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The Lost Art of Letter Writing

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on August 16, 2011 | Comments (7)

Keeping with my recent theme of getting to know the cards more intimately and personally, I thought I’d share one of my personal favorites.

Whenever a card is bothering me…stalking me or otherwise annoying me, I write it a letter. In that letter, I pour out all my confusion or frustration…or even anger if applicable (I should show you a letter I wrote to the lady in the 9 of Pentacles about 12 years ago! It was a doozey.). I ask all kinds of questions.

Writing what are called “unsent letters” is a therapeutic activity, meant to help get something off your chest. It helps you release and move on. Letters to tarot cards can be that. But I’ve found something that works even better for me….

After I write my letter, I take the card I wrote to and stare at it until I have it memorized. Then I take a few minutes to meditate on the image and ask that the spirit of the card respond to me, through me. Taking up pen and paper, I write an answer to my letter as if I were the card. I’ll usually use a different kind of paper and pen, to differentiate between myself and the card. Or, if I am writing straight into my journal, I’ll at least use a different pen and either turn my journal sideways or upside down or write on a different page…anything to set the response off from the original letter.

This practice always leads to interesting insights about me and about the card. Not only is it an excellent solitary activity, it can be adapted to a group. Have a main scribe who leads the group in crafting a letter to a card. Then have everyone respond individually as the card. Compare answers. Discuss. Be amazed.

I like to use more detailed decks for this exercise, like The Fairy Tale Tarot, The Wizards Tarot, and Shadowscapes Tarot. Try a deck with which are less familiar and I bet you get really fascinating results!


Reader Comments

Written By Mary K. Greer
on August 16th, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

What a great idea! Love that you use real paper and pens.

Fern Mercier and Lyn Olds have recently assembled a set of 22 letters from tarot notables to people from the past—many of whom are deck creators and/or authors. Unsent letters are wonderful, but getting a letter back is even better! And doing it in a group is fantastic. I hope to use it in a class one of these days (giving you credit, of course). Thanks so much.

BTW, I’ve used tarot cards to help me write a difficult letter – drawing several cards for the main points I need to make in the letter, even drawing on literal elements in the card(s) to describe my perspective.


Written By shaheen
on August 16th, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

This is a brilliant idea. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

Written By Jim Maher
on August 16th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

Barbara,I love writing letters, I also love using pencils, pens, fountain pens and different kinds of paper. Are we losing the art of handwriting? Do we need the art of handwriting at this point in time? Is my antique inkbottle collection redundant?
I love the idea that you write to your cards, I’ve never done this. I have a few cards in a few decks that I’m going to send some embellished letters to.
As you mentioned this would be a wonderful exercise in a workshop setting.
Barbara did you ever get your “Pen Licence” at school ?
What a great post & what an even greater pleasure to read.

Written By Madeline
on November 5th, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

I love looking up articles on the lost art of letterwritting! I am 19 and am very in love with the idea. A special friend of mine lives in NY and we correspond through letters. I wondered (when I proposed the idea)if he thought snail mail was strange or outdated…but now I have confidence that he enjoys it as much as I do.
To incorporate artwork into the letters is so much fun too!…and makes it a joy to look at and read.
Each time I recieve a letter it goes into a little bag for safekeeping. It is relaxing and at the same time exciting to write one, and very touching to read one. It is even taking the place of our texting.

Written By Barbara Moore
on November 7th, 2011 @ 11:49 am

I agree…letter writing is a lost art. Throughout my life, I’ve had a few friendships that included written (as in letters, not email) correspondence. I still have those letters…emails, however, get deleted after a time. There is something enduring and powerful about words on paper. Adding art is just fun! No, not “just” fun. It adds another level to the experience.

Written By letter writing
on November 8th, 2011 @ 4:22 am

i love to write letters and decorate it by using different colored pens and pencils so that it would look colorful and people will be anxious to read the letters.
thanks for sharing the brilliant idea.


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