Every tarot card is filled with symbols and images from throughout history and from many cultures. They speak to our subconscious, creativity, imagination and intuition. Several of the major arcana cards are very closely aligned with Jungian Archetypes.
When I first began teaching this technique, there were just a handful of writers who were utilizing the tarot cards in their stories, either as a part of the actual story (Stephen King's Dark Tower series) or to fuel the story's hero into adventures and intrigue like Wendy of Oz (The Fool) following the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City.
Not all examples are as obvious as Wendy being the Fool in the Wizard of Oz, surely Toto is a dead give away! The Tarot can help you develop any type of story as you follow the Hero's Adventure (or the Fool's Journey) through the major and minor arcana.
This is not just a tool for writing stories, it is a fantastic way to make up bedtime stories for children, or to help you develop your Tarot skills by developing your own card interpretations. This is also a wonderful way to prepare to do tarot readings, allowing you to enter an intuitive and open state of consciousness.
Tell a Tall Tarot Tale:
- Shuffle your Tarot cards. Although it is not necessary for this exercise, you might wish to use a playful deck specifically set aside for non-divination purposes. The Hanson Roberts Tarot Deck and the Whimsical Tarot Deck are both excellent choices for story telling and for divination. I prefer to use the "fish pond" method of mixing the cards to get into a playful and less linear frame of mind. The "fish pond" method is the way most children shuffle cards; just put the cards face down and swirl them all together.
- Quickly draw a card or two and begin your story.
You draw the Fool and begin the story with a man who went out for a walk. Next you draw the Chariot and the 7 of Pentacles so your character meets a man who gives rides to tourist in his horse drawn carriage (Chariot). Off in the distance of the city park, you see a maintenance person working on the shrubbery (7 Pentacles).
Now you draw the Devil and the Queen of Pentacles and the story continues as their maintenance person's beautiful seductress of a boss walks up to him.
Drawing the Tower, the Page of Wands/Rods, and the 6 of Swords to find out the maintenance man is fired (Tower), and he considers moving back to his family (6 Swords) which his daughter in law suggested on the telephone that morning (Page of Rods).
The Two of Wands introduces him to the Fool, our main character and their paths go on from there. The story will naturally come to an end, reshuffle if necessary. Keep practicing and just let go. Your story doesn't need to make perfect sense the first time around, you are getting a feel for the state of mind, the cards and your imagination.
This isn't the most creative example because I'm here at the computer with my left brain hemisphere doing most of the work, but you can imagine the possibilities. Not only is this exercise entertaining, but it familiarizes you with the cards. It can help to make those intimidating cards like the Tower, Devil, and Death, into interesting twists in the plot, just as they are in life. This exercise will also help you to develop your own card interpretations, the ultimate goal in reading the cards.
- Wikipedia entry for Jungian Archetypes