On November 3, local author Grace Padilla led the Denver Tarot Meetup in an presentation called “Pen and Ink Tarot.” After opening with a discussion on using tarot for writing and then leading us in a few exercises to warm up our pens, she gave us a challenge not usually encountered in your average tarot meetup: write a short story. Her relaxed demeanor and do-what-works-for-you attitude offered a casual environment for just letting loose and seeing what might happen–very conducive to creativity.
I tend to like a little structure (Saturn conjunct my Sun), so I used a spread that is very easy and provides some broad strokes for creative writing projects. It is a mash-up of stuff I learned in middle school lit classes and more recent screenwriting classes. The basic spread is as follows:
1. Given circumstances–the everyday world that the 2. Inciting Incident interrupts. 3. Conflict. 4. Climax. 5. Denouement (our 8th grade English teacher taught us that one!) 6. Ending or new circumstances.
The eighth-grade English teacher taught us this sequence as a triangle, with position 4, the climax, at the peak. It translates well into a tarot spread!
Using the spread gave me an actual story outline–beginning, middle, end–so that I could stay on task with my writing. Without this kind of structure, it’s possible to just keep pulling cards like a wandering Odysseus, encountering adventure after adventure but delaying your return home for a couple of decades.
Here are the cards I drew, from the Tarot of the Hidden Realm:
1. Given Circumstances – Eight of Cups
2. Inciting Incident – Six of Cups
3. Conflict – Two of Pentacles
4. Climax – Nine of Wands
5. Denouement (resolution of the climax) – Two of Wands
6. Ending or New Circumstances – Seven of Cups
Here’s the story.
Storm clouds blew in gray to purple but the rain didn’t fall.
The electric charge of impending lightning sharpened his breath as he gazed into the scrying pool. Trees rippled at the edge of the pond. The clouds blew across his eyes and he no longer saw his reflection in the broken water but that of a woman. He did not know her but the diamond shaped jewel she wore as a diadem was the twin to that unique stone he wore around his neck.
Six stoic blossoms–what could be blooming in November?–floated in the water scattering only as she rose up to the surface. She reached out to grab the flowers.
“You must help me,” she cried. “These flowers cannot be destroyed. They contain the stories of my race, rooted in the deep dirt of time.
They hold a secret–the memory of the sun.”
He reached for a blossom and with explosive sparks his hand touched hers.
The pond roiled into angry flames and the clouds glowered red. The opalescent sparkle within the matched jewels of pendant and coronet gasped into life and electricity arced between them.
A bright flash blinded him and all seemed quiet.
He and she were sitting on the grassy bank basking in warm golden sunlight.
dancing in and out of sunbeams.
The younger reached out, stretching to keep up with the older.
The woman next to him leaned against his shoulder and as she turned her smile to him the gentle sun reflected off the iridescent jewel she wore, glinting into his eyes.
He hit the ground hard, pelted with driving rain, lightning crashing in every direction.
It took a moment for him to get his breath back, then he bolted up.
The vision was gone. So was the woman.
The sacred flowers bobbed and sank erratically in the pond. He dived in and began to gather them together, stowing them unceremoniously in his pocket.
Then he dived down into the depths of the pond searching for where the woman may have come from. He found an underwater tunnel, a subterranean river, and navigated it ever downward. He swam until he was exhausted, then let the current carry him.
At last he washed up on a foreign shore. The night was calm and clear. He staggered up the beach and sank down under a tree whose limbs curved protectively around him. He rescued the resilient flowers from their hiding place and tucked them into the tree’s branches where they reflected the light of a starry sky, softly glowing like lights on a holiday tree.
He looked up into the dark sky. Low to the east, rising into the glittering cosmos, were two bright stars, diamond shaped, sparkling with the fire of twin opalescent gems.
He must find the woman.
If you’re interested in reading some of my other creative writing, try “Where Do Answers Come From? As Dreamed by Mercury in Pisces Lorded over by Jupiter in Leo” or “High Park Alchemy and the Jar of Sunlight.”
Joy Vernon is a creative writer and tarot reader in Denver, Colorado. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and has been featured at SpiritWays, the Mercury Café and psychic fairs throughout the Denver Metro and Northern Colorado. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.