Exploring Emotions with Tarot

Starting next week, every Tuesday there will be an Exploring Emotions with Tarot featured post. This will focus on one card and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing as well as a means to explore our own emotions.

It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. I believe the reason for this is that visual art has a way of tapping into our symbolic and metaphoric vocabularies on a subconscious level. In doing so, it evokes emotion within us.

This series aims to explore this phenomenon using tarot with intentional purpose. The goal is to have a personal emotive keyword bank by the end of the series inspired by the images of these cards to enhance our communication, both in our writing and our every day lives.

Introduction of the Card


In this section I’ll introduce the basics of the card and since I’ll be following the same sequence as the Tarot Thursdays series, I will be linking over to the corresponding card for its basic meanings so we won’t need to repeat that information here.

Card Examples

Since this is something that both my mentor and my therapist wanted my to do, I decided to feature all eight decks I own in this series. It only made sense to me that if I’m going to do this that I work with the cards I own and be productive.

The Writing Exercise

The assignment for this exercise is to write what you are feeling as inspired by this card. Either choose your emotive keyword first and get started from there, or start with your feelings and work your way towards a single keyword.

The purpose here is to have a singular emotional word associated with the card that you can later use for randomized prompts or for your mood charts.

Now for the sake of argument, let’s all make sure we’re on the same page on what the definition for the word emotion is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word emotion is:

a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word emotion is:

1. the affective aspect of consciousness: feeling
2. a state of feeling
3. a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body

Personally, I think the Oxford Dictionary nails it. Either way, going by these definitions as our guide, we can forge ahead in choosing our emotional keywords for these cards.

You also want to practice using this emotional word. What does this feel like to you? When does it happen? What do you do when it occurs?

The more often you use it, the easier it becomes to express it and the more effective you become in expressing yourself when you need to.

Write it in context of yourself or in context of your character. Write it in prose. Write it in poetry. Doesn’t matter so long as you’re practicing with expressing this emotion in whatever way feels right to you.

What this Card Means to Me

As I said before, my mentor wanted me to choose a card any time I felt a strong emotion. Problem is, I have both PTSD and Unspecified Personality Disorder with Schizoid Traits on top of having Bipolar Disorder Type I. What this means is not only are my feelings intense, I have difficulties expressing them to others. Now that I have PTSD, I have a tendency to stuff them away and ignore them. This creates a difficulty in identifying them.

So when I mentioned this to my therapist, she jumped on it. She suggested that instead of trying to identifying the emotion first, to try to pick a card with an image that matched how I felt and then write about it until I had a word.

You would think this would be easier. Sometimes it is. Sometimes the words flow like water out of a tap. Other times it feels like bleeding on paper. And there are even times I think I’d rather pull out my own teeth.

So I’m not going to promise you that this is all fun and games. There is a reason I’ve chose to feature all my decks for this series. Some cards might have an image that will trigger a very strong feeling in you. Most of the time for me, I didn’t think it was a big deal until I started writing. Then it became hard to manage what I was feeling. It’s okay to pick a different version of the card to work with if you need to. It’s okay to work in steps.

Really, I promise.

You may revisit this series as many times as you need to.

So this section is where I will be doing my own work with the card within this series.

I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!

Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Illustrator) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2011
Mystic Dreamers Tarot by Heidi Darras (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2012
Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2015
Mystic Faerie Tarot by Linda Ravenscroft (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2015
Steampunk Tarot by Aly Fell (Illustrator), Barbara Moore (Author) © 2012


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