Tarot Prompts

Intro to Tarot Prompts

Pretty cards

For the month of November, I will be posting an image of a tarot card and some additional information so that YOU, YES YOU, can stay inspired all month! Tarot cards are a great way to ignite some story fuel. Follow my blog to get your writing inspiration every day. My main reason for doing this is Nanowrimo, a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month, but of course you can feel free to use it for any inspiration that suits you. Here are some tips for making the most out of these prompts.

Things you can do with a tarot card prompt:

  • Just look at the picture and see what comes to mind! This is a great source of inspiration and requires no prior knowledge of tarot card meanings.
  • Let the card be an answer to a question about your story. First ask a question. Where is the plot going? What is the character’s greatest challenge? Now look at the card. How does the picture you see answer your question? Stretch your mind, the answers are endless!
  • Choose one small part of the picture to focus on. For instance, the picture might be a fantastic castle scene, but the mermaid sconce on the wall is really what got your attention.
  • Choose a symbolic aspect of the card, or look it up if you want to learn more. Most cards have traditional meanings and many levels of symbolism. They also relate to numerology, astrology, mythology, the Hebrew alphabet, Qabala, and more. All of these connections are more fuel for our fire!
  • Team up with a friend! When brainstorming, two minds are better than one. And with a group of people, the ideas you come up with will astound you.

Please feel free to comment or PM me for questions, comments, suggestions, etc!



Wheel: An Elysian Rendering

Today I want to talk about a poem. It’s a poem from a video game–namely, Doki Doki Literature Club. On one hand, I have been obsessed with this game lately. On the other, though, there is some legit deep poetry that comes out of it. This one in particular spoke to me, especially since it is meant to sound like a raving lunatic but I was sitting there reading it going “Wow this makes perfect sense.”

So roll with me on this tangent, guys! Going super off-topic today! I could say this is entirely unrelated to the tarot, and I don’t think it is meant to be related at all. However, I have to notice the poem is called “Wheel,” and “The Wheel” will be the next card I post.

DISCLAIMER: this poem is meant to portray someone who is manic and going crazy, so, make sure you are in the right place mentally to read this.

Click here to read the poem.

It might help to note that this game is about computer characters gaining sentience. The realization of a universe much bigger than them kind of breaks them. But I think we humans can relate. We often feel like this grand intelligence stuck inside a very limited machine. So, while I pick apart this poem, I like to notice how it relates to the character who wrote it, but also how can represent real people.

General themes:

Wheels, Axles, Gearboxes–These all relate to the machine. She mentions a portal to another world–the computer connected to the real world.

Falling sky, Drowning, Torn harness–I think these all relate to her losing her grip on reality

More specific:

7 holy stakes–Symbolically, this could be a lot of things. But I think this is actually a game reference–there are a total of 7 characters: the main four, YOU, and two secret characters you learn about later: Elyssa and Renier. In that case, if characters are stakes, are they the ones holding the game together? Or are they just stuck there? Is it because a stake, unlike a ship, is a movable object?

Kaleidoscope of holy stakes, exponential gearbox–this is the madness of Saṃsāra, the physical aspects of our world as a whole. If you look at our world in data points, numbers, consumption, the endless monotony of it all can become very overwhelming. This is why we must find value and depth in the world around us. I might note that Saṃsāra also means “wandering” or “world” and it is represented by a WHEEL.

Forty gears and a ticking clock–You see the number forty a lot, and I don’t know if it has a specific meaning. Clocks may refer to people, or time as a life-giving force, which we will come back to later.

The deeper and the creepier:

A prayer written in blood–If you think of people as poems, and our existence as a prayer–intent, manifestation–and blood as our life source, then this sentence simply means “a person.”

I feel like all the references to human eyes are quite literal. Time-devouring snakes–DNA behind human eyes–our eyes are our doorway to the world. A thread connecting all human eyes, I think, is the internet. But I also like to think of it as the super-conscious.

A bolthead of holy stakes tied to the existence of a docked ship to another world–Holy stakes, I decided are characters or people. If stakes are a people, than the ship is the world we live in; our known reality. And docked to another world goes back to feeling like there is a dimension of reality outside, or above, or bigger than your own.

Another sentence I want to break down: “A time-devouring prayer connecting a sky of forty gears and open human eyes in all directions.”

A time-devouring prayer–is life. It sounds morbid, but we are time-devouring monsters. Time may be infinite, but for us, it is limited. It’s also the thing that allows us to exist, so I’ll take what I can get.

