If you’ve followed me for awhile, at some point you’ve probably seen me bitch about my ineptitude with Tarot. I’ve tried various decks, various means of interpretation, various ways of asking questions, of shuffling, of doing all that stuff. In the end it’s pretty much the same thing: my mind is like, “Wow those pictures are pretty but I have no idea what you’re trying to tell me.”
People of course say keep practicing, but truth is for divination purposes I’ve found runes to work much better for me. I think pictures, as beautiful and as meaningful as they are in Tarot, are actually causing part of the problem. It’s just how I’m wired. When it comes to real life matters or trying to communicate with that great beyond or whatever, runes are it for me. They are simple (here meaning that they are free of distraction, not that they are easy to understand) and ignite my intuition much more effectively. I also use them in magic often with a good amount of success.
So here I am with a dozen or so pretty Tarot decks now. I flip through them every so often and sigh longingly, wishing I could do something with them beyond just admire them. The Major Arcana especially holds keys to this itchy little part of my brain I haven’t been able to unlock…
Until today, when I suddenly figured out what the hell I need all these Tarot decks around for.
I’m a writer. I also suffer from depression. This means that when writer’s block hits, it turns into a THING very quickly. The weird thing about writing and depression for me is that writing can be a ladder out of it just as easily as it can be the thing that pushes me into the pit. When writer’s block joins in, you might as well just cover that pit with a boulder, me inside.
Last night I was on the verge of going over the side again after a pretty decent stretch of staying up top. I’ve taken to keeping a handwritten journal that, when these things start, I vent all my worries and rages there. Yeah, it sounds really negative, but it’s much better on the page than boiling around inside me. I really don’t like therapists, and I find that the journal much more competently takes their place (and is much cheaper).
What started the episode was getting extremely frustrated with something I’ve been working on in which I’d written myself into a corner. Nothing about it was right (nothing’s ever right when this starts) and it was stupid of me to think I could ever pretend to be a writer. I think a term I used last night was “cosmic maid” – I felt like my whole lot in life was cleaning up other people’s creativity and enjoying it from afar, but not having the real ability to create it.
After the journal entry, I felt calm-ish. I went down to my study (which doubles as my altar room) and tidied up some things. Not feeling up to writing just then, I instead found some candles and incense and lit them on my writing desk with a very clear intent of cleansing the space of negative thought. I then spent some time doing yoga and meditation, clearing myself of similar emotions. Then I blew out the candles and went to bed.
Today after work I felt like I was ready to face it again. I went into the room and relit the candles. Then to encourage inspiration, I found a yellow taper, dressed it and runed it, and lit that with the other two. As it started burning down, instead of writing the story, I had a conversation with myself (apparently I do this a lot). I didn’t ask what was wrong with the story, but went back to the start. What was the story actually trying to tell? I wrote in this line of thought for over half an hour, feeling braver as I went along, eventually coming to the conclusion that the story was needing to be approached from a different angle.
I had a vague idea of what angle that was, but couldn’t really put a finger on it. I stared at the inspiration candle a few minutes, then reached for one of my Tarot decks (the Tarot of the Magical Forest, one of my newer ones). I focused on my beginning as I shuffled the cards. What had happened right before the beginning? Where was the real opening of the story? Where was its immediate direction? I got the above three cards.
Suddenly I was having a conversation with the cards and the story similar to how I read people having conversations with cards and spirits. I didn’t even realize it was happening until I’d written another two pages on the reading, putting the pieces together. The final card, Temperance, was especially interesting. It had relevance to the story, but it was also a message to me as the author.
I’m pretty excited right now. While I could not get the cards to work for me in readings for myself or as a communication tool with deities/spirits, my creative storytelling mind is able to work with them easily. I didn’t realize the two sides of my mind were so separated, but it makes sense.
All in all, I’m glad I never gave up fully on Tarot. It seems I have a lot more work to do with it now.