Tarot In Nine Words: The Devil

Card Fifteen is one of the BigBadBohemeth ™ cards of the Tarot. The Devil carries such ingrained meanings for any one who was raised in a typical Christian home–myself included. But I will never forget what Father Trimble (Episcopal) said once.

Rider Waite Smith Devil
Rider Waite Smith

I began this project in 2008. One of my hundred things to do is finish this project.

Back in 1993 I started a thread called the 9Word Poetry Challenge. We put up nine words and were to create poems from them. I still do that challenge every now and again. I then applied it to the Tarot.

I look at the card to get nine words. Then those nine words have to be used in a poem about the card. 😀 Sounds easy, right? Well, sometimes…it’s not!

Card Fifteen is one of the BigBadBohemeth ™ cards of the Tarot. The Devil carries such ingrained meanings for any one who was raised in a typical Christian home–myself included. But I will never forget what Father Trimble (Episcopal) said once.

“Hell is being removed from God.”

He never preached brimstone and fire, but the idea of being absented from God’s presence scared the beejeezus out of me. When I first started reading the Tarot, the Devil was a difficult concept for me.

Then I learned that this card was about overindulging in self-pleasures and not caring how it affected others.

Here are my nine words: Wings Chains Flames Fruit Naked Torch Frown Horns Satyr

Here is my poem:

The Devil You Know

Tie me down but let me go
Chains I’ve made myself
Your horns curve towards me
My own reach to your wings
Vestigial tail lit with flames
A reminder of passions unwatched
Some fruits remain forbidden
Still I would be naked to you
Your frown a terrible thing
Release me, you fearsome satyr
I cry then realize this sad thing
Your torch is lit by my own flame
I control the locks and keys.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch

I encourage you to try your hand at this!

You can see my other poems here.

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Tarotscopes for November 24-30, 2013

Tarotscopes for November 24-30, 2013

Vanessa Tarot, UniverseWelcome to Tarotscopes for November 24-30, 2013. This is a mixed bag week and some of you need to work on thought patterns a little more intensely, please and thank you.

Did you miss last week’s You Never Know with Seressia? We discussed magical vajayjays. No really!

Tomorrow, 11/25, PA Minnell will be chatting with me about her Maori Oracle. We might even convince her to do a reading or two. It’s a rare opportunity for a peek into the Maori culture. This deck has amazed me every time I’ve worked with it. Join the show’s Facebook page to get the links and time.

My eCourse Mapping The Hero’s Journey is winning some rave reviews. “The first few character-building days brought me a wealth of goodness right away” is just one lovely comment I’ve gotten. Sign up today and take the course at your own pace.

  • AQUARIUS SIX OF COINS Generosity wins. Nature, spirit, soul–be loving and giving in all. Don’t expect a return. Let the giving be the reward.
  • PISCES SIX OF SWORDS Let someone help you. Ask to be guided away from sorrow towards joy. Your thoughts threaten to sink your ship. Seek joy, y’all.
  • ARIES KING OF SWORDS Follow your thoughts where they lead you. Then leap again. You have a brainstorm of AMAZING this week. Pay attention.
  • TAURUS THE HIEROPHANT Time to be the teacher. Time to remind them of the rules of school. Boundaries must be set more firmly. Yes, again.
  • GEMINI ACE OF SWORDS Time to be startin’ something. You better be startin’ something. What you put your mind to, succeeds. So do that, okay?
  • CANCER ACE OF CUPS Love comes your way. Open up to the possibilities. Deepen your relationships to find the missing meaning of life. Open.
  • LEO TEN OF SWORDS Your thoughts are your own worst enemy some days. Turn those sharp points down. No, don’t aim them at someone else. Sheesh!
  • VIRGO FOUR OF COINS A budget doesn’t mean denial. It means thoughtful choices that mean something. Spend what needs to be spent but only that.
  • LIBRA KNIGHT OF SWORDS Your thoughts are on overdrive. So many things to think about, dream about. Choose your battles wisely, padawan.Vanessa Tarot, Ace of Cups
  • SCORPIO SEVEN OF WANDS Defend your position with passion but don’t drive off your support team in the process. Stand that ground carefully.
  • SAGITTARIUS THE TOWER Not to worry, darlings. Your bumps will be minimized by your sheer awesomeness. Prepare for the unexpected to succeed.
  • CAPRICORN QUEEN OF WANDS Communicate effectively by showing rather than telling. You know…walk the talk. Super busy week. Expect multitasking as usual.

