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

E-backSince 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

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

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 multiple 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.

Following the Series

You can follow this series in the blog’s category feed here.

Alternatively, you can click the links for the individual installments in the table below:

Ace of Cups Two of Cups Three of Cups Four of Cups
Five of Cups Six of Cups Seven of Cups Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups Ten of Cups Page of Cups Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups King of Cups Ace of Wands Two of Wands
Three of Wands Four of Wands Five of Wands Six of Wands
Seven of Wands Eight of Wands Nine of Wands Ten of Wands
Page of Wands Knight of Wands Queen of Wands King of Wands
Ace of Pentacles Two of Pentacles Three of Pentacles Four of Pentacles
Five of Pentacles Six of Pentacles Seven of Pentacles Eight of Pentacles
Nine of Pentacles Ten of Pentacles Page of Pentacles Knight of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles King of Pentacles Ace of Swords Two of Swords
Three of Swords Four of Swords Five of Swords Six of Swords
Seven of Swords Eight of Swords Nine of Swords Ten of Swords
Page of Swords Knight of Swords Queen of Swords King of Swords
The Fool The Magician The High Priestess The Empress
The Emperor The Hierophant The Lovers The Chariot
Strength The Hermit The Wheel Justice
The Hanged Man Death Temperance The Devil
The Tower The Star The Moon The Sun
Judgement The World

More Tarot Goodness

If you are interested in learning the basics of tarot from me, visit