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The Llewellyn Journal
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Tarot and Creative Writing

This article was written by Ruth Ann Amberstone
posted under Tarot

Writing

A practical use of Tarot that might not be readily apparent is the way it can aid the creative writing process. Whether you've ever tried your hand at writing or not, the cards can be used to generate ideas, flesh out a story, or help you overcome writer's block.

Next time you begin a writing project, pull out your favorite deck and ask it for suggestions. Here are some questions you might ask the cards:

  • Where should my story take place? (Take note of the landscape on the card.)
  • What should my character do next?
  • What do I need to know about my character?
  • How can I add a twist to the plot?
  • Now my character is in trouble! How can I get him/her out?
  • Should my story have a happy ending?

If you're suffering from writer's block, or perhaps even a fear of writing, use the cards to help gain some insight into your personal state. Answers to questions like these might be just what you need to get you started again:

  • What is the basis of my block or fear?
  • What is one action I can take to help get me past it?
  • What is one more action I can take?
  • Is this a good time to start a writing project? (Of course, if you're dealing with a school assignment you may not have the luxury to ask this question.)

Another thing you can do to help get a jump-start is to pick a single card and start "channeling" the voice of a character in the card. Get out of the way and let that character just ramble on—write it all down! It's really an amazing process and you'll be surprised at how easy it is once you begin. It's sort of a combination Tarot reading/automatic writing session.

This is also a very good technique to use when you're trying to find the voice of a character you've already created. Look through the deck and choose a card that most closely represents the persona or energy of your character and let them speak through that card.

If you're a poet, the Tarot is an endless wellspring of inspiration. The imagery and symbolism in the cards is so rich—and there are hundreds of decks to choose from, with thousands of moods! Dive into a card and bathe in the landscape.

Don't feel you have to write a poem about the card or its meaning unless you want to. The power of the Tarot is that it can evoke from within us the most powerful feelings and experiences. Poetry is the perfect medium to express them.

According to mythology, there were nine muses. With the Tarot, you've got seventy-eight!

And that is just one deck!

Excerpted from Tarot Tips by Ruth Ann Amberstone and Wald Amberstone


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