Welcome to the TABI blog! And in case you don’t already know, TABI is the Tarot Association of the British Isles, though we’ve talked about changing the name, given we are an on-line association with members all round the world. But hey, the British Isles is our historic home, and still where we hold our Conference, so I guess the name stays.
For this round of the lovely, equally international Tarot Blog Hop, Christiana Gaudetsuggested we talk about Tarot, Healing and Creativity. Those definitely go together well in the minds of many. A tarot reading can help us explore and heal emotional situations in our life, and many tarot readers combine the cards with other healing modalities, such as Reiki, crystals, healing herbs and/or essences, and counselling (all of which have their own sub-sections in the TABI discussion fora).
Creativity, too, links up nicely – there are so many ways to use the cards as inspiration. For example, there are plenty of people who use a tarot deck to help kickstart their writing and plotting for novels (like Arwen, who offers an on-line course to help other novelists), or to wax poetic. Mary K. Greer, in 21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card (Llewellyn, 2006) suggests drawing a card image that you want to connect to, seeing which bits particularly catch your eye, or which symbols you add or leave out. Even if you’re drawing skills (like mine), are only up to rough sketch standard, this can be a fascinating exercise.
A couple of my favourite creative ways of using cards are for brainstorming, and to inspire drawing.
In one of his books, Putting the Tarot to Work(Llewellyn, 2004), Mark McElroy suggests a couple of different ways of using tarot cards for brainstorming. One is to think of a question and draw a single card, then look at the symbolism and try to think outside of the box. A second, related idea is to draw cards in a quick-fire way, coming up with a single word/idea from each. I’ve used these, for example, to come up with birthday present ideas for friends. With the quick draw method, the Two of Swords (Radiant Rider Waite, US Games, 2005) might suggest getting a piñata (something you smack at with your eyes blindfolded), or the Eight of Swords might suggest getting a scarf. Focusing on a single card, the Six of Pentacles might suggest a fancy, new hat, a wardrobe makeover, a charity donation in the person’s name, or a high tech weighing machine (okay, that would really depend a lot on the friend, but you get the idea).
As for inspiring more artistic pursuits, last October at the UK Tarot ConferenceLyn Olds suggested a fascinating way of literally drawing aspects of a card or cards, to come to new insights on a reading. This can be done with or without a question in mind, or perhaps writing down several questions, mixing the papers up, and then drawing cards on top of the folded over question so you don’t know which one is being answered. Then, you look at the cards, see what elements jump out at you, and start to sketch them, combining aspects from the different cards to make up a single image. Once you know the question, you interpret the image you created…
These creative ideas can also feed into healing: after all, art therapy is well-recognised these days, and you can brainstorm ideas for ways of healing a particular issue or situation. The Four of Swords (Legacy of the DivineTarot, Llewellyn, 2009) might suggest using flower essences, listening to birdsong, getting a massage or acupuncture, going on a meditation retreat, creating a crystal grid, or just taking a nap.
Now, I’m off to see how else people are combining tarot, healing and creativity…