Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December 2014 Gift Guide Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

A Tarot Brainstorming Technique

This article was written by Barbara Moore
posted under Tarot

How many of us realize that our tarot decks are a fast, fun, and flexible tool that can help us make better decisions, be more creative, and achieve our goals? I bet most have. But I bet most of us haven’t used some of the incredibly effective techniques of Mark McElroy, author of What's in the Cards for You? and Putting the Tarot to Work. Here is an excerpt with one of Mark’s brainstorming techniques:

What to Do
From any Tarot deck, remove the Fool and the twenty-one trumps. Put these cards in order from zero (the Fool) to twenty-one (the World), and arrange them on a table so you can see each one.

Think of each of these twenty-two cards as twenty-two advisers who have been there and done that in the business world. No matter how complex your issue or difficult your situation, know that these twenty-two advisers have dealt with it dozens of times in the past. Whatever the issue, these advisers each confronted it, wrestled with it, and earned themselves a fat, luxurious bonus check for conquering it. Each has a unique perspective; each took a different approach. All, however, were incredibly successful.

Your goal is to tap into this collective reservoir of hard-won wisdom and practical experience. To do this, you must examine your situation or question from the perspective of each of these twenty-two successful mentors. With your decision or situation in mind, you start with the Fool and work your way down the line, asking, “In this situation, what would _________ do?” In other words, you start by asking, “What would the Fool do?” and conclude with “What would the World do?”

Ask this question with each trump in mind, and soon, you’ll have twenty-two options for action. Some of these will be outrageous. Some will challenge your sense of ethics. Some will be brilliant…and some, positively obtuse. But of the twenty-two options, at least one is bound to surprise or inspire you.

Give yourself no more than thirty seconds per card, and go with the first course of action that pops into your head. Practice this technique, and in less than fifteen minutes, you can generate twenty-two different options for action in any situation! Best of all, once you become proficient with this brainstorming strategy, you won’t need to have the actual cards in front of you. As a result, you can use this technique anytime, anywhere…and amaze people with your ability to come up with an apparently limitless stream of intriguing alternatives.

Practicing the Strategy
The Situation:
A music retailer has increasing problems with shrinkage—losses due to shoplifting. Management encourages employees to watch the store more carefully, but the problem only worsens. With valuable tapes and CDs walking out of the store on a daily basis, the time comes to take corrective action. What to do?

Use the above strategy to brainstorm twenty-two courses of action. Be serious. Be silly. Be inventive. Be creative. Be open to any idea, no matter how strange or bizarre. Remember the goal: twenty-two ideas, no matter how outrageous or absurd, in fifteen minutes or less.

Before looking at the sample answers below, be sure to make out your own list!

Possible Answers

  1. What would the Fool do? Accuse everyone who left the store of shoplifting until he finally got one right.
  2. What would the Magician do? Learn how to be a great shoplifter in order to know what to watch for.
  3. What would the Priestess do? Set up observation cameras.
  4. What would the Empress do? Hold a workshop teaching employees how to catch shoplifters, and create a system for rewarding employees who finger thieves.
  5. What would the Emperor do? Dispatch uniformed security personnel to handle the situation.
  6. What would the Hierophant do? Post signs reminding people of the penalties of shoplifting.
  7. What would the Lovers do? Form a partnership with other local shop owners to share best practices for defeating shoplifting and share information on the identity of shoplifters.
  8. What would the Chariot do? Publicize cases in which shoplifters were successfully prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as a way of defeating shoplifting before it begins.
  9. What would Strength do? Wrestle the shoplifters to the ground before they left the store!
  10. What would the Hermit do? Go away for a one-on-one seminar on stopping shoplifting.
  11. What would the Wheel do? Research to see if shoplifting rises and falls according to a predictable cycle, then staff extra people specifically to watch the floor at those times.
  12. What would Justice do? Hold court on the spot, sending the shoplifters directly to jail.
  13. What would the Hanged Man do? Ask others how they whipped the problem, then learn from their mistakes.
  14. What would Death do? Hand shoplifters merchandise and say, “Go ahead! Get it over with! No need to sneak around! Steal it!”
  15. What would Temperance do? Educate customers on how shoplifting harms them, too (creating higher prices, for example), then enlist their help in spotting and catching the thieves.
  16. What would the Devil do? Set a bounty for each shoplifter fingered (and then, maybe, wrongly accuse people in order to collect a big reward).
  17. What would the Tower do? Clear out the store and completely rearrange the floor plan with prevention of shoplifting in mind.
  18. What would the Star do? Set a goal for the reduction of shoplifting by a certain deadline.
  19. What would the Moon do? Watch shoplifters over cameras, then announce to the entire store over loudspeakers, “Hey, you in the blue shirt! I see you! Put it back!
  20. What would the Sun do? Hold a big party for employees when the team reduced shoplifting to the point selected by the Star.
  21. What would Judgment do? Send shoplifters a wake-up call by posting photos of previous shoplifters in the store, complete with “This is what happened to them, and it can happen to you” stories attached.
  22. What would the World do? Make shoplifting obsolete by making everything in the store free for the taking.
Whew! That’s a lot of ideas in a very little time!

