Elemental Character Spread

Surprise, surprise it’s another creative writing spread. Oh, you don’t find that surprising? πŸ˜‰ Anyway, this one is designed to help you explore your characters and it’s based on the elements: spirit, air, fire, water and earth. See the layout with descriptions below.

Elemental Character Spread

#1 – Spirit – This card looks at the character’s essential self or their core personality. You could also look at this as their highest potential, so the person they will grow into by the end of the story. Another way to interpret this card is the character’s destiny or calling.

#2 – Air – This cardΒ  shows the character’s mental state, what is on their mind or what they are worried about. It can also reveal character traits like sharp wittedness or cunning or anything related to what is going on inside their head.

#3 – Fire – This card will tell you how this character acts. Their relationship with action or their general mode of operation. Some questions you can ask when reading this position include how motivated are they? Are they moving or inert? Do they act emotionally, rationally, impulsively, with wisdom? Do they tend to lead or follow?

#4 – Water – The card of water will show you the emotional state of your character, what they are feeling, how they interact with their emotions or what role their emotions play in their experience. This card can also speak about their internal experience, what they hold in, what about them is unseen by others.

#5 – Earth – Here is where you can suss out logistical aspects of your character, job, appearance, their position in the physical world, their day to day experience. It also looks at the environment that they exist in or the social/societal constructs they have to navigate.

Spread Variation:
Feel free to use more than one card for each element. If you like to work with pairs of cards or sets of three, you can draw 2 or 3 cards per elemental position. This can also give you a bit of a timeline in terms of how the character grows and how their relationship with the elements change as the story progresses. I would perhaps only use one card for the Spirit position because as “essential self” or “destiny,” this is unlikely to change…but that’s just how I would do it. As always, you do what seems most right for you.

Before I let you go to scribble your creative hearts out, I wanted to let you know that I am teaching a tarot and writing workshop on April 25 from 7-9p. Here is the link to the event: Using Tarot to Prompt & Plot. If you are local or visiting the Portland area, I would love to see you there.

For the time being this is an in-person class, but I may adapt it to an online workshop in the future if there is enough interest, so please let me know if that is something you would like to see so I can gauge interest.

Enjoy the spread and have a great weekend y’all.

A Self-Love Tarot Spread

Nine of Bottles - The Collective Tarot

The Nine of Bottle – The Collective Tarot. Shower yourself with love and consideration.

Why is self-love so ding dang difficult? Even being a spiritually mindful person, I fall into the self-criticizing, self-disparaging trap more than I like to admit. I know better. You probably know better too. It’s really hard though, right? The “why” is often complex and convoluted, that is one reason why I find tarot to be such a powerful tool. It helps me to get an objective picture, it helps me to bypass my ego and my conditioning enough to see what is really going on.

I was browsing my computer files today when I came across this spread. I originally designed it for Self-Love September last year, but I realized that for some reason I never posted it on my blog. Anyway, here it is, better late than never. I hope you enjoy and that you find it helpful.

Self Love Tarot Reading Spread

Self Love Tarot Spread

Card #1: Area to Focus On: This card will show you where self-love is most needed in your life right now and will give a focus to the reading. You can think of it as the-heart-of-the-matter.

Card #2: Root: This card is the “why.” It represents the reason that self love is lacking in your focus area. it could be a recent trigger that is causing you to struggle right now, or it could represent the event or conditioning in your more distant past that has made self-love so difficult for you in the present. If you feel that it’s important for you to understand the underlying causes behind your current struggles with self-love, then this is a good card to spend some time digging into.

Cards #3 & #4: Advice: Now that you know what you need to focus on and the underlying cause of your current challenges with self-love, cards #3 and #4 will offer you advice on how to address those challenges. Understanding the “why” is important, but it’s also important to follow-up with some actions if you want to see improvement. These cards will give you guidance to address the present and also to heal the root cause that is making self-love so difficult.

Weekly Planner Spread

Collective Tarot

Looking for a weekly spread? This is one that I designed for myself and really love. I do some variation of this spread most Sunday nights to help me prepare for the upcoming week. I find it quite helpful.

