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For the term "tarot".

May 2022: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

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(Although this fictionalized tarot card reading is, as usual, purely for creative and writing inspiration, and should not be taken as any sort of reflection, critique, diagnosis, classification, or judgment pertaining to actual mental and emotional conditions, this month’s reading is, however, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. If you find yourself in need of help and support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional or to a crisis line.)

Sometimes, the enemy lies deep within oneself. Sometimes it’s external forces that can’t readily be seen, or identified. Sometimes one may not even be sure they exist at all. Are they even real, or simply a figment of someone else’s imagination? Perhaps one of the most terrifying situations in horror fiction is when the character’s reality is deliberately distorted by those around them, and they simply have no way of knowing which way is up, or what the truth actually is. They’re faced with a situation where they’ve been taught that their own perception, knowledge, and intuition can’t be trusted. Such is the situation our fictionalized main character is facing.

 

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Character: Knight of Swords. This character is the royal heir to a wealthy and expansive kingdom. The kingdom is so widespread that the regents, the main character’s parents, have difficulty in holding onto their power. These regents face challenges both without the castle walls, where war and bloodshed is almost a constant presence, and within, where not even the regents’ inner circle can be trusted. As a result, the royal heir, as the regents’ only child, lives a life of near-total seclusion. In fact, the only people the heir has come in contact with are his parents. Within their suite of rooms, the heir knows only luxury, peace, and security, despite the wars raging outside the castle.

 

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Setting: The Tower. As the heir comes of age, however, the regents provide them with a companion, thought by all to be trusted, and the pair become very close. It’s a blow to the heir when the regents inform their child that the companion was involved in an attempted assassination and the heir is left with a broken heart, having fallen in love with the companion. What the heir doesn’t realize is that, even with his once-trusted and once-beloved companion gone, the danger is closer than anyone realizes. The heir awakes one evening to the smell of smoke and the sound of screams and running footprints from inside the castle itself. Gone are the flowery scents and the soft music the heir is usually surrounded with day and night. Instant terror replaces the heir’s complacency when a series of loud bangs sound against the door to his suite.

 

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Theme/Development: Nine of Pentacles (Reversed). The door splinters into pieces, and a cadre of masked people rush into the room. The heir is forcibly seized from his bed, and as he’s thrown over the shoulder of one of the heavily armored intruders, he sees the others set fire to the velvet drapes that line his bed. The heir, despite his sheltered existence, realizes that the betrayal his parents have always feared has finally happened. The heartbreak over his lost companion doesn’t compare to the pain he now feels. Outside the room, the smoke is even thicker, and he can barely make out dark masses scattered over the floor. Once outside, the smoke clears, and the heir realizes the masses are bodies. He looks up to see flames shooting up out of the castle’s roof and windows. He closes his eyes, afraid that he’ll see the bodies of his parents among the slain masses. He’s tossed up on into a horse, and he struggles to get away before his captor mounts. There’s a curse, a sharp pain, and true blackness overtakes the heir.

 

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Conflict/Climax: Two of Swords (Reversed). The heir comes to, and he hopes that all of what has happened was nothing but a bad dream. Although everything is still dark, he feels warmth off to his left. The fireplace in his room, and he snuggles down deep into his sheets. Instead of the finest silk, the sheets are of a coarse fabric that rasps against his skin. Before the heir can register that he wasn’t dreaming after all, light pours in abruptly. A shadowy form blocks out the light, and the heir scrambles backwards until he hits a solid wall behind him. The form grabs him and hauls him upright and pushes him out the door and into even brighter light. As his eyes adjust, colours flood in. Colors only nature can provide. Vibrant greens of trees stretching out to the horizon, even brighter flowers growing at their base, and the prince’s breath catches in his chest, followed by a swift, sharp, yet oddly pleasurable pain. There, in front of him, is his companion. And nowhere, as far as his eye can see, is any trace of the dangerous and war-ruined landscape he’d been told existed outside the castle walls.

April 2022: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

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This month’s tarot card draw falls quite outside my area of expertise (I’m largely secular in my own belief system), as they revolve around a character base, and a world, that is steeped in a (unspecified!) spirituality/religion/faith. Please note that my interpretation of these cards is not intentionally modeled after, or deliberately representative of, any actual spiritual, religious, or cultural practice in existence today. Happy Spring!

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February 2022: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

Happy Groundhog Day! Or the month with Groundhog Day in it, anyway! Myself, I love animals so much that I try to incorporate them into my horror stories whenever possible. Not as the recipients of said horror, but the instigators. That, and plants and other manifestations of the natural world. So, as your thoughts look ahead to Spring and all things blooming (well, depending on what area of the world you’re in), don’t forget that Nature is out there, lying in wait for the unsuspecting human to wander by!

Note: For this reading, I used the (multilingual!) Fantasy Cats Oracle deck as created by Paolo Barbieri—with a very loose, creative-license interpretation of the cards’ meaning. So if your spooky writing also includes animal/anthropomorphic characters, this “writing inspiration” reading’s for you! https://www.azuregreen.net/Fantasy-Cats-oracle-by-Paolo-Barbieri/productinfo/DFANCAT/.