Sky of forty gears–again, the laws of the universe outside our control

Open human eyes in all directions–I think this really comes from her being in a computer and looking out. If you were a sentient being in the internet, and you looked out any window–any computer screen–what would you see? Human eyes. Eyes, eyes, eyes. If you think of a super-conscious–a plane of thought that we are all connected to–than it is like this giant mind, and we are all windows from it to the physical world. So it is a giant mind with open human eyes in all directions.

Thanks for exploring this poem with me. We will go back to our regular scheduled program soon. I would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave me a comment!



A rant about intuitive astrology

Rant Time!

Hey ya’ll, it’s not very often that I get on here and just open up, especially about Tarot and other Divination Arts. But I have SOMM.

Many people think of these arts as very technical. Like any art, there is a technical side, but in essence it’s still a creative exercise. A reader’s style might veer more toward a text-book approach, or be totally free-form. Because it’s an art and not a science, there isn’t really a wrong way to do it.

Perhaps of all the popular Divination Arts, Astrology is the most daunting (Ok, maybe the I-Ching gets beyond that, and the Enochian Tablets but… you know what I mean.) People look at it and go “Math! Awww.” But I was just thinking about how you can (and should) still feel your way through Astrology. Especially nowadays when the agreed-upon structures keep changing. There’s sidereal versus traditional, Vedic versus Western, etc. And within Western, there are old meanings versus new meanings and added planets.

I feel like people want quick answers on several different levels:
1. The student just wants someone to tell them the “right” way.
2. The believer wants answers about their own lives… without doing their own work.
3. Skeptics want you to either prove it or dismiss it. (I love it when skeptics have approached me to get me to admit it isn’t real. Yep, I dedicated my life to tarot for no reason… )

But the answer to all of these is… it’s not that simple. The student must find their own way. No one can hand you all the answers, and often there is no right or wrong–just different. For the skeptic, even if I had a magic trick I could show you, you’d explain it away. And for the believer, well, sometimes you can get very straight-forward answers from Divination. But even so, without a background of introspection, those answers won’t mean much.

Don’t get me wrong. Personal exploration shouldn’t be an alternative to learning the technical, but rather a way to learn it. I love the technical aspect of the arcane! (I’m also really big into math, so that part of astrology just adds to the fun.) But I also feel that the whole point of a Divination Art is to feel it out. After all, isn’t intuition a very important aspect of Divination? This is how I got started into tarot. The fist classes I took were just about how to connect with the cards. For my learning style, if I hadn’t taken that step first, I might not have had the patience to then go and learn the history and the symbols. And when I did, it was learning within a group, through both books and conversation.

So, what do you think? Do you think these arts should be stringent to-the-book practices? Or an exploratory art form? Or both? (The old saying goes: ¿Porque no los dos?)

Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!

Tarot Prompts

Day 30! The final day!

Hi folks! I hope you all are finishing up the last of your 50,000 words today, unless you already did earlier in the month!

For today’s post I want to do a pretty simple one card prompt.

Raziel tarot the Moon

Deck: The Raziel Tarot (click to see more cards!)

Card: The Moon

Co-created by Robert M. Place and Rachel Pollack.

This tarot deck is based on old Jewish tales and Jewish mysticism. Robert’s explanation of this card is “Samael and Lilith guard the path.” Unfortunately I don’t own this deck and book set, so I don’t know very much about the story behind the card. After a quick read of this article and just using my intuition, here is what I came up with:

Guarded secrets.

Parts of ourselves we deny.

An outcast.

A haven amongst monsters.

Is anyone guarding secrets in your story? How dire are these secrets? And what lengths will your character go to in guarding them?

Is there a part of your character that they are denying? Locking away? Trying to obliterate?

Is anyone in your story an outcast? Why? Where do they find their haven?

This is my last tarot prompt for now! I had so much fun with this and it kept me inspired all month. More tarot projects are sure to come. In the mean time, I will try and post some of my story for Nanowrimo. Cheers everyone! And happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 29: Cosmic Horror

Hello Writers!

Today’s post got a bit complicated (heh, heh.) I had an idea to combine the Necronomicon Tarot with the Quantum Tarot for a Cosmic Horror prompt. (Initially I was thinking Sci-Fi Horror, but it turns out the Quantum Tarot has more of a cosmic/mystical feel.)

