Archive for the ‘Entries with Tarot Exercises’ Category

Yule tarot exercise

December 18, 2010

In honor of Yuletide and the winter solstice, Carole Pierce just posted a fantastic new exercise on her Crossroads Tarot site. Links to the exercise and Carole’s accompanying article are below:

Lunchtime Tarot Exercise for 11/13/09

November 13, 2009
Debbie at Lunchtime Tarot

Debbie at Lunchtime Tarot

Lunchtime Tarot is a come-when-you-can group that meets each Friday at my office in San Mateo, CA. I post the exercises here each week for those who are unable to slip away to join us.

This week’s session was devoted to birth card(s). To learn a simple way to determine your birth card, click here. The Tarot School also has a birth card calculator.

Birth Card Reflection

  1. Explore the imagery of the card. What detail stands out when you first look at the card? What is happening in the card? Is there a story there? Consider what might have happened five minutes earlier and what might happen five minutes later. What is the mood of the card? Consider the setting, the weather, and the expression on the faces of the figure(s) in the card.
  2. When I look at this card I feel…
  3. These words and phrases come to mind when I look at this card:
  4. This card reminds me of this significant childhood experience:
  5. This card reminds me of this significant experience from my adolescence:
  6. This card reminds me of this significant experience in recent years:
  7. This card reminds me of this person who has shaped my life:
  8. This card challenges me to…
  9. This card represents my potential to…
  10. This card warns me against…
  11. I hate this birth card because…
  12. I love this birth card because…
  13. I wish was my birth card instead of this one because…
  14. Choose another card in the deck (perhaps your year card) to interview your birth card about what it sees as your strengths and weaknesses. Write a dialogue between them.
  15. Imagine that you are teaching a class on something that you enjoy doing and that your birth card is your student. Write the scene that unfolds.
  16. Imagine that your birth card is willing to barter the secret to its virtue for the secret to one of your own. Write the dialogue between you.
  17. Do a three card reading for your birth card.
  18. Calculate the birth card for a significant person in your life. Imagine each of your birth cards in conversation about the two of you. If you have the same birth card, you might use cards from different decks. Write a dialogue between them.
  19. Find your birth card in several different decks. Which do you like best? Which do you like least?

Lunchtime Tarot Exercise for 11/6/09

November 7, 2009

Lunchtime Tarot is a come-when-you-can group that meets  each Friday at my office in San Mateo, CA. I post the exercises here each week for those who are unable to slip away to join us.

I developed the exercise below from one I posted a couple years ago.

Anastasia Haysler of Tarot-To-Go participated in this class and wrote about it here on her blog, Tarot Pathways. I’m looking forward to attending Anastasia’s next Second Saturday Tarot Class in San Francisco. Check out her schedule here.

Point of View

Go through the deck and pull out all the cards that a particular person in your life might use to describe you. This person in your life might be

  • someone who is a significant ally in your life right now—someone who knows you and supports you. This might be a partner, a parent, a sibling, a co-worker, a friend, etc.
  • an acquaintance who doesn’t know you very well. This might be a store clerk, your mail carrier, a co-worker from a different department, a friend of a friend, etc.
  • a family member or a pet.
  • a childhood friend that you have lost touch with.
  • a teenage friend that you have lost touch with.
  • an ex love.
  • a nemesis.

For each round, record the cards that you have selected, so that you can see how many come up multiple times.

Consider that each card has a light side and shadow side. You might discover that one person in your life might describe you as the shadow side of a card while another might describe you as the light side of the same card.

For reflection:

  • Are you surprised by any of the cards that you have chosen?
  • Have any forgotten memories surfaced?
  • Have any surprising feelings surfaced?
  • What have you learned about yourself and the way others might see you?
  • Which cards do you feel best describe who you are, or who you were at another time in your life?

Lunchtime Tarot Exercise for 10/30/09

October 30, 2009
Lunchtime Tarot

Lunchtime Tarot exercise using Kat Black's Golden Tarot

Today was my first Lunchtime Tarot group—a come-when-you-can group that will meet  each Friday at my office in San Mateo, CA. For those who are unable to slip away to join us, I thought I’d post the exercises here each week.

A big thank you to those who came today! I’m still thinking about all of your insights on the Five of Wands. It’s so fun to get different perspectives.

And now for the exercise….

The Saboteur and The Liberator

A goal that I need help reaching:

Pull each of the Ace cards from the deck and spread them out in front of you.

