Tuesday, September 5, 2017

In a reading far, far away... Fictional Characters in Readings

There's a lot of great tarot readers (and writers) who use tarot cards to help tell a story. Stephen King is one such author. But then there are others who actually use the cards for deeper insight about characters created by other authors. There was once a popular newspaper column written by Knighthawk creating small readings of popular characters. He later went on to write a book called Tarot Tells the Tale under his given name, James Ricklef.

I found a copy of the book significantly marked down at 2nd and Charles almost a year ago, and it really helped step my reading game up! Perhaps it's because I was a Language & Lit major in college, but putting readings in the perspective of a story to be told really helped. Unfortunately, I've now recently learned I was able to get the book so cheaply because it is out of print, and the author gets no royalties from its sale. However, he has republished the book as Tarot Reading Explained with some revisions to the content. I highly recommend checking it out. Don't let the cover fool you. What's inside is invaluable! (Maybe I should reach out to help redesign it... because the book deserves better.)

The concept of doing tarot readings for fictional characters is becoming more and more popular, not just as a way of prompting writing, but also as a method of practice for beginners. A couple of people in the Discord server I host have been using this method of practice to hone their craft, so I decided to give it a shot myself. I chose Luke Skywalker, but narrowed my focus to the original trilogy. 


At first I wasn't quite sure how this fit with Luke, and I shared my reading in my group to get other ideas. When accounting for the extended universe, the cards made more sense, but just as I was about to give up, I made the connection between the art and key scenes and themes in each of the original trilogy's movies. 

  1. Emperor: Not only did Luke have some major daddy issues in his past, but A New Hope ends with him on stage accepting a medal for heroism after making a decision to act on behalf of the greater good.
  2. Knight of Cups: In Empire Strikes Back, Luke became a bit more impulsive, acting idealistically and not following the directions of his teacher. Did he even really tell anyone where he was taking off to when headed off to Dagobah? However, what helped me make the connection was the cat riding the turtle, similar to Yoda riding on Luke's back. 
  3. 5 of Swords (reversed): Thinking of the 5 of swords reversed as a situation where no one wins was baffling at first. I felt I could safely assume this card corresponded with Return of the Jedi, but how? The rebels definitely won. However, the card depicts a black cat and a white cat walking away from each other with a black and white cat in the middle. Not only did Luke lose his father in the process of defeating the Emperor, but also he successfully brought balance to the Force at last.
I was fairly impressed with how well tarot lends itself to fiction, and I will definitely have to give it more tries! It took some getting used to, but I think with time I'd like to try using tarot cards as fiction writing prompts as well. 


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