is more physical work than divine gift. He would spend years on a single song, months on a word. He practiced patience and used it as a tool, never mind whether it was a virtue. The results were staggering works of love and yearning.

The Worker in Song says, do the work. Sit with it, sure. Sit long enough to make damn sure you mean this. Then get in there and then do the thing. Do the work. It’s all there is.

mystic golden hanger

Catch The Frye tonight at Olive’s 9-12:30, lovingly covering some Bowie and Eagles and Prince and more.

Come get your real-deal Tarot read tomorrow 4-7 at Gold Lang Syne, a benefit for the cool-cool house concert series The Gold Mine. 

That’s a lot of music and magic for one weekend. You need it. We need it.

The writer wishes to thank Joe Tougas for verbiage about what these icons actually did. I was kind of just more into what they wore.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: 3D Edition

So my friend Laurie’s like, yeah, I want a reading but I don’t think I want to know the future.

0 I II

     0. The Fool  I. The Magician  II. The High Priestess

I’m like, Laurie, they don’t do that. They can’t show you the future.


     III. The Empress  IV. The Emperor  V. The Hierophant

They’re clay.


     VI. The Lovers  VII. The Chariot  XI. Strength  VIII. The Hermit

They can only hug your finger and force you to stare at what’s right in front of you.

Which, if you’re doing this right, is a puppet. A puppet version of the Major Arcana. Those are the big-deal cards of the Tarot. The states and stages a person moves through over and over, like it or not, starting with 0.The Fool [open, empty, ready, assume nothing, zero] all the way to XXI. The World [wholeness, completion, fulfillment — not an ending, but completion of a cycle that starts right on over again at terrifying beautiful zero].


I’m like, Laurie, all the Tarot Puppets can do is help you see what’s in front of you. Things in your present. Things you weren’t already seeing, or things you kind of sensed were there but just refused or forgot to see. That’s all they can do.


     VIII. Justice X. The Wheel XII. The Hanged Man

To some people, when Tarot Puppets help them see what they kind of actually probably felt but didn’t want to see in their personal private hopes or fears or addictions, a lot of people feel like: OMG OMG HOW DID THEY KNOW?!?!?!?!


     XIII. Death XIV. Temperance XV. The Devil

But I’m telling you, they didn’t. They don’t know anything. They can only show you what you weren’t seeing.

I think what freaks people out even more than the feeling of HOW DID THEY KNOW is the fact that once you see what’s in front of you, and it’s huge and/or thrilling and/or stupidly obvious and/or embarrassing, you kind of expect the puppet to back off, like, be polite and get out of the way while you feel your feelings and decide what to do now.

But it doesn’t. They don’t. The Major Arcana are not polite and they also don’t judge. They just look at you.

That, I think, is the actual freaky part. The puppets keep on staring their lovestare, and they don’t damn you for not-seeing in the first place. Or for feeding any particular hopes or fears or addictions.

They also don’t damn you for starving any particular hopes, or fears, or addictions.

I mean. They’re puppets.


     XVI. The Tower

They are unflappable.


     XVII. The Stars

They’ve been around forever. Older than dirt. Technically speaking, they are actual dirt.


     XVII. The Moon XIX. The Sun

They have seen it all and they find all of it gorgeous.


     XX. Judgment XXI. The World

Including whatever Laurie’s not yet seeing but kind of wants to see but hopes somebody else will just see it first and point it out. Laurie. It’s gonna be cool. Call me when you’re ready.

mystic golden hanger


Wait, so how is this about fashion? A) Because you WEAR THEM. The puppets. B) Because I can’t give a reading without wardrobe suggestions at the end. Like, if your reading suggests that The Chariot is your thing — the yoking together of unlike forces which will move you forward all swift and steady — then I’m sorry but you’re gonna need to wear some very unmatching things to remind you of that. Pretty much all the time. Or start mixing your metals. Clash your shoes. I don’t know exactly but I think you have some shopping to do.

