Tarot Blog Hop: Samhain 2016 Wake The Dead

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Welcome to the 2016 Samhain/Halloween/Mid-Fall Tarot Blog Hop. We’ve been doing these hops since Imbolc 2012. It brings me such joy to know that for these past five years, community-minded bloggers have gathered every six weeks to create a ring of posts that all share the same subject. It’s been copied by others (which also brings me great joy) so I know that original question “How Can I Be The Best Candle” truly burns on.

This time, we are asked by our wrangler, Louise Underhill of Priestess Tarot, to turn to our ancestors for advice. She challenged us to “seek their advice on what we need to work on in the year to come.”

So I did. First, I wanted to be clear on the questions as well as the intent. Once I had the questions, I took time to make sure I was mindful of my surroundings. I wanted to be aware of not only where I was, but who I was.

I opened up asking my ancestors to gather if they would. I requested that one of them step forward to give me advice for the coming year (in my Tradition, we treat Samhain as the New Year even though the validity of that has been brought into question.) Honestly I hoped that someone from my deep ancestral bloodlines would turn up. Maybe the daughter of that English king (not a very popular king, oops) or the German lawyer would weigh in on the questions.

Nope. I got a much closer relative. And I knew her the moment I pulled the first card. But first, let’s look at the spread itself.

Arwen Lynch's Wake The Dead spread
My 2016 Samhain spread: Wake The Dead

The answers were pretty clear. Because of the reading, the answers were also quite personal. I’ll show you the card and give you the abbreviated answers.

Moon Victoria Regina Tarot
The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot

First up was the Moon. With the binoculars and crawfish on this one, I immediately knew it was my mother. She was a Scorpio as well. I have a Scorpio Moon that rests in the 8th house so this could only be Mama. At first I thought it might be her mother, but the crawfish and binoculars were all Mama.

10 Swords Victoria Regina
Ten of Swords

Next came the 10 of Swords. If I wasn’t sure before, this nailed it (pun intended). My mother once told me a story about a sparrow, a cat and a pile of manure. The lesson was to stop complaining about where you were. The main message I got here was, “Being weighed down by other people’s opinions is silly. That’s their energy, not yours. DO YOU.” On a side note, when I look at my handwriting on this question, the “do you” is very similar to my mother’s handwriting. Hmmm

Strength showed up as the response to the third question.

Strength Victoria Regina Tarot
Strength

Her admonition here was that she raised me to be a strong woman. She reminded me that she had not been fair to me in one area (she took care of me when she should have let me find my own feet) but she felt I was getting better there.

 

World, Victoria Regina Tarot
World

The fourth question brought the World (so many Majors, Mama.) She was a bit fierce on this one which didn’t surprise me. Protecting her children was one of her strengths. Living with a Scorpion for a mother wasn’t always easy, but you knew she had your back. The answer was, in part, “Focus on the people who add to your life rather than take away. Be your own center.”

Finally, I pulled the Two of Wands. My mother loved that I wrote. She got to read the first book my writing partner and I ever finished. That book has never been published, but my sister called me. She was laughing because my mother, who was in the hospital dying from cancer (she passed away two months after), would not take any calls. She told my sister to tell them she was reading. Her message here was to take action. Do rather than be. The funniest thing was her “Get wet sooner” message. She’s the reason I keep writing.

Thanks, Mama. I love you and I will always remember you.

Marilu Johnston circa 1956
Marilu, my beautiful mother

Now please leave a comment then hop on to the next post. Or hop backwards. And thanks so very much for sharing this and other posts. You can use the hashtag #tarotbloghop .

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Cocktails, Characters & Quirks

I love creating stories. One thing I loathe in my own writing, though, is characters who lack depth. They are cardboard cut-outs with no imperfections. These characters bore me to tears. What about you? If you were going to introduce them to your friends, what would you say?

“This is my heroine, Joie. She heals animals. She loves her godmother. She’s pretty.”

Yeah. I won’t want to hang out with her. She comes across as perfect, right? Nobody is perfect. At least not in my group of friends. I want my characters to be real not cardboard cutouts.

