Creativity Prompts

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - Seven of Pentacles

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer! See the full Creativity Prompts series here

Our card this week? The Seven of Pentacles.

The Seven of Pentacles represents that moment in the cultivation of a skill where we get to stand back and evaluate our progress. Its key themes are apprenticeship, study, advancement, cultivation, perseverance, and payoff. 

1. What are you working on right now? This card reminds us that although it's great to get one's nose to the grindstone, we do on occasion need to stand back and say, "Hey! Look how much I've accomplished!" Take a pause right now to evaluate your progress, to give yourself some props for how far you've come, and to make a plan for the next steps. 

2. This card also asks us to think about how we work. Are you a dedicated studier, able to put in hours of uninterrupted and focused labour, even if the house is burning down around you? Or (like me, *ahem*), are you a consummate procrastinator who needs regular incentives and frequent breaks in order to get anything done? Why do you think that is? What insight about yourself might you gain from examining this further?

3. How do you find flow in your work? It's interesting that some tasks utterly fail to occupy us and getting them done can seem like pulling teeth, and other tasks will absorb our attention for hours. What gets your focus engaged? Is it a particular kind of task, or a way of working? For more on this, check out the TED talk from the expert on flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

4. Let's get a little lazy for a second! I often think about that scene in The Matrix, where Trinity downloads helicopter flight instructions directly into her brain and can immediately pilot a chopper like a pro. If only it were that easy to become an expert at something! If you could download mastery of any discipline, what would it be? Why? And do you think you could still appreciate your skill if you hadn't done the hard yards to learn it?

5. It may not be so simple in the real world, but we can still plant seeds and hope to grow accomplishments in the future. What will you be planting next? What ambitions do you have, what barely imagined projects do you have hiding away in your bottom drawer? What do you dream of learning but imagine you might never actually conquer? Spend a little time with that. No matter how remote, is that a seed you could start to plant right now? 

Looking for more fuel for your fire? You can find the other posts in this creativity series here. As ever, if you're blogging or journaling this series, let me know where I can find you in the comments!

P.S. Don't forget, you can subscribe to Two Sides Tarot blog posts by email!

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - Four of Rods

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer! See the full Creativity Prompts series here

Our card today? The Four of Rods.

The Four of Rods is all about celebrating your victories, taking a load off after a hard day, and taking time out to acknowledge how far you've come. Nice, right?

1. Coming home. It's a powerful statement, a potent image. An idea that can provoke both relief and fear, joy and boredom, excitement and anxiety. What does "coming home" mean to you?

2. The Four of Rods is always an invitation to celebrate. What do you have to celebrate today? What blessings can you count, however big or small? Feel some of that sweet, sweet gratitude for the good stuff in your life!

3. Now that you've defined your reasons to revel, it's time to partaaay! Design your ideal celebration - reality needn't be a factor! You can throw a swingin' bash a la Jay Gatsby, or bring your closest friend to walk on the moon, dine with your idols, living or dead, or simply savour a sleep in with the cat. How you do express your excitement, reward your efforts, and celebrate the good stuff in your life?

4. What if home were a person? How do the people in your life make you feel safe, comforted, and welcome? How do you fulfil this function for other people? Are you nostalgic for a time in the past when you were surrounded by family? Or are you enjoying the company of home, whatever or whoever that might be, right now? 

5. The Four of Rods is often about the physical spaces we return to, so let's take that idea and finish with something fun. Describe your dream house! Where is it? What does it look like? How do you furnish it? Is it a house that already exists, or would you need to build it? Do you already live in it? When it comes to creating welcoming space, what is important to you?

Looking for more fuel for your fire? You can find the other posts in this creativity series here. As ever, if you're blogging or journaling this series, let me know where I can find you in the comments!

P.S. Don't forget, you can subscribe to Two Sides Tarot blog posts by email!

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - King of Swords

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer! See the full Creativity Prompts series here

Our card this week? The King of Swords. 

The King of Swords is a card of mental mastery, rationality, authority, and just the right amount of ruthlessness. What does he stir up for you?

1. Where are you at with your drive right now? Are you feeling motivated, fuelled up, focused? Do you have a goal in your sights that you're relentless working towards? Or, are you feeling a little flat, unfocused, or unsure about where the path leads? What do you think it would take to get moving again?

2. Have there been times when your drive has taken precedence over your feelings, your other obligations, your relationships? When have you found it beneficial to be single-minded in your focus? When have you realised you needed to broaden or soften your gaze?

3. What new skills are you learning? What level of mastery are you aiming for? What skills do you fantasise about learning, or hope to take up in the future? When will you know you have reached mastery of these skills?

4. What practices do you turn to when you need to clear your mind? The King is unmoved by emotional outbursts or mental chatter. How do you move yourself into a space of inner calm and clarity? Is this something you struggle with, or something that comes easily? Why, do you think?