BONUS! Mary K. Greer’s Tarot For Yourself is the first book I recommend when someone wants to dive into Tarot. It’s available on Kindle. I just found out! I know…I’ve been sleeping again. Now I have her whenever I need her! Get your own today.

Today’s deck was the sassy Vanessa Tarot from U.S. Games Systems Inc. It’s always a party fave!

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Tarotscopes, Mama + Dreams

Hey y’all! I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What are your goals this week? What about your dreams? What steps, big or small, will you take towards your goals and dreams? Let’s seek joy together, y’all.

Gaian_3Group002Hey y’all! I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What are your goals this week? What about your dreams? What steps, big or small, will you take towards your goals and dreams? Let’s seek joy together, y’all.

Mark your calendars for tomorrow Monday November 18. Not only would it be my beloved mother’s 70th birthday, but it is also time for my internet broadcast. Join me for a video chat with the amazing, award-winning author, Seressia Glass. She will be giving away her Harlequin e-book trilogy. I might even do a few free readings if we have time. Go here to keep up with this and other upcoming shows.

Tarotscopes for November 17-23, 2013

  • AQUARIUS EIGHT OF AIR More listening. Less sharing. Find out what they want and need to succeed. Make it about them this week. Seek counsel.
  • PISCES HERMIT Study more. Learn the lessons before you teach them. Nature holds the truths you seek. Less others. More you. Tea for one is best.
  • ARIES ACE OF AIR Oh my beauty! Time to believe in you a bit harder. Open up to the wonder. Joy is on the way. Spread your wings to embrace it.
  • TAURUS CHILD OF FIRE Tempted? Not a bad week to indulge in some play. Seek the heat. Let your mind have some acrobatic time. It’s all good.
  • GEMINI ELDER OF EARTH You need to focus on the finish. Realize that it’s time to complete rather than start. Tie up ALL the loose ends first.
  • CANCER TWO OF FIRE Heat up the sheets, baby. Burn off a little energy showing someone else your moves. Time to open up spirit to connect deep and hard.
  • LEO TWO OF WATER Emotional depths need to be plumbed. Dive into that other person. Love them to learn about them. Learn about them…Yeah. That.
  • VIRGO CHILD OF WATER Explore emotions. Wade in a bit deeper to connect with friends more. Your heart needs feeding so indulge that need.
  • LIBRA GUARDIAN OF FIRE Allow your passion room. Guard what is precious. Indulge in spiritual connections. Listen to spirit this week, please.
  • SCORPIO FOUR OF WATER Okay to spend time focusing on emotional loss but don’t dwell, darling. Look up to see other offers. Reach out for hugs.
  • SAGITTARIUS THREE OF EARTH Your friends are key to your success this week. Involve to resolve. Get 2nd, 3rd opinions. Make this decision a committee one.
  • CAPRICORN BUILDER Details are key. Get focused. You’re in charge for a reason. Protect your boundaries but don’t hover, please. Love works.

And if you are a #NaNoWriMo participant, get a boost with my Tarot for Writers’ eCourse: Mapping the Hero’s Journey. This is a self-paced course so you don’t have to scramble to turn anything in. Here’s what one class taker said, “I’m enjoying the ecourse and I find that using the tarot is helping me think outside the box.” (JT)

What about you? Ready to add another tool to your writer’s toolbox?

[Tweet “Sharing this week’s Tarotscopes brings me joy. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!”]

Gaian Tarot, Joanna Powell Colbert

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

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Tarot In Nine Words: Temperance

RWS_TemperanceI was a bit surprised where this card took me. In my ongoing personal journey through the Major Arcana in various ways (the Fool’s Journey is another where I am telling the tale of the Fool as he meets the various Majors), this is the poetry version. Using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, I look at the card. I write down nine words that come to me. Some are simple descriptions of the cards while others are impressions I get. I try to relinquish what I already know. That is difficult. It is hard to separate the many years of study and approach this with a beginner’s or Fool’s mind.

I invite you to join me. Look at the same card in your favorite deck. I am using the RWS for its familiarity for most of us. But you take your own Temperance. Write down nine words about that card. Then craft a poem for that card using those nine words somehow. I love this as a writing exercise.

