Reading Tarot with Hannah Cohen

By Amy Garlesky

Photography by Sam Ahern

Even with two albums under her belt, Hannah Cohen felt there was room to grow. Passing through Washington, DC in January to support her third full-length, Welcome Home, we spoke with the New York-based singer about her previous releases and the intentions she brought into her latest work. During our reading, we touched on more than just Cohen’s artistic process and past experiences; we also explored her personal journey into her upcoming projects.

Discography: Past, Present & Future

Slumber: Okay, so we’re going do your past two albums, your current album, and then what’s next. And alright, it’s got a lot to say.

Hannah: Oh yeah.

Past Work: Four of Swords

Slumber: It’s interesting that you mentioned to me earlier that your last two albums don’t really count – that [Welcome Home] is what you’re considering right now as your first record. And what I like about this is that the Four of Swords basically shows to me this peace of mind of putting something in the past, right. Even when you’re talking to me about it, there doesn’t seem to be. Like, it’s not like you show a lot of regret or like heightened emotions or anything. It’s very much like this peace of mind, putting it to rest to get into your current album.

Current Work: Queen of Swords & Eight of Pentacles

Slumber: It’s also an interesting transition into what’s next but I like these two for you. The Queen of Swords, the Queens are kind of like badass witches of the tarot – if you’re going to get a queen, typically the sword represents mental energy so like clear-headedness, unlike something like cups which is like watery emotion. So this is telling me that you’ve put to rest what you’ve been working on and this came out of a really good space mentally, to release this. Although there might have been emotion or passion put into it, there’s this kind of cool growth into [Welcome Home] as an artist.

And it’s nice how it goes with the Eight of Pentacles, which is about hard work. [The man in the card] is looking down at the Pentacles that he has already put together and hung up on the wall. He has a lot of them, and he is looking down and admiring all the work that he’s created. What I see here is this sense of being proud. It’s like leaving what’s been behind and coming into [Welcome Home] and feeling very proud of what you’ve created in a very like cool-headed, mature way.

Future Work: Ten of Pentacles & King of Wands

And so when we lead into what’s next, it’s even better. In the Eight of Pentacles, you obviously have this abundance that you’ve worked and created and reflected upon. But the Ten of Pentacles is when you’re you’re reaping that reward; you’re reaping that abundance. So you have this little kid as he comes inside to find a treasure chest. Pentacles typically represent material wealth, and you can see how the parents have walked away like he’s found this by himself. He’s found this abundance by himself, and it is a progression of what has already sort of come for you.

It’s also nice then to see this Queen of Swords turned into the King of Wands. Wands typically represent Fire energy and passion and creativity. The King of Wands is at the top of that, so the King of Wands is the type of person who has control over their passions, who has control over that creativity, and can very much lead as an example. So it’s nice to see this sort of, like, cool mature Queen of Swords turned into this very impassioned sort of presence, while also growing even in terms of abundance as to what you created for yourself.

Hannah: Oh, I like that.

Slumber: So that’s what I don’t know – if you have any thoughts on this?

Hannah: Oh, I do. I think that this has been the natural organic progression of working on music for the first time in recording these past two records. And for the third one, really feeling like I had arrived, where I now made music that I wanted to be making. And now I’m about to make my next record, and I’m feeling really excited and creatively ready for that. Yeah, so it seems very on point.

Slumber: Cool. All right. So we’ll do another question… how about where you stand now, where you aspire, and how to get there? Would you want to do something like that?

Hannah: Yeah! Yeah, because I am finishing touring with this record and I have a new record that I’m going to be making or recording before the end of this week. And then starting the next couple of months diving into that.

Slumber: Ok great, let’s do that.

Hannah Herself: Currently, Her Aspirations & Advice

Current Situation: Queen of Pentacles

Slumber: So, where you stand now. There’s been a lot of powerful energy when it comes to representing you and yourself. You’ve gotten a queen and a king in the last reading, and now you’re getting the Queen of Pentacles. And whenever I see the Queen of Pentacles – I’ve heard it be described as like the lady in waiting. She’s patient, she’s controlled, she has accumulated an abundance of things for herself, but she’s very much happy where she is or being patient to move onto what’s next. There’s no sort of energy. Like, if this were to be the Knight of Swords impatiently charging into a flaming castle. That’s not the energy that I get. This is a much more controlled – but very strong and powerful – patience.

Aspirations: Ten of Wands & Two of Wands

In Tarot, it typically goes Ace through Ten and that’s supposed to be kind of like a karmic cycle. We start at the Ace, you build up to Ten which is the end. What the Ten of Wands is telling me is that even though this person looks kind of scared as all of the wands have fallen around him, this is telling me he is near a state of completion. You aspire to make it through this cycle to then move on to something else.

The Ace of Wands is symbolic of a single wand. And that’s typically like the spark of new creativity. What this is telling me is that right now you’re patient, and you’re kind of going along with what’s happening. However, you want to get to this point where all the other wands have fallen. And you can get back to this place of new creativity to build off of.

So then it’s really nice, because if we consider you’re near the Ace of Wands, then you’re also hoping to move onto the Two of Wands, which is a place of staking your ground. It’s coming into this new creativity, growing past this old cycle, and then kind of putting those wands of creativity firm in the ground to get started on something else. So these cards are telling me that you’re aspiring to get to this completion of a cycle.


Future Advice: Five of Swords & Six of Swords

It’s interesting that to get to this more passionate creative place, we have to focus on using more mental energy, so not quite with the heart but with the head sort of energy. Typically, when I think of the Five of Wands, I think… the phrase that keeps coming back to me is like standing up for yourself, but that’s not necessarily the best answer here. But this person in the card has come on to the battlefield after the fighting is over and they’re collecting the swords and they’re finding things that have worked for them while also shedding the things that didn’t. They’re standing up for themselves in the things that have worked. And what is really nice is that it’s telling me that – to get to this Two of Wands energy is kind of like going through this process of five to six, where he takes those swords and he gets on a boat.

In the Six of Swords, the man with the swords moves towards calmer waters, towards something else. And what that tells me is like, yes, it is this time to kind of move onto something else, but again, swords are not like this super emotional or fiery type of thing. It’s rather a calm passage, this idea of taking what has worked for you, standing up for it, and then moving onto something else in a very calm and collected way. And that’s how you’re going be able to get from this place of waiting into this new firmed up, renewal of creativity and passion.

Hannah: Oh, cool!

Slumber: Does this resonate?

Hannah: It does, it does. After this tour and making this record, I’m going to start doing some like real work, like normal, get a real job in between records, and do some training.

Slumber: I wanted to ask, what’s your astrology sign?

Hannah: I’m a Scorpio. My bandmate, Maya, is also a Scorpio. Her birthday is five days after mine… we basically have the same [chart] except for our [rising signs].

Slumber: Oh nice! Yeah, I have a lot of friends that have very similar charts to me in the music industry. I’m a Cancer with a Leo rising and once I booked a show and everyone playing were basically Cancers and most of them also had the same rising as me.

Hannah: Oh, yeah, my rising is Leo!

Slumber: Ah cool! Before we wrap this up, I wanted to ask – was this whole reading clarifying for you?

Hannah: This was very clarifying to me! Yeah, especially talking about the past records and arriving at a place where I feel like I’ve done the work I’ve wanted. Yeah, it was great!

Stream Hannah’s latest album ‘Welcome Home’ out now via Bella Union: