Tarot Game for Writers

Welcome back. This week I have another tarot spread that you can use to help you create your stories. This tarot spread works like a game. First, we will go over the steps you take for the came and then what each card represents.

  1. Come up with a question. This isn’t to figure out the overall storyline. It is to find out a solution to a specific problem. Be as clear as possible with your questions.
  2. Shuffle your cards and deal them out according to the spread below.
  3. Follow the thread that the cards create to come to a solution to your answer. The cards will provide you with a possible solution, but you have to ultimately decide if it’s the right thing for you to do. Whether you use the offered solutions or not, it is typically enough to break through any barriers you may have.
  4. Keep a note of what your reading provided you. I keep a writing journal with all of my tarot readings. This can help to serve as future inspiration.

Alright, here is the spread you will be using:

game

One thing I need to tell you, as you can see each section of cards is color coded. When you lay out your cards, you need to start on the side with three cards, the conflict, world, and motive, and move over to the two outcome cards.

As for what the cards mean:

Conflict: This is what the outer conflict is surrounding your questions. This could be about a character, it all depends on what your question was, to begin with.

World: This what the ordinary world around the problem is and how it plays into your problem.

Motive: This is what your characters inner motive. This is what makes everything move towards an outcome

The next four cards move into what the obstacles are that your character will have to face moving forward.

Guide: This is their guide or mentor of sorts.

Home: This refers to the pull from their home. How their home life is affecting their decisions.

Controller: This refers to what controls them the most. This could be a person, place or thing. Whatever has the most control over the character.

Key: This is the main reason why they are having problems.

Next, we are moving into actions that will help them reach their outcomes.

Decisions: This card is an optional card. You don’t have to pull one. These are the decisions that your character has to make. These will likely be tough for your character.

Steps: These are the actions steps that your character has to take in order to reach their outcome.

Lastly, we have two outcomes.

External outcomes: This the top card. These are the changes that happen in the outside world of the character the physical things that were affected by their decisions.

Internatl outcomes: This is the bottom card. These are the changes that take place inside of your character. This is how he or she was affected internally by their own actions.

Alright, that’s it for this tarot reading. Try this a few times and I bet this will be what you turn to every time you feel stuck in your writing. Tell me what you think in the comments below.

“Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e. do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meeting on those days.”

– J.K. Rowling

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Get Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles today.

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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.

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

Creative Way to Create a Story – Tarot

This may seem like it is coming out of left-field. What does tarot have to do with writing? You may even be a little hesitant because you think tarot has to do with fortune telling. I’m here to tell you, tarot can help you write, and you don’t even have to believe in tarot as a fortune telling aid. I’m going to do a few different blogs concerning tarot as a writing aid. Today I’m going to introduce you to what it is.

Now, I can’t take credit for coming up with this. I found the book Tarot for Writers in my local metaphysical shop. It is written by Corrine Kenner who is certified taro master and teaches workshops and classes on the subject. So I’m going to be relaying some of the information in her book and what I have learned by using this writing aid.

If you want your own copy, you can get it here: Tarot for Writers

Before I found the book, I had dabbled in taro before, so I knew my way around a tarot deck to an extent. It’s completely okay if you have never even touched a tarot deck before because you will learn as you go. If you’re still not certain about this, authors such as Stephan King and John Steinbeck have used tarot to help them write.

Just so you know, there are affiliate links in this blog post.

You are going to need to get yourself a tarot deck. I recently purchased the Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot at the same store I got the book. If you already have experience with tarot, then these would be a good choice because they have gorgeous pictures. Word to the wise, there are four cards that have doubles in the deck, so make sure you take out the extras. I had to learn that the hard way.

If you’re new to tarot, you will want to stick to an original deck so that you can have the regular images to help you interpret the cards. Try this deck: The Rider Tarot Deck

To get you started with tarot, we’re going to go over the basics of tarot. A tarot deck and writing hold a lot of power. Both need a person behind it to harness and use that power. The amazing thing about tarot is that they already are in line with many Western mystery traditions, like Kabbala, merology, and alchemy. That doesn’t mean you should think tarot is too hard to learn.

When you open your first bot of tarot cards you’re going to notice that there is a lot of them,78 to be exact. The second thing is that there are two groups of cards; the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

The Major Arcana cards are the archetypes. These serve as a framework to understand the world. In classic writing, archetypal characters include Odysseus, who battled the archetypal villain the one-eyed Cyclops. You can also see these in modern writing like Luke Skywalker and Frankenstein’s monster. Let’s go through these Major Arcana:

0. The Fool – This character is the happy wanderer who is able to see the world through a child’s eyes. Most tarot people agree that the Fool represents each of us. People who are out to learn, off on an adventure, and naive travelers.

1. The Magician – He is the cunning and skilled master of his surveys. He is representative of a person who has control of their life’s techniques and tools. Many tarot decks will have him drawn at a table that holds a wand, pentacle, sword, and a cup.

2. The High Priestess – She is the enigmatic keeper of the spiritual secrets. She is always guarded and secretive and knows life’s secret, but she only shares secrets with those that deserve them.

3. The Empress – She is the archetypal mother who protects and nurtures humankind.

4. The Emperor – He is the authoritative provider and protector who rules the world. He is the father figure and brings order out of the chaos in order for civilization to prosper.

5. The Hierophant – He is the symbol of influence and authority. He is the top of his hierarchy and is determined to maintain his traditions.

6. The Lovers – These characters show the principles of attraction and opposition. While this will encourage the romantics out there, it can’t be forgotten that is could signify a choice between two equal desires.

7. The Chariot – This is a vehicle for change and motion. The charioteer is in control of his drive even when they look to be in opposition of each other.

8. Strength – This character is the sweet woman that has the heart of a lion. She carefully controls the jaws of a lion and controls the force that could easily kill her.

9. The Hermit – This character is reclusive and has removed himself from the hustle and bustle of regular life. He looks back on spiritual problems and carries the light of wisdom to help guide those around him.

10. The Wheel of Fortune – This is the wheel of fate and destiny. Since nothing but change is certain, the While of Fortune tells us that everything that goes up as to come down.

11. Justice – This character is the enforcer and giver of the law. She holds a double-edged sword to remind everybody that fairness cuts both ways.

12. The Hanged Man – He sacrifices his passions and comfort knowing that better things are going to happen because of it. He’s a visionary that sacrifices one thing to be rewarded with something better.

13. Death – This is not at all a negative card that people believe it to be. It is a card of transition. The Grim Reapers clears out those who can’t survive. The card tells you that there is completion and a new start to something else.

14. Temperance – This character is the archangel of balance. By using grace and dexterity, she shows you that moderation is able to bring you wholeness.

15. The Devil – This shows us the shadowy and dark parts of our world. He shows you how ill-conceived passions and selfish devotion to material things can tie you down and keep you away from happiness.

16. The Tower – This shows you a forceful clearing of energy that will hit like lightening, and it is able to shake overbuilt structures to their foundation.

17. The Star – This is your shining light in the darkness. Much like a goddess of the night, she is the spirit who provides guidance and hope.

18. The Moon – This gives you the always changing mirror of the sun and is a symbol of the unconscious mind. It shows you mysteries and secrets that you might not understand or recognize.

19. The Sun – This shows you action and consciousness. It is the center of everything and provides us with life and heat.

20. Judgment – This heralds the dawn of new life, and provides you with a reminder of how powerful forgiveness is.

21. The World – This shows you the never-ending dance of life. This is the card of success and completion. It also gives you the chance to start something new.

After those 21 cards, you have the remaining 56 that are known as the Minor Arcana, which means lesser secrets. These show us ordinary people that go about their normal lives.

There are four suits, much like a regular deck of cards. These suits include pentacles, wands, cups, and swords. These can seem more complicated to remember the meaning, but the great thing is, the pictures on the cards help you. These images at first may seem crazy, but the longer you study them the more you will see the method to the madness. Each of the four suits represents different realms of life.

  • Wands represent the spiritual experience.
  • Cups represent the emotional affairs.
  • Swords represents communication and thought.
  • Pentacles represent the financial, physical, and material realities.

Furthermore, each of these suits are connected to the different elements. This can help you when it comes to interpreting your cards.

Wands = Fire

Wands normally refer to the driving forces of special interests, work, and career that inspires passion. In the majority of tarot decks, wands are represented by branches from leafy trees. This is your cue that it represents fire. Branches are able to be lit on fire.

Cups = Water

Cups hold the affairs of emotions and are connected to relationships and love. You can obviously remember that cups are connected to water because they are able to hold water.

Swords = Air

Since swords are able to be moved through the air, swords deal with the heady realm of intellect. They show how people communicate and think. This suit needs to be close to writers because they cut through the confusion and aim you towards your point.

Pentacles = Earth

These cards are tangible realities of the material world. They are often connected to property and money, and the things that people hold dear to them on a spiritual and emotional level.

Each suit also has four face cards that represent the entire family: mother, father, daughter, and son.

Pages are the enthusiastic and young person. They are often children and messengers, or students. During the Renaissance, pages were messengers for the royal court.

Knights have grown out of their roles of the childlike page and are young adults who have to make their own way. Knights were traditionally sent of quests to prove that they were smart and strong enough to succeed.

Queens are the women who have proven themselves. They have already had to face their demons and have shown that they are competent and mature. They are the ideal woman and role model. They often suggest a caring person that works to nurture and protect their realm.

Kings are the experienced leaders and protectors who have succeeded on their quests that they had to undertake as knights. They are alert, authoritarian, and assertive. They could suggest that somebody is willing to wage war for something they believe in.

That’s all we’re going to get into for today. I know it’s a lot, but we’ll continue to go over these things, and before long you will be able to use a tarot deck to help you with your writing. It’s especially great if you are ever faced with writer’s block.

 

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