Interestingly, they don’t work particularly well for me when it comes to brainstorming for fiction. There’s something about them that’s kind of…straightforward? Simplistic? I find they don’t give me much to go on for these purposes, although I’ve always liked the descriptions in their book and the nuanced array of key words and phrases supplied, and they've always served me well for the real world and my own life. Maybe I'm just too accustomed to that context for them.
Though the Tarot of the Cat People was where I learned the meanings of the cards, for a tarot spread appearing in scene in a book, I chose to use the Rider-Waite Tarot, since that’s the “classic” tarot imagery.
I didn’t, however, hesitate to shell out for a copy of the Mary-El Tarot. After my friend Amazon used it to do a story-related reading for me, I knew I'd found my fiction deck.
And the ethos of the deck just plain appeals to me. From the introduction:
“Nietzsche said, ‘Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.’ Thus he expresses the innate fear we have of the abyss, that even to brush against it, no matter how good our intentions, we will be tainted by it. The abyss is most simply, but not only, introspection – looking within yourself. At first that sounds easy to do, but like the abyss, the calm surface is deceptive and in truth it is a bottomless pit that contains many demons and monsters. But, it also contains your own true will: everything you ever wanted to know, and your salvation, but you must be willing to dive, or be foolish enough to stumble.”
I LOVE this. It says so much to me about what kind of project spooky fiction really is. I don’t know – I feel like these cards get me, even if I haven’t totally wrapped my head around them yet. I feel like they give me permission to be emo and dramatic and tell self-consciousness to back the fuck off for a while.
Reader, tell me about your favourite decks! What draws you to them? What speaks to you about them? Any particularly useful for writing, and if so, how so?