This is the third article in my series ‘Connecting with your Tarot cards’, where we talk about telling stories with your Tarot cards.
Storytelling by itself is not something new or strange for Tarot card readers. Every reading by itself is a story for the reader to tell – especially when the person you are reading for is a complete stranger.
However, in the learning process, or when you are trying to connect with your Tarot cards in the first place, this storytelling exercise can not only enhance your reading skills, but will also help you connect with the cards on a much deeper level.
Each and every card in a Tarot deck has a picture on it. As they say, a picture can speak a thousand words. And in the case of the Tarot cards, a picture does speak a thousand words.
In this storytelling exercise, we will learn how we can go about using a single picture of a Tarot card to make up an entire story.
What You Will Need
For this exercise, you will need to put aside a bit of your time for each card. And you will need a notebook, pen / pencil or your computer or a voice recorder, and an egg timer / kitchen timer. And of course, you will need your Tarot cards.
If you are the kind of person who likes to write stuff down, then you can even add a page (or two) in your Tarot Journal and write the story there. I use an app called MacJournal to write these things down, and so I do a mixture of writing and audio recording to store my stuff.
Just read through the rest of the exercise and choose the method that best suits you.
Storytelling With Your Tarot Cards – How To
This exercise is pretty simple really.
- The first step involves selecting a Tarot card for your exercise. Now you can either select the cards one-by-one as you go through the exercise, or you can make a facedown fan of the cards and choose a card. Whatever you prefer. Whatever works for you.
- Now here’s where the fun begins. Once you’ve chosen your card, really look at the picture. See what you see in there. Look closely. What are the different elements you see in there? Plants? Flowers? Animals? What is the landscape? What is the person in the picture doing? Notice every small and large detail and make a note of it. Absorb the entire card into your mind.
- Now set your timer for 20 minutes. And start writing. Make up a story as you go along. Use the elements from the picture in your story. You can be as creative as you like – just let yourself go wild. And write down a story in the 20 minutes you’ve set aside.
At this point, many of you will probably ask me how to go about making up the story. Here are a few helpful pointers that ought to help you along:
- Think for a second – which genre of story do you like to read? Do you like romantic stories, or drama or sci-fi or fantasy? Try to come up with a story that goes with the genre you like to read. This way, the process will come more naturally to you.
- You don’t have to make a really long story – a small short story or an incident will do fine too!
- Don’t worry too much about the language, spelling and such matters. No one is expecting you to come up with a literary masterpiece!
- Go with the flow – I always recommend doing an audio recording because then you aren’t hindered by the writing part. I know this to be true: even as a writer, I often find myself being frustrated by how slow the whole typing process can often end up being – your fingers don’t often type as fast as your mind can think.
- Try starting with ‘Once upon a time…’
- And most importantly, don’t over think this process. Really. Just tell the story.
Advantages of Storytelling with Tarot cards
There are many advantages of using the storytelling process to connect with your Tarot cards.
- You really get into the picture of the card and observe the details of that image.
- You can really internalize each and every aspect of the card’s picture.
- You can get creative and let your imagination run wild while writing the story.
- Imagination and Intuition mix really well together – you never know which aspect of the story will suddenly appear like an intuitive notion while you do your reading (and you’ll be surprised at how accurate you are!)
Show and Tell
Yup! I’m going to show you an example of one of the storytelling sessions I did with the 7 of Swords card. Normally, this card is associated with the typical meanings like:
- Cheater / Cheating
But after I did this exercise, I suddenly discovered a whole wealth of meanings into this picture. And most importantly, this card gained a lot more shades into it, and became a more colorful and intricate picture that started giving me a whole bunch of nuances and interpretations.
7 of Swords
Once upon a time there was a band of robbers who used to go around and rob people. They weren’t a bad sort – just a bunch of young people who had nothing better to do in life, and craved the thrill of adventure – the sort that totally thrived on living life on the edge.
In this group of robbers, was our hero. His name was Dan, and Dan was a very skilled thief. He was quiet as a mouse – if he came into your house and left, you wouldn’t even notice it – he was so quiet.
