Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card: Step 4 – Story

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card Image

Many of us who have been reading for awhile no doubt have used the concept of storytelling during a Tarot reading. Very often, readers – especially intuitive readers – look at the cards laid out on the table and allow the story to unfold. In this chapter, Mary states that a good deal of what a Tarot reader does during a reading is tell a story. I personally remember once during a reading where the client did not have a specific question in mind, just wanted a “general” reading. This was one of those instances where I did not use a positional spread but rather laid the cards out on the table to see what they had to say. As my eyes glanced over the cards, a chill ran up my spine – her recent story unfolded on the table before my eyes – staring with deception, then the divorce, the financial difficulties to follow and finally to the point where she was now – ready to pick up the pieces and start a new life. It’s funny how the story seemed to come out of nowhere and with amazement (both hers and mine) she confirmed everything I said. We were then able to put together an action plan for her future.

Step 4 of 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card involves making up a story from our chosen card using examples from our own life and observations as well as those illustrated in the card by the deck’s author. The idea here is to be, as Mary puts it, “spontaneous, wild and a little crazy” – that is to say, we should not be afraid to go over the top – perhaps in our story we are able to fly or even have actual conversations with the animals in your cards. The exercise for this section involves writing such a story using your chosen card as inspiration. Tell your story verbally to imaginary children or take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write free-flow, stream-of-consciousness style for 10 minutes. Try not to think about it too much – just allow the story to come through.

Below is my brief story, using the Seeker card from the Gaian Tarot

The Seeker Card from the Gaian Tarot Image

The Seeker Card from the Gaian Tarot

***

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Sally. She went to work every day to a cubicle. Oh, she had planned on going to college, but things just didn’t work out the way she had anticipated. A bad breakup and the lack of her parents’ ability to provide any financial assistance forced her to take an office job performing menial tasks. “It’s only for awhile, it’s only temporary,” she told herself.But her heart ached. She felt out of sorts with the rhythm of life. She had the strongest feeling that she was not doing what she was put on earth to do. She really couldn’t explain it – but everything just felt wrong about her life. Maybe she should try and find a way to go to college. Her dream had always been to be a veterinarian as for as long as she could remember she had a special affinity for animals. Even those critters that were otherwise mean, fearful, timid or terrifying to others approached her and warmed up to her almost immediately. He father always said that it was the darndest thing.
One afternoon she was resting on the porch, her eyes closed when she had the oddest feeling that someone was watching her. She opened her eyes and not more than 5 feet away from her stood a little red fox. It was staring at her with wide eyes.

“Don’t be afraid little fella,” she cooed in a soft voice. “I won’t hurt you.” To her amazement, the fox answered.

“Oh, I am quite sure of that young miss. I am actually here to engage your services.”

“You can talk!” Sally said. “How can that be possible? What are you?”

“You will learn all soon,” the fox said. “But I will tell you this. The world as you and I both know it is in extreme danger. There are many more like me – those beings of the forest that have the gift of speech. We are what is called the chosen ones – those responsible to ensure that Mama Gaia survives and all of her creatures are safe – that the cycle continues as it should.” The fox whimpered softly and then continued. “But all of that is now threatened by another. His arrival has been foreseen in the prophecy. And according to the story, there is only one who can stop him and save Gaia – the chosen female. You.”

“Me?” Sally said. “You obviously have me mistaken with someone else. Believe me, I am nothing special.”

“On the contrary, you are most special,” the fox said. “Let me ask you this: Do even the most fearsome of animals calm in your presence?”

“I guess so,” I answered.

“Do you have a birthmark on your right thigh that resembles a butterfly? Like that on the back of your shirt?”

Sally gasped and her eyes grew wide. “How could you possibly know that?”

The fox nodded. “You are the one. I did tell you that I along with others have the gift of speech. What I did not tell you was only the chosen one can understand us.”

“I still don’t know if I believe this. I have so many questions.”

“All your questions will be answered in time. But now, you must come with me. Our journey must begin immediately. We have a long way to go.”

“Journey? What journey? I just can’t pick up and leave. I’ll have to pack. I’ll have to tell my family that I’ll be leaving. So many things to do.”

