“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” – Lao Tzu
“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” – Khalil Gibran
“From one generation to the next, The Beatles will remain the most important rock band of all time.” – Dave Grohl
I love the Beatles! Their music makes my heart sing. It opens my mind, brightens my days, and just feels right. They’re simply the greatest, fabbest rock and roll band of all time!
There’s one other method I like to use for accessing that soul-nourishing, wonderful feeling like I get from Beatles music: tarot. Tarot is a deck of 78 picture cards. Much more than just an ordinary deck of cards, tarot is a symbolic language and mystical map of consciousness. Learning tarot is fascinating because it opens your eyes, mind, and heart to the deeper wisdom you possess within yourself. Connecting with tarot opens my intuition and makes me feel more alive, like the music of the Beatles does!
Welcome to a fun little adventure I’ve undertaken called The Beatles Song Tarot Project. I’ve taken my two favorite fascinations and combined them into a delightful, mind-expanding, and intuition-enhancing exercise: matching songs by the Fab Four with the mystical symbolic art of tarot.
Tarot and the music of the Beatles are a great fit for one another because they both reveal a very special dimension that exists within us all. It is of love, peace, wisdom, and greater truth. Whether we’re listening to the incredible music of the Fab Four, or we’re looking into the fascinating art on a tarot card, we are accessing something truly special and extraordinary.
In other words, both tarot and Beatles songs awaken the soul, which is what many of us want more of in our daily lives! As George Harrison sang in their 1968 song The Inner Light:
“Without going out of your door
You can know all things on Earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of Heaven”
Yes! Similar to meditation and yoga practices, both tarot and music are methods for learning the “ways of Heaven” within ourselves. They give us direct access to our own personal source of love and light inside ourselves!
This song’s central theme is consistent with the tarot’s Hermit card. In most decks, the Hermit is shown in solitude (not surprisingly!) and holding a lantern. The light within that lantern represents the light that exists within the soul of us all. That sacred inner light reveals itself to us when we go within ourselves and connect with it “hermetically”. We do this by getting away from the noise of media, the many opinions of others, and getting into the beautiful quiet space within our own hearts.
I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself! We haven’t officially started yet, but you get the idea. The messages found within the lyrics of Beatles songs resonate with tarot cards. And they both resonate with the deep truth within all of us. Put these pieces together and learn to awaken more soul-level knowledge and love in your life.
Here are some rules I’ve laid out for myself in presenting the list:
I’m keeping it simple by sticking to the official Beatles studio releases. When we peel away different versions of the same song, German-language releases, and the classical compositions from their film soundtracks, that leaves 212 songs total. No bootlegs, no live stuff such as the BBC albums, and nothing off the Anthology compilations except for the two official singles released at the time, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.” I love all the Beatles’ music but wanted to focus this list on their primary canon. I think that’s plenty for now!
Another rule is that I must use each of the tarot’s 78 cards at least once. Considering I have 212 songs to work with, this shouldn’t be too hard. But of course many of the Beatles’ songs from their first six albums (and the singles in between those albums) focused on the subject of romantic love. That said, you may be surprised by the lyrical depth and variability of the Beatles music, even during their first few years as lovable moptops.
Within each entry I’m going to identify the writer of the song, the year it was released, and the British version of the album that the song originally appeared on. Why the British version, other than the obvious? In the case of the early Beatles records, the British and American versions were much different from one another. This is because the American record company that released the Beatles’ albums here in the US – Capitol – cut tracks from the original albums to create more records and make extra money. This irked the Beatles because they felt their artistic vision was being compromised by greedy corporate record executives. (Eventually the Beatles found a way to slyly show their resentment for this practice)
The final and most important rule is that I will choose a card that best represents the spirit of the song, not just its title. This means not taking any song at face value, but rather digging into the lyrical meaning of it. Sometimes the song nicely represents what the title says, but often there’s much more under the surface. And tarot is perfect for looking deeper: it naturally reveals the greater truth within ourselves and the world around us.
So roll up for a magical mystery tour through the entire Beatles catalogue. I’m randomly selecting a different Beatles song and matching it to the one tarot card that best captures the spirit of that song.
If you already know plenty about The Beatles but not much about tarot, here’s your chance to explore the symbolic archetypal realm that is the tarot experience. After all, the Beatles themselves are archetypal: iconic prophets, delivering the message of peace and love to the whole world.
On the other hand, if you’re already a tarot practitioner but not a huge Beatles fanatic, you may find a close look at this music can expand your understanding of the symbols of tarot. As a regular tarot user, I’m always looking for fresh ways to assimilate my favorite intuition tool.
Or, if you love both as I do, then you’ll likely discover this fun exercise can expand your understanding and appreciation of both the wonderful music of the Fab Four AND the mystical art of tarot. I’ve found that any method of intuitive understanding can enhance the understanding of all others. They all are paths toward the same light.
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I’m using a variety of sources in my research of the Beatles. Here is a list of the books that I use to get my information about the Fab Four:
- The Beatles Anthology, by The Beatles
- The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write, by Steve Turner
- Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation, by Philip Norman
- The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, by Mark Lewisohn
- Tell Me Why: The Beatles Album by Album, Song by Song, the Sixties and After, by Tim Riley
- Beatlesongs, by William Dowlding
I also use internet sources, including Wikipedia and the following fine websites devoted to the Beatles:
Other Beatles Tarot Posts: