tarot: a matter of perspective?

So I didn’t talk about it much at the time, but last fall I discovered a book called Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner. I just fell in love with the concept of using tarot cards to break through writer’s block, deepen characters, design scenes, and add in extra layers — extra dimensions — of conflict and back story.

At that time I’d never used tarot cards before. I didn’t know what elemental cards were, what the Major and Minor Arcana were… nothing. All I knew is that when people think of tarot, they think of evil, black magic, pagan, anti-Christianianity, bad stuff. In actuality, one of its original purposes was as a nifty, 15th-century card game in the Italian courts (check out Wikipedia for more info).

Anyway, I read this book (devoured it, to tell ya the truth), joined Corrine’s online meet-up group, and joined in on a few online chats. My goal was to use her system in planning my 2009 National Novel Writing Month venture. Though I didn’t ‘win’ NaNo,  I did discover a lasting interest in tarot, and an appreciation for how it can be used to interpret so many facets of life (much to my husband’s chagrin).

With everything else that started happening in my personal life with the new year, I set it aside until I could devote more time to it.


We all know how well that usually works out. So when I got my iPad in mid-June, I realized it was a good opportunity to start up a more serious review without having lots of books laying around for my husband to look askance at. I picked up two:  ”Tarot Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis“and “Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners by Joan Bunning“. My new goal was to get a feel for the cards, and to learn how to interpret them without flipping pages for every single one when I was in the process of mapping out a scene or a new character. At the same time I stumbled across Chronicle for iPad, a journal app that has just the right number of bells and whistles to be fun but not too confusing (or expensive!). I had no other excuse. I started up my tarot journal. It’s forced me to interpret cards in my practice spreads and record my thoughts, and when I review the entry later, I can see whether or not the cards had any bearing on that day or its events.

It was fun! And I’m getting the hang of it, a little bit at a time. And as a reward for keeping the thing for a whole month (I have a bad habit of quitting fun new initiatives fairly quickly once the ‘new’ wears off), I got a new deck: Tarot of the Magical Forest. It’s filled with pictures of cute little forest creatures, and for some reason it inspires me with stories that my other two decks don’t. It might be fun to see if L likes them enough to start making up stories during our bedtime ‘dance parties’.

Maybe she’s got a storyteller inside her, too?

Out of curiosity this morning, I picked a spread called “What’s Going On?” from the book “Power Tarot” by Trish Macgregor & Phyllis Vega (p. 243). I’m posting my very general, unspecific interpretation of the individual cards below, but I got a kick out of how accurate it might be depending on my perspective and context.

… and after all, isn’t that what tarot is really all about? About your perspective and interpretation on life around you?

(I wonder what would happen if I take this same spread and apply it to my writing project? I’ll have to try that in a later post…)

Spread: What’s Going On

What’s going on now, including what you cannot see:
1.    Justice XI
2.    3 of Swords rev
::: Legal proceedings, but the worst is over. While we cannot recover lost relationships, it will soon be a time for recovery.

Two upcoming events that influence the outcome:
3.    The Hermit IX rev
4.    3 of Chalices rev
::: Wisdom spurned and excessive, self-imposed isolation. Too much of a good thing or a sad social event, perhaps a cancelled wedding or relationship gone awry?

Where the issue is headed:
5.    King of Swords rev
::: premeditated malice or legal problems leading to an injust decision

What you can expect based on the patterns of the present moment:
6.    4 of Swords
7.    9 of Swords
::: Recharging batteries after a period of intense conflict followed by one of respite and relief. Despair/Insomnia while dealing with severe self-doubts, though the problems likely don’t look as bad in the light of day.

How you can change it if you don’t like it:
8.    Knave of Swords
9.    5 of Wands
::: Take action decisively (but not impulsively) with actions (perhaps in the legal proceedings) rather than wait for something to happen to us. Avoid passivity in legal problems or other squabbles. Take action and utilize the energy.

Overall Outcome:
10.  The Moon XVIII rev
::: Shedding light on hidden matters after a period of darkness and confusion. Take care to watch for sabotage on the way to this outcome, perhaps from a difficult woman.

[Bwahahahaaaaaaahaha! This last bit cracks me up… :) ]

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