How to Create an iPod Tarot Deck

Using iTunes, an iPod and your personal music collection, you can create a Tarot deck that is always in your pocket. Use it to predict the future, impress your friends at parties, study and memorize the meanings of cards, or simply collect together some of your favorite songs in an interesting playlist.

Much as the iPod has revolutionized the way people listen to music (by keeping the Soundtrack To Your Life at your fingertips at all times), it can also change the way you learn and read tarot.

You will need to know how to use a standard 78-card Tarot deck as an oracle, but now you will be able to whip off a quick reading without your deck in hand.


  1. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 1
    Print out a reference sheet of all 78 cards in the tarot. If you are particularly fond of the idea, you can make yourself a spreadsheet.
  2. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 2
    Power up iTunes and hit the Browse button (the eyeball) in the bottom right of the main window to give you multiple search and sort options.
  3. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 3
    Create a New Playlist named Tarot Slush Pile from the File Menu. Double-click its' name to open a new window while keeping the Music Library open.
  4. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 4
    Browse through your Music Library and start dragging-and-dropping songs you like from the Library into your Slush Pile. Choose songs from a variety of Genres, and with varied themes or meanings.
  5. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 5
    Create a second New Playlist named Tarot Main Deck. Open it in a new window also.
  6. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 6
    Consult your reference sheet. Pick a card...any card...and using its listed meanings...
  7. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 7
    Find a song that matches the meaning of the card. Drag-and-drop this from the Slush Pile to your Main Deck playlist. Alternatively, start with your favorite songs from Slush Pile, and find cards to match them.
  8. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 8
    Repeat this process 77 more times. (It's a bit like filling in a big, musical Sudoku, actually...)
  9. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 9
    Sort the Main Deck playlist by clicking on the Name header. Check against the reference to ensure that it's complete and doesn't contain repetitions. (The number of items is listed on the bottom bar.)
  10. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 10
    Customize the song titles to the names of the cards. Do this by duplicating the songs and then editing the ID3 tags. For instance, you could rename Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado to Queen of Wands and change its Album tag to read Wands.
  11. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 11
    Spruce up your deck if you have a color iPod or a Nano by downloading the Rider-Waite image files from the Learn Tarot website , drag-and-drop them onto the Album Art box at the bottom left corner of the main window. To do this most effectively, you may want to Get Info on each of the 78 songs and erase any existing art. Now, when you pull up each song, the image of the card will appear!
  12. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 12
    Create a New Smart Playlist from the File menu. The first match rule should be "Playlist is Tarot Main Deck". Check the box to Limit To 10 Items Chosen At Random. Name this playlist "Today's Celtic Cross".
  13. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 13
    Sync your iPod with the computer's USB/firewire port. Once it mounts, click on the iPod management icon at the bottom right of the window and ensure that it is set to automatically sync the Tarot Main Deck and Today's Celtic Cross playlists.
  14. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 14
    Unplug the iPod, don your headphones, light your candles and incense and enjoy the perfect melding of New Age and Hi Tech! Interpret the meaning of each song by mentally "placing" them into the relevant locations in the standard Celtic Cross spread as they are played.
  15. Image titled Create an iPod Tarot Deck Step 15
    Use the iPod Tarot on the fly:
    • Get the querent to hold your iPod and think about their issue at hand.
    • Press the mighty Shuffle Songs button.
    • Click through the first ten songs of the "Deck" to get their reading.


  • Every time you re-sync the iPod, a new set of ten songs will be seeded into your Today's Celtic Cross playlist.
  • Filling in the Major Arcana first (with your favorite songs) will maximize their impact when they appear in your spreads.
  • The "Slush Pile" approach is actually optional, but is quite helpful if you either have a gigantic music collection or are a bit nit-picky about getting the exact song to express the meaning for each card.
  • It takes a long time to match all 78 cards. Consider taking breaks and carrying the reference papers around in your back pocket until inspiration hits.
  • Customizing the song names and artwork is optional, but adds real flair to your virtual deck. One step further would be to edit the lyrics/notes for each mp3 file and insert point-form interpretations of the cards.
  • Sorting your library list various ways (especially by Artist, Genre and My Rating) is a great way to quickly find good candidates for the the Slush Pile.


  • Don't be too picky when creating your Slush Pile. You'll need far more than 78 songs to work from if you want to fill in all the slots successfully.
  • The same basic process can be used to create a 78-song playlist on any generic, non-Apple MP3 player and another software jukebox program. Generally, the randomization and automation features won't be as seamless, though, and you may have to manually drag-and-drop the files onto the player .
  • The iPod Tarot is currently limited by the fact that it can't "deal" the cards out in their reversed configurations. A little work can overcome this limitation, however... duplicate your finished 78-song deck, then use MSPaint or another graphical editing program to edit the album art. You will now have a 156-song deck with upright and reversed versions of each card. The only drawback to this method is you will occasionally get the same card twice in a reading.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer
  • A large collection of MP3 music files
  • An iPod (or a generic MP3 player - see Warnings)
  • Prior knowledge of the tarot meanings, a reference book or an Internet connection to look them up.

Sources and Citations

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