Thursday, August 19, 2010

Open Topic Thursday: Writing with the Tarot

One day at Barnes and Noble, I happened to pass the section on writing when a book caught my attention. Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner piqued my interest for two reasons: 1) I'm a Tarot reader and 2) I'm a writer. Granted, I don't consider myself an expert in either field (the Tarot much less so), but Kenner's book made it clear that wasn't an issue.

For those of you thinking this is a book review, it isn't. I bought Tarot for Writers and tried the exercises, using characters and situations from my forthcoming short novel, Death Sword. Since I have two decks, the Rider-Waite and the Celtic Tarot, I used both at different times. The decks are vastly different so some familiarity with both was necessary.

What did I learn? Well, perhaps the most important lesson was tapping into my subconscious. It amazes me how the analytical part of our mind interferes with our subconscious, restricting our innate natures.

So how does the Tarot apply to writing? Because the Major Arcana is based on Archetypes, it allows one to explore one's characters through the symbolism associated with the Archetypes. (I have a copy of Jung and Tarot but haven't read it yet.) The Minor Arcana is a journey, some say of the Fool and others of Campbell's Hero. Either way, our protagonists are always on a quest which, in the end, will change them, hopefully for the better.

The rich symbolism of the Tarot also enhances one's writing. Symbols from alchemy to the Kabbalah to angels are explored in the Rider-Waite Tarot. Of course, since Tarot decks differ, the symbolism will be unique for each one.

Do I believe using the Tarot has helped me improve my characterizations and plots? Yes. Not only that, but it's helped me "see" my characters in ways I might not have considered. And sometimes a second opinion isn't a bad idea.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I've found her techniques really helped me explore alternatives within scenes since I'm often too analytical and close-minded to notice when I'm brainstorming. Character development is fun for me, now, too! :)