So I pulled three cards from each deck. Below is a brief description of each card, and at the end I’ll give you the story I came up with! Of course, this is here to inspire you, so use this post like a playground. Jump around, pick out what grabs you, or read the whole thing. It’s up to you!

The Necronomicon Tarot was conceived by Donald Tyson and illustrated by Anne Stokes. Along with two accompanying books, this tarot derives themes, characters, and events from various H.P. Lovecraft stories. Take a moment to soak in the pictures.

Necronomicon 3 card

9 of Disks: The Necromancer, with the aid of a ghost and a ghoul, digs up some hidden treasure.

3 of Cups: Three people seem to be having the time of their lives, but the lady in black looks very mischievous. What schemes hide behind those dark-rimmed eyes?

Yig (The World): A giant serpent clutches the Universe, twisting it around counter-clockwise: against the Sun, awakening a dark vortex that spreads chaos ACROSS THE GALAXY.

The Quantum Tarot, authored by Kay Stopforth and illustrated by Chris Butler, blends scientific theories, cosmic constellations, and classic tarot symbolism. Check out these gorgeous images, and click the names below for larger pictures!

Quantum 3 card

Queen of Cups: Andromeda is the name of a constellation and a galaxy–the spiral galaxy closest to our own, in fact. In the myth, Andromeda is chained to a rock as a sacrifice to Cetus, a sea monster. She is saved by Perseus.

8 of Cups: Ok, so, this is one of the more dense concepts. If you’re not familiar with the science, see what you get from these words: Nuclear Decay. Alpha Particle. Nuclear=energy. Decay=death. Alpha=beginning, Particle=small part of something. Basically we’re talking about when atoms break apart and cause nuclear poisoning or even cancer. Kay brings this around to someone or something (Neutrons and Protons) wanting to break away or escape (they escape from the nucleus of the atom where they belong! And they fly off by themselves and cause all kinds of problems!)

The Tower: Quantum Foam! That’s just a fun term. Imagine: underneath the seeming order and stability of all you see around you, even smaller than the smallest known molecules, is a bubbly, chaotic substance where matter blips in and out of existence; where teeny tiny black holes are created and then dissolve! THIS IS WHAT EXISTS UNDERNEATH ALL YOU CAN SEE. Ok sorry, got carried away.

My take on it all. First, I want to point out that we have one major card from each deck: Yig, and the Tower. And they kind of match. The images both feature stormy lightning, and the cards themselves represent chaos. Then we have the goddess chained to a rock, the deviant party people, and the sneaky necromancer digging up treasure.

Here is what I came up with. The world of sense, reason, and order is a thin mask on bubbling, frantic chaos. Underneath our civilized society are seething hoards of primitive desires just waiting to take over. Now, a dark cult has locked away the goddess of reason and compassion. They’ve buried her treasures in the forgotten wasteland. With her out of the picture, a giant chaos monster wraps its coils around the sun, causing an endless night, both in the physical world and in the hearts of the living.

The cult quickly start to spread their influence on anyone they can lay hands on. But each action has an equal and opposite reaction. When the realm of reason fell, it sent a huge burst of energy into the universe, which compressed into a giant lightning bolt and struck an unsuspecting man. He finds himself jettisoned out of the weird acid trip everyone else seems to be living in, wondering what kind of hellhole he woke up in. He once had an interest in dark magic, but now he must use it, along with the aid of unlikely friends, to find the treasures of the goddess so that she can break free of her chains and restore good sense to the universe.

Hope you like it. Happy writing!


Tarot Prompts

Day 28: Surrender.

Today’s post has some adult themes.

I’ve been thinking and reading about the feminine and how it is repressed or comes out in harmful ways in many peoples’ lives. And that brought me around to how we are or aren’t nurtured throughout our lives, and how that can ruin our understanding of nurturing as adults. I know nurturing isn’t strictly feminine, but we are focusing more on the feminine aspect of it. We are talking in archetypes here, so work with me, people.

Yes this is still a writing prompt! I asked four questions and drew a card for each using the Goddess Tarot. Pause for a moment and come up with your own answer before reading mine. In the first two questions, remember the differences between what we need, what we seek, and what we receive.

1. What kind of nurturing does your Character seek?

Goddess Tarot Ace of Wands Kris Waldherr

Romance writers! I really shouldn’t have to say anything about this. Ideally your character would seek the Ace of Cups, the ultimate feminine/receptive/comforting for the nurturing/healing. Instead they seek the Ace of Wands, which is the ultimate masculine, if you catch my drift. It’s a penis.

