Creativity does not refer only to artistic creativity. A creative life is one in which your decisions and choices, you actions, your beliefs, and your values spring from openness, tolerance, curiosity and a sense of awe for the world we live in.
Creativity can be expressed in poetry, painting, sculpture and music, but also in a journal entry, in the way way you tackle challenges, and the empathy with which you approach the people around you.
Fears and doubts are obstacles to living a creative life. But they can also provide inspiration. The trick is not to let them overwhelm you (easier said than done, I know).
Here is a spread for those days when you need to remind yourself that, despite fear and doubt, you are a creative being.
Shuffle the deck. Draw a card and lay it face-up before you, saying “I fear ….”
Draw a second card and place it to the right of the first card, but keep it face down.
Draw a third card, saying “I am uncertain ….” Place this card face up below the first card.
Draw a fourth card and place it face down next to card four.
Draw a fifth card, saying “I doubt….” Place this card below the other two face-up cards.
Draw a last card and place it face down next to card five.
You should now have three rows of two cards each, with the cards in the left column face up, and the other three face down.
Before you read each individual card, spend a few moments just looking at the cards in the left column. They represent fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Identify them, acknowledge them, and they will immediately lose some of their power.
Now turn over the top face-down card, saying “I create …”. Spend some time with the card, finding ways to control fear, and allow it to inspire you.
Do the same with the other two face-down cards.
I have used the Buckland Romani Tarot, with a question about the creative block that I have been experiencing.
I want a fresh beginning, with all the energy, enthusiasm, idealism and creativity that have disappeared along the way.
I am blocking my own creative energy. I should stop holding on so tightly to what I have already achieved. I might feel proud of what I have done so far, but I am stifling creativity energy. Fear has made my creative self become stagnant and careful.
I need to work again; I need to realize that I am good at what I do, and should not fear that the best of my work is behind me. I should also not be complacent about what I have already done: it is not finished. I do not need the energy of the Ace of Koshes to get going again. I do not need the wild-spark creativity of the beginning of the project. I need a calm confidence that the project will be completed.
To move from the desire for the Ace of Koshes creative energy to the productivity of the Three of Bolers, I need to stand back for a moment and evaluate the situation. The wildness of the Ace of Koshers is inappropriate for the stage my work is in, but the Four of Bolers is taking one step too far into comfort and security. The Two of Chivs does not represent a lasting balance, but it does mean I need to take a breath and think for a moment.
Struggle, discomfort. Take up your tools and get back there. Stop holding on to what you have and start working. I don’t need the energy of the Ace of Koshes to shake things up. I need to leave my comfort zone and have faith in my creative abilities and the products I am creating. The energy of the Five of Koshes is not fearful and contemplative: it is enthusiastic, chaotic, and even aggressive.
The project will be the death of me? Not very reassuring! Seriously now: my project could be “on fire” if I stop being so comfortable in what I have done so far. This far into the project many changes have already taken place—even transformation. Being afraid to move forward will mean death; taking the project and moving forward with confidence might mean the most exciting journey I have yet been on. I take the wheels on the wagon to mean it is time to roll!
This spread consists of cycles of three cards within a larger cycle of nine cards.
The problem is described in card 1. The reading then moves to the cause of the problem (card 2), the effect or consequences of the problem (card 3), and a new situation (also described by card 3).
The cycle then moves on to cards 3, 4, and 5, then 5, 6, and 7, and so on.
The cycle is broken in card 10.
Because each “effect” becomes a “problem” in turn, the spread covers several causes and possible consequences of a situation.
Three describes a completed cycle, nine is completion on a new level, and 10 is completion, fulfilment, and satisfaction. It is also the start of a new cycle, so if you want to, you can lay out another spread with card 10 as the central problem.
1. The problem
2. Cause of the problem
3. Effect or consequences of the problem
3. Read card 3 again, this time as the problem or situation created by the previous cycle (cards 1, 2, and 3)
4. Cause of the problem in card 3
5. Effect or consequences of the problem in card 3
5. Read card 5 again as the new problem
6. Cause of the problem in card 5
7. Effect of the problem in card 5
7. Read card 7 again as the new situation or problem
8. Cause of the situation in card 7
9. Effect of the situation in card 7
9. Read 9 again as the new situation or problem
2. Read card 2 as the cause of the problem or situation in card 9
10. Break the cycle (back to the beginning, but this time as card 10, not card 1)
Can a sceptic use Tarot cards for introspection? Of course! (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)
Many people use journals to reflect on themselves, their actions, thoughts, beliefs and motives. Others may want to examine their role in a particular situation. One of the problems is: where to start?
The difference is that whereas the diviner assumes the cards hold the truth, which must be considered, the sceptic reflects on what the cards “reveal” when card position and card meaning are combined.
The diviner starts with an external source of truth or inspiration, while the sceptic works purely from within.
Note that for those who use the cards for divination, the technique described in this post offers a different—but useful—way to approach the cards.
To a sceptic, reading the cards means delving into the cards to find what is true about the situation; this blog contains several examples of reading for introspection that do not involve magical means.*
In contrast, with the technique described in this post, you seek the truth by applying one meaning to the cards, then decide how much you agree or disagree with the result.
You can use any spread for this exercise, but don’t include spread positions such as “outcome” or “advice.” You want to reflect on a situation and its various aspects, not predict a probable future or receive advice. You can, however, include a “probable outcome” card if you want to reflect on the possible consequences of the situation. An advice card can be added later if you wish to consider the next step.
Shuffle and draw the cards as usual, and lay them out.