Now what about:

“This is my heroine Joie. She heals animals. She thinks she’s too short. She has a jealous streak a mile wide but she is a loyal friend.”

So she sounds far more real to me. We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. We have flaws as well as strengths. I think she is someone I could be friends with now. Moreso than the cardboard perfect Joie from before.

Okay, but how do you get those quirks? How do you develop a character who is 3-D…believable? One way that I do it is with a simple three card Tarot spread. Try this out for your next character and let me know the results.

Cocktail Spread

The premise is that you are going to a party with your character as your guest. You are going to have to do a short introduction when you get there. Draw three cards for the following positions.

Job
Personal Life
Quirk

Using the award-winning Ghosts And Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt (U.S. Games Systems, INC 2012) I drew the following cards for a different character:

  • My character’s job requires them to be a mentally focused warrior. He can’t let his guard drop ever. (King of Swords)
  • My character’s personal life has too many ties to his past so he really doesn’t like to talk about it. (5 of Cups)
  • His quirk is that he parties so he can be one of the guys but he really wants one of the guys. (4 of Cups)

So, from this, I realized my character is a gay soldier who has rejoined the military to get away from a bad relationship. 😀 It’s my story so I get to let my brain wander wherever it likes. King of Swords is a warrior. When I saw the 5 of Cups next, I immediately wondered about his past relationships. Why would he be a warrior with a broken heart. But the 4 of Cups showed me he had a bunch of regrets but ignored them by indulging in the drink too much.

Or, if I were going a more paranormal track, I might say that he was an eternal warrior(job) who was haunted by all the loves he’d lost(personal life). He avoids water because that is how the ghosts of his past connect to him(quirk). And there’s nothing worse than being nagged by a dead ex!

This is a good spread for the main characters and the villain.

So what are your cards? What is your take away? I’d love to hear what you think. You can use any deck. A deck of playing cards (look the meanings up online) can work as can any oracle deck.

This exercise is from a workshop I used to teach online. I’ve turned that month long Hero’s Journey (a Tarot for Writers workshop) into an eCourse. Now you can take advantage of all the lessons, handouts and writing prompts whenever you like. No more waiting for me to set up a workshop. It’s my secret weapon for NaNoWriMo.

Some great books are:

  1. Vogler, Christopher, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  2. Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  3. Pearson, Carol, Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World

A more extensive bibliography comes with the eCourse.

If you like, I’ve got a video here. It is on YouTube but was on Periscope first. It’s not great quality video wise…it was my first one. 😀 I do a few exercises including this one. 😀

If you are doing NaNoWriMo, I’m there as TarotByArwen. I do it every year.

Please note that links included may be affiliate links which means I get a small monetary payment if you buy via them.

Originally posted in 2012. I've updated the post and republished.

Ghosts of the Past

What kisses did you mean to give? To get? Who can you not forget?

Halloween Oracle  Ghost Regret
Halloween Oracle
#affirmation This card makes me think of Ol’ Blue Eyes. No, not Bill Clinton, silly. The original Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. That hat-wearing son-of-a-gun Sinatra, Frank Sinatra.

Regrets? I’ve had a few….did it myyyyy way.

“Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.”

Here is the card Regrets from Stacey DeMarco’s Halloween Oracle (Blue Angel distributed by U.S. Games). The moment I saw the box I was drawn to this deck. The box features a sugar skull.

But this card is an eerie one with our milky-eyed miss misting in and out. She stares up and out in an unseeing way. She almost seems transfixed by whatever she sees.

Perhaps it is the memory of things she didn’t do. Things she didn’t try. People she didn’t forgive or didn’t forget. Kisses she meant to give. Love she meant to offer.

[Tweet “What kisses did you mean to give? To get? Who can you not forget?”]

I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want for my own afterlife. I may not be the type to ride my motorcycle sideways and slide in screaming whoo hooo, but I do want to be the woman who can say, “Yeah, I have no regrets. No ghosts to haunt me.”

What about you?

Today’s affirmation

I release my regrets. I let my fears ghost away. I believe that every choice I’ve made has led me to this moment. And this moment is good. The past holds more joy than sorrow because I choose to focus on the joy. I move into my future self confident in my ability to seek joy.