See the other poems of the Major Arcana here.

The Nine Words: Stand Pour Scarlet Gold Path Lily Gaze Foot Wings


Stand like a terra cotta soldier
Posed for an emperor’s pleasure
Wings stretched in supplication
I pour
I pour
I pour

One foot firm upon the green earth
One foot casting for stability
with only a lily to support me
I pour
I pour
I pour

Scarlet heralds life’s blood
Scarlet sheds all death’s blood.
Gold shimmers balancing the red
I pour
I pour
I pour

Continue on your seeker’s path
Take my lesson of balanced wings
Know moderation to know peace
I pour
You pour
We pour

Stephanie Arwen Lynch (c) All Rights Reserved

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How A Fool Does Wander: Revisited

Mary-El_FoolToday’s card is a reminder that I need to finish something. Here is the start of what I need to finish.

I am a storyteller by nature. I write as part of the writing team of Marilu Mann with my best friend, Cai Smith. Together we have three novels currently under contract with Ellora’s Cave Publishing. (EDIT: We now have eight so you can tell how long I’ve been working on this!) You can find out more about that here if you like. I also write a column for Tarot World magazine. (UPDATE: This magazine suffered a dismal death.) That column is called Fool’s Corner which is geared towards offering information to help anyone beginning their journey with Tarot.

I wanted to tell a story about the Fool as he went about his travels through the other Major Arcana. Most Tarot decks start with 0, Zero, Void, the Fool. The Fool is so fluid as he dances through the other 21 Majors. Here is his first encounter with something other than his own brash impulsive nature. Consider how his first impulsive step hurtles him into the path of the other cards.

The day dawned sunny and bright. Our hero, known to everyone as The Fool, decided that such a lovely day deserved a journey. So he grabbed a cloth and put a few things he found important in it then twisted it up on a stick. Whistling for his companion, The Fool headed out the door.

Coming to a split in the road, The Fool had to make a decision. As he never worried too much about these things, The Fool closed his eyes and twirled about three times. Then he took the the fork in front of him.

As he sauntered down the path, he hummed a merry tune. Those notes died in his throat when he saw a strange sight. A man in robes stood before a stone table.

The Fool, never one to keep silent, blurted out, “What are all these things about you, sir? Why do you need them? I only have my dog and my bag on my stick. I trust that the Universe will provide for me as I go throught my journey. Do you?”

“Ah, young one, you have just begun and I am only the beginning. The objects you see are the Wand of Movement, the Sword of Inspiration, the Cup of Love and the Coin of Prosperity. Once I was as you were. Then I found that I could create what I wanted if I had the tools and the key.”

“The key?” The Fool perked his ears like a dog might when they sight a cat.”What is the key? Can you give me this key?”

“I can give you the name of the key, young one, but you must find it within yourself. The name is Will. You must find it for yourself or it means nothing. And all the tools in the world are nothing without it.”

The Magician turned back to his tools and focused once again. He called energy from the Earth and Sky into himself to be forged into his own Intent.

And the Fool journeyed on wondering where he might find this Will that the Magician spoke of.

As the Fool wandered down his path looking for Will. He asked a butterfly he passed if it had seen Will?

“No, but the Lady might know! Follow me!”

….Read the rest of the Fool’s Journey here.

Follow along as he meets the Major Arcana. I’m up to Judgment…. Just need to finish with the World.

Fool, Mary El Tarot, Schiffer

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Tarot In 9 Words: Death

RWS_13DeathThis is part of my ongoing 9Words Poetry project. I take a Major Arcana (I’m working through them in order). I pull nine words from that card then create a poem.

The poem isn’t meant to be an interpretation so much as an experience for me. This one was.. well, today marks the eleventh year since my beloved Mama left for her own journey with Death. So when I decided I would “just write a poem and get the post over with,” you can imagine the gobsmacked look on my face when I saw what card I was at in the list.

Yes, Universe, I hear You. Loud and Clear

The 9Words: King Child horse forward uncaring Gold Blue White Armor

Death’s Armor

They say you come riding a pale horse.
That you are uncaring, unspeaking, cold.
They say you are unavoidable in passing.
They say a lot but do they know?

You come for the king.
You come for the child.
You come for the mother.
You come for them all.