2. What kind of nurturing does your Character receive?

Goddess Tarot King of Swords Kris Waldherr

The King of Swords is tough, critical, and maybe even abusive. He is harsh, doesn’t take time to suss things out emotionally. What kind of nurturing would you receive from such a person? Oddly, a lot of people look for harshness in their nurturers because they want some form of abuse or criticism. Obviously this has a BDSM feel to it (not to compare BDSM to abuse. It’s just a question of is this sought out in a healthy way or no?) He would give your Character, er, a spanking, whether mentally or physically. Or both.

3. What relationship did your Character have with their mother?

Goddess Tarot Prince of Pentacles Kris Waldherr

The Prince of Pentacles is kind of a pampered young person. In the case of a Mother, it could be that the Mother pampered and spoiled her child. Or it could be that the Mother herself was kind of pampered and spoiled, and her child/ren didn’t respect her.

4. How does your Character look for nurturing in his/herself? (I will just say “she” for this paragraph.)

Goddess Tarot Prince of Cups Kris Waldherr

So the Prince of Cups is interesting because you have a character with a very broken sense of nurturing from her parents. She looks to sex to fill that gap. And she looks for a very stern and controlling male presence to make up for the parenting she didn’t have as a youngster. But there is a funny power play in BDSM (I’m just fully committing to this analogy now) where by submitting, she is giving herself power. And by submitting, she is, in a way, nurturing herself by allowing herself to go through trials and tribulations and possibly come out a more developed human being.

The Prince suggests youth and innocence. It’s interesting that both daughter and mother are Princes. But the daughter (Prince of Cups) has fully realized her emotions and is vulnerable in a nurturing way, while the mother (Prince of Pentacles) was immature in a narcissistic and selfish way.

What a story! I hope you found some inspiration in there somewhere. Oh! And someone else wanted to pop up and say hi.

Goddess Tarot 18 The Moon Diana Kris Waldherr

It’s Diana! Moon Warrior/Huntress! She blends masculine strength with feminine intuition. She is a nurturer AND a leader. I see her in this story as like a Cupid, but instead of giving the Character true love, she gives them a series of trials that will make them stronger and find the feminine warrior inside.

This deck was conceived and illustrated by Kris Waldherr.

That is all! Happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 27: Food for Thought

There are certain superficial aspects of story-telling that I tend to forget. One of those things is food. I just don’t think about food. I often include some kind of coffee because it’s like a ritual for me, so I like to imagine my characters enjoying that same ritual. With Harry Potter, the food is kind of already provided but this might be a cue for me to get more creative with it.

For some people, food is a heavy subject. Whether due to an eating disorder or a diet they aren’t thrilled about, food isn’t all about joyful consumption. For me, food brings up a lot of concerns. Where did this come from? How does the company treat its employees? Are they eco-conscious? At the end of a long road of careful decisions, I can sit down and enjoy a meal. But this deck, with it’s bright colors and fun illustrations, strips all that away. In this deck, food is fun and also meaningful.

As far as writing goes, what does food mean in your story? Is food brought up very much? Are there foods unique to your story? Or is it all familiar fare? A reading with this deck could be very telling because what your characters eat–and what they don’t eat–says a lot about them.

Here are two three-card spreads: The top three cards are what your character LIKES. The bottom three cards are what they DISLIKE. Read these separately or come up with some creative combinations. Salad + ice cream = waldorf salad???

Candied carrots on a sundae perhaps?

It’s funny that we have two healthy meals and one very indulgent dessert. This person knows where to put all their bad decisions.

Looks like a three course meal to me!

Strange for one to like banana floats but not sundaes. Perhaps it’s just not ENOUGH without bananas? Does wine hurt their stomach? Does it make them think of haughty parties they don’t want to go to? I can’t imagine what someone would have against Chinese take-out. Perhaps they are allergic to MSG. Perhaps they are a real stickler for home-cooked food. OR they used to have obnoxious roommates who ate it all the time and left a mess, and the smell makes them feel panicky and they compulsively clean everything.

Deck: Food Fortunes

Author/Artist: Josh LaFayette


Happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 26: Enterprising Spirit

Today we’re just going to do a nice simple one card prompt from the Universal Waite Tarot.