Here’s the original Ann’s Fashion Tarot if you want to see. I mean just if you want to.


You haven’t killed a darling until you’ve regifted lipstick

I can’t even tell you how bad I wanted this to work for me. Look at it.

this isn't working

Look at the packaging.

ooo the packaging

Look how it works with other primary colors.

this palette

Look how it graces a cup.

look how it graces

But it didn’t look anything like this on me, it didn’t look good at all, so I called my friend Amy. She’s raven-haired and aqua-eyed and blah blah. I was like, ok, that perfect red you keep saying you want? I think I have it. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Mother’s Day. I love her so much and I love that she risked a color, a red, a perfect red called “poppy,” and I love the packaging and how the natural waxy-wax smells but I can’t. I just can’t. It’s everything wrong for me. It’s like when I pierced my nose a few years ago. I wanted that to work so bad. Looking back, I think what I really wanted was for my face to rearrange around some new point, like a new pin on a map, so I would look on the outside the way I was feeling on the inside. I mean, I was in an MFA program at the time. I was writing a lot, I was carrying around one of those recycled Rolling Stone purses with Lenny Kravitz on both sides. That kind of thing.

i know right

2008. You see what I’m saying.

Nothing like that happened. I still had my regular face plus a stainless steel dot. Nothing wrong with that, it just wasn’t what I was going for. After a few weeks I thought maybe it would work if I had a ring, not a stud, so to be cautious, instead of wasting money on an actual nose ring, I gave it a test run with a hoop earring. Which, it turns out, was a geometry problem I hadn’t thought about in advance. Nose piercings are at a different angle than ear piercings. I guess. So it went up into skin that wasn’t previously pierced. Handily, I backed out and re-bent the wire. This went on. It must have been a Friday night because I remember thinking, upon waking the next day to the right side of my nose ballooned and pink, and just really bad-looking, I remember thinking ok, I’m gonna need the entire next 48 hours in the bathroom with peroxide to get to not looking like a public health hazard. I did it. Then I gave all my nose jewelry (not the hoop earring) to my sister-in-law Julie whose stud looks perfect and always has. Whatever. I got through it. This is always the right thing to do.

So Amy got the lipstick.

this is the moment

It looks perfect on her like I knew it would.

i knew it

Then she started talking about the work she needs to submit for an upcoming writing retreat, and what should she do? Should she submit new stuff, or reworked stuff the instructor has already seen and liked? It’s a common dilemma. I knew what she wanted to hear. This is where I got to level the score.

No, I said, you don’t get to submit the same stuff because that’s just so you can get the nice thing of being affirmed. You can’t even submit similar stuff. You have to get risky and submit your fringe, an untested story or voice or whatever, and see what the instructor says, see what the group has to say. See what you get out of that. And you’ll probably end up having to let go of a thing you loved, a whole story or a crafty-craft technique you’re really excited about, probably something you love because you thought it would flatter you or rearrange you or whatever, but it doesn’t, and the more you hang on the pinker and more infected it gets. So get rid of it. Give it up and be better off. Amy seemed unconvinced so I read her cards.

here you go amy

Then she’s like, mmmm hmmmm, still not convinced. I left her sitting there at the Coffee Hag. That was a couple hours ago, and I AM NOT KIDDING YOU she just now sent me this:

guess what amy said then

Spoilers redacted, obviously, because we’re even. I mean she has my lipstick but all is well. Some people look supercute in extreme altruism, some look good in red.



BONUS: Here’s the Tarot interpretation Amy didn’t ask for but got. Applicable to all writers and wearers of makeup: 1) The World, reversed, means fulfillment turned upside down. Wrecked. A tidy thing undone. I guess that’s me upending Ms. Lipstick’s plan. 2) The Devil, reversed, is willing bondage that’s not doing you any good, any more. Time to let go of your plan and perhaps a rhythm that’s comfortable but kind of limiting. Confining. Limiting in a willing bondage kind of way. Which, in this case, isn’t working. 3) The Emperor, upright, means it’s time to move. Change. Something material, your home, your sense of home. Or, obviously in this case, your lips.