They say a lot but do they know?
Gold can’t buy you.
Black or white doesn’t sway you.
Blue doesn’t soothe you.

And I have to wonder if they know?
You wear the armor.
You ride the horse.
You carry the banner.

Not, as they say, because you conquer all,
But because you must protect your own heart.
That you wear the armor because you must.

Death rides a pale horse.
Not uncaring.
Not unseeing.

Death rides a pale horse.
Collecting debts owed.
For lives spent, well or not.

In your wake you leave change.
How those left, spend it?
That’s up to them.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch
For Marilu 11/18/39-06/19/2002

See the full list of poems so far.

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Life, She Said

Zentangle5132013Today’s card isn’t a card. It’s a poem that I wrote. I hope you enjoy.

Tears, Breathless, Union, Blocked, Insanity, Safety, Love, Hope, Help


Life, she said
To everyone
in particular
Those who never listen,
Isn’t about union.
There is no safety
Not in numbers.
Not in tears
Not in breathless, deathless, reckless kisses
The kind that leave you gasping
For air
For them
For you.

Life, she said
Is about not letting them
Rob you
Steal your hope
Render you incapable
Of ripping away that net
Of their inexpressable
love? No that’s not it.

Help, she said
Is asking for it
and insanity,she said,
is accepting it as truth.
Live, she said
Don’t be blocked
Don’t be stopped.
Love, she said.
Just love.

Stephanie Arwen Lynch
May 7, 2013

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The Cards of Life and Death

cardsgleasonWhat would you do if you could ask a writer questions and have them answered? I was so lucky to have Colleen Gleason (international best selling author) do just that. I found out about a book she wrote called The Cards of Life and Death. I happened to know Colleen through a writing association (RWA is an invaluable asset) so I sent her a quick tweet that her book had popped up on a Tarot discussion. Then I asked if she would do an interview. Man, is she fast. It’s like she a professional writer or something.

Oh wait. She is. Not only does she write as Colleen Gleason, she also writes as Joss Ware. This woman is a talented storyteller and you would be doing yourself a favor to read her books. I read my first Gleason novel, The Rest Falls Away, after getting a signed copy at an RWA event a few years back. WOW. Regency vampires with a real twist that took my breath away. And she is multifaceted as well. But let me stop raving about Colleen and let you hear from her yourself.

1. Do you read tarot yourself?

Colleen: I have read books about Tarot and have always been fascinated by it, but I don’t really read cards. I find the entire concept fascinating, though, and I believe that a person who understands the elements of each card can open his or her mind and truly find guidance.

Thought I don’t read Tarot, I do use Oracle cards for daily guidance and affirmation. I think it’s because they are simpler for me to understand. 😉

2. Why use tarot in this story?

Colleen: As I mentioned, I’ve always found Tarot fascinating, and I believe there is some truth to it. But the core of the story came when I learned that cards should be wrapped in black, and protected from other people using them. It got me to wondering what would happen to a deck of Tarot after its owner died…and what if that owner wanted to send a message. Thus I came up with the idea of a “haunted” deck of Tarot, where the ghost/spirit of the owner (or even the cards themselves) are trying to send a message to a young woman who is filled black and white logic and doesn’t believe in psychic messages.

3. Do you have a deck you prefer?

Colleen: I own the Angels Tarot which I think is beautiful, and I used the the Rider-Waite deck images to describe the cards in my book The Cards of Life and Death. I’d like to get a steampunk Tarot deck because I’m sure it would be lovely.

4. Have you ever used tarot to help plot a story or create a character?

Colleen: I’ve tried! I started a class that was for writers who wanted to use the Tarot for this purpose. But I didn’t have time to finish the class, and sort of let it go.

I’m sure I will again some time, because I feel that the Tarot can help to open your mind to the subconscious–and I wholly believe that all my stories area already planted and flourishing in my subconscious….I just have to find them.

5. What surprised you the most about writing this story?

Colleen: How well the cards fit in with the story itself; how well the cards could represent what was happening to the main character Diana. It was effortless for me to figure out how the cards, which were giving her messages she tried to ignore, could fit in and represent character development. I really enjoyed using that element, and I hope that Tarot readers enjoy the story–and that I didn’t make any glaring mistakes! 😉

Here’s a bit about this terrific story from Colleen Gleason.

