Placement: The Negligible Arcana


The King of Octopus’s throne is neither gold nor iron but the Earth itself. The continents are his playthings, but he does not appear to be having much in the way of fun. He looks bored. He wonders to himself whether he should play with Jupiter* instead, or maybe the asteroid belt, while he waits for the sun** to turn supernova.


Right side up:

Kings in tarot signify authority in decision making, effective delegating, taking responsibility and the wearing metal hats with confidence. Your understand that you actions have powerful consequences and act accordingly. In the case of the King of Octopus, these consequences will be mind-bogglingly bizarre. Embrace it. Claim mastery over the oddity. The weird is mightier than the pen, sword, mouse, duck, or morphin power ranger.

As this blog explores the worst (meaning most likely) scenarios for each card, I must warn you that unlike rulers known as The Great or The Chaste, those nicknamed The Weird rarely live beyond the first truly unconventional decree. For example, the pirate captain Marvin found himself marooned on a tree-less rock for ordering his crew to participate in “So You Think You Can Hornpipe”. As legendary tarot theorist Boilsplat McFarland wrote in volume three of his transformative 1470 masterpiece Cephalopodica, “The Kinge reached his slipperie end; short live the King.”

Worse still, you may have an authority figure in your life whose nonsensical whims threaten your physical or emotional safety. Following this person’s orders may send you off the deep end, shipwrecked and caught among the gym socks of Davy Jones’ Locker.


Upside down:

The King of Octopus reversed may at first appear at first glance tamer than its upright counterpart, but this is far from the truth. An authoritative person gains supporters by taking on the image of a righteous agent of chaos, but is in fact a cold mastermind bent on destruction. He convinces his subjects that his aim is to undo the secretive pomposity of the system by behaving like the opposite of a king – a child. This type of king deserves to be marooned, on an undersized surfboard cracked down the middle, surrounded by furious orcas and wearing a bathing suit soaked in a concentrated tincture of scorpion pepper.


*not playing with the Jupiter card which, along with Juno, is part of the Major Arcana in some older decks. Neither of them acknowledge the existence of the Octopus Kingdom.

**not playing with The Sun card, which is a small naked child. An octopus king playing with entire planets is somewhat less disturbing.


Classic King of Octopus deaths:

  • Drawn, quartered and served with tzatziki
  • Attack of the angry mob
  • Poisoned caviar
  • A newly-released kraken