The tarot is a divination system that uses a deck of cards to gain insight. Most decks are comprised of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, with each card being symbolic of an energy or spiritual truth. The Major Arcana are known as the “trump cards” because they impart messages of greater weight and significance than the Minor Arcana.
Tarot has many different stories and uses behind it. For writers, tarot cards can be used as a creative tool to clear up writer’s block, to map out a possible plot or to even learn more about a character. If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I have a Tarot board and that I pin a lot of different Tarot spreads, or ways to read and interpret the cards. While I was on Pinterest last night, I came across the Character Profile spread and I thought it would be nice to share my results with all of you. The first card is the “hero” card but I wanted to learn more about the motivation of the antagonist of sorts. Not surprisingly, all of the cards came up reversed (upside down) which can mean a negative aspect or something in the way. Fundamentally everything an antagonist is created for. I’m not an expert at Tarot by any means and if you’re reading this and have a better interpretation, please don’t hesitate to share it with me. I’m just starting to learn. For this I’m going to use the interpretations from my Mystic Dreamer Tarot companion book by Barbara Moore.
I know that Tarot isn’t for everyone and some people may have objections, but this is just one post out of many. If it bothers you, by all means, don’t continue reading. Please keep all comments courteous and respectful.
N.J.’s Character Sample
1- Judgement (Hero/Character)
Hanging unto the past. Using it as an excuse not to move forward.
2- The World (Dominant Outward Quality)
Delay in achievement. Refusing to accept success.
3 – King of Pentacles (Dominant Inward Quality)
Erratic. Demanding. Callous.
4 – Two of Swords (Goal)
A broken truce or an imbalance in the situation.
5 – Nine of cups (Motivation)
Fondest wishes and desires not coming true. The unraveling of a happy life or a major aspect of it.
6 – Six of Wands (Stakes)
Not receiving the accolades you thought you would get. The victory did not bring the satisfaction you thought it would.
7 – Page of Wands (Flaw or Need)
Represents someone who is expressing her pent up frustrated energy in inappropriate and possibly destructive ways.
8 – Nine of Pentacles (Source of the flaw)
Unfulfilling achievement. Either means the end was not satisfying, or you find yourself alone and lonely, with no one to share your material gains.
9 – Ten of Pentacles (Effect the flaw has on reaching the Goal)
Forewarns of a legacy, investment or financial security that is lost, possibly through the market, legal fees or taxes. Also means an expected inheritance did not turn out as you’d hoped.
The spread turned out really good and when I look at each card I can really see the character in them. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is a character whose main focus is to create chaos, discord and mistrust. They want the good guys not only to fail but to be corrupted in some type of way. They are an angry individual who likes to create rage in other people. Not a very nice person at all, and a lot of who they are is in their past. They know they aren’t a hero, but they have just as much to lose as the heroes if their plan doesn’t succeed…Looking back at the cards, can you see the parallels?
Tarot cards can be a fun and unique visual aide when you are stuck in some part your story. The tarot itself can be interpreted and told as it’s own story, (you can read about that in many Tarot how-to books) and there are as many decks and spreads out there as there are creative people. If you’re not comfortable using Tarot cards, there are oracle decks and other similar alternatives. I didn’t really cover the basics or tarot’s other uses, but there are resources out there for those who are interested.
So what do you think? Would you ever consider using the Tarot as part of your writing inspiration?