The tarot is a group of cards that are often used for divination. They’ve been around in one form or another since the 15th century. Some tarot historians will say they’ve been around longer than that.
Suffice to say tarot has been around for a long, long time and now, in the 21st century, they are not only around but here to stay.
When I first began studying tarot there weren’t that many decks available. The one I began my studies with is what what is known as the Rider-Waite deck.
Now there are hundreds of decks with many more being created and distributed whether through traditional publishers such as U.S. Games or Lo Scarbero or what is becoming a growing trend of self-publication by tarot artists and creators.
I primarily use the tarot for self-examination and, most importantly, creative work. I use it to create characters, structure plots, brainstorm settings and draft scenes. There isn’t an aspect of writing that I don’t find a use for tarot.
Some may think of using tarot as a crutch. Or even as a cheat. I dispute that emphatically. Using tarot in your writing is not a cheat. It’s a tool.
I think of the tarot as keys by which I can unlock ideas and insights that are lying just below the surface of my conscious mind.
With so many different types of decks being created by so many talented artists and writers, no matter what type of writing you do, I can confidently say you will find a deck that will help to stimulate you when it comes to your writing.
Even if you already own a deck, check out the Aeclectic Tarot website. If you don’t, I strongly encourage you to do so. Not only will you find reviews and sample cards from hundreds of deck, there’s information on how to read the tarot and, most importantly for our purposes, decks that are categorized by topics.
So, for example, let’s say you’re writing a story about zombies. There’s a Zombie Tarot Deck and a Zombie Apocalypse Tarot Deck. If you’re writing a mystery you may find the Sherlock Holmes Tarot Deck useful.
Or perhaps you’re writing a fantasy. There are many fantasy-themed decks to choose from. The Chronicles of Destiny Fortune Cards is one of my favorites. Or you might prefer the other-worldly Fantastical Tarot deck.
You don’t have to use a specialized deck, however. The Rider-Waite deck I mentioned above is still the best deck for those new to tarot. One of the reasons it is a good deck to start with is because many creators of other decks use the Rider-Waite as their template when designing their decks.
Today I just wanted to introduce you to the Tarot. Most tarot decks are made up of 78 cards; 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. If you want to learn more about the structure of the tarot, The Tarot Lady website has an excellent blog post on the structure of the tarot and a list of books and websites for beginners. I highly recommend it.
You can also ask me questions in the comments below.
If you have a tarot deck, look it over and ask yourself how it can help you in preparing for NaNo. If you don’t have a deck, check out the ones at Aecletic Tarot.
Tomorrow I’ll talk more about using tarot and writing. The day after I’ll specifically talk about the two books I’ve written on using the tarot in writing. After that I’ll use spreads from both books and spreads not included in the books to demonstrate how you can use the tarot to prepare for NaNoWriMo.