Tarot for Writer’s Block

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more tarot spreads for writing. Last week we covered a 9 card spread for a short story. Today we will look at a plot spread to help the writer with the elusive writer’s block.

There are two parts to this spread. First, shuffle your cards until you feel you have shuffled enough. Then lay out three cards according to the picture.

writer's block 1

This first spread is about you and your writer’s block.

AS: This card is your significator card. This card represents you in this moment of stagnation.

Card 1: This card is telling you what is causing your stagnation or your writer’s block. This is the reason why you are having problems writing.

Card 2: This card tells you what you can do to work through your writer’s block. This is meant to help you overcome the problem so that you can continue to write.

Now, place these cards back into the deck, all three of them, and reshuffle your tarot deck. Once you feel you have shuffled enough, you will deal out the cards as follows.

writer's block 2

Card 1: This card tells you about your protagonist, what they are like, how they look, act, job, and so on.

PS: This is the significator for the protagonist. This tells you about a person or a situation that is influencing your protagonist. You can pull more than one PS card if you would like.

Card 2: This card tells you about your antagonist, what they are like, how they look, act, job, and so on.

AS: This is the significator for the antagonist. This tells you about a person or a situation that is influencing your protagonist. You can also pull more AS cards if you want to.

Card 3: This card tells you about the conflict between the two characters, the background, and what is going on.

Card 4: This card tells you about the situation you left the characters in last. This gives you a sort of starting point.

Card 5: This card provides you with a possible solution to the problem and story. This could be your ending or a new beginning.

This is a great way to work through writer’s block, especially the first three card spread. If you are working on multiple projects, you can do a different reading for each to figure out what the stagnation is for each project.

Please, on these tarot spread blogs, share the stories that spread has been able to help you with.

“Books are like Tarot decks. They provide answers and guidance but more importantly, they are doorways and portals to the otherworld and the imagination. They leave their imprint and keep whispering to us long after we close the pages or shuffle the deck.”
― Sasha Graham, Tarot Fundamentals

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. To celebrate the start of spring, get Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles ebook for free for a limited time.

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Short Story Tarot Spread

Welcome back!

It has been a bit since I wrote a blog about using tarot for writing. We’ve done a few easy spreads to help create a quite plot outline and to discover traits about our characters. Today we will do a tarot spread to help you write a short story.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you read my first to blogs and check out my videos about tarot for writing:

https://fahuffman.com/2018/10/29/4-tarot-writing-plots/

https://fahuffman.com/2018/10/02/tarot-as-a-writing-aid/

In other news, let’s get down to what we really came here for.

While I really want to talk about the Celtic Cross spread, it is a more advanced spread. Instead of jumping into something that might be difficult to use, I figured I would cover some easier spreads first. Today, we are going to look at an easy 9 card spread to help to create a short story.

Untitled

To start you spread, shuffle you tarot cards until you feel like that they have been shuffled enough. While you are shuffle, think about the reason why you are shuffling. Let the cards and the Universe know that you want to get a layout for a short story.

Then lay each of the cards out in the pattern shown above. You can place them face down and flip each over as you get to it, or you can lay it out face up, whichever works best for you.

Card 1: This card tells you who your narrator is. This could mean anything that you want it to be. Maybe you want to know if it’s an omniscient being is watching the story unfold or it could be the protagonist. Who knows, it could be the antagonist.

Card 2: This card tells you the outer persona of your protagonist. This is how they present themselves to the world. This may not correlate with how they truly feel.

Card 3: This card tells you the inner persona of your protagonist. This is how they actually feel. This is their inside and true self.

Card 4: This card tells you how the story will start. This is your beginning.

Card 5: This card tells you about the middle of the story. This is the middle.

Card 6: This card tells you how the story will end.

Card 7 & 8: These cards tell you about two minor characters. You can also pull more cards if you want more minor characters. These characters can end up helping or hindering your protagonist.

Card 9: This card tells you about the main theme of the story.

That’s it. The hardest part is interpreting the cards, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice interpreting the cards before you ever do you first spread. (Easier said than done)

Most tarot cards come with a book that explains the cards, but you can also find information online. The more you do these spreads the easier they will become.

“It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain, and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire. That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all process and the measure of the everlasting dance.”
― Charles Williams

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

4 Tarot Writing Plots

*This page may contain affiliate links*

Earlier this month I told you about my new writing buddy, tarot cards, and how I learned about them in Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner. If you haven’t read the first blog post, make sure you do so before continuing. It provides you will important information about the cards and how to interpret them. You can read it here.

If you still need tarot cards, click the pic to find the one I recommend to beginners.

Let’s dive into these four spreads that can provide you with the plot of your story.

Beginning, Middle, and End

This is a basic three card spread that provides you with the three main sections that you need for a good story. To perform this spread, shuffle your tarot cards until you feel like that are good and mixed and then lay out three cards from left to right. The first will be your beginning, the second your middle, and the third card is the end. Here’s an example:

Beginning: The Sun – A young child is born during the summer to the reigning King and Queen.

