Living in this pandemic-induced dual awareness of the cozy home orbit and the grave, grey anxiety of the collective mortality we face globally has brought me back to my desk where I’ve been coloring into the night as an antidote.
If you love tarot and also love to create art, I hope you’ll try this exercise. This month I’m combining three card daily tarot draws with simple sketches and posting them to my heartscompasstarot Instagram account with the hashtag #tarotimprovisation.
Choose any art form; you don’t even have to use three-card-draws. You could simply pull one tarot card, journal to it to connect to yourself and your heart questions for the day, and then let yourself respond (in the medium of your choice such as color pencils, sketch, paint, sculpture, photography, dance, woodcut…you choose your expression). Below you’ll find a few examples of my latest tarot improvisations, and how I started doing them. I’ll be on the lookout for your tarot expressions and improvisations on Instagram (as I said before, use #tarotimprovisation so I can find your work).
How I started Tarot Drawing
About five years ago I began pulling three cards from the tarot deck at large, journaling to connect my dilemmas to the imagery and then opening my sketchpad. I focused on each card’s colors, messages, and designs. Some of those elements wove their way into the drawings, but they also synergistically evolved into whatever I needed to create that day that came up in my journaling. Here’s an example from that time. The eye is ringed in doors of learning like those fast moving wands. You could see the eye flower as a depiction of the third eye opening (beneath the blindfold), and the colors of the rainbow as an expression of that ten of cups joy.
Last summer I learned a new variation on the three-card-draw when I read Rituals and Practices with the Motherpeace Tarot by Vicki Noble (Bear and Company). Motherpeace was the first deck I learned so it holds a very special place in my heart. The layout I’m currently using is Noble’s Fate reading in the Fate and Free Will chapter for which you divide your deck into three piles (Major Arcana, People cards, and Minor Arcana). I continue to journal to the cards as has been my practice for many years.
And finally, on April 1,st open-hearted as the Tarot Fool, I started drawing again. I am presently using Noble’s Fate reading in combination with the Thoth Deck, a deck I relate to through the lens of Angeles Arrien’s Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols. This first day my cards included The Wheel of Fortune, the Prince of Swords, and the Ten of Wands. The resulting drawing borrowed on the wheel concept to form the pupil of an eye which also became part angel. The path of the Prince cutting his way through the morass of stress became the river. On that river, with the red passion of the wands, the red-winged angel boat arrived. The boat invites us to travel as lightly as possible, free of worry and anxiety.
Here’s Day Four, a tarot improvisation based on the Art Card, the Knight of Disks, and the Ten of wands again (I was still feeling pretty burdened with anxiety and worry). The resultant drawing produced two hands, untouching, with the rainbow bridge of art beneath them. During this time we may not be able to touch physically but we can still create together and share those expressions. The hands also looked sort of astral, reminding me of the way my hands often appear when lucid dreaming or flying.
You’ll also be able to find this tarot drawing exercise in my Heart’s Compass Tarot Workbook (*February 2021, Two Fine Crows Books, new imprint, Saddle Road Press). Write to me here through my contact page with any questions or I’ll see you over on Instagram! Let’s play!
Join me for Tarot Journaling: A Heart’s Compass Approach. We meet Mondays online at noon (offered through San Diego Writers, Ink). We are journaling our way through the entire tarot deck; next week we take on the Seven of Cups.
Using Tarot to Mine Your Life for Writing Material: Tarot Journaling to Know Yourself. This online course offered through Antioch University gives you a deep grounding in the four elements and the four Aces and gives you a chance to start a journaling practice while learning about the tarot; we are slated to start in May, 2020.
Second Saturday Poetry Read and Critique meets this coming Saturday, April 11th; we are still going strong and have moved to meeting online. Love poetry and love to dive deep with other poets to create your strongest work? Join us.