5. Objectivity is hard, but the King of Swords reminds us that it is necessary at times. Think about a question you are struggling to answer, a situation you unsatisfied with, or a problem you're trying to solve. How can you get out of your own way on this? Is it possible to evaluate the situation without emotions and expectations, purely based on facts? What would help you to be more objective? 

Looking for more fuel for your fire? You can find the other posts in this creativity series here. As ever, if you're blogging or journaling this series, let me know where I can find you in the comments!

Enter your email address to have Two Sides Tarot blog posts delivered to your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - Two of Rods

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!

Our card this week? The Two of Rods.

The Two of Rods is all about turning your gaze to the horizon. What adventure lies beyond? 

1. The big question this card asks is, "What's your next move?" Are you a maker of lists, or are you winging it? What's the big goal you have in your sights, and what's the next step towards it? (See, creativity prompts can be productive!)

2. The figure on this card has the whole world in her hands. If you could step out your door at this very moment and be anywhere in the world, where would you choose to be? Reflect on where you've traveled, the places you've been, and the ones you've only dreamed of. 

3. Think about how we represent the world. Who captures the earth, the city, life, in a way that inspires you? Think about your favourite writers, poets, musicians, photographers, artists, and try to articulate what it is you love so much about their vision.

4. Invent a country, a city, a place, a landscape. What does it look like? Feel like? Taste? Smell like? What creatures inhabit it? Is it somewhere you could go? And how do you feel when you are there? 

5. The Two of Rods is about nothing if not dreaming big, while preparing to take small steps. Go to your window, or open your door. What do you see? Take the time to describe it, even if it's something you're bored with because you see it every day. Find something new to see when you look from that same old perspective. It's a useful skill! 

PS. Did you catch my guest post this week over on TheEsns.com? This week I'm writing about how to get started reading tarot for yourself. If you're thinking about diving into tarot, head over to my guest post to get some tips! If you're new to tarot, spending a little time with these Creativity Prompts is a great way for you to connect with your cards. See the full series of Creativity Prompts posts here!

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - Four of Swords

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!

Our card this week? The Four of Swords.

Let's get started!

1. The most prominent message of the Four of Swords is the idea of rest and recuperation. This card represents a temporary withdrawal from society, and also from the hamster wheel of repetitive thinking. Because Swords represent communication, as well as intellectual life, I often read this card as a need to take an information fast. Switch off the phone and the computer, turn away from the television and tell your loved ones you're unavailable for a time. How would an information fast impact upon your mind? Your creative life? Do you already do this, or does it make you want to run for the hills? What impact do you think inner and outer silence might have on your creative work?

2. Consider the imagery. Before I tell you where this image leads my mind, do some reflection or free writing on where it takes you. What do you see in the figure, in the swords, in the background? What associations do you make? Where might you have seen such an image before?

3. The knight in repose here immediately makes me think of knights in armor, the crusades, and (here I'm showing the origins of my poor understanding of that particular historical phenomenon)... Indiana Jones! I think my subconscious truly believes Harrison Ford is about to leap through that stained glass window. Shake out the seriousness for a second and remember a beloved childhood film, book, or experience. Does this card stimulate any buried memories for you? Does it make you feel like getting your netflix on and watching something nostalgic? Before you plug in (remember, information fast!), do a little reflection. Describe the object of your nostalgia. What does it mean to you? Who did you share it with? Does it stand the test of time? 

4. In Tarot 101, Kim Huggens explains how the numbers of the Minor Arcana align with the spheres of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Fours are Chesed, or the power of mercy. Considering what we've already discovered in this card (maybe leaving Indiana Jones aside for a minute!), think about how you show mercy and compassion to yourself when you are overwhelmed. Do you allow yourself to take a break and rest, or do you drive yourself relentlessly? And what about others - your family, coworkers, friends? Do you allow for rest in your day to day, or do feel you need to be constantly "on"? 

5. Finally, the rest that this card represents is a refueling for further adventures. Let's think about dreams for a moment. What goes on in your mind when you're sleeping? Perhaps, like me, you sleep like the dead and rarely remember your dreams, or maybe you dream vividly, prophetically, or creatively. Do your dreams ever assist you in your waking life? Recall the last significant dream you had. Describe it in detail. Does it have any message to offer you, anything you can take away from it into your waking life? In what subtle ways does your resting mind refuel itself and inspire you?

Let me know how you get on with The Four of Swords in the comments!

Top 5 Tarot Creativity Prompts - The Page of Cups

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 Aquarian Tarot for this draw, so my comments will refer specifically to its imagery, but feel free to draw from a different deck if you prefer!

