Tarot Fan Fiction

By Allan Ritchie

My path into the craft of Tarot was the promise that a deck could generate stories. Wonder filled those first nights with my deck. I sat on my bed and laid out cards with the book in hand, I saw stories. I watched the people on the cards come alive and interact. They went on adventures, experience challenges, and sometimes die. Seeing the stories in the cards is why I refer to myself as a tarot reader. In time the Tarot opened my understanding of the universe and my intuition. Tarot has grown beyond a story generator. Initially, I look at the Tarot as an infinite book of stories.

Every October, I contemplate spending the month of November by diving into the writing frenzy of National Novel Writing Month. (www.nanowrimo.org) I have many half-finished books, undeveloped story ideas, and a myriad of restless characters living in my imagination that need to have structured disciplined effort applied to them. National Novel Writing Month provides the right opportunity. The goal of Nanowrimo is to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel in the thirty-day time limit of November. See the website for fuller detail! 

When I want to write a novel, I often look at the Tarot for help. There are many books, blogs, websites, and other resources available to the aspiring writer to show how to use the Tarot as a tool for creative inspiration. My favorite is when a character is at an impasse, and I am not sure which way to take them? Throwdown a couple of cards and see what fate would have from them.

A challenge grew up in my psyche this year. Could I write a novel about the characters and events that appear in a tarot deck? If so, then how would I go about it? Each deck has a unique Fool's journey, a specific setting, and cast of characters. Examining the cards for events and scenes that are depicted and then weave them into an outline of a plot. Then lay out the cards to see who is in the deck and then insert the people from the deck into that plot outline and then let it play out in a new way.

I am excited about this idea. To attempt this task it would be to experience the sheer joy of writing and the thrill of getting deeper into a tarot deck. An interesting idea that may prove fruitful in practice and fun in exploration.

There are several decks from my collection that might get this treatment. 

The Light Seer's Tarot by Chris-Anne. A gorgeous deck I backed on Kickstart came straight out of the box filled with a strange sense of subtext. It is inexplicable. Right out of the box, many of the cards already had a relationship with each other. Not sure about everyone else's deck, but in my deck, the Knight of Cups is in love with the Knight of Wands, but she is completely oblivious to it. In much the same way the Page of Swords is infatuated with the Knight of Cups, but he only has eyes for the Knight of Wands. This all came out in my normal deck-interview spread. It was a new experience with a deck and something that I could spend a month investigating.

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The Cosmic Cycles Tarot by Martina Razo and Miriam E.G. This Tarot deck is built around the sixteen court cards as characters that inhabit the world together. In every card, these characters appear and interact with the world around them and each other. As I have been using the deck, I have the urge to give them names. Working intensely for thirty days to create the backstories in the deck could only help me in my use of the deck.

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The Urban Tarot by Robin Scott. I fell in love with this deck as I read Queering the Tarot by Cassandra Snow. Set in New York City, the Urban Tarot layered modern archetypes on top of the court card structure and would provide a darker and grittier experience.

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These are only three of the decks in my collection that are up for contention. There are a few others that seem built for this treatment. I am going to be spending time with the Fools of each of the decks. The Fool will likely be my main character and then with a few card pulls I will see if they have a story to tell.

For 50,000 words, I want to explore a deck I love by delving fully into its richly crafted world. In the end, I want to have a compelling story that will captivate a reader, but more than that, as a reader will give me eyes to continue to see the unlimited stories in the Tarot.

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