Category Archives: Tarot

Writing with the Tarot

I posted a while ago about using tarot as a prompt, and that I was expanding the exercise to create a stream of characters, names, places and events/plot/situations. So now I have recently returned to the first story that came out of this project and am expanding it. I’d stopped at a thousand words, thinking that it was a short story, but as the months passed I questioned that. It had occurred to me that this may be a novel. Now I think it should be a novella, and it’s sitting somewhere around 6k. The first thousand words sets up the atmosphere of a happy home expecting a late baby, and the expectations of change hitting the mother in an unexpected way; at first she was the key figure and the major change happening to her, and everyone else in the family being satellites who would, of course, respond to what she had done…but I had left the reader to imagine that response.

I myself, even though I’d created them, was charmed by all these characters and that’s probably why I couldn’t get them out of my head. So when I was writing something else I realised that the two girls were Violet and Melody, so I changed the names and moved the pieces over and found the perfect situation to slip their story onto the already written one…and because I’d done that it was natural to continue on with yet another character from the household after that.

So, the tale appears to revolve around one morning, and the choices each character makes and how they affect the dynamics of the family and its future. I did think of killing someone but that would halt the onward progress of their choices. I’m more than half-way through the third section and faced with real action in a building site (which I know nothing about) so I’m faced with the prospect of having to go photograph some of the doings of house-building – luckily, there’s one near me… I just need to wait until the stormy weather calms down so I can go spying.

In this section there are two of the characters, the oldest daughter and her father, coming together really just to show a more stabilising unit within the unit, but during this time something unusual comes to light and perhaps we get to know what’s going on inside this pleasant man’s head…some of the time. It is a very female crowd, and he’s the only man – although, the mother is expecting their first son.

If this exercise is anything to go by, I should get a ton of work out of the whole thing: this set-up came from only the first card in a spread – there are six more to go!

Link to tarot exercise



This was supposed to be a writing day and I cannot be too surprised that I only dragged a thousand words or so into the net, but I’m not complaining. There were a lot of very interesting thoughts being pickled on the inside. I am full and brimming over with projects, and they just keep coming. Right now, the one taking over is the creation of a pack of tarot cards to use in readings in a book I’m writing about how to read the cards…so all of last night was captured by the search for the tarot people in my photographic pile, and then there was the manipulation and artistic doodling. My version of the Chariot is a dump truck grumbling along the expressway out of the city on a wet Monday morning. I can’t wait until I get to the printing and gluing together stage…I have even chosen the print for the backs.

So surprise didn’t catch me when procrastination dragged me into themes to change the look of the place here, and I found this lovely blue with the swirl on top, but it might be time to attempt sleep. I’ll be back with photographic evidence of the crafting. Meanwhile, here’s a wee link to the blog that covers the publication of an anthology of short stories including one of mine.



It’s in the cards

Working tonight, talking on the phone to a young Glasgow woman who could hardly understand a word I said.

‘What does that mean?’

This was her constant question. I wondered if I had slipped into a second language I didn’t know I had learned. There was no bond, female or otherwise – no connection through intuition, tarot cards or universal sense and sensibility. Now, I hate to talk about people in a negative way or slate women or talk down to people but this woman was plain stupid without being special in any way. Yes, she had special needs but didn’t have the intelligence to recognise that there is a multitude of choices in front of even her!

No big words were used or hurt in this experience; I would never call what took place a conversation or a counselling session – it was a struggle and I was drowning, and it lasted half an hour because she had used a credit card and bought thirty minutes of my time. There are furred creatures out there with more knowledge of the world.

I can’t feel sorry for her because she should be capable of looking at the world and judging where the edges are and how safe the path is in front of her. And, she has a child and is planning to have another one even though she knows hardly anything about the man she calls her partner. Is this a new breed of human? Is this evolution digging holes in the sand hoping to find the next link…one that will resist destruction?

Well, thank the gods I won’t be there when they take over the world.


A funny thing happened on the way to the forum – I accidently fell into another forum while researching for the WIP (honest) and have gone and got all addicted! It’s a tarot site. You see I’ve been buying some new tarot packs from Ebay, Amazon and Aeclectic and once I get started I just go over the score; I only meant to buy a couple but think I’ve bought six in the last three weeks. Blame the madness on Nano.

Anyway, there is some tarot in the WIP so I thought it would be a good idea to go chat about it, especially as I was swimming in new decks, and I want to get more into the MC’s voice before I begin the second draft. Well, this site is just crawling with the most fantastic possibilities for procrastination ever! So that’s where I’ve been for the last week, but I’ll get over it and calm down – soon.

Oooh, all my packs are just delicious! I’ve got fairies, vampires, Victorian lacy stuff, modern arty stuff and shamanic oracle stuff. All gorgeous. My excuse is that they are all arty and some will be great for writing stimulation.

The WIP will now begin with some kind of tarot thing in the background.

Check out the links to see some images of the cards:


Designed by Fournier and Viktoria Frances

I’m not particularly interested in vampires but these cards are absolutely stunning; the artwork is gorgeous, dark and mysterious – definitely images that draw you in. When you open the pack by yourself you wish there was someone with you so you could say, ‘Look at this! And this.’ So you talk to yourself, and there is nothing wrong with that. I was overwhelmed with the little pack; they fit in your hand neatly, and even though you would love to see them bigger it is enough – some might say that they are an adequate sufficiency.

There is nothing in the details to tell you what suit is what; I guess that the crosses are swords and masks are wands but it’s up in the air as to whether the cups are black roses or butterflies. I feel that the emotion lies with the butterflies, the celebration and tragedy of their short lives – so they should represent the cups. The thorny danger of roses indicates the problems we all have with money – but, it is possible to see the other side of this argument. Don’t we all cry and bleed tears when pricked by the dark side of love? And the other terrible truth is that butterflies feed on excrement, and they are here today, gone tomorrow – a life as short as cash-flow.

I write this as I browse my beautiful new acquisition, before I go exploring to unearth the truth of the matter because it is relevant to show possible inherent problems with such a purchase. A new tarot reader would not know how to solve this and might give up, give the fabulous things away and lose out on the experience of using this inspiring pack.

The disappointing aspect is the lazy decision to make the number cards of the minor arcana plain icons – yes, said icons are pretty but still uninspiring cards with 1 – 10 crosses, masks, roses or butterflies in attendance.

I have fallen for the royals too; the difference between the pictoral and the merely countable is so astonishing I’ve decided to break the pack and use the people alongside the major arcana. The numbers can be utilised as positive and negative in the answering of questions. I always wanted to separate a pack but have never been able to do it until now – this is the right deck to split.

Only time will tell if the cards work for me but I don’t think I’ll have a problem with these; I bounce off images and have a sense of the ironic/sardonic when looking at life in general so the darkness of the images won’t hold me back or depress my natural enthusiasm for living in the world. So, I must go to be with my lovelies and make notes for the next perspective which will appear as I get to know them.