The Cards of Life and Death

A small-town summer romance spiced up with moonlit boat rides, handsome neighbors, and a haunted deck of Tarot cards….

Diana Iverson is a sharp, up and coming malpractice attorney with a logical, scientific mind and a handsome fiance–until the rug is pulled out from under her feet and her life is upended.

When her crazy Aunt Belinda dies, leaving her a big old house in Maine along with a box of Tarot cards, Diana takes the opportunity for a summer get-away away from the rat-race of Boston and the painful memories there.

She doesn’t expect to meet up with Ethan Tannock, the handsome neighbor next door who seems to be some sort of eccentric ghost-buster–along with his big, black Labrador Retriever.

But when the old house becomes the scene of vandalism and a number of break-ins, and it begins to appear as if Aunt Belinda’s death was not as it seemed, Diana finds that life isn’t always black and white and filled with logic.

And then there are Aunt Belinda’s Tarot cards…which seem to be trying to tell her something from beyond the grave.


GOOD NEWS! The Cards of Life And Death (Kindle version) is on sale for .99 cents until Sunday! This is the second book but I believe it can be read as a stand alone. I am warning you now that you will want to read more of her work.

And check her out as Joss Ware at http://www.joss-ware.com. I recommend starting with Beyond The Night and not stopping.

I’d like to thank Colleen for doing this super fast interview with me. I’m so sold on her work that I will give away a $10 gift card to Amazon to buy one of her books. All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment on this post. If you want to get an extra entry, just share this post on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest. Then tell me in a separate comment with a link to the share. So you can get four entries. Contest ends Friday at midnight PST. I’ll announce the winner on Sunday’s Tarotscopes.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

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Weights, Beauty & Spoons

I don’t know a thing about them. None of them are signed. I imagine all of them are just old things someone collected because they made them smile.

Today’s card isn’t a card. It’s a picture of some antique paperweights I won at an auction. They remind me that even functional things can (and should) have beauty.

These six items bring me a lot of joy. I got the egg shaped one first then the other five in a lot bid. I don’t know a thing about them. None of them are signed. I imagine all of them are just old things someone collected because they made them smile.

Today’s challenge is to find beauty in some common object. Maybe there is a pretty scroll work on the chapter heading of your text book. Or the color of your favorite blouse makes you happy. Take a moment to focus on your ordinary, everyday life.

What is beautiful there? What do you use every day? See the joy that is right there at your fingertips just waiting to be found.

Have a fabulous day, y’all. I just looked at the spoon I used to eat my breakfast. Gorgeous intricate pattern that someone, somewhere worked out in their head, then put on paper so someone could create this simple metal spoon that I use every day.

How amazing is that?

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on!

Six Paperweights, personal collection, Arwen 2012

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Frida, Beverly & Passion

You want to bring your voice into the story. It’s really the only reason to tell a story to me. So others can see things how I see them if only for a few hundred pages at a time.

Oh darlings! Sorry for the lateness of today’s thought. I did a reading with a beautiful soul then dove into my book, Mapping The Hero’s Journey. I will just share a bit of that with you today as I am consumed with the passion of this.
Fire, like all the elements has both good and bad inherent. You can’t cook a decent steak without a flame, but you can also burn Chicago down if you aren’t careful. A lot of fire showing in a story arc always makes me think of a passionately lived life like that of Frida Kahlo or Beverly Sills. How does fire make you feel? It’s important to take your own slant into consideration when working with the Tarot—especially as a writer. You want to bring your voice into the story. It’s really the only reason to tell a story to me. So others can see things how I see them if only for a few hundred pages at a time.

So what is your story that you want to tell? What burns you up until you weep with joy when you can finally share it? Is it a story? A song? A ceramic pot? A well-groomed dog? A successful child? Your passion isn’t my passion as mine isn’t yours. We have different fires within us that urge us forward to make a difference in our worlds.

Go out today and make that change. Burn with passion. Let yourself dream huge. The Universe and I both are here to cheer you on. You go, girl. You go, boy. Go. Burn. Be the it kid. I love you and I know you can do this.

Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on.

Dolphins April 2012, personal collection of Arwen Lynch

Whoa. I think this is a picture by the professional photographer. I took a bunch but I also got some from him via my company. Not sure this is mine

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