But Dan was also a very happy-go-lucky fella. He loved a good laugh just like anyone else out there. And he loved playing practical jokes on people.
When you met Dan the first thing you noticed was how he took care of himself. He liked to dress well, and look nice. You could never find him wearing anything shabby – even when he was wearing his jammies.
Dan really enjoyed hanging out with these robbers. But of course, wherever there is a bunch of people, you are bound to find a whole lot of politics. So ever so often they would end up having long discussions about how to do a particular job or whether they wanted to do a job at all.
Dan didn’t enjoy any of these discussions at all. All he wanted to do was go somewhere, stealthily, and grab a few nice, shiny things, and escape. He lived for those thrills and didn’t see why there was a need to discuss things so much.
That didn’t mean that Dan was a careless fellow and would take on jobs that he didn’t research properly. But once the research was done, Dan didn’t understand why people had to sit down and yak about it so much.
Dan was getting to be pretty bugged up with all these goings on, and it wasn’t long before he started thinking of striking out on his own. The thought stayed with him for a very long time, and he just couldn’t get it out of his mind. So he started keeping an extra watch for an interesting opportunity to come by where he could just take off on his own.
Now, it came to pass that a bunch of traders were going to pass through this valley where the robbers were holed up. But the robbers weren’t really interested in them because those traders weren’t carrying anything precious. Dan however knew something different. He had started keeping his own network of informants and they had given him some intel on these traders.
Dan had discovered that these people were actually a bunch of assassins disguised as traders and they were on their way to infiltrate their country. Their aim was to assassinate the king of the country.
Now Dan didn’t like this idea at all. Although he was a robber and a thief, he wasn’t a traitor to his country.
He told the other robbers about what he had heard, in the hopes of getting their cooperation. Typical to their habits, they started discussing and talking about whether they should do something about it or not.
Dan got frustrated. He realized that if he waited for their help, nothing would ever come of it.
So later that evening, when the traders passed through their valley, Dan kept a look out for what was going on in their camps. They had set up camp in the valley for the night. In the morning, they woke up and trekked down to the nearby river for their baths.
Dan knew it was now or never. He would never have such an opportunity again. He looked at his teammates – and they were still sitting and talking about the merits and demerits of raiding these traders.
Dan shook his head and just walked out of the robber camp. Stealthily he made his way to the assassins’ camp. There was no one there and all their tents were empty of people. But, surprise-surprise, all their swords were just lying about unattended. These were the swords that they intended to use for their assassination attempt.
Dan looked around, making sure one last time. He grabbed all the swords that he could and stole out of their camp. But this time, he didn’t go back to the robbers’ camp.
Smart chap that he was, he was on his way to the King. There were far better ways, Dan realized, to utilize all the wonderful skills that he had.
New Meanings After This Exercise
After this exercise, this card got a few new meanings. Here they are:
- An Independent Minded Person
- Someone Who Likes To Go At It Alone
- Individualistic Action
- Happy-Go-Lucky Person
- Smart Thinker
- Person Who Thinks Fast On His Feet
- Sharp Dresser – Self Conscious About His Appearance
See, the qualities that Dan just started acquiring while I wrote the story, gave him a lot of personality – he was someone sharp and likeable – but on the wrong side of the law. And at the end of the story, he even decides to change sides, deciding to use his skills for a better purpose. In short, the ‘bad’ guy got a bunch of sharp personality traits that kinda made him a ‘good’ guy too!
Now, I am not saying that this card doesn’t come up to denote a cheater once in a while. But after this exercise, it hasn’t just remained limited within the confines of this meaning. In fact, the card opened up so nicely, that it gained a whole lot more facets to its personality.
This Process Was Inspired By…
This book has a bunch of exercises (21 actually) that you can do with your cards and really connect with them deeply. The storytelling exercise was the one that appealed to me immensely.
Did you try this process? Did it open up the card for you in ways that you never thought of before? What were your experiences with this process? Do you have any tips, suggestions, ideas other than the ones mentioned over here? Have I missed something?
Do share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.