Our card this week? The Page of Cups.

pageofcups.jpg

Well, well, well. If there were to be a patron saint of creativity in the deck, the Page of Cups is it. The Page of Cups usually crops up to tell us that we're being stuffy in our thinking, too conservative and stale. This Page advises us to bring in a little bit of Beginner's Mind (incidentally, here's a great article on the subject over at one of my favourite blogs, Zen Habits), and, if I can coin a spin-off term, Beginner's Heart, too. A perfect avatar for finding a fresh perspective to challenging situations!

1. Let's get warmed up by being playful. The Page of Cups challenges us to think about childhood, immaturity, and playfulness. Where do you stand on the matter? Are you a jumper of puddles, or quick to turn your nose up at kiddie behaviour? Imagine yourself at your silliest. Could that serve a purpose in an unlikely situation? How can you bring a little more of that lightness to your everyday?

2. The flipside of that Page of Cups youthful vigor is that sometimes, we really need to act like grown ups. Be honest! When was the last time you recall acting in a childish way when you should've been the adult, or perhaps accusing someone of childishness?  In what situation would you be better served by letting go of immature whims? A friend and I joke about hitting the "abdicating from adulthood" button. Do you ever wish you could throw it all in and go back to being a kid?

3. All this talk of childhood is really a warm up to talking about that fish. What is going on there?! The fish is really what this card, and indeed this whole blog series, is about. The fish represents a moment of pure inspiration, unlikely genius, and thinking that is so outside the box it's like boxes don't even exist anymore (and yet, there's still water in that cup, so the fish makes a funny kind of sense). These prompts are designed to help you find your fish. Think back to the last time you had a truly radical creative idea. What was it, and where did it lead you? 

4. In order to find fishes again in the future, it's useful to know what conditions attract fish. Remember that radical idea we just talked about? Reflect on the specific conditions you were in when you had that idea. What was your routine? Or were you out of your routine? Were you talking to someone, reading something, doodling, writing a letter? Think about what it is that gets your most inspired juices flowing. You might find it is something unexpected. Recognising what it is means you will be able to do more of it, which means more fish for you! Recommended reading on the subject of attracting fish can be found here and here (and when bookshopping, support your local indie bookseller when you can!).

5. Time to write a love letter. Who is the greatest fisherperson you know? Is it your favourite writer, a weird filmmaker, an inspired entrepreneur, a friend who never fails to amaze you with their ideas? What is it that you find so awe-inspiring about their thought processes and their work? Write them a missive, articulate for yourself what it is about them that knocks your socks off. You could even send it, if you like! Finally, do a little digging. Read about them, or ask them if you can. What makes them tick, and what can you learn from it? 

Good luck, and happy fishing!

Top Five Tarot Creativity Prompts - The Hanged Man

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!

Our card this week? The Hanged Man

The twelfth card on the Fool's Journey, The Hanged Man represents a need to take a pause in the action. The Fool has learned so much about himself, he must stop for a moment and take it all in before making his next move. "At this stage," Rachel Pollack writes, "a deep spiritual awareness can only be maintained by withdrawing from society." Incidentally, Beth at Little Red Tarot has recently done a great dissection of The Hanged Man, so I direct you to her for more explanation and insight into the meaning of this card.

For our purposes, it's interesting to note that this card is polarising among tarot readers and clients. I personally rather like The Hanged Man and his reminder to take a step back, but others find his strange posture and his insistence on inactivity weird and frustrating! Let's see where that takes us.

1. What are your first thoughts, first impressions upon hearing the name of this card, The Hanged Man? What associations do you make? Are they positive or negative, empowering or frightening?

2. Consider the difference between stillness and stasis. Where do you sit with the idea of being still? Do you associate it with being in control, or with being stuck against your will? Do you crave progress, or prefer to stop and smell the roses? Recall a time when you felt as though things weren't moving forward. Looking back, did that period of being stuck have any benefit, any teaching for you? Do you think your life would benefit from more or less stillness at this time?

3. Explore the relationship between stillness and movement in the mind, and stillness and movement in the body. One of my favourite yoga teachers always says, "Relax any unnecessary doing." She always catches me fidgeting! Do you find calming your movements creates stillness in your mind, or does it have the opposite effect? What does it feel like to engage in physical stillness, like yin yoga or seated meditation? How does this affect your thoughts, your emotions?

4. Much has been written in recent years about introverts and extroverts - where do you fall on the scale? Do you gain your energy and insight from the company of others, or from withdrawal into privacy? What about those around you - are you the extrovert to your partner or best friend's introverted Hanged Man, or is it the other way around? How will a deeper understanding of these differing natures help you relate to each other?

5. What does it mean to take a different perspective? Can we ever really see things through the eyes of another? Think of a significant moment in your life, positive or negative. How does it appear if viewed from a different angle? What would it take to see something so personally significant in a different light?

I hope The Hanged Man helps you to take a moment, calm your mind and relax. It is a long weekend, after all! 

Top Five Tarot Creativity Prompts - Three of Swords

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!