  1. Under the Ace of Cups, place a card that shows how the goal will fulfill your heart—what your heart has to gain from reaching this goal.
  2. Under the Ace of Swords, place a card that shows how the goal will fulfill your mind—what your intellect has to gain from reaching this goal.
  3. Under the Ace of Pentacles, place a card that shows the practical benefits to be gained from reaching this goal.
  4. Under the Ace of Wands, place a card that shows how the goal will fulfill your creative spirit—what your creative spirit has to gain from reaching this goal.
  5. Choose a card with a figure that represents your Saboteur. List signs that will warn you when your Saboteur is in charge.
  6. Choose a card with a figure that represents your Liberator. List signs that will show you that your Liberator is in charge.
  7. Consider the possibility that your Saboteur has good intentions and wants to protect you. Imagine your Liberator saying that you don’t need that kind of protection any more. What agreements might they come to?
  8. Imagine that each Ace is a gift from your Liberator and/or your Saboteur. Look at the imagery of the card. What might it symbolize? A seed that needs planting? A tool? A reminder of your strength?
  9. Choose a card that represents an action you want to take.

Here are a few of the cards that today’s group members were drawn to:

Morgan-Greer Tarot, Two of Pentacles Morgan-Greer Tarot, Five of Pentacles

Morgan-Greer Tarot, Six of Swords Morgan-Greer Tarot, Eight of Cups

Housewives Tarot, Judgment Rider-Waite Tarot, The Moon

The top four cards are from the Morgan-Greer Tarot.

The Judgment card is from the Housewives Tarot.

The Moon card is from the Rider-Waite Tarot.

The Fool Meets a Vampire

October 12, 2009

Gothic Tarot of Vampires, The Fool Rider-Waite, The Fool

In this recent post, which features cards from the Gothic Tarot of Vampires, I selected The Fool as my personal card for the week of 10/11/09 (GTV Fool, above left).

I was drawn to that menacing shadow, but then I started to think, who is The Fool in this card? The young woman clinging to the young man’s hand? She doesn’t seem to notice his other hand’s shadow is poised with ill intent. Or maybe it’s the young man who is The Fool by being unaware of his metaphorical shadow side.  Maybe they are both being Fools—they seem intrigued by something in the distance when perhaps they should be running. Or maybe The Fool is someone outside the frame of the card who is running from them—someone who can only see the larger-than-life shadows and not the innocuous beings beneath.

While pondering this original, elusive interpretation of The Fool, I couldn’t help but think about my familiar friend, the Rider-Waite-Smith Fool (above right). Now that is one sunshiny card! Stepping off a cliff never looked so good.  Then I imagined him waking up one morning to find himself in the Gothic Tarot of Vampires. Whoa!

Exercise for Reflection:

Pull The Fool card from several different decks. Imagine each Fool figure confronting a vampire. Which handles the situation with grace, confidence, or wit? Now imagine that Fool in your shoes facing a dreaded situation where fear often gets the best of you. You may find you have something to learn from him—or her.

Here are a few Fool cards. Place your cursor over a card to see what deck it is from. Click on its image to take you to Tarot Garden, where you can see more samples from the deck and make a purchase.

Housewives Tarot, Fool Vanessa Tarot, The Fool

Deviant Moon Tarot, The Fool Arthurian Tarot, Seeker

Who are you this Valentine’s Day? Who are you when in love?

February 13, 2008

Study the images below and see if there is a figure with whom you most identify this Valentine’s Day. Is there a card that generally reflects who you are when you are in love—or who you have been—or who you would like to be? You might also go through a favorite deck or two and see what you come up with.

Post your thoughts and impressions!

Vanessa Tarot by Lynyrd Narciso

Vanessa Tarot, 5 of Wands Vanessa Tarot, 10 of Wands Vanessa Tarot, Knight of Wands

Transformational Tarot by Arnell Ando (Click on these cards to get to the artist’s site, where you can read her interpretations.)

Transformational Tarot, 5 Cups Transformational Tarot, Death Transformational Tarot, Prince of Cups

The Victorian Romantic Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alexandr Ukolov

Victorian Tarot, 8 Cups Victorian Tarot, 2 of Pentacles Victorian Tarot, 7 Wands

The World Spirit Tarot by Lauren O’Leary and Jessica Godino

World Spirit Tarot, 9 Pentacles World Spirit Tarot, 2 Cups World Spirit Tarot, 7 Cups

If you are looking for love, try this spread from a previous post.

Vanessa Tarot and Transformational Tarot decks used by permission of US Games, Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT. Further reproduction prohibited. The Victorian Romantic Tarot used by permission of Magic Realist Press. Further reproduction prohibited. The World Spirit Tarot by Lauren O’Leary and Jessica Godino © 2001. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125-2989. All rights reserved, used by permission. Card images are protected intellectual property, and may not be recopied or reused in any manner without written permission from the publisher.

A haunting new deck!