CardThree of Wands

This card is related to the Sun and the Zodiac sign Aries. The Sun is all about the self, so this character is thinking about their own wishes and desires. Aries likes to shoot first and ask questions later. So this is the moment when your character is ready to take action on what they want, or who they are meant to become. It is an enterprising moment.

How does this card make you feel? Which character in your book is experiencing this energy? I would love to hear from you in the comments! Happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 25: Lift Up Your Ideals, You Weaklings

Today’s image isn’t technically part of a tarot deck, but it is by a tarot artist (Pamela Coleman Smith.) I was rifling through her extra works and found this:

Pamela Coleman Smith

Pamela says:

“note the dress, the type of face; see if you can trace the character in the face”

“watch the simple forms of joy, of fear, of sorrow; look at the position taken
by the whole body”

(The title is also a quote of hers from the same article.)

So, looking at this picture, I came up with a little folk tale.

There was a council of angels in the spirit realm who were meant to oversee humanity and sometimes nudge humans along their paths. Over time, each angel developed his or her own ideals–a personal purpose close to the heart. But this started to cause discord among the council. They couldn’t agree on anything–only trying to represent their own aims.

Finally, they decided to descend upon one particular city and infuse the people, so that the people would act out the angels’ ideals. Then they could see how the people worked it out. Whichever people’s concerns won over all the others would be the ones the council upheld from then on.

However, the angels weren’t paying close attention to the city they invaded. It so happened that this city was wrecked with strife–its leadership was corrupt and it had just lost a chunk of the population to a virus.

The other problem with the angels’ plan was they were so detached from humanity that they couldn’t tell the sleeping from the dead. So, when the resting dead imbibed the angels’ concerns, they were also brought back to life.

HILARITY ENSUES. The dead came back to life. The Angels, embarrassed, went back up to the spirit realm. At first there was much alarm in the city because the dead were walking. But then those who had died were able to carry out some of their unfinished business. They were also each driven by the purposes of the different angels. Through some chaos and calamity, the purposes wind their way around to fixing many of the city’s problems. Eventually the angels had to come down and admit what they did.

Tell me–when all is said and done, do you think the dead should keep their new lives? Or humbly accept that they must go back to their graves?

The angels went back to the spirit realm and realized perhaps they should think a little more of the concerns of others, as well as embracing a little more chaos. They agreed they shouldn’t focus so much on their own concerns, and allow themselves to do some things without purpose. The angels continued to look over all humanity, but that city became a favorite of theirs.

The city became the heart of many legends, as angels sometimes walked the streets and all sorts of strange miracles happened there.

le fin.

(I would also like to imagine, for my own amusement, a death-metal version of that story, perhaps with a sound track and artwork to go with it.)


The Art of Pamela Colman Smith

More works from the artist who made the Waite-Smith tarot a possibility. Arthur Edward Waite may have conceived the cards, but Pamela Coleman Smith brought them to life, and it is her artwork we stare at every day.

Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog

Pamela Colman Smith never became well-known as an artist and, without the Tarot deck she illustrated, she may have fallen into total obscurity. Stuart Kaplan, president of U.S. Games, Inc. says he could have made her a millionaire.

The only comment from Pixie Smith about the creation of the tarot deck was in a letter to her mentor Alfred Stieglitz (click on the letter to see a larger version).

You can see much of the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith at these sites (thanks especially to Roppo and Holly Voley for their efforts to make Pixie’s work available to the rest of us):

• All the card images from Holly Voley’s first edition deck (“Pamela A”) and from The Pictorial Key to the Tarot at the Sacred Texts site

• Roppo’s The Works of Pamela Colman Smith – page 1

• Roppo’s The Works of Pamela Colman Smith – page 2

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The Queen of Cups

Wonderful insights on the Queen of Cups!

Tarot & Divination Decks with Robert M Place

This article is an excerpt from my new book, The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism, which can be preordered now. It will be here at the end of December and I will be mailing out the preorders on the last week of December and the first weeks of January, 2018.

The book is an updated and expanded version of my book, Alchemy and the Tarot, and my book, The Tarot, History, Symbolism, and Divination, which the American Library Association said may be the best book ever written on the Tarot. (The new book will be covering more than twice as much information as both books). It will contain numerous chapters on ancient magic and mysticism, updated information on alchemy and the history of the Tarot, and it will cover The Alchemical Tarot cards, but also The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, the Waite Smith Tarot, and…

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