Tarot first started several hundred years ago, in the 14th or 15th century. The cards are based on archetypes, and we interpret them through our intuition. Whether we’re assessing the story we’re telling ourselves about our lives or creating a story for others to enjoy, both of these elements are helpful for understanding ourselves and the world around us.
I’m still in the early stages of my relationship with the tarot, but it’s already become an integral part of my creative and spiritual practice. In what follows, I discuss how I use tarot for personal reflection and for creative inspiration.
Tarot as a Reflective Practice
There are lots of tarot resources available, and, while I’ll discuss some of my favorites in a future post, feel free to play around with your searching and find an approach and method that works best for you!
When I’m doing a personal reading, I like to keep it pretty simple but to still make it a special occasion. I’ll light a candle, play some mood-setting music, and start trying to slow down and set myself up for a time of inner contemplation. It’s also nice to have a warm beverage to complete the mood-setting. (Add a beautiful and compelling tarot deck, and we’ve hit all five senses!)
I usually do a three-card spread, which looks at the Past, Present, and Future. The general idea of this spread is to reflect on or learn from the past, understand the present, and prepare or plan for the future. Depending on what’s going on, I might form a more specific question for my reading or narrow the reading to a particular part of my life.
Putting a question to yourself and your deck is a great way to spark your intuition for the reading. Our minds love questions, and your subconscious will get right to work with coming up with an answer.
Tarot alongside journaling
I journal every day, which is also great for self-care and reflection, but these longer tarot readings allow a differently paced self check-in, which can be nice, especially when I’m feeling stuck.
Tarot encourages me to sit with a problem or issues for longer as well, and the visuals on the cards can inspire insights that I haven’t necessarily been able to find within myself while journaling or reflecting.
Tarot as a Creative Practice
Tarot has been a wonderful resource for me creatively as well when I’m developing a character or trying to parse out what’s going on behind the scenes.
I don’t want to fully separate tarot as reflection and tarot as creative inspiration—it can be difficult to sit down to create when our emotions or internal state are in an uproar. There are plenty of times when I am trying to figure out what’s going on with a character and with myself. Oftentimes, those two things wind up being related, but that’s a subject for another post.
When I’m still in the process of getting to know a character or looking for inspiration for what’s going on in a particular location or culture, I’ll turn to my tarot deck for a spark of an idea.
The archetypes, in this case, provide an incredible wealth of inspiration and options. Tarot is based in hundreds of years of human experience and storytelling, which makes it a wonderful resource for artists and creatives to tap into as past of their working process.
Tarot for energy dips
I’m deliberately referring to this as an energy dip rather than a creative block for a few reasons. I believe that in almost all cases, we can create something, we just may not be able to create the thing we’re trying to create, and calling this disconnection a block gives it too much power.
Instead, I turn to tarot when I’m unsure of how to develop a scene, setting, or character. This often happens on days when I’m writing longer than I normally might, especially if I’m trying to write in the afternoon, which is when my energy is lowest.
In these cases, I take a more playful approach to my work and to my cards, seeing what stands out visually or emotionally and expanding from there.
Creating and Reflecting
As creatives, it’s easy to get lost in the world of our own heads. Tarot helps us to step out of the dense woods of our imagination and back into the creative flow. It allows us to be reflective while also offering inspiration. It encourages us to dive deeper and find where we’re getting in our own way or underlying beliefs standing between us and an important project. It’s a way of connecting with our intuition.
If you have a tarot practice, I’d love to hear how it serves you in the comments below! And, if not, please share your thoughts and questions below as well!
One of my favorite scenes in Aurora is a tarot reading and discussion between two of the characters. You can read more about that on my fiction site!
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