“Impossible,” said the fox. “Time is of the essence.” He nodded toward a tree. “Behind that tree is a small blue bag that contains all you will need. Mama Gaia will provide the rest. You need to have faith that all will work out. You need to know that you are following your destiny – and your destiny, my little lady, is to save the world.” The fox paused. There was sadness in his eyes. “Please, don’t let fear prevent you from taking this journey. For if you do not accompany me right now, then all is lost.”

Sally stared at him but said nothing. She wrung her hands together, looking off into the distance.

“So,” said the fox. “Do you accept?”

Sally took a deep breath and nodded. “I accept.”

“Well then, let us not tarry. Our journey begins now.”

***

I guess my story turned out a little longer than I had anticipated! In this next activity, we are to repeat the story, but this time in first-person, present tense, as if we are living the story right now.

***

My name is Roger and I go to work every day to a cubicle. Oh, I had planned on going to college, but things just didn’t work out the way I had anticipated. A bad breakup and the lack of my parents’ ability to provide any financial assistance forced me to take an office job performing menial tasks. “It’s only for awhile, it’s only temporary,” I tell myself.
But my heart aches. I feel out of sorts with the rhythm of life. I have the strongest feeling that I am not doing what I was put on earth to do. I really can’t explain it – but everything just feels wrong about my life. Maybe I should try and find a way to go to college. My dream had always been to be a veterinarian – for as long as I can remember I have a special affinity for animals. Even those critters that were otherwise mean, fearful, timid or terrifying to others approach me and warm up to me almost immediately. My father always said that it was the darndest thing.
It is a sunny afternoon and I am resting on the porch, my eyes closed when I have the oddest feeling that someone is watching me. I open my eyes and not more than 5 feet away from me stands a little red fox. It it staring at me with wide eyes.

“Don’t be afraid little fella,” I coo in a soft voice. “I won’t hurt you.” To my amazement, the fox answers.

“Oh, I am quite sure of that young master. I am actually here to engage your services.”

“You can talk!” I say. “How can that be possible? What are you?”

“You will learn all soon,” the fox says. “But I will tell you this. The world as you and I both know it is in extreme danger. There are many more like me – those beings of the forest that have the gift of speech. We are what is called the chosen ones – those responsible to ensure that Mama Gaia survives and all of her creatures are safe – that the cycle of life continues as it should.” The fox whimpers softly and then continues. “But all of that is now threatened by another. His arrival has been foreseen in the prophecy. And according to the story, there is only one who can stop him and save Gaia – the chosen male. You.”

“Me?” I say. “You obviously have me mistaken with someone else. Believe me, I am nothing special.”

“On the contrary, you are most special,” the fox says. “Let me ask you this: Do even the most fearsome of animals calm in your presence?”

“I guess so,” I answer.

“Do you have a birthmark on your right thigh that resembles a butterfly? Like that on the back of your shirt?”

I gasp and my eyes grow wide. “How could you possibly know that?”

The fox nods. “Just as I thought. You are indeed the one. I did tell you that I along with others have the gift of speech. What I did not tell you was only the chosen one can understand us.”

“I still don’t know if I believe this. I have so many questions.”

“All your questions will be answered in time. But now, you must come with me. Our journey must begin immediately. We have a long way to go.”

“Journey? What journey? I just can’t pick up and leave. I’ll have to pack. I’ll have to tell my family that I’ll be leaving. So many things to do.”

“Impossible,” says the fox. “Time is of the essence.” He nods toward a tree. “Behind that tree is a small blue bag that contains all you will need. Mama Gaia will provide the rest. You need to have faith that all will work out. You need to know that you are following your destiny – and your destiny, my little man, is to save the world.” The fox paused. There was sadness in his eyes. “Please, do not let fear prevent you from taking this journey. For if you do not accompany me right now, then all is lost.”

I stare at him but said nothing. I wring my hands together and look off into the distance, trying to decide what to do.

“So,” says the fox. “Do you accept?”

I take a deep breath and nod. “I accept.”

“Well then, let us not tarry. Our journey begins now.”

***

After this part of the exercise, we move into the personal story. This exercise definitely provides a lot of material for personal contemplation – I know it certainly did for me! How about you? How true was the story to your personal life? Were there any lessons in your story that might apply to you? Mary urges us in this lesson that in addition to any literal connections we might make, to play with any possibilities that come to mind.

Where to start you may wonder? How about “Once upon a time…”

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