TWO OF COINS you will die

Placement: The Minor Arcana

Description: In contemporary decks inspired by the classic illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, the Two of Coins features a juggler dressed like a traffic cone, dancing on a beach. The waters behind him are rough, yet two ships sail in the distance. The items he juggles are two gold discs, each emblazoned with a pentacle. Often there is an infinity symbol framing these discs.

In older tarot decks, the Two of Coins appears to be a signature piece for illustrators, each with their own unique and elaborate details.

These are but a few of the many available examples:

two coins sola busca

The top coin depicts Julius Caesar while the lower depicts illustrator Marco Zoppo’s landlord Borghi, who had a weakness for blatant flattery.

Two of Coins Marseille

Nicolas Conver felt the need to sign his work on this card in 1760 on a banner sprouting leaves and flowers, anticipating the hippie movement by two centuries.

Tarocchino Two Coins

This Tarocchino version depicts two ouroboroi. An ouroboroi is a creature of allegory, a snake that eats its own tail, representing self-reflection, the cyclical nature of existence, and the embarrassment one feels after misspeaking. These ouroboroi are taking a break between meals to guard a golden crown. The instruction “pay attention to the outside world” is commonly phrased “get your arse out of your head.”


The blue snake is the symbol for the House of Visconti. Their motto is “Vipereos mores non violabo” which translates to either “I will not violate the Snake’s uses” or “I will not sabotage the Snake”. The symbol for the Gallurian branch of the Visconti family is a proud rooster. Their motto is “I will not block cock.”

In tarot, as in life, everyone wants to throw in their two cents.

Right side up:

Heads? Tails? As with other two cards in tarot this card concerns the balancing of polarities. Coins, as a suit, represent physical practicalities, the need for food and shelter and other comforts. The juggler, however, is focused so intently on his juggling act that he ignores the waves behind him. Maybe his proverbial ship will come in, but maybe the overly strong currents will beach the poor vessel, knocking the poor juggler into the sand and crushing him under the hull.

Put your priorities in order. As they say, if you invest your tuppence in the bank safe and sound, soon that tuppence invested will compound. However, that same tuppence can buy a bag of crumbs to feed the birds. A third option: you may be clever enough to both contribute to exploitative imperialism and fill birds with empty carbohydrates before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Upside down:

Choosing tails and then landing on your head. Balancing the books on a collapsing bookshelf. Trying to do opposing things at once forces you to fail at both. As a result, you won’t have two pennies to rub together. Alternatively, the coins are for your eyelids, to pay the ferryman to the underworld.


Classic Two of Coins deaths:

  • Panning in the water for gold while making electrical repairs
  • Hedging one’s bets with a pair of rabid hedgehogs
  • Caught between two bucks in mating season
  • Knocked in the head by a juggled object such as a bowling pin, flaming torch or chainsaw