One of my very favorite tarot activities is story-telling: I draw four or five cards as “Who – Protagonist,” “Who – Antagonist,” “Where,” and “Why/What”. Generally “why/what” is a theme or a goal. I do this as a creative exercise for me and as a fun way to draw my boyfriend into my hobby — without having to resort to strip tarocchi.
I’ll give a brief description and some thoughts we had of each card drawn tonight, and then try to outline our thinking process and the story we came up with.
Who/Protagonist — Knight of Wands
The Knights in the Legacy of the Divine deck are portrayed as masks, the uniform of the enforcer, to draw on Ciro Marchetti’s metaphor from the book accompanying the deck. We named a few qualities (i.e. brash, passionate, adventurous), coming up with a dragon-slaying, knight-errant king.
Who/Antagonist — The Sun
This deck features a non-traditional sun, and the card depicts a priest standing in front of a large, mechanical mobile of the solar system. Keywords included enlightenment and revitalization — we thought of the new burning away the old facades.
Where — Justice
Tricky for a setting, but it gave us a mood. The card refers balance and the blind rule of law. In combination with the other cards, our story, then, takes place at a time when we’re trying to find balance between the old and the new, between passions and enlightenment.
What/Why — Eight of Cups
The key word mention here was “evolution.” The card features an octopus-man in the water, turning away from the cups (and his way of life) towad the moon. He is half of the water, half of the sky, not fully part of either world. (I’m trying to resist the Little Mermaid comparison here… oops, I failed.) In our story, we have a king caught between two worlds: his young, brash self and his older, wiser self; an old government and a new, etc.
After some initial discussion, we thought we had a choice between two archetypal stories: the coming of age story bildungsroman, and the Fisher King or ‘wounded king’ Celtic myth. While that seems pretty standard and dull, we realized that our story in synthesizes those two fables into one. Here we have an aged king who began his rule in the brash, knight-errant style, now ruling at the time when his kingdom is being shifted from a feudal rule to a republican rule. His country is being ‘enlightened’ toward wanting a republican, the slow-acting, balanced government, the opposite of this king’s style. The king must allow the Sun to burn away his mask and let himself evolve into the monarch that his people will need. In this story, the eight of cups evolution is changing both the kingdom and the king. The old king must become the new king, but he also must face his trials and come of age as a grown man. It’s coming of age because the king must grown past his former self, but it’s a king replacement because he must slay his old self and begin a new rule.
Interesting, yes? Not material for a best-selling novel by any means, but definitely short story potential. If you enjoyed reading this, drop me a note and I’ll make it a weekly posting.
How very cool! The way your tarot study dovetails with your writing is so inspiring and interesting to read about. I love it! I like how this has a “structure” to it, re-naming the positions as elements of a story. I will have to try this with my Universal Fantasy since that deck is very quest-oriented and the images tell many tales. Thank you for sharing. I did not mind the Little Mermaid reference and now I have a fun idea (strip tarocchi) for Valentine’s Day and to make tarot more palatable for my partner. heehee…
What a great activity for creating inspiration in your writing!