January 28, 2008

I just received permission from Karen Mahony to include images from The Bohemian Gothic Tarot on this blog, and I’m very excited! This deck gets under my skin like no other. I can imagine the source of strength as well as the pain, and self-destruction of each of the figures in the deck and can’t help but reflect on my own. This deck is also particularly inspiring for writing fiction with the tarot—the stories run deep.

I thought I’d include an exercise to whet your appetite for this deck, which you can purchase through Magic Realist Press. The book is a gem, too. It includes a short history of the the Gothic as well as a short history of the tarot, and also has reading tips, original spreads, a great essay on working with a “dark” deck by Dan Pelletier, and some of the original photos and sources that went into the artwork of the deck. Most importantly, there’s a super terrific discussion of each card, including questions for reflection and quotations from Gothic literature.

Okay, and now for the exercise. Study the cards below and see if you can identify one that mirrors your inner demons. It may be the demons that get you every time, or those that surface in particular circumstances. You might consider the lessons these demons are trying to teach you and any strength that you derive from them.

Bohemian Gothic 9 of Cups Bohemian Gothic 8 of Cups

Bohemian Gothic 5 of Wands Bohemian Gothic Emperor

Bohemian Gothic Knight of Pentacles Bohemian Gothic 2 of Swords

After you have selected your card, visit The Bohemian Gothic site, and see if you can find another card that represents what you need to combat your demons. You might also look through another favorite deck for such a card.

Stay tuned for more Tarot Table Talk entries featuring decks from Magic Realist Press.

Point of View

November 9, 2007

I’ve been playing with the cards, trying to come up with some new exercises. Here’s a simple one:

Go through the deck and pull out all the cards your *_____ would use to describe you.

*Fill in the blank with various people in your life:

  • mother
  • father
  • sibling
  • partner
  • co-worker
  • friend
  • pet (Yes, pets are people, too!)

For each round, record the cards so you can see how many come up multiple times. I’ve attached a Tarot Chart, Word doc. you can download for this purpose.

When I did this, it was interesting to discover that one person in my life might describe me as the shadow side of a card while another might describe me as the light side of the same card.

If you like to write fiction, try picking cards characters would use to describe one another.

Let me know what you think!

Writing with the Tarot at the Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS) 2007

October 7, 2007

Eight of Cups


Evelyn Pine and I had a wonderful time presenting a Creative Writing with the Tarot sesssion at the 2007 Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS).

Everyone put pen to paper as they studied the Eight of Cups card from the Rider-Waite deck. Here are the questions Evelyn and I threw out for consideration:


  • Describe what is happening in the card.
  • Where is the figure in the card going and why? Where has he or she been?
  • Why are the chalices stacked in the foreground? Who arranged them?
  • What was happening an hour ago?
  • What will happen in the next ten minutes?


  • What is the figure in the card thinking and feeling?
  • Who is standing outside the card looking at this scene?
  • What is their relationship to the setting?
  • What is their relationship to the figure in the card?


  • What time of day is it?
  • Describe the light.
  • Describe the weather. What is the temperature? What does the air feel like? What does it smell like?
  • Describe the landscape.
  • What sounds do you hear? Are they nearby or in the distance?
  • Describe what might be just outside the frame of the card?

We then had everyone look at the Eight of Cups from The Golden Tarot to see what other ideas would emerge.

The participants shared their writing, and it was, of course, amazing to see the range of voices and responses. We sent everyone home with a card from The Victorian Romantic Tarot to inspire them to keep adding to their stories.

We also encouraged everyone to share their writing experiences here. (Excerpts are welcome, too!) Even if you didn’t attend BATS, we invite you to do the exercise and join in the discussion!

The Ace of Wands: In Search of Fresh Soil

July 18, 2007

Ace of Wands


I just repotted some plants. Have you ever put off that task for just a tad too long? The plant gets stuck in the pot, roots growing through the water holes at the bottom. You pull and rip and tear to get the plant out and then hope there isn’t too much damage to prevent it from thriving in a new situation.

While I played tug of war with a particularly stubborn ficus, I kept seeing that branch from the Ace of Wands, except in my vision, it had roots trailing under it. The divine hand was transporting the sapling to a slightly larger pot, or perhaps a meadow with the perfect amount of both sunlight and shade.

I’d like to imagine that divine hand plucking me out of a situation before I become rootbound. Alas, I’ve learned not to rely upon divine intervention. I must do it for myself, hard as it is.

The Ace of Wands can represent a spark of imagination, the beginning of a project, or the first stages of a creative pursuit—any of which may be just what we need when we feel our roots rotting.

*    *    *
Exercise for Reflection:

Find a card in the deck that represents a situation or a relationship that you have outgrown. Find another card that represents how you imagine you would feel if you were to move on.