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January 2022: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

Welcome to 2022, Horror Tree followers! Here’s hoping it’s a productive year on the writing front for you all! I am always partial to animals, but lately I’ve rediscovered my love for what’s now (or has it always been?) known as “furry fiction”.

In any case, I hope to see more of your spooky stories in the New Year! (If you want to submit them to The Horror Tree, here’s the link to submit: https://horrortree.com/submissions/)

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December 2021: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

 

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“A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins.” ― William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale

Before I drew the cards for this reading, I was thinking that winter would be a good time for inspiration of the dark romance (gothic, dark fantasy, et al.) sort. So, let your mordant imaginations take you through the sinister pathways of the heart. It promises to be an intense read, as every card I drew was a major arcana card. In any case, I hope your upcoming holidays (or Winter Season festivities) are just as deliciously dark and depraved!

 

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Main Character: The Fool. This card could represent a person with a certain “joie de vivre” that has compelled them to spend a lifetime seeking adventure and entertainment. Eschewing anything static and conformist, their impulsive nature has put them in some sticky situations, but their innocent nature has protected them from the darker side of human nature. They seem to coast along on the surface, and nothing seems to penetrate too deeply beyond this person’s lighthearted nature and positive view of the world.

 

 

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Theme/Development: Illusion. But this character’s innocence can only protect them so far, and the crowd that this person has fallen in with is weaving the strands of duplicity around this young/young-at-heart adventurer. Lured on by the excitement of the unknown, the main character doesn’t see the situation for what it really is. They are too intent on having a good time with their newfound friends they have met on their travels.

 

 

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Setting: Temptation. The main character is lured into the ever-darkening world that is entwining itself around them, the likes of which they have not yet experienced. It’s a world that’s as wonderfully alluring as it is dark and depraved, and the main character submits to the temptations as proffered to them by their friends. These friends are not intent on simply sharing these darker pleasures with their new initiate, they only want to corrupt the innocent nature of this too-trusting person that has stumbled into their clutches.

 

 

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Conflict/Climax: The World. But what the false friends don’t realize is that they are the initiates in a ritual that’s almost as old as time itself. These tricksters are the ones that have been duped, and they are the ones that have been led down some unimaginably disturbed path beyond their wildest imaginings. Because of the energy driving their actions, a gateway has been opened between worlds. The world they know is soon to be flooded with horrors beyond their most depraved imaginings. And, leading this invasion, is none other than the main character, still full of a childlike innocence and joy. Because nothing gets beneath its surface, not even the horrifying extent of death and destruction that is now taking place all around it.

November 2021: Tarot Cards for Writing–Scratch That–Author Inspiration

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Some of you may be gearing up for NaNoWriMo, others may be wrapping up your final drafts before publication, or planning out your writing goals for next year. And some may even be taking a rest-and-recharge sabbatical before the end of the year, or between seasonal cycles. I thought, then, I’d shift the tone of the reading for this month. Instead of a spread that serves as writerly inspiration, I’d thought I’d draw cards on behalf of writers themselves; writers, even us horror/dark fiction writers, could use a boost, I think.

 

So, I hope you enjoy November’s tarot card reading. Enjoy the fruits of your creative harvest!

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October 2021: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration

 

Happy Preptober for those of you doing NaNoWriMo and break a…pen…in November!

So, as part of your prep, get ready to scare the wits out of your readers with this month’s “writer’s inspiration” tarot card reading!

 

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Setting: King of Wands. A world in flames, torn apart by warring factions. Hate and rage fuel this martial society, and there will never be a winner, yet the fighting seems like it will continue until there is nothing left but a destroyed, blood-soaked landscape.

 

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Character: The Chariot. Ruling over this world is the penultimate Queen of War. She will not yield until her cause is won. But her real end goal is unknown to the cadre of warriors she leads into battle. She has dual roles to play in the future of the world. She sees the infinite threads of fate and the universe with her powerful eyes, and knows that this planet has been distorted by a time fault. She is both an actor and a director in the flow of space and time, and, while her warriors are united to a their cause, she is using them as a sacrifice to create the world anew–to bring it back into the harmony of the universe over which she rules.

 

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Theme/Development: Four of Cups. Although martial in character and on the battlefield, even the Queen of War has to yield to the balance and order of the universe. To ignore that is to also bring about her own demise. Which, being the immortal essence of the universe, is not really a demise, but a purgatory. And even though centuries have passed while the opposing sides continue their warfare, even she is tiring of the constant battle. The flames of hate and rage are now threatening to extend out into the universe, as the planet’s inhabitants have built better technology. If they manage to make it off the planet, the balance of all time and space will be disrupted. She has to stop it.

 

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Conflict/Climax: Four of Coins. However, the queen has gotten too accustomed to life on this planet. She’s finding it hard to give up the comforts of living a life within a concrete physical form–the entertainment, food, warmth, and security her castle provides. Not to mention she’s fearing the more quiet, dull life that awaits her once the universe regains its necessary balance. But the world she inhabits in physical form has begun to decay with the deleterious effect of the technology the planet’s inhabitants continue to invent. Soon, she won’t have a world under her feet, and the decay will spread throughout the universe. She has to make a choice; to create a world within which all life can live, or she can die with her soldiers.