An Introductory Tarot Writing Exercise for You:
Earth, Air, Fire and Water: Using the Tarot to Inspire Your Writing Practice
by Tania Pryputniewicz (originally published at Free the Pen).
Ever been curious about the Tarot or wondered how it could inspire your writing? Here’s a gentle way to approach the Tarot, whether you are getting ready to go out and purchase your first deck or you have a deck sitting around the house you’ve meant to open. Or perhaps you want to deepen your understanding of the cards you currently use.
You’ll find a wealth of Tarot decks and great diversity regarding interpretations for each card, but typically, a deck consists of Major Arcana or “soul” cards meant to depict stages of the “hero’s journey” of incarnation over the span of a lifetime as well as Minor Arcana cards meant to depict the hero’s “mundane” or daily journey.
These Minor Arcana cards, Ace through Ten, are divided into four ways of experiencing our circumstances: through the element of earth (material comforts and hearth–represented often by pentacles), air (intellect and mind–swords), fire (passion and will–wands), and water (emotion and heart–cups).
Here’s a Four Elements Notebook Exercise to try:
1 Acquire four notebooks: one for each element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Image hunt for covers that reflect your associations with each element or if inclined, create your own artwork or collage for each notebook cover.
2 Begin to record your experiences of each of the elements daily, weekly, or monthly as best supports your writing practice. You might start with a seed question for each suit: Earth: Home and hearth mean the following to me… Air: I point the arrow of my thoughts in the following directions… Fire: I am passionately motivated in my life in the following ways…. Water: I offer/receive the cup of love in the following ways…
3 When ready, add to this practice the selection of a Tarot card from each suit to place out in view on your writing desk. Give yourself a set amount of time (day, week, or month) to live with the card. At the end of your chosen time-frame, explore your living experiences in relation to the cards you drew for each element. Pace the exercise appropriately for you—focus on one element at a time if you prefer.
You might also team up with a writing companion. Meet to write together and/or to share and read aloud from your Four Elements Journals. Having the reflective mirror of another mind when interpreting the cards, especially in relation to yourself, helps keep your outlook optimistic, helps keep you accountable to your writing schedule, and is undeniably a fabulous way to deepen a friendship.