We Matched the Netflix ‘Tiger King’ Cast To Tarot Cards
Culture

The 'Tiger King' Cast, Matched to Tarot Cards

"I am gay as a three dollar bill, and I'm standing in a cage with five full-grown tigers and lions."
illustrated by Esme Blegvad
10 April 2020, 11:37am

I may not know your fortune, reader, but I certainly know what the universe has to say about Mr Joe Exotic, the Baskin spouses and every other character in the chaotic world of Tiger King. From The Fool to the Wheel of Fortune, here are tarot cards matched to the lead figures in Netflix's big cat documentary.

The Fool – Joe Exotic

The Fool – Joe Exotic, Tiger King

A man youthful and naive in spirit, if not in age, and always one prance away from falling off a metaphorical cliff, the Tarot's Fool could be no other than Joe Exotic, Tiger King. At his feet, see the dog, representative of loyal companions, warning him of his wily and deranged missteps. Such is the nature of the Fool that he is forever at the first stage of a hero's journey: full of ideas (cub-raising, ordering some murders), laughter (at his own genius) and giddiness (romping around in a dead animal costume in protest). But will The Fool get far? Only if our wanderer keeps his kohl-rimmed eyes open to his own self-sabotage.

The Empress – Carole Baskin

The Empress – Carole Baskin

Hey, all you cool cats and kittens, come witness our Empress in all her golden-haired beauty. Femininity is found wherever the Empress, Carole Baskin, is. It's in the love of nature worn quite liberally in flower garlands in your hair. It's the sensuality of snogging your husband passionately in a documentary. It's the nurturing of an enormous unpaid workforce, and the creative expression required to tend to a decades-long battle against a perceived enemy. The Empress card will forever leave us gasping, "What a woman."

The World – Howard Baskin

The World – Howard Baskin

Congratulations! When The World card arrives in a reading, be sure that you have a sense of wholeness and achievement, and that a long-term project has been completed. Now you can sit back, relax and take stock of everything you've achieved, and yes, in Tiger King lore that means taking down Joe Exotic and being the surviving husband of Mrs Carole Baskin.

The Devil – Doc Antle

The Devil – Doc

Cue the Donna Summer, lay the red rayon sheets, crack the whip and lay out the chains, you've pulled The Devil. Witness Man's shadow self in all its glory through the lens of Baphomet-incarnate, Mahamayavi Bhagavan "Doc" Antle. Between his devilish philanthropy (setting up a barely-paid internship programme for hot teens) and polyamorous sex sessions, The Devil's deviance knows no bounds. As Doc himself says, with this card, "It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle."

The Magician – Joshua Dial

The Magician – Joshua Dial

Whether they're sitting behind the gun counter of a multinational retail chain or trotting around the Oklahoma campaign trail, The Magician is able to throw parts together and mysteriously make something new. In comparison to other more stagnant cards, this is "powerful". For every Oklahoman demon who draws this card, they shall move forward in their mission. Be warned, this card reminds you to be sure of what it actually is you want to manifest on your quest, in case you end up forever immortalised manifesting it in a globally viral Netflix docu-series.

The Moon – Travis

The Moon - Travis

The Moon could only belong to the late pothead from hell, Travis Maldonado. This card warns that it's important to not make snap decisions when you only have half of the story in front of you – sit, howl at the sky and wait.

The Tower – Jeff Lowe

The Tower – Jeff Lowe

Crack, bang, destruction! You've pulled the Oakley-loving shagger Jeff Lowe archetype. You may see a mighty phallic tower – power, stability – but underneath are the crumbling foundations of toxic masculinity. In Lowe’s case, of boundless bravado and all-out lies.

The Chariot – Erik Cowie

The Chariot – Erik Cowie

I looked over Greater Wynnewood, and what did I see? Coming for to carry me home? A band of misfits and cult followers and zoo bandits coming after me. Coming for to carry me home. The sweet Chariot card swings by only to celebrate the hard graft and determination of a person, and who sacrificed more at the altar of the animals than dear Erik Cowie? Even if it means losing his life partner, home, animals, dignity and sanity, then by god, The Chariot will do it. This is one divine, brave warrior.

The Lovers – John Finlay

The Lovers – John Finlay

The arrival of The Lovers for Joe Exotic could only mean John Finlay entering the scene. Finally, you believe, for a moment, that you found your tantric fuck-monkey. You have the type of guy who would get a tattoo above his junk to proclaim he is privately owned by you, who would willingly enter into a three-way binding and legal commitment with you. That’s the power of The Lovers.

Death – Rick Kirkham

Death – Rick Kirkham

Before you get spooked by the Death card, consider this: if you've embarked on a journey to hell by way of bumfuck Oklahoma, you better be ready for Death's ruin. Only famed producer of Joe Exotic's online series Rick Kirkham could be mirrored in this fortune of endings, change and transition. The recipient of a catastrophic little Death card could find relationships damaged, jobs pulverised or footage kept near a crocodile enclosure lost in an arson attack – who can say how the dice will roll? Death reminds us that when one door closes, another opens, and one person’s life's work has to burn for...some reason.

The Hanged Man – Saff

The Hanged Man – Saff

Sometimes the universe sends us a sign. What we’re doing is not in our best interests, so a delay or obstruction comes in the form of injury or illness or breakdowns. When The Hanged Man appears, know that you should be redirected onto another path after a break, a pause (for Saff, perhaps that path shouldn't be going straight back to tending to exotic animals after one of them bit your arm off). The Hanged Man invites you to reflect on all the problems in your life, where you’re stuck, and encourages you To Not Do whatever it is that you’re doing.

The Sun – Lauren Lowe

The Sun – Lauren Lowe

The Sun radiates positivity and energy and vitality and abundance. It’s also the closest in the deck to emanating Rich Poly Bi Wife energy.

Justice – John Reinke

Justice – John Reinke

If the Justice card is drawn, expect to be called in front of the jury. Alas, for John Reinke, this meant giving too much to a crazed, egomaniac criminal and leading his disastrous band of Fools into the shitter. On this occasion, karma was badly distributed across a motley crew of zookeepers. Hey, Justice can always come to serve just desserts to good people. Don’t question Tiger King logic or Tarot Card logic.

Wheel of Fortune – John Garretson

Wheel of Fortune – John Garretson

Both Man and Human Chucky Doll step up to spin the wheel and find good luck. In the real world, hard, honest work and positive planetary alignment can provide rewards. In the Tiger King universe, being a two-faced strip-club owning arsehole gets you a goldmine of success. And Mr John Garretson knew that better than anyone. So while the characters of the rest of the Major Arcana toss and turn with their chaotic natures and kind but ultimately pointless and stupid behaviour, The Wheel of Fortune allows sinners to speed off on a jet-ski into internet meme glory.

@esmerelduh / @hannahrosewens