The thing I love most about tarot (apart from all the pretty pictures) is that it challenges us to think differently. Its images and ideas are stimulants for thought, fertiliser for our creative gardens. A multi-card reading can offer deep, perspective-shifting guidance, but even a single card can throw down the gauntlet and inspire us to think in new ways.
In this blog series, I'll draw a card at random and use its energy and ideas to cook up five brain-sizzling creativity prompts. You can use these to think about particular situation you are experiencing, or as writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing, or simply as food for thought to fill an idle moment. You can journal these prompts, or just mull them over in your mind, meditate on them, workshop them collaboratively, or blog them (if you're sharing them somewhere, let me know in the comments below! I'd love to see what you come up with). I'll be using the Cosmic Tarot for these draws, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!
Without further ado, our card for the week? The Three of Swords. What a place to begin!
Traditionally, the Three of Swords speaks of disappointment, loss and heartbreak. That pain in your chest when things are going terribly, horribly wrong. I often take it to refer to a disconnection of head and heart, where our analytical faculties comprehend that reality does not always live up to the romantic notions of our hearts. What we know and what we feel are in conflict. This card reminds us that these dark days are a necessary part of life, something we all encounter from time to time, and the tarot certainly never shies away from putting us face to face with the tough stuff. So, where to go from here?
1. The most obvious way to dive into the Three of Swords is to spend a moment recalling a truly, exquisitely painful memory, a dark and rainy day of the soul. Come face to face with it. Describe it. Feel it anew. How has it shaped you, if it has? What did it teach you? Do you feel that you have healed? If not, what would it take for you to fully recover? Now, describe it as if it happened to someone else. Or write it with a different ending. What happens?
2. Scan your body. Does anything hurt right now? A twinge or a niggle or an all-out ouch? What does it feel like? Or look like? As you scan, do you dredge up memories of physical pain? What causes that? Do you try to escape unpleasant physical sensations (or memories of them), or can you sit with them for a moment?
3. What does it mean for head and heart to be out of sync? These are metaphors we use for different cognitive faculties, different approaches and responses to experiences, but what do they really mean for you? Do you perceive your intellectual self and your emotional self to be separate or at odds? How do they balance each other? What do they contribute to everyday perception and decision making? What would a conversation between them sound like?
4. Look at the figures on the card. Who are these people? What is their story, and what do they have to do with that sharp, heart piercing pain? How do they communicate with each other, if they do? If you were to make a film of this scene, who would you cast, and who would direct? (I posed this question to a friend while drafting this post and they replied, "Wes Anderson." That really adds some sweet to the bitter! For some reason, this scene makes me think of The X Files - I'll have to give my subconscious some attention to see what's going on there!)
5. Finally, let's lift the mood a little. We've been digging into our deepest, darkest corners with this card, but now it's time to make a little light of the Three of Swords. Sometimes, something hurts so much you can only laugh at it, so, let's express our anguish in melodrama. Write the most overwrought, desperate and dramatic expression of spurned love and disappointment you can possibly imagine - make it a poem, a song, a letter, a conversation. If you need some inspiration, let Bill Bailey show how you how quickly the clouds of trouble and strife can roll in!
If that isn't the Three of Swords, I don't know what is!