My playlist is a tarot deck 🔮

How to use Spotify & dance as a digital divination tool

Ariel Meadow Stallings
3 min readJan 6, 2024

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If you’re one of the folks who follow me because I work at Medium, this is your fair warning that this is NOT a story about Medium. I contain multitudes; nice to meet you!

Photo of the author by Chris Wojdak

I am a human who dances a lot. Like, a lot a lot. My editorial career started as a scene reporter for a rave magazine in the mid-’90s, where dancing was seen as so important that the style guide made it clear that the word was to be capitalized: Dance, like God.

25 years later, that editorial decision strikes me as unbelievably twee (these days, I don’t capitalize either word).

…Then again, I have a mirror and barre in my living room. I have a daily devotional dance practice. I wake up most days and dance my prayers. I wind down some days dancing my gratitudes. I’ve taught conscious dance courses. I take Cuban Salsa classes in the evenings, and sometimes go to sober day raves in the mornings.

Dance probably does play an upper-case role in my life.

My living room with cheeky-ass neon sign

When I was teaching conscious dance, the biggest lesson I was trying to teach my students was that you could use a simple freestyle dance every morning as a mindfulness practice.

Bafflingly, one of the most common questions I would get from students was how to find good music for the morning dance.

“Oh, that’s the easiest part,” I would tell them. “As long as you’ve got a few playlists you like, you just pop one open and click shuffle — let the algorithm be your musical tarot card!”

See, I use the Spotify algorithm in the same way some people use tarot cards.

Some folks pull a card each morning, to see what perspectives the images and symbols can pull out of their subconscious.

Me? Every morning, I pull up one of my favorite playlists, press shuffle, and let the algorithm serve up a song. I dance it through and see what shows up.

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Ariel Meadow Stallings

I'm a Medium product manager, but also a whole-ass person: author, publisher, devotional dancer, Seattleite, mom, and just a human humanning.