When I started this exercise, I had no idea what my twenty-two answers would be. I generated the list in just over ten minutes, and reproduced it here with no editing at all.

As you can see, the degree of practicality varies from idea to idea. But, because I turned off my inner critic and kept working, I developed (without trying) a terrific anti-shoplifting strategy. The idea comes up again and again, in various forms, throughout my brainstorm: enlist the help of customers and employees…and reward those who catch thieves at work. Equally exciting ideas include: scheduling more employees at periods when shoplifting activity is known to be high, attending seminars to learn more about shoplifting techniques, keeping qualified law enforcement close at hand, and (my personal favorite) forming a coalition to share information with other vendors who are likely dealing with the same shoplifters. Combine these ideas with the Star’s advice for setting a target date for reducing shoplifting by a given percentage…and the managers of this store have everything they need to launch and evaluate their anti-shoplifting plan.

And remember: your answers very likely differ from mine…and that’s the way it should be. The goal isn’t to mimic my ideas…it’s to stifle your inner critic and come up with as many answers as possible in the shortest possible time.

The next time you need a solution, take a few minutes and give this technique a try.

Barbara MooreBarbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore's personal and professional lives for over two decades. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Today she continues her tarot journey, both by...  Read more


Tarot for Writers
Tarot for Writers
Corrine Kenner
$19.95 US,  $22.95 CAN
$15.96 US,  $18.36 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart
Tarot of Pagan Cats
Tarot of Pagan Cats
Lo Scarabeo
$22.95 US,  $26.50 CAN
$18.36 US,  $21.20 CAN On Sale! | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

When Lo Scarabeo asked me to create a Pagan-based casting kit, I was excited for a number of reasons. I love crystals. I love challenges. I loved the idea of creating a system that is complete in itself but also open to expansion and personalization. Although I wasn't sure what the kit and packaging would look like (sometimes a lot gets lost... read this article
5 Ways to Make Enlightenment Work in Everyday Life
The Lost Secrets of Western Magick Revealed
Communicate with Your Loved Ones in Spirit
Your Tickets to Past Life Exploration
Saved By the Goddess

Most recent posts:
The Spiritual Work of Winter
Winter is a time that we, in the Northern Hemisphere, naturally turn inward. Well, I should say that it would be the perfect time to turn inward, but...

To Fly in the Clouds, to Walk on the Water: The Grimoires and Magickal Super Powers
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

3 Reasons to Be Self-Compassionate--And 1 Way to Do It
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Catherine Dowling, author of the new Radical Awareness. Compassion flows from spiritual experiences....

Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $15.95 CAN
$11.19 US,  $12.76 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
$8.79 US,  $10.00 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide Llewellyn's 2015 Daily Planetary Guide
Complete Astrology At-A-Glance

By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
$10.39 US,  $11.96 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book Llewellyn's 2015 Moon Sign Book
Conscious Living by the Cycles of the Moon

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.16 CAN On Sale!