My friend Jen looks supercute in her new health care directive

Today I had the honor of notarizing my friend Jen’s health care directive. She has a great new haircut, so our conversation was pretty much fifty-fifty.

kinda short

This prompts me to remind my friends that you guys, I’m completely available to notarize your health care directives and read your Fashion Tarot at the same time.

notary + tarot = OF COURSE

Not a general Tarot reading to warn you about which boxes you should check on the directive. I can’t help with that. I mean Fashion Tarot, as in, how to plan for a great-looking exit. An exit that has dignity. Honestly lovingly vain, with a dusting of good taste. I mean, you don’t want people putting you in an outfit that’s only in your closet because you spent so much money on it but you actually hate it because it’s the interview suit that didn’t get you the job. Or it’s some v-neck thing you kept meaning to give your younger, bustier sister. Who needs that at their own visitation? Call me because I can help.

We can do couture, like Mark Mitchell Burial. Gorgeous stuff.

mark mitchell burial

We can do organic. You would look so good as a tree. I mean SO GOOD.

bios urn

We can talk to deathxpert Rachael Hanel about how to document the whole ordeal with flair.

rachael by the stones

Bottom line, though, is that you should do your plan. If you’re a Mankato Clinic person, they’ll bug you about it at your next appointment anyway.


So just write up your stuff, and then call me. Seriously.


My notary commission is valid through January 2015. My desire for you to look good is ETERNAL.


Ann’s Fashion Tarot: The World

In regular Tarot, The World says you’re headed for balance, completion, fulfillment. In Ann’s Fashion Tarot, The World says listen up, sister, your shins are ruined but these $3.99 stick-on crystals will fit right in the channels and the sum might be better than a regular pair of legs.

I mean, in case you were on the way to a fancy lunch meeting and your toe caught the inside of your long black skirt and you pitched forward and slid knees-first down a brick staircase.

And then maybe it didn’t heal well. Maybe you should have sought actual first aid instead of holding a couple paper towels there and tying them with the ropes of your espadrilles? (So you could get through the fancy meeting, I get it. I know. Because you were all dressed up and everything. Long black skirt! Rope espadrilles!)

See also: Judgment. See also: The Tower.

See that you could have done things differently. You could have done this better but you didn’t. In a flash, you did exactly this, and the result is permanently not what you want to wear today.

For the next year you wear long skirts (yawn). For the year after that you try leg makeup (corpsey).

Then maybe  you say, ok, well, I guess these are my legs now.

I guess these are my gougey little mistakes and they deserve some crystal stick-on redemptions. I guess my indelible marks of dumbass should have, at least, accessories. They deserve to feel whole.  To catch the light. To be all done with the last trip and ready for the next.

Ready. Scarred but sparkly. Whole. This is who you are today.

The World is sponsored by Ann’s Fashion Tarot, offering free readings forever. Truly. For real. The future looks supercute on you.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: Judgment

Here’s the thing. You have to just come out and say it.

That’s what Renee did for me in 2009 after I went to Hair Police in Minneapolis and told them to do “whatever!” and they had no context at all except that I was some lady from downstate who didn’t look very adventuresome by Hair Police standards.


So what did I get? I got the 2009 Midwest lady bob.


I knew it wasn’t good, but I kept telling myself: Maybe this is good??? I called Renee, who is my real actual longtime stylist and the kind who will take you back after a one night stand with Hair Police. She got me in right away. She took one look and said, well, it’s not the shape I would have picked for you.

Which was the best gift anybody could have given me at the time, because it set me free to fully hate what I’d done and focus on how much better my life would be six months down the road when there could at least be a stubby little ponytail. Maybe. In the meantime, I tried to shape it here and there with a disposable razor. I did that late at night in my bathroom with a drink while I listened to John Diliberto’s “Echoes.” Honestly. It was a bad look for me.