Seek joy, y’all Pass it on.

Yeah, thanks, Frank. I’ll do it my way too.

Regrets, Halloween Oracle, U.S. Games

P. to the S. One of my regrets that I’m striking off the list is doing a NaNoWriMo. I’ll be using my eCourse. Will you?

October Newsletter Has Been Sent

The October newsletter is on its way to all subscribers. Make sure you check to see if you won! You must claim your prize by 10/31/2014 so don’t delay.

Make Now Special Zentangle

[Tweet “October contest winner announced! Was it you? Are you subscribed so you can win?”]

The October newsletter is on its way to all subscribers. Make sure you check to see if you won! You must claim your prize by 10/31/2014 so don’t delay.

Don’t subscribe to the newsletter? Why not? I draw a name every month to get a free reading. It could have been you this month. Subscribe here.

And are you going to NaNoWriMo? Check this out if you are.

NaNoWriMo Workshop Special Pricing

Tomorrow is the very last day to sign up for the Tarot for Writers: Hero’s Journey and still make the early bird special pricing. If you are doing the NaNoWriMo writing challenge, I’ve scheduled this to start on 11/1 so you can use the workshop to help you hit your 50,000 word goal.

Here’s part of the first lesson to help you on your journey even if you can’t take the workshop now.

The Hero’s Journey is a monomyth. This is a description of a basic pattern found in many narratives from around the world. To learn more about how and why Joseph Campbell came up with this, you should Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Workshop Special Pricing”

Character Reading: Matt Lawrence

Today, I’m doing a reading for a Harlequin American Romance (TM) hero. Matt Lawrence takes a leading role in Barbara White Daille‘s sweet, contemporary romance Family Matters. I really enjoyed getting to know Matt and can’t wait to read his story. I think someone is leading him a merry chase.

From Barbara’s bio:

Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the dry heat and have taken up square dancing.

From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called “books.” Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.

Now let’s visit with Matt to find out what he thinks of his reading. Continue reading “Character Reading: Matt Lawrence”

WORKSHOP: Hero’s Journey for NaNoWriMo

Fool (World Spirit Tarot)
Fool (World Spirit Tarot)

It’s Baaaaaack!

NaNoWriMo starts in about a month. Are you signed up? Are you thinking about it? If you are, I have some tools for you to help you get started layering 3-D characters, creating believable worlds, structuring compelling plots and more.

Don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? From the NaNoWriMo site:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

If you want to take part in this crazy, intensive month where you can find support for your insanity, Continue reading “WORKSHOP: Hero’s Journey for NaNoWriMo”

NaNoWriMo Workshop & Specials

Fool (World Spirit Tarot)
Fool (World Spirit Tarot)

It’s Baaaaaack!

NaNoWriMo starts in less than a month. Are you signed up? Are you thinking about it? If you are, I have some tools for you to help you get started layering 3-D characters, creating believable worlds, structuring compelling plots and more.

Don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? From the NaNoWriMo site:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

If you want to take part in this crazy, intensive month where you can find support for your insanity, Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Workshop & Specials”

Tarot For Writers: Hero’s Journey (Spring 2009)

Join Arwen for an intensive, online workshop. Meet your characters as you have never met them before. Learn about their quirks and let your journey through the cards introduce you to their own past. Writer’s Block will never be a problem again with the Tarot cards to give you insight.

Let Arwen show you a new way to approach your writing. Hang on to your manuscripts as she unleashes the power of Tarot for you. In an online workshop, you will learn how to utilize the Tarot for yourself on a personal level. Meet your characters as you have never met them before. Learn about their quirks and let your journey through the cards introduce you to their own past. Writer’s Block will never be a problem again with the Tarot cards to give you insight.

• I’m so grateful for that class–you can’t imagine how indispensable the Hero’s Journey spread has been for me. It’s given me some amazing breakthroughs, and it was instrumental in writing my last outline for a proposal. It’s almost eerie when I look back and think, wow, if I hadn’t pulled that card, the novel might have taken an entirely different turn.–Jeri Smith-Ready

What can you expect from this class?

Continue reading “Tarot For Writers: Hero’s Journey (Spring 2009)”