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Part 1, Introduction

Angel deck, The Lovers, I write romance after all.

I was introduced to using the Tarot for writing last year during Coyote Con by the amazing Jenna Reynolds.  While I doubt I’ll ever use the Tarot for divination it has been a fascinating tool for brainstorming.  So I thought I’d do a little series on using the Tarot for your writing.

To get started, you should invest in Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner (one of my Recommended Reads).  It has a little bit of everything and will set you on the right path.

If you don’t own a deck, that would be your second step.  Invest in a set that speaks to you, is visually appealing, and has images on all the cards not just the Major Arcana.  Aeclectic Tarot is one good site for Tarot cards.  You can view hundreds, if not thousands, of decks on Aeclectic Tarot.  I found my first set on Amazon.

The Tarot deck includes 22 Major Arcana (secrets) representing major events, life’s journey, archetypes, etc. and 56 Minor Arcana representing everyday events, everyday people, etc.

The Minor Arcana is broken down into suits (just like a regular deck of cards) and you’ll want cards with pictures on the entire suit.

  • Wands correspond to Clubs, represent the element of Fire (wood burns), and symbolize spiritual experience.
  • Cups or Chalices correspond to Hearts, represent the element of Water, and symbolize emotional affairs.
  • Swords correspond to Spades, represent the element of Air (swords cut through the air), and symbolize thought and communication (swords and spades “have a point to make”).
  • Coins or Pentacles correspond to Diamonds, represent the element of Earth, symbolizing physical, material, and financial realities.

And just like a regular deck of cards you will find court cards within the suits:  King, Queen, Knight (Prince), and Page or Knave (Princess).  You will come across some differences — the most common being the switching of Wands and Swords elements — between various decks so read the little booklet that comes with your cards.

Take a look at the two above cards.

The first is from my Angel deck by US Game Systems, the 3 of Cups,  and you can see the heart imagery from a regular ol’ fashion deck of cards on the card.

While the 3 of Cups card from my Celtic deck by Lo Scarabeo has an image. With an image you can get inspiration for a scene (or even an entire story), a location, a plot twist, a character’s physical description or background, or insight into a character’s goals and motivation.

  • What do you see in the 3 of Cups card?

Tarot Card Worksheet is great for writing down impressions, keywords, and whatever else comes to mind.

And I love Raven’s Tarot Site for definitions and such.  This site is awesome for the elemental aspect of the cards, she shows which pairings strengthen vs. which weaken, the passive and active cards.  My favorite piece is on each card she indicates the Drive behind that card, the Light (which I read as the straight forward or upright reading of a card), and the Shadow (which I read as the reverse or upside down reading of a card).

Celtic deck: The Lovers

Jenna Reynolds created some Tarot spreads and has graciously granted me permission to reference them. Currently, you can download them from her Yahoo Group. My plan is for each part of the series to focus on one of Jenna’s spreads.

Part two, Plotting and Brainstorming
Part three, Character Circle
Part four, Character Creation
Part five, The Hero’s Journey
Part six, Creating a World
Part seven, Tarot 101
Part eight (addendum), Elements

For Fun:

  • What story do you see in The Lovers card?
  • What does the card tell you about the character?
  • Is this the hero and heroine?
  • Is that the antagonist looking over the man’s shoulder?
  • What’s happening in this scene?

Update: 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.