Truth is a gift and today is the day you should give it.

Judgment is sponsored by Goth Mom, who is right now folding laundry and thinking about death. You can see that for yourself when you visit Goth Mom on Facebook.

Supplicate to Goth Mom with or without a fashion quandary, and she will give you truth. Oh yes. She will. 

Tomorrow: The World.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: The Sun

My sister Kathy almost always had a perm, usually an Ogilvie or a Rave, usually done at the kitchen sink. We had so many perm rollers at home. Amy and I had perms too but Kathy’s always turned out the best. So round! It looked really good in the wind as she skated up and down the driveway. It looked like a movie. Nobody in their right mind would get a perm today unless they wanted to feel that happy and fast and free.

That’s what The Sun card is about. It’s about looking and feeling a way you remember, a long-ago wavy windblown ball kind of way.

You don’t have to get a perm, today, but you do have to wear something that makes you feel like this:

queen kath

Like a driveway disco-skating innerbeauty queen.

The Sun is sponsored by Batters Up! cupcakes. Here they are on a page you should like: Batters Up! Facebook. Seriously tasty joy. 

Tomorrow: Judgment.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: The Moon

The prettiest things are the ones nobody else can see. Today is the day to buy new undergarments, or get a tattoo in a covered place, or get some stick-on crystals and stick one to your sternum to remind yourself to breathe better and think with your heart.

Or shut up instead of saying what shouldn’t be said. Or quit asking for answers.

There are things you don’t get to know, and you’re better off. You really are. It’s maddening, I know, and that’s why you have to fight back with lingerie under your clothes and ink under your skin. If the world isn’t going to tell you everything you want to know right this minute, and it’s not, then fine, keep some things from the world.

See also: The Star. See also: The Magician.

There’s a right time to unfold the folds and show what you’ve got. It’s not today.

The Moon is sponsored by Rob Foster, who can make four hours of bloody misery really worth your while. Dude does beautiful cover-ups.

Tomorrow: The Sun.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: The Star

Kit White says “style is the by-product of saying what has to be said in the most appropriate way a maker can say it.”  Ann’s Fashion Tarot says if you dress like your dreams, they have a much better chance of coming true.

So for instance, if you’re an art professor like Kit but your deep down dream is to be an aerobics instructor (which, to be clear, I’m not suggesting this is his deal, I don’t know), then today you need to lecture in track pants and a sports bra. If you’re an aerobics instructor but you want to teach art, today you should lead class in tweed leggings and a beret.

The Star says today is the day to spread your tiny fragile dreams out in front of you and take a very honest look. Give them some air. Give them some credit. Then get dressed in a way that shows you’re ready for them to be real.

The Star is sponsored by Amy Kortuem, who, a decade ago, had the balls to imagine a concert harp career here in the 56001. 

Audacious and lovely. Here is her blog.

Tomorrow: The Moon.

Ann’s Fashion Tarot: The Tower

I’m so sorry about this but SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN, and when it does, you might take the scissors you keep in the car to cut the tags off when you go shopping in case you want to try things on as you’re driving home, and look at yourself in the rear-view mirror, while you’re driving, and cut your bangs.

You might.

The Tower in traditional Tarot is about devastation, a leveling, an unexpected knocking-down of the world as you know it. The Tower in Fashion Tarot means the same thing plus you’re in danger of freaking out in a way that will take a year to grow back, or a very expensive salon visit to strip out.

But it’s going to be ok.

But wow, right now, you’re kind of in for it.

The Tower is sponsored by INdiGo Organic stylist Tim Schmidt, who is not afraid of your disaster. Not at all.

Mention Ann’s Fashion Tarot when you call today to book with Tim, like right now, and he’ll give you give you all the regular love plus a little bit more. 

Tomorrow: The Star.