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PR Isfeld

Tarot for writing
Tarot for writing

“I write to discover what I know.”
–Flannery O’Connor

Chances are, you’ve already run across tarot cards. Maybe you stopped at the fortune telling booth at the local fair, or had a friend back in high school whose aunt taught her to read them.

Most people think of them as a tool for divination, but they can also be used for reflection and meditation. Many people draw a card each morning and then reflect on whatever comes up

For me, the cards have come to be an unexpected source of inspiration when other tricks for getting past writer’s block fail.  You might also find them to be a useful when you need a jolt of fresh energy.

Tarot basics

Traditional tarot decks consist of 78 cards, divided into the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). The Major Arcana cards represent important life events and spiritual lessons, while the Minor Arcana represents more day-to-day phenomena. It’s divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each card carries its own symbolism, imagery, and meaning, related to the elements of fire, water, air and earth. .

Plot ideas

One of the most effective ways to use tarot cards for writing is by drawing cards to create plot points. You could draw a card to determine the beginning, middle, and end of your story. I like to pull one card to represent some aspect of my main character, another for the antagonist, and a third for the central conflict between them. Whatever pattern you choose, let the imagery and meaning behind each card be a jumping-off point for our own intuition.

Developing characters

Tarot cards can also help in crafting compelling characters. Draw a card for each character to define their personality, motivations, and challenges. The archetypes within the tarot can give depth and dimension to your characters.

For example:

Hero: Drawing “The Magician” can denote a resourceful and skillful professional.

Villain: “The Devil” might signify a character driven by obsession or addiction.

Supporting Characters: “Two of Pentacles” could represent someone juggling multiple commitments.


The rich imagery in tarot cards, especially the Minor Arcana with its links to the elements, can generate ideas for different environments. For example:

Wands (Fire): Dynamic and energetic settings, such as high-pressure businesses or dangerous landscapes.

Cups (Water): Emotional and introspective places, like churches, lakesides, or intimate gatherings.

Swords (Air): Intellectual and challenging environments, such as universities, courts, or conflict zones.

Pentacles (Earth): Grounded and material settings, like ranches or banks.

Creative jolts

When stuck, a single card draw can provide a shot of energy. Ask a specific question, shuffle the deck, and draw a card. The imagery and symbolism can offer a fresh perspective or solution. For instance, drawing “Justice” might suggest revisiting the fundamentals of your story from a different angle. (If you want to know more about the angle, you can draw a second card. And a third.)