Tarot For Writers by Corrine Kenner; Llewellyn Publications; Under £15 (Under $20)
I’m certain that reader will have read my article on using tarot cards as a source of inspiration in Creative Writing or my review for David Fontana’s Essential Guide to the Tarot, then they will have read mention of Corrine McKenna’s Tarot for Writers.
While struggling to finish my dissertation novel, I went looking for different books about how to write a novel, when I came across a review for the Tarot for Writers. After some internal debate, I purchased a Kindle edition of the book from Amazon as it was cheaper and more convenient for me, so I could have it on my iPad and my computer, even my phone which I took everywhere with me.
Tarot for Writers is a very good book on creative writing tohave, even if you yourself aren’t into fortune-telling. Rather than just looking at the cards, thisbook shows you how to see them. It is illustrated with pictures of the cards from Universal Tarot by Roberto De Angelis published by Lo Scarabeo, but the book can work with any deck that follows the Rider-Waite-Smith template.
The main part of Kenner’s book is broken up into three parts, not including the ‘how to use this book’ at the very beginning, a conclusion,glossary and index.
The introductory ‘how to use this book’ section gives you a summaryof how writers have used the tarot to aid in their writing; whether it’s usingthe imagery in poetry, or even featuring a magical deck of cards as a device ina story. This introduction also offerstips on how to use the cards if you’ve only just started reading tarot; and explainshow the rest of the book is organised.
The main part of Kenner’s book is broken up into three parts, not including the ‘how to use this book’ at the very beginning, a conclusion, glossary and index. The first part, titled ‘Tarot 101’ covers basic information about the tarot, such as the general meanings about the Major Arcana cards and what Elements the Minor Arcana suites correspond to and what they symbolise, such as the Suite of Swords corresponds to Air and usually indicates thought and communication; which is the same as the suit of clubs in a pack of ordinary playing cards. ‘Tarot 101’ also has a chapter on how to read the cards and one on spreads that you can use to help with your writing. The second, ‘Writer’s Tarot’, tells how you, as a writer, can use the tarot in developing your story from character creation to writing a satisfying conclusion. And the third, ‘A Writer’s Guide to Tarot Cards’, covers the cards themselves; the Major and Minor Arcanas.
Each card of the Major Arcana has detailed examinations. So much so, that each card has its own chapter. First there is a more detailed explanation of what the card signifies, especially to writers, a list of its key symbols which are concisely explained; a list of keywords, both for when the cards have been dealt upright or reversed; their historical variations; mythology; literary archetypes and sometimes how the card relates to astrology. Each card also has its own list of writing prompts.
On the other hand, the Minor Arcana is not broken up so that each card has its own chapter into their own chapter. Instead, it’s broken up so that each suite has its own chapter. While the explanations for the Minor Arcana is not quite as detailed as the Major Arcana, it still offers more concise information about how they’re usually interpreted than a lot of other books on tarot, along with how they correspond to astrology, and a list of prompts for writing for each card.
For example, in the Ace of Cups card, which depicts a cup or chalice overflowing with water being held in an outstretched hand with a dove flying over the cup. The hand is interpreted as the “hand of God” and the dove is usually seen as the “Holy Spirit”. In general, this card signifies new beginnings, like a new relationship or a pregnancy. The card also corresponds to Water and is heavily associated with the three water zodiac signs, Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. One of the prompts for this card to write about “the elixir of life” or “a peace offering”.
The spreads that are in this book are very useful to have. Although I will admit that I haven’t yet used the larger spreads to write a story from scratch. I have used two of the spreads. Although I mostly I draw one card when I’m stuck on what to write next, which is a great help in providing plot twists, character descriptions and scene settings. I’ve also used two cards to help create a contrast characters and settings.
Even if you pay the full retail price it is beyond worth it; as the help and inspiration that this book provides is absolutely priceless.
It should be noted that this book is only a general guide. As you progress, you will come to interpret the cards in your own way as you will associate the symbols and images different to other people. Though, if you have already got this book then I would say that you’re well on your way to creating unique and beautiful stories and poems.
Good luck on your writer’s journey!
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