Old Playing Card with Flowers Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by T. Susan Chang, author of the new Tarot Correspondences. A lot of tarot readers draw a Card of the Day. It's a great practice, whether you do it for prediction, advice, encouragement, warning, learning, or simply for fun. But what if you thought of your Card of the Day not just as divination (where you get information about the future), but as magic (where you act to change future outcomes)? A few years ago, I started writing a spell based on my cards each morning. It was fun, like writing the tiniest poem ever. But as I grew into the practice I began to realize that the spell was more than entertaining—it was powerful. Drawing a card is a lot like life. There are things you can't control: for example, the card you draw is random, and if you're a true tarot reader you accept it no matter what it is. But then there are things you can control: what the card means is up to you. The cards talk to you—but the spell lets you talk back. The cards say, "Here's how things are." The spell says, "I'd like to negotiate!" And there is always room for negotiation. Even on days you draw the Tower, or the 10 of Swords, or both (which has happened to me), you get to choose what you make of them. A symbol gains its power from perception, and perception is driven by intent, and your intent belongs to you alone. Write a spell in the morning, and it will act as a compass, a shield, and a map for you for the whole day. If things are starting to go sideways, you can recite the spell—you can even modify it—and see if things get better. Now, how do you go about creating this powerful talisman?
    1. Choose a format. You can do couplets, haiku, rhymed, unrhymed, proverbs, mottos—it doesn't really matter, as long as it's long enough to evoke a picture and short enough to kind of remember. I like to do two-line spells, personally.
    2. Write it in the present. As with all magic, it's best to phrase your intention in the present tense rather than the future, to make the outcome more real. (If I say "I will plant a garden," that means the garden-planting is taking place in the future, not now...and at the end of the day that will still be true). There are even some who argue your magical writings should be phrased in the past, as already accomplished.
    3. Keep it concrete. If you use abstract ideas (like manifestation, transformation, balance), you'll get a pretty vague sort of spell. Our magical self works in metaphors. I find that very concrete spells that appeal to the senses work well. They're open to interpretation and hard to forget.
Chances are there are symbols in the card you can use as building blocks. But you can use tarot correspondenceselements, astrology, numbers, Kabbalah, music, gemstones, whatever you like, to come up with the keywords.   For example, the Empress is associated with earth, Venus, roses, bees, sparrows, copper, green, pink, swans, clovers, the night, vanilla, strawberries, sandalwood, roses, the number 3, and doors. So if I were to draw her card, I might write something like,
As bees seek out the scented rose My way through copper doorways flows.
Or maybe:
The sparrow flies through doors of night. Soft her wing and sure her flight.
You now carry this image in your mind—an image of ease and sweetness, ready to pour its grace into your work, your love life, and any other journeys of mind or body that you take today. Even if you get a card that's a lot tougher to work with than the Empress—say, the 10 of Swords—you still get to put a word in with fate about how you want it to show up in your life. Here's one I wrote for the 10 of Swords earlier this year:
In the last days of the Twins, One story ends, and one begins.
Where can I find out more about these amazing correspondences? My book, Tarot Correspondences, has dozens of charts detailing every correspondence I could come up for every card. There's also a chapter on tarot magic where you can learn more about spells and other techniques that use the correspondences. The point is, the Card of the Day is just a raw ingredient. Chop it, simmer it, bake it, season it—and at the end of the day, you'll have a fate you can consume with gusto.
Our thanks to Susie for her guest post! For more from T. Susan Chang, read her article, "Backwards Tarot: Stop Memorizing and Just Read Your Plain Old Life."
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Written by Anna
Anna is the editor of Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, and Llewellyn's monthly newsletters. She also blogs, tweets, and helps maintain Llewellyn's Facebook page. In her free time, Anna enjoys crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, being a grammar geek, and spending time ...