Card #1 – Theme/General Energy of the Week

Card #2 – What I Most Need to Focus on This Week

Card #3 – Challenges That May Come Up This Week

Card #4 – Advice/What Strengths I can Use to Overcome These Challenges

I’ll usually lay the cards out in a pyramid-like shape with Card #1 on top and Cards #2, #3 and #4 as the base. Then I’ll pull some cards off to the side to look at a couple major areas in my life to see if there is anything going on that I should be aware of. For me this usually looks like:

Card #5 – School

Card #6 – Tarot Business

Cards #7 – Social Life

You could easily substitute things like “relationship”, “family”, or “work”, depending on what major aspects of your life you want to keep tabs on that week. Another options is to look at the “spiritual”,Β “emotional”, or creative” energies of your week. Sometimes I’ll even change it up week-to-week depending on what feels like needs extra attention.Β If a card comes up that indicates a struggle or a conflict in a particular area, I’ll sometimes pull an additional advice card if I feel like I need that.

A reading with The Collective Tarot

Reading with The Collective Tarot

I really enjoy doing this type of reading, it forces me to take time before the week starts to come up with a plan and set some intention. Often I’ll sit down with my tarot journal AND my day planner while doing this reading and take an hour or two to get all organized. It makes me feel more relaxed heading into the week because I feel like I’m on top of everything. Also I love planning and I just so geek out on this type of thing. πŸ™‚

I hope you find the spread helpful.


Mid-Year Check-in Spread

7 of PentaclesWe’re halfway through 2015 as of this posting (give or take a couple days. I actually lost the first 500 words of this post to a computer malfunction earlier in the week. I intended to have it done on the 1st.). This is the perfect time to check-in with all the goals and intentions you set in January. Even if the ball got dropped, catching it now still gives you six months to make things happen before the new year rolls around again. Don’t be discouraged, don’t beat yourself up, just pick up that ball and get back to it.

For myself, I know a lot shifted in the last six months, A LOT, especially in March and April. So for my mid-year check-in I needed to spend some time reevaluating which goals and intentions still resonated with me, because a few no longer did and there is no point in putting the effort into a goal that you genuinely don’t care about anymore.

Of course I turned to tarot to help me see where I needed to focus my efforts, what could be released and what the trajectory for the rest of the year looked like. Here is the spread I used. I hope it helps you as you evaluate your progress and release or recommit to your goals for the remainder of the year.

This is a large spread and it has two major parts, so I broke it down to make it a little easier to work with. The first part of the spread is intended to offer insight and advice to help you move forwards with your goals in the second half of the year. The second part of the spread gives you an overview of where things are headed over the next 6 months.

mid year check in w titles

Β #1 – How thing are currently in regards to my goals: This card will show you the current state of your progress towards your goals. Some things to notice is whether there is motion or stagnation, action or rest, or if there seems to be a balance. The idea is to get a picture of where you are energetically and in terms of progress. A card like the Four of Swords could mean you’re giving yourself a break and recuperating your energy before taking anymore steps, whereas a card like the Four of Cups could indicate that resting has turned into ambivalence and needs to be addressed before progress can be made. When I did this spread I got the Eight of Wands in this position. I read this as meaning, I’ve created momentum and things are moving along quickly, but that rapid progress may get too intense, so I need to stay mindful of that possibility and slow things down if I start to get overwhelmed.

#2 – What had stayed the same: This card will highlight the goal and priorities that are still resonating with you. These are things that you want to continue pursuing and are still important. You can also think of this position as “What I want to continue putting my energy and effort towards.”

#3 – What has changed: This card represents the goals and priorities which you may not be feeling so connected to anymore. This position could also be considered “What you need to reevaluate.” Before putting anymore effort or energy into these things you should carefully consider whether they are still important to you and whether they may need to be moved lower on your list of priorities or removed from that list all together.

#4 – Area that most needs my attention: This card will show you what needs to be addressed or dealt with most immediately in order for you to continue progressing and growing. It will often indicate something that you didn’t realize was so important, but really is essential. Similarly it can point you towards an aspect of your life that is getting neglected and needs to be focused on.

