I have been utilizing the power of Tarot as a Tool of Empowerment since the mid 1990’s, so much so that I’ve taught workshops and courses both in NYC and here in Central Florida, where I now live. I am a certified Tarot Master Instructor and it was natural for me to work with the Tarot in my writing as well. I’ve met many authors who’ve used Tarot just for their writing.
Today, I’m writing this blog to show writers who are not familiar with Tarot as well as those who are, how they can use the cards to deepen their plot, define characters and their relationships to each other, order chapters or re-order them, define their path to publication, and to answer any questions they have about their ms. You may ask, “How do I know the cards are effective in achieving this?” GEMINI, the first in my “The Sign Behind The Crime Series,’ was accepted by Black Opal Books after a relatively few amount of submissions, and ARIES, the second book, was accepted in the first submission and will be released in Nov. My publisher told me it was in such good shape, it’ll need only one round of edits. So enough tooting my own horn. I want to help you in this blog.
Let’s start. I use the Universal Rider Waite as you see in the banner. What I’ll be showing you is how to interpret the cards through a brainstorming technique I teach in my seven week courses. You can definitely do this on your own. You need the deck and a notebook. Use two pages in your notebook for each card, and separate them by suits. Create a section for the Wands, Cups, Pentacles, Swords, Court Cards, and Major Arcana. I also use numerology and each suit has ten cards plus four Court Cards. Each number signifies a step from beginning to completion of a task, cycle, or in our writing, the completion of a ms. Like with learning anything this takes time. I’d suggest also looking for online Tarot courses, many are free. Spend a week, at least, learning each suit, first. Wands symbolize action. Pentacles symbolize money. Cups symbolize emotion. Swords symbolize thought. The Major Arcana symbolize significant events and much more.
Select the cards going in order. Start with the Ace of Wands. Write on paper what this could signify to you. It’s personal. Look at every part of the card. In fact, your own descriptions will be more accurate for you than interpretations you read in a Tarot book and you’ll remember them more effectively.
After you’ve spent a couple of months learning the interpretations from many sources, you can begin to use them to help you in your writing. I would caution you against doing readings for others. Tarot is not a toy and an unprepared reader can do damage to people on every level. If you’re serious about reading for others, I would recommend taking courses from The American Tarot Association and getting certified through the American Tarot Certification Board. This can be a few year process. Under NO circumstances do you diagnose anything medical, or give legal advice.
Back to writing. I print out my chapter in question and place it on my desk. I shuffle the deck three times as I’m asking the question. Then I select a number from one to ten. I hold the deck in my left and pull the cards one by one with my right hand, drawing the card toward my heart and then around to be placed on top of my chapter. If I’m reading for others I don’t do yes/no questions but in my writing when I want fast answers, I do. By now, you’ve studied the cards so you’re familiar with positive and negative connotations.
Questions I may ask include: are this character’s (put in name) goals clear? A positive card, would mean yes and a negative, no. If you get a no, do a spread. I do a simple one, choosing 1-10 cards. Or put out cards until you get a Major Arcana. Notice I didn’t say, are this character’s GMC clear? That’s too many points in one question and you don’t want to send confusing messages to the universe. One issue per question and do not use the same spread for a second question. Shuffle the deck in between questions to mix up the universal energies.
You can also ask: is this chapter in the right sequence, what do I need to do to add more conflict, tell me about the length of the chapter.
No question is out of bounds. You’re in the privacy of your own home. I’ve even asked the cards about my intimate scenes. Were they hot enough? Was the location appropriate?
Another method is to write your characters’ names on a sheet of paper with enough space for a card to fit between them. Ask the same question for each character. ‘Is ____ role or purpose clear, so far?” Then put out a card next to each name. You’ll see the positive. You may need to work on the negative ones. The thing is, you need to step back and look objectively at your work. I’ve found the cards don’t lie. ‘Nuff said.
Using the Tarot, I’ve been able to narrow down my submissions to publishers who’d be a good fit, agents to pitch to at conferences (I’ve always gotten a ‘yes,’ please send), and even on my slogan, ‘The Sign Behind The Crime Series.’
I think this is enough for one blog. In the comments, please ask me any questions about using Tarot in your writing. Not ones for a personal reading, though. My characters are dominating my thoughts and I wouldn’t want to give you a reading pertaining to them.
When you become proficient with using the Tarot, you can include them in your novel, as I did in Gemini. Below is an excerpt, and links if you’d like to explore my work further.
This is an excerpt in which the killer, Barbara Montgomery, is off to see her ‘mark’ for the first time and she uses Tarot to define what she’ll do. This is the first time that I’ve revealed this excerpt.
Barbara then removed a deck of tarot cards wrapped in a vivid paisley-print multicolored silk scarf with the colors of the seven chakras—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple. Then she unwrapped the cloth around the cards. She grounded herself, placing both feet flat in front of the gas pedal and brake, took deep breaths, meditated, and asked herself a clear and concise, open-ended question, taking responsibility for herself, the way she’d always phrased them.
What do I need to do to get Morgan to do what I want?
She shuffled the deck three times. Then she picked a number from one to ten—seven—and pulled seven cards, holding the deck in her left hand. One by one, she drew each card from the top toward her heart, before flipping it over and placing it on the passenger seat.
The High Priestess, Justice, Nine of Pentacles, The Devil, King of Cups, Page of Swords, and the King of Wands were the cards she pulled. She scanned the cards and interpreted her answer.
The cards told her a story. She had to be just as unscrupulous as Morgan, and just as assertive, not giving him a chance to get the better of her.
She had to cut him off before he started to belittle her and attempted to make a mockery of her. She had to have the last word and really manipulate him to get what she wanted—another two hundred thousand—not caring at all what she said to intimidate him. His board would be there and they were men of his father’s age, so they would be easy to win over.
She needed to appeal to their sense of chivalry and their willingness to help her as they had been doing in the past.
Morgan needed help from them to make the decision and they could veto whatever he said. He was barely surviving and he hadn’t learned all of the ropes yet. He seemed to be trying, however, so she needed to tune into his vibes.
To Barbara, this was a slam-dunk, and she would get the donation—the first step in her payback. Satisfied that she’d gotten the answer, she put the cards back into the deck, wrapped them carefully—as they were a prized possession—and put them back into the velvet pouch, contemplating what she needed to say and how she needed to behave. She removed the pendant from around her neck, kissed it, and placed it close to her heart before replacing it in the pouch.
Where you can buy Gemini.
Oh, and before you leave, please look at my author central page where you can view my book trailer and see my upcoming appearances.
Please feel free to leave comments and questions about Tarot.
The Sign Behind The Crime,