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!

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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 mischevious. 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.)

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 22: Pixel Adventures

Ba-ding!

Even if you’re not a huge video game nerd, the art from this 8-Bit Tarot probably brings back some nostalgia for you. The style adds charm and simplicity to the original Waite-Smith, but it also reminds me of a strong theme in video games: Heroes and Quests. Video games and tarot both use archetypes: broad themes in life that are recognizable to every human being. (You’ve probably heard of the “Hero’s Journey,” an archetypal story progression that many movies, books, and games follow.)

So I’m going to blurt, or spit-ball, a plot as though it were a video game (A sidescroller, obviously) and maybe it will give you ideas for your story or maybe it can just be a fun creative exercise–you know, a side quest.

I’m reading left to right. The Moon is the only Major Arcana card, so I think it’s the most important theme. It represents mystery and the subconscious/other realm. Our hero has been transported here by some unknown means, or perhaps she is in a dream.

Every night, in her dreams, she is in this other world where she has to complete quests and fight monsters (or other heroes) and her nightly adventures parallel the problems she’s trying to solve in real life.

She gets to this location and immediately meets a King or authority of some kind. He sends her to check out this fountain that… doesn’t work anymore. It used to be plentiful and beautiful and heal everyone’s ailments, but it has stopped working.

She sees a path leading from the fountain toward a cave, and, heading that way, finds a group of people camped out there. She notices that they have stolen the lilies from the fountain, and they fight her for them. She wins! And then she takes the lilies back, puts them in the pond, and the fountain starts once again. The king pays her a ton of money and now she has to figure out what to do with it all.

Ok, your turn! You can use the picture above or seek another 5-card spread.

To create your own 8-Bit adventure, go to Tarot.com. Sign up for a free account (I’m not a sponsor) and you can get a free Daily Insights reading. Choose the 8-Bit as your deck and lay out the cards! Happy writing!

Tarot Prompts

Day 21: Softly on Fire

sun and moon prince of wands

Hey folks! You know the drill. Look at the picture, see how you feel.

I love the lack of setting in the background–kind of surreal. Perhaps one of those moments where everything else disappears.

I love the unassuming posture of this character. His arm isn’t raised up in the air. He has no discernible facial expression–not angry or fierce. It makes him seem very calm, even reserved.

Have you ever met someone who was so reserved in demeanor, but had such fierceness inside? I love these contradictions. I also love that the lion looks like it has fiery wings.

This adorable deck, which I just discovered, is called the Sun and Moon Tarot. The card is the Knight of Wands.

I can’t believe it’s already the 21st! The last half of the month always seems to go by so fast, and this year it’s not because I’m panicking about word count, it’s because I’ll miss the creative frenzy and constant community. (If you haven’t checked into your local Nanowrimo group, you should!) I hope everyone is doing well with their writing. I might do some more marathon-posts at the end of the month. Cheers!

Tarot Prompts

Day 20: Conflict and Resolution

Today we are doing another story-telling template, so buckle up and settle in! I broke this template up into two parts. When looking at multiple cards, we find the story in how seemingly contradictory cards relate, and how seemingly confluent cards must be in conflict.

This deck is called the Wild Unknown and also has a wonderful app. It is designed and illustrated by Kim Krans.

WU reading 1

Character: What trait of your character’s will most effect this situation?

Conflict: This could be an inner conflict, a conflict between two people, or the conflict of the whole city or the whole world–whatever is involving your character.

The Swan (father of cups) looks gentle, and yet, look at his red beak. He (or she) speaks up when he feels passionate about something, yet his demeanor seems calm.

The Chariot is usually a person (or group) on a mission. It shows a lot of movement and taking bold action on the things one wants. How does this show a conflict? Next we will look at two different options your character has in response to this conflict.

WU reading 2

So here we have two different directions your character could go, given what they are facing, like a fork in the road. How do these cards contradict one another? Why must your character choose between them, and why is each option alluring?

I see a with-us-or-against-us scenario. Your character is drawn to a person or group, and they must choose. Do they go with the flow, despite their trepidation, or do they go against the group and expose their actions? (Cards: The Lovers, 7 of Wands)

In the end, it’s all about what you see and how you feel. Please share your thoughts in the comments!