A while back I wrote a post about using the Myers-Briggs Personality test to define your characters and give them depth. It was a popular post, so I thought I’d come up with another way to understand characters, and see into their future.
Using Tarot cards is a unique way to find out what your characters are going through, and perhaps help you decide what they should do next. Since you’re reading Tarot for characters and not real people, you don’t have to be an expert on Tarot to do it. And unless you’re interested in learning to read Tarot, you don’t even have to buy a deck of cards. You can use online Tarot decks and draw cards from there.
A bit of background: I have been reading Tarot cards for nearly twelve years. My mom bought me my first deck for Christmas and said, “Your great-grandmother used to read tea leaves in Ireland. Maybe you’ll be good at this.”
I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I’m definitely passionate about Tarot. I’ve spent years studying tarot, reading tarot for myself and others, and acquiring new decks. My first deck was the Marseilles deck, which is one of the oldest decks in use today.
My next deck was the Rider Waite deck. Probably the most widely used deck, this is a good one to start with if you’re a beginner.
The deck I use now is the Legacy deck, which is more modern and has stunning artwork. There are numerous decks to choose from, and if you choose to embrace Tarot, you’ll understand the feeling when you connect with a deck. Legacy is my deck.
If you don’t want to purchase a deck to read for your characters, here’s a good link for an online Tarot card spread http://serennu.com/tarot/horseshoe.php
That link offers a seven card horseshoe spread.
(*Note: This example is a simplified reading for a fictional person. Reading Tarot for real people is much more in-depth, and personal. Spreads are often more complex, and the reader is very careful with how they deliver the message of the reading to the querant.)
I drew cards for my character Mara, the main character in The Dia Chronicles series. In book two, The Embers of Light, Mara was left with a broken heart, some hard decisions, and her enemy still on the loose. I thought of her as I shuffled the cards, and the ones that came up were very interesting. For the purpose of this example I chose a five card horseshoe spread, with a card in the center known as a significator, to represent Mara. I will only give brief descriptions of each card, but if you read for your character, take the time to understand what each card is telling you.
Summary of the Reading.
The cards reflect Mara’s broken heart and her sense of loss. They suggest that perhaps she’s made a wrong choice, which has contributed her to sadness. Her obstacle is clearly a person, a young man, with a selfish, childish demeanor. Her strength is another young knight, a man with a balanced view of the world and a generous heart. She must find this person to help her through this tough time. He might even have the answers she needs. The final card reveals the outcome, which seems different than what Mara has planned. Her life will be shaken up, and she’ll have to accept fate in order to succeed. (See the individual cards below).
This reading is helpful to me because there is a potential ending in book three I’ve been thinking about for some time, but was unsure if it’s the best choice. I can see from the cards that I should go with my gut and use the planned alternate ending, because it will create balance for my characters.
The Reading Card by Card.
Significator – represents the subject of the reading, Mara: Queen of Swords. The queen of swords is an independent woman. She is perceptive, assertive, independent, and a natural leader. At her worst she can be vengeful, short tempered, and deceitful when she thinks it will benefit her cause.
Card #1 – Where the character is now. Five of Cups Reversed – Separation from a partner. Loss. Inner Turmoil. Regret.
Card #2 – The character’s next step. Seven of Cups Reversed – Wrong choices. Overestimating yourself. Seduction.
Card #3 – Obstacles. Knight of Swords Reversed – Often represents a person who is reckless, unrealistic, impulsive, and foolish. This person acts first and thinks second. (Sound like Malcolm, perhaps?)
Card #4 – Strengths and Resources. Knight of Cups Upright – An honorable, possibly attractive man. He is considerate and thoughtful in his actions, but not afraid to jump into the fray. He prefers peace to violence, but as a knight he will defend those he loves. (Definitely sounds like Corbin).
Card #5 – Outcome. Judgement. A Major Arcana card, also known as a destiny card. This card represents a major change of life, a new phase, a new cycle. Face the things you fear, make the hard decisions. This character will have to accept fate, even if it’s not what she planned, in order to have a positive outcome.
What do you think, would Tarot help you with your characters? If you choose to do a reading for them, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles