Welcome to my series of Using Tarot in Writing based on Jenna Reynolds’ Tarot spreads. If you’re just joining the series, you may want to catch up on the earlier installments before continuing with this one.
Part one, Introduction
Part two, Plotting and Brainstorming
Part three, Character Circle
Part four, Character Creation
Part five, The Hero’s Journey
Part 6, Creating a World
This is another one of Jenna’s spreads I’ve not done before. So we’re doing this live. Shuffle, cut, deal. I’m using my Celtic Tarot deck.
Starting at 12 o’clock we have:
- Religion/Magic — The Empress — This card reminds me of Druids. I’d start by researching Druids, creating the beliefs and mythos around that.
- Economics — 3 of Chalices — Water is the currency. Salt water is the third (or lowest) tier, fresh water is the second, and rain water is the first tier.
- Arts, Play, and Fun — Reversed 9 of Pentacles — That bird stands out to me. Pets are a huge part of the people’s lives. When I think of birds I think of singing and music which remind me of dancing. The Pentacles appear gold but that’s not a currency to the people rather it’s the metal with which they craft their statues and sculptures. The card has a water color feel which is another art medium for the people of this world.
- Military/Warfare — 9 of Swords — The people of this world fight with swords and fire. Their warfare is medieval.
- Language — 5 of Wands — This card reminds me of Native American Indians dancing around a fire to tell of stories of the hunt, the battle victories, etc. I’d research one of the nations to create the language.
- Urban and Rural — 4 of Wands — Again this card reminds me of Native American Indians. I would focus my research in that area.
- History — Ace of Swords — That looks like a crown on the sword. The background is fiery. The history of this world is rife with hostile coups for the monarchy.
- Biome (Climate and Geography) — The Magician — The majority of the world is lush and fertile for growing crops. The man is wearing a hat and very little clothing, there are periods of intense heat, perhaps like the high desert or the surrounding mountains.
- Education — Reversed King of Swords — The reversed nature of this card talks about cruelty and/or barbarity which makes me think about the way the sons of Sparta were trained in the movie 300.
- Societal Roles — Reversed Knight of Swords — This card screams warrior to me. I think there would be a warrior cast, a merchant cast, etc.
- Science and Technology — 6 of Swords — This card gives me the feeling of Vikings invading. I’d research their science and technology and combine it with the Druid information.
- Law, Crime, and Ethics — 2 of Chalices — This card give me the impression of a feudal lord, no idea why, and that works for the legal system on this world so I’d go with it. Ethics is harder to nail down. (Matter of fact, I’m drawing a blank as I type this. Remember I’m doing this live. So, I’d probably draw a qualifying card to help pin down the ethics if I was creating this world for a story I was actually writing.)
- Marriage, Sex, Kinship — Ace of Wands — That looks like a tree branch which makes me think of family trees thus I’d say family is tight-knit, often many generations living in one home. The single hand makes me think of the old Scottish custom of Handfasting, and I love that! (Couples would marry by Handfasting — basically that means they would live together for one year and a day then if a child is born or at least conceived within that time the couple would be legally married.) And the sex I’ll leave to Maria Zannini as she’s got a way with alien sex and this is feeling like a fantasy or alien world.
- Political System — 6 of Pentacles — I already mentioned a monarchy so I’ll stick with that. Additionally, this card shows a set of scales and the six Pentacles are very prominent which says the monarchy is advised by six counsel members to keep things in balance. For kicks and giggles, I’m going to add that those six counsel members can veto the monarchy.
- At the center is the Name of the World (an optional card draw) — Reversed Knight of Pentacles — I called this an optional card draw because you may already know the name of your world before you do the spread. I didn’t know the name so drew the card. That looks like a dragon. Loving dragons right now. However, it’s late and my mind is turning to mush. The name on the card is Cavaliere di Denari. How about Dragari? Or, Dengon? Just plain Cavaliere is kinda cool too. So many choices
What about you? What world did you see in the cards? I’d love it if you shared in the comments.
There’s been some interest in a Q&A and/or Tarot 101 post. What I’ll do is gather up all the questions y’all note in the comments on any of the Tarot posts and write up a post at the end of the series. Thank you for the interest and support of this series.