Tarot Readings for Characters

Like many divination practices, my belief is that activities such as Tarot use ambiguity to tap into the ideas already waiting in our unconscious minds. When you purchase a set of tarot cards, they will come with a booklet that explains what each of the cards means and how to do a “spread.” Use your imagination to find connections between the cards’ meanings and the question you are posing for each position of the spread.

The cards displayed above are just one example of what you might lay out. You'll have to interpret the meanings using the Tarot guide book. For example, the card I drew for the Mask of Identity above is the Ace of Wands. The Ace of Wands, with the hand extending from the cloud, generally refers to new beginnings. So maybe at the start of your story, your character has a new baby brother, so your character identifies positively or negatively to this new addition to the family. Maybe she feels resentful about this disruption to the old order of life. As the story progresses, your protagonist might evolve in how she sees her place in the family as a big sister. How you interpret is up to you.


The Character Cross

There's a spread called a Celtic Cross, that I've renamed here the Character Cross. Shuffle the deck and lay out five cards in this cross pattern. Each of the five spots has a particular question for you to ask about your character. 

1.       Mask of Identity: What is the false sense of self your character holds at the beginning of your story? Characters often transform in a story from having a misguided sense of self at the beginning (based on her own beliefs or those imposed by others). But by the story's end, she'll find...

2.       True Self: What is the true sense of self your character will discover by the end of your story? Through the difficulties faced, a character often gains a new understanding of her place in the world. This is the true identity she will now adopt (and will probably assist with the conflict at the story's climax).

3.       Obstacles: What is keeping your character from discovering his/her true self? These can be characters or situations. They can be internal or external in origin.

4.       Sympathy: What difficulty is your character facing that will create reader sympathy? Readers emotionally connect with characters facing hardship. Give us a reason to want to see your character's life change.

5.       Admiration: What are your character’s greatest qualities and talents that will create reader admiration? Like with sympathy, readers also connect with characters we respect and admire. Get us on board with your character by making them interesting and appealing. What can she do well that others can't?


I hope the Character Cross delivers some interesting insights about who your character is. I'll share other Tarot spreads soon for you to try with your characters and story. Happy divining!