How to Use Tarot Cards in Creative Writing

How to use the tarot deck in the creative writing process.

Using tarot cards in creative writing is a game-changing way to make your stories flow, come to life and break out of your writing ruts.

Your magical process overlaps more than you think with the creative writing process.

Modern witchcraft is about using the power of your mind to shape your reality.  And storytelling is about using the power of your mind to shape a new world entirely.

Getting good at one will make you better at both!

Here’s an inventive way to use your tarot deck to enhance your storytelling skills.

(This exercise is for anyone, even if you have no experience at all with the tarot.  But if you’re interested in learning to read fluently, don’t forget to check out our course, Tarot Reading:  From Beginner to Professional).

Story Outlining

Whether you’re writing a poem, a short story, or a full-length novel, outlining is very often the most intimidating part of the process.  

This is the lighting of a candle in total darkness.  Even talented, seasoned writers admit that it’s very, very difficult to start from nowhere.

But being a vessel of universal human experience, the tarot is an ideal tool to help you generate ideas.  

Try this with a short story first and play around with it to see how it works for you.

Step 1:  Divide the deck.

Take the tarot deck and divide it into 3 sections:

-Numbered Cards

-Court Cards

-Major Arcana cards

Step 2:  Choose a theme.

Draw 2-3 cards from the stack of Major arcana cards.

These cards will represent the major themes of your story.  For example, the Sun Card might indicate a story about fame and fortune, whereas The Hermit could inspire a story about solitude and introspection.

Step 3:  Cast your characters.

Decide on the size of the cast you want.  For short stories, I try to stick with no more than 3-4, but of course, that’s subjective and a matter of personal preference.  Use your best judgment.

Draw one court card for each character.

A King of Swords could symbolize an intellectually powerful person or genius of industry.

A Page of Cups might be a soft-spoken, sensitive teenager.

Or, maybe the Knight of Wands is a passionate, but unstable artist in the early stages of his career.

You get the idea.

Step 4:  Decide on a plot line.

Finally, use the numbered cards to pick the major plot points of your story.

The Three of Swords might be an affair, a major betrayal, or a love triangle.

The Ten of Pentacles could be the purchase of a new home.

An Eight of Swords could spell jail time for your main character.

Have fun, and be creative!

Tips for using this method.

-Avoid the temptation to redraw if you choose a card that doesn’t make sense to you.  The entire point is to think outside the box and come up with ideas you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.  If you get a card that challenges you, take it as a good sign!  Working through it to figure out what it could mean or how it could apply to your story exercises the creative muscles and you will find it gets easier the more you push past obstacles.

-Choose a deck with a mood that matches the mood you want for your story.  For example, using a fantasy deck makes sense if you plan to tell a fantasy story.  But also, don’t get too stuck on the obvious.  Maybe an herbalism deck would help inspire a fantasy novel about an alchemist!  

-Using your tarot cards in creative writing is a great way to not only get to know yourself as a writer but get to know your deck better. Even if you don’t write creatively, this exercise is a great way to get to know the “story” and “characters” of your deck and become a better reader when you’re drawing cards for a real person.

-Still blocked?  Try this spell to break through writer’s block!

Using the tarot deck in creative writing.

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