Tarot keys to creative work

The Major Arcana of the tarot deck unfold as 22 steps toward creative mastery.   I cover all of them and more in my tarot workshop, so tonight I want to focus on just the first few steps.

The Fool:  Open to inspiration, practicing judgment free awareness, following his own instincts.   That’s every writer who’s open to new ideas, willing to let them rumble around a bit before judging them, and pays attention to what sparks her attention and grabs her interest.

The Magician:  The Magician makes choices, envisions a finished work.  I want to write a novel…or a poem.  Elizabeth George writes in “Write Away” that one book was “her locked-room” mystery and others were her assault on other intriguing writing problems.   T.S. Eliot would look at a poetic form and wonder what he had to say that fit that particular form.   Sometimes I just have a sentence in my head and know I want to write that story.  (One of my short stories developed around this sentence:  “She was my best friend from kindergarten until she left town with my husband.”)

The High Priestess:  Her gift is memory, and she brings up the experiences and memories that shape a unique story in our heads (even if the original inspiration isn’t unique.)

The Empress:  She’s pregnant, an earth goddess, the exemplar of creativity, and what does she do?  She rearranges the materials the High Priestess provides to fulfill the choice of The Magician.   She represents our own creative mind sifting and shifting material to make it as close as possible to the work we originally chose to write.

The Emperor:  He’s always facing his Empress.  He organizes and supervises her fruits.   His gift is sight…and of course he’s each of us as we polish our work, look for errors, rewrite and revise before we send work out in the world.

We could go a step further and let the Hierophant teach us to follow our own inner voice as we plan marketing and social media and all the ways we connect our work with the world.

But this is a good process.   It’s closely related to the four ways we use our own minds as writers, and it’s a good starting plan for almost any creative (human) project.