Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing with the Tarot

Recommended Reading for a Writer with a Weakness for Tarot

The other day I had a lovely conversation with someone about art, writing, and the tarot. This girl was a writer that wanted to write more and was getting stuck. She also was new to tarot, and had no idea where to start with the cards. So I told her to combine the two. Her face absolutely lit up and she said she would try it. (If you're reading this, I hope it worked for you!) 

There is much to be learned from the whole "meanings of the individual cards" thing. But sometimes, you have to let those images speak to you in their own way, and that has very little to do with accepted meanings. It's a private conversation of imagery between you and the cards. Keywords looked up in a little book tend to gum up the works if used for spurring the writing muses (but hey, if you're a wordy person, don't let me stop you). Let the card be a pretty picture. Let a story come out of it. Let your words describe what you are seeing. Let the words flow.

The cards lend themselves to writers very well, because through tarot cards we can see the story of our lives. Who's to say we can't see a story of a fictional life through them as well? We've got the beginning (The Fool), we've got the picking up of the pace (The Chariot), we've got the problem (Lovers, Devil, Hierophant; love story, boundaries and expectations, problem with authority), total destruction and climax or reversal of fortune (The Tower, The Wheel), and the resolution (Sun, Moon, World, etc). And by the by, even nonfiction writing can benefit from a shuffle and one-card pull.

I just did a shuffle and pull keeping writing in mind and got Death. You can use the imagery on the card (mine is very skull and scythe, Death as a mounted knight in shadows type) or you can use the interpreted meaning of the card (endings, letting go, loss, transformation, fear of unknown) to use this card to spark writing.

The writing/tarot combo is not new. In fact, there are quite a number of books on the subject.

Some Recommended Reading:

Tarot Diva by Sasha Graham

Tarot Journaling by Corrine Kenner

Tarot Tells the Tale by James Ricklef

On Writing by Stephen King

How do you use tarot to spur you to writing glory? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!


  1. I have the Tarot Journaling book. My absolute favorite book has been "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card" by Mary K. Greer. It finally gave me the "permission" I needed to stop worrying about prescribed (i.e. "correct") meanings and to use my intuition for readings.

  2. Ame, thanks for your comment. I haven't read "21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card", but it has come highly recommended by many people, so I will definitely put it on my list.
    Isn't it funny how we look outside of ourselves for the "permission" we feel we need to use our own intuition? I've had "Psychic Tarot" by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie A. Howard recommended to me for such permission.

  3. I'll definitely look into that one - thanks! :)