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Cartomancy and Character

I’m not much of a believer in the occult, but I do love Tarot, not in any small part because the 78 cards in a Tarot deck can be so beautiful. There’s something undeniably fascinating in the symbols and images, and it’s easy to get caught up the magic.

My first reading was done by a real pro: author Nora Roberts. We were at the Washington Romance Writers’ annual retreat at the fabulous Hilltop House in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Nora was doing readings for her friends. I think she told me my marriage was destined to last forever. The next reading I had was by another fellow writer, the late, beautiful Virginia Ellis, shortly after my divorce.  Ha! So as I said, I’m not much of a believer, but I do believe in taking brainstorming help wherever I can get it, and a good Tarot Card reading–for a writers’ characters rather than for the writer herself–can jumpstart a scene, or even an entire book. 

Like Nora, Gin Ellis was a generous reader. At a Novelists, Inc conference in Santa Fe one year, she read for every major character in my work-in-progress. I learned one character’s deepest, darkest secret, why another was afraid to be a mother, and why yet another  chose his particular career. There are many, many other ways to brainstorm, but none as intriguing or fun as Tarot.

I’m aware of one book on Tarot specifically for writers (Tarot for Writers, by Corrinne Kenner), but I’m sure there are more, because writers have turned to Tarot over the years (over the centuries, since Tarot’s been around that long) to help them develop characters and story lines. 

Tarot came into play with my upcoming novel, The Lies We Told. I didn’t use it to help me brainstorm, but my characters themselves use it to. . .  well, I’ll wait until the book comes out to tell you!

So how about you? Have you ever had a Tarot reading?