Middle: The 10 of Cups – The young child has grown, gotten married, and had two children of his own. He and his wife are now faced with taking over the kingdom after his parents are killed.

End: The Fool – Since he refused to see the bad in some people, he has now had his family and kingdom stripped from him and he must start anew.

As you can see this gives you a rough outline of a story that you can flesh out to explain how the man moves through these phases.

Three-Act Structure

While the simple beginning, middle, and end is a good place to start, it wouldn’t hurt to take things a step further to help flesh out the story a bit more. You can add two more cards into your reading to help connect the beginning and middle, and the middle and end.

This time, shuffle your cards and lay out your first three. These are still your beginning, middle, and end cards. Next, lay a card down between the first two and then between the last two. This means that you now have you Act I card (beginning), Plot Point 1 card, Act II card (middle), Plot Point 2 card, and Act III card (end). Here’s how it could look.

Act I: Knight of Swords – A young man, in the prime of his life, sets out to fight off the men that have been terrorizing the citizens of his town.

Plot Point 1: The Chariot – He swiftly defeats these men. The grateful townspeople come to him for more help, and he becomes the unofficial “sheriff” of the town. He is determined to fix all of their problems.

Act II: 10 of Cups – He marries one of the townspeople that he is determined to help, and they have children. This slows down his quest to bring happiness and harmony to the town.

Plot Point 2: The Hierophant – Unhappy townspeople start demanding that the man start fulfilling his promises. This leads the townspeople and their “sheriff” to form a structured “ruling” system.

Act III: Queen of Wands – By the end, he has learned his place. He has now become a “king” of sorts to the town. He balances family and the needs of the people, and the town is better for it.

Again, this gives you a rough outline that you can follow. The quotations I used around words, for me, symbolizes a lack of a better word or a word that could be changed given the context of the actual story. For example, if the story were set in the 1600s, the sheriff would likely be king. If it were in the late 1800s in America, the sheriff could a sheriff or a marshall.

Freytag’s Pyramid

Gustav Freytag, a German novelist, came up with Freytag’s pyramid in 1863 to describe the storylines that he had found in successful books. His pyramid is made up of the exposition, inciting action, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and denouement.

This is what most English classes will teach their students when it comes to writing a story.

For this tarot spread, you will be drawing a card for each of these spaces in the pyramid. You will lay down seven cards from left to right, and it helps to do so in a pyramid shape that way you can visualize the storyline.

Exposition: 8 of Pentacles – A working-class woman is looking for a new start in life.

Inciting Force: The Chariot – She approaches a mystic for advice and help with her life. She makes a deal with her for love, but with consequences, she didn’t expect.

Rising Action: Page of Cups – The dreamy young woman sets out on her quest for love as laid out by the mystic. What she doesn’t expect are the emotional challenges she will face along the way.

Climax: The Sun – The young women is swept up in a relationship with a young man of the local gentry. A relationship will set her up for the rest of her life and no worries of having to be a working-class woman again.

Falling Action: 3 of Pentacles – During her relationship with the young man, she works to improve the lives of poor single women, but this works against the mystics rules.

Resolution: 4 of Cups – Since she promised to follow the mystics rules, she is forced to sit back and be the doting wife of the man she is with. She is stuck with a life of displeasure and discontent.

Denouement: The Hanged Man – She realizes that through her experiences, she has become a mystic. She can help the women she has longed to help by not helping them. She can end the cycle.

As you can tell, this reading has more detail than any of the others.

Conflicts

The last spread we are going to look at doesn’t have to do with the entire plot, but instead, with a section of the storyline. This will look at the conflict that the protagonist has to face. For this spread, you will draw two cards. The first card represents the protagonist and the second card is the conflict.

Protagonist: Ace of Swords – He is a strong fighter and leader on the battlefield.

Conflict: The High Priestess – A strange woman comes to town with secrets about the protagonist that could destroy his whole world.

You can use this information to build the plot around the protagonist and the conflict that they have to face.

Before I wrap this up, it’s important to note that with tarot you can draw what is known as clarifying cards. These are cards that you place on top of a card you have already drawn. As the name suggests, it is meant to help clarify the previous card.

That means if you drew the 2 of cups for your protagonist and you aren’t sure exactly what it is trying to tell you, you could draw a clarifying card that could help explain it. Don’t go too crazy on clarifying cards though. It’s important that you learn how to interpret your cards in as few cards as possible, otherwise, you could end up getting confused.

That’s it. I’ll have more posts about using tarot for writing, so be sure to keep an eye out. Also, you can easily Google the card names that you draw to learn exactly what they mean, but you can just use the image on the card for your interpretation.

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. I will be making Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles available for free on Kindle in the coming weeks, so make sure you keep an eye out so that you don’t miss your chance.

“In real life, I assure you, there is no such thing as algebra.” -Fran Lebowitz