Β #5 – What is getting in the way of reaching my goals: This is the block or obstacle that is making progress and growth challenging. If the goals and intentions you set at the beginning of the year aren’t coming together like you want, or you aren’t feeling motivated to pursue them anymore, this is most likely the culprit, or one of them (also check card #1 and #3 for clues).

#6 – Advice: This card offers you advice to overcome the obstacles in card #5 and also gives guidance for moving into the second half of the year strong and motivated.

mid year check in projection

This is the second part of the spread and it can be used as either a projection of what the theme will be for each of the last six months of the year, or if you aren’t into predictions/projections it can be used to indicate what you will need to focus on during each month or can be viewed as advice for each of those months.

mid year check in full

The entire spread looks like this when its laid out all at once. Its definitely hefty, but gives you a lot of useful information and its not too bad when you break it down and just focus on one part at a time. I hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Tarot read on, dear friends! \m/(>.<)\m/

Three Card Creative Writing Spreads – Part 2

Greetings fellow writers and tarot lovers,

coffee and writingIts time for another batch of tarot spreads designed to assist us with our creative writing projects.

For today’s post I decided to focus on character development. Character development can be crucial, especially in longer works. The more you know about and develop your characters, the more their actions, choices and narratives take on an organic flow. Sometimes characters take on a life of their own and they will tell you what what they would do next and you just have to transcribe. That’s when the writing process really gets magical.

A little caveat, you can of course spend too much time on character development and never actually get around to writing the story at all. Be mindful and don’t feel like you need to know every tiny detail before you can start writing your story. Often characters will reveal things about themselves along the way too, so while you can get the gist of your character with these spreads, allow room for some natural development as well.

A caveat to the caveat: I ended up with an entire second story because I got so caught up in writing back story about a character once, and we wouldn’t have the Silmarillion if Tolkien didn’t love to extensively develop his characters and story environments, so if you get carried away during character development it could also be a really good thing. As in all things, know thyself. Know when thyself is just procrastinating, and know when thyself is on a roll. πŸ˜‰

Basic Character Development Spread

Basic Character Development Spread

One way to do this first spread is to use only the court cards, but using the entire deck works just as well.

Card #1 – Personality: This is one of the character’s core personality traits. Its likely the most dominant one, or the one that they show to the world and express most externally.

Card #2 – Strengths: This card represents a skill or trait that the character has which is helpful or useful to them throughout the story.

Card #3 – Weaknesses: Weaknesses represent traits or tendencies of the character which get in the way, create obstacles or undermine a character’s success. It can also point out an area where the character may need get help or assistance from another character.

Antagonist Development Spread

Antagonist Character Spread

A lot of the time the antagonist in a story is the most fun to write. Its a chance to let all our shadows come out to play without any real world consequences. This spread focuses on getting below the character’s facade and seeing what sneaky, devious mischief they are really up to. *evil laugh*

Card #1 – How this character appears on the outside: This is the face your antagonist shows to the world (or other character, you can certainly use this spread for characters other than a strictly identified “antagonist” and this can be a good way to examine the many facets of a character.). This is what they want everyone to see. This is how they intend that everyone perceives them. This card will tell you if they are overtly antagonistic, passive-aggressive, or trying to pass themselves off as one of the “good guys”. Maybe its the armor they wear as emotional protection.Β  It could be an idealized version of themselves which they project out into the world.

Card #2 – How this character actually is on the inside: This is the truth beneath the mask of Card #1. This is who the character really is. This likely represents a part of themselves they are trying to hide, either intentionally or unintentionally, either to achieve their own antagonist ends or out of shame.

Card #3 – Hidden Motivation/Ulterior Motive: This card tells you what is driving the character’s antagonism and what their hidden agenda is. It represents what’s in it for them and what they are trying to secretly achieve (or maybe not so secretly).

I hope you enjoy these spreads and that they inspire dozens of interesting characters to populate your writing.

(If you liked these spreads check out my Basic Plot Development Spread and my Three Card Creative Writing Spreads Part 1)

Until next time…Write on dear friends πŸ™‚