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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Tarot Prompts

Day 24: Fiery Ambition

The Chariot is the force of your character. The chariot itself isn’t real: it’s not a physical vehicle. Rather, it is the spiritual, mental, and emotional vehicle with which your character moves through life, or possibly carries out their mission. Take a moment to get acquainted with this image. Note the colors and shapes. Think of it literally. Think of it metaphorically.

Thoth Tarot Chariot

If you feel inspired and those words are itching to escape your fingers… what are you doing? Go write! But, if you want more prompting, let’s break it down.

Armor: How guarded versus vulnerable is your character? Some people are so guarded, they seem stand-offish or even hostile. Ironically, these people often have the most delicate vulnerable side–this is why they protect it so fiercely. Other people’s vulnerability is in full-swing: they have no barriers, and their emotions are always on the surface. Then there are those who are well-balanced. Their vulnerable side is well-developed and they are comfortable with it. Yet, they are capable of shielding themselves from others and of creating boundaries. It’s like a sliding scale where the shield gets smaller as the vulnerable side gets bigger and vice-versa. Where on the scale does your character fit?

Engine: What motivates them? How do they define success? We talked about chutzpah in an earlier post: What would really satisfy your character? I have always had an issue of the vision of success separate from moral purpose, or moral influence. People used to tell me “S/he is laughing all the way to the bank.” I always thought that was a useless way to disregard things they didn’t want to think about. Is your character realistic about their motives? Or are they in denial?

Wheels: How does your character get from point A to point B? What physical means such as money or resources; genetic traits such as good look or skills; or developed traits such as being clever or influential help them get to where they are going?

Creatures: What outside influences effects them? Do they listen to a mentor? To advice? Are they taking orders from someone? Are they acting on traditional beliefs from some religion or culture? Are they acting on family wisdom passed down to them? What outside voices are guiding them?

Maybe it’s late in the month for character development, but hey, sometimes you have to recenter yourself and remind yourself of how your characters tick.

Deck: Thoth Tarot

Author: Aleister Crowley

Artist: Lady Frieda Harris

For more esoteric/symbolic information on this card, click here.

Happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 23: A Special Thanksgiving Post

Hey folks. First, I obviously did not get up early this morning to write a blog post. Second, I was trying to think of doing something a little special for Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people probably won’t look at the blog today, too busy with their families. So I’m going to take this moment for myself.

Day 23 fairy tale tarot.png

Deck: The Fairy Tale Tarot (click here to see more cards!)

Card: The High Priestess

Author/Artist: Yoshi Yoshitani (click here to see more by the artist!)

Part of me wanted to find a card that was pretty for a good prompt, and another part of me wanted to find a card I knew would represent the festivities. I accidentally did both.
Small disclaimer. I love family. I love my family and I value the importance of family. But that’s not what this blog post is going to be about.

I’m an introvert. Family gatherings were often draining for me as a child. People didn’t know what an “empath” was and they could be so demanding emotionally. I wasn’t allowed to be an introvert. They didn’t care about any of my nerdy interests; I was the weird one. Everything I said and did was incorrect because I was both bad at and rejected the status quo. It was just little things, but little things added up.

So some of my best memories around holidays are moments where I was able to sneak away. I’m kind of like a cat. I’ll socialize a little, but then I need my own little space where no one will bother me.

Then, from around ages 12-15 we spent Thanksgiving at my step-dad’s sister’s house in Georgia (we lived in Alabama, it was about 4 hours away.) His sister and her husband both had two grown sons, and they were ALL nerds. They put me in a small room upstairs that may have been a large closet. But it was a perfect little hideaway.

The little room up in the attic used to belong to one of the sons (I think.) So not ONLY was it tucked away (and had the most comfy bed of all time) but it was also full of games and what I suspect were Warhammer figurines that he had painted himself. When we were there, I could sleep in and stay in the room as long as I wanted. Sometimes I would wake up and just look at the toys and games and books lining the walls (it was PACKED wall-to-wall with stuff. The bed barely fit.)

Then, when the family got together, we always watched Harry Potter movies, played Risk, and did other cool nerdy stuff. So if this is an “I’m thankful for…” post, I guess I’m thankful for the grace of having my own space, and the grace of finding people who understood me when I was young. Now I’m an adult, I can curate my experiences around holidays a lot more. I can also communicate my needs more effectively.

Another thing this card brings to me is the esoteric meanings behind holidays. We are often pummeled with marketing which strips holidays of their meanings. And sometimes we go to family events where everyone puts on airs and the whole thing seems very insincere. Yes, it’s meaningful to be around family and friends, but most holidays are also there to remind us of something else–of mystery, of ancient events, of lore and of a greater existence. I need to tap into that to make holidays more meaningful to me. But that’s me–what about you? What makes the holidays special to you?

If you have tarot cards or can find them online, post a picture of a card that represents the holidays to you. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy writing!