Once you have the cards on the table, you need to decide on a fixed meaning (one keyword or phrase) for each. You can use a keyword traditionally assigned to the card, a keyword used by a particular author or deck, or make up your own.
Now put card and spread position together, and ask yourself: “In this situation, is it true?” Your answer might be one of the following:
Using your answer as inspiration, start the reflection or self-exploration exercise.
“Yes, but ….”
I believe this is true, but just suppose …?
I have decided to do this, but have I taken everything into account?
The next step is …, but are there alternatives?
The “Yes, BUT” technique can be a challenging—but fun—technique to confront yourself.
Any spread will work, although it might be a good idea to choose a spread of no more than four or five cards.
Draw cards for each position in the spread, laying them face up. These are the Yes cards.
Now draw a second card for each position, keeping them face down. These are the BUT cards.
Find the connections between the first card and your situation (Yes). In other words, follow your usual practice for reading the cards, whether for reflection or for divination.
Now turn over the BUT card.
BUT what else is there that you have not considered? Could there be a different interpretation of events? Does the card challenge a decision, interpretation, belief, assumption, or perspective? Does the card suggest alternative actions?
This example uses the Past / Present / Future spread and the Modern Medieval deck by Shayn Amber Wetherell and Tim Wetherell.
The BUT cards are in the top row.
This is true:
A temporary truce was established to consider a difficult choice between opposing ideas. A compromise was reached that seemed impartial and fair (Lady Justice is often portrayed with a blindfold).
… the Five of Staves in the Modern Medieval deck suggests that a goal had been reached, but not in a peaceful way. The card is about struggle, competition, and conflicting desires. So …
… was the compromise as fair and impartial as I believe?
Suppose the blindfold in the Two refers not to justice and objectivity, but to a deliberate attempt not to face the truth in my desire to attain a goal? Might I have bullied others into agreeing to a compromise that benefit me more than they?
On the other hand, the woman in the Two seems to block her emotions. The swords protect her heart, and although she is surrounded by water (symbol of emotions), she is not immersed in it. She also keeps the swords above the water.
How much benefit will I derive from the compromise if I had disregarded my feelings?
This is true:
The Ace is about fresh insight and new ideas, an intellectual approach to a project, and the ability to analyse and discriminate between what is useful and what to discard. It implies the ability to concentrate, and mental energy. Whereas the Two of Swords indicates difficult decisions to be made, the Ace is decisive and forceful.
Many creativity techniques require a linear or analytical approach. In addition, my current project requires a detailed and focused approach.
… the Queen of Staves is not interested in the intellect. Her creativity is infused with imagination and inspiration, and she relies on instinct and intuition to find and evaluate ideas.
Many creativity techniques involve imagination and the ability to associate and find links between disparate items and concepts. Intuition can also be important in problem solving.
This card reminds me that these techniques are effective, and more fun than those using a logical, step-by-step approach.
These are the qualities of the King of Staves that I aspire to:
The King is master of the qualities of his suit. He is confident of his creative ability, and courageously expresses and implements his ideas. He inspires others through his charismatic leadership, energy, and enthusiasm, and is willing to consider novel, and even far-fetched, ideas. He can be unconventional and encourages others to challenge assumptions and beliefs.
… in contrast to the King’s impulsive and enthusiastic approach, the Hermit advises careful study and perhaps the wisdom of a guide or mentor.
The King is surrounded by fire, symbolising passion, energy, and the urge to act; in the Hermit card, however, the fire is tempered and controlled.
In creativity, the King could represent the generation of ideas. The Hermit, on the other hand, represents incubation: the complete withdrawal from a problem for a period, giving the subconscious a chance to work. Many people find that the solution to a problem pops up unexpectedly a few hours or days later.
Although my inclination is to follow the King, the Hermit’s approach must be part of my strategy. In general I am too impatient to give incubation a chance to work. The Hermit is a reminder how effective it can be in solving complex problems.
Imagination is the source of creativity.
This spread is about “what if” and “if only” and “maybe someday.” It is not a practical spread, at least not in the sense of solving a problem or making a decision.
It does not have a “how to make my wish come true” or “next step” card, or even a nice concrete goal to shoot for. And really, what can you make of a spread position that merely says “Lift Off!”?
I have no idea either.
Maybe you could read “Wings” as “what will help me achieve this dream.” But you don’t have to. Really.
Just to make sure you don’t float away among the stars, lost forever, I added three cards about the good things in the life you have.
Don’t worry too much about what the spread positions actually mean. It’s a fun spread. It can remind you who you are when you’re not burdened with “real life.”
And did I mention creativity? Imagination is magic. It can take you to the stars and re-acquaint you with the child you were. It can even make dreams come true. Just add a little creativity and sprinkling of star dust.
The previous SWOT spread is a reflective exercise to help you explore your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The spread below is a more practical variation that focuses on fewer qualities, but takes a look at the impact of these qualities and what to do with them.
The four cards in the centre are the 'action' cards when they are read the second time.
Card 1. Strength
Card 2. Impact of this strength
Card 3. How to make best use of this strength
Card 4. Weakness
Card 5. Impact of this weakness
Card 6. How to deal with this weakness
Card 7. Opportunity
Card 8. Impact of this opportunity
Card 9. How to make best use of this opportunity
Card 10. Threat
Card 11. Impact of this threat
Card 12. How best to deal with this threat
The Sceptic's Tarot is about using Tarot cards for ideas, brainstorming, problem solving, decision-making, planning, goal-setting, motivation, self-exploration, creative activities, counselling, relaxation and more.
There is nothing mystical, esoteric or supernatural involved.
The cards are usually associated with divination. They do not have to be. The Sceptic's Tarot offers a different take on how Tarot cards can be used.