I am dedicating Tuesdays to the Tarot. I will be using the imagery of the cards to assist with going deeper into writing projects. Over time I will be addressing, creative blocks, dialogue, character development, back story, setting, plot and poetry. I will also include prompts and whatever else develops.
A Bit of Back Story:
I fell in-love with the Tarot when I was thirteen about the same time I started keeping a diary. Writing & Tarot are two of my passions. Seven years ago I discovered just how much they compliment each other. This happened when I took a Tarot class for writers taught by the the amazing Rachel Pollack at Goddard College. I was in my last year of my MFA when this master class was offered. She explained ways of working with the Tarot for character development, dialogue and plot. This blew a door open for me and I have continued building on what I was taught.
I have only one rule I hold myself to: I do my best to let go of any meanings I have ascribed to the card so I can approach things with fresh eyes & beginners mind.
I usually pull only one card to get started. Though I may add another card or two as things get going. It depends. Please remember there are no wrong or right ways.
To get things flowing I begin by fanning the cards out facedown. I take my time picking one that “feels right.” Then, I get started writing which consists of describing the card in as much detail as possible. Notice the colors. Consider the landscape, the position of the characters and buildings. Is there more than one person? If so, what might they be saying to each other? Jot everything down—even random thoughts and follow where your instincts take you. Also notice how the card makes you feel. What does it evoke?
Free write for a set amount of time–five or ten minutes but of course longer if you are engaged.
Example: For today’s post I pulled the Queen of Swords:
After describing everything I could about the card I sat quietly with the image to see if any memories or insight might surface. When nothing came I began to ask questions. The questions I asked were ones that popped into my head in the moment.
Here are a few that came up for me. (Feel free to use them for writing prompts if you like)
What does the landscape look like around her?
What does it look like further out—in the places I can’t see?
What do the symbols on her throne mean?
Is she comfortable?
What does she rule over?
Is she waiting for someone?
Why is she so close to the clouds?
Why is she holding a sword?
What is she protecting?
Am I protecting something in my own life? (This is where a shift happened and I realized why I was blocked)
If so what and why?
TIPS: I find it helps to turn the lens both inward and outward when wanting to go deeper. It helps to keep checking in with your body and how you are experiencing the imagery. Trust the wisdom of your body. It can give you a lot of information.
I discovered thru this process that what I am writing about (I am working on a memoir) has a lot of emotions attached. I put up a protective barrier and it has created a block.
So the next questions I asked myself were: Can I put down my sword? Is it emotionally safe to do so? Can I create enough emotional distance from this part of my story without needing to be so guarded? Can I maintain it’s energy if I pull back a bit? Is there another way to tell the story? A more effective way?
I will explore this further on my own but recognizing why I was blocked in the first place was extremely helpful. Depending on what else surfaces I may create a small ritual around letting go or add a mantra and breath work to my daily practice or it might be as simple as naming the block. Sometimes that is all it takes to get things flowing. Not everything needs to be a huge revelation in order to be helpful.
These exercises work well for seasoned readers and for people with no prior knowledge of the cards that just want assistance with their writing process. It is also a wonderful tool for people that journal.
I look forward to sharing more on working with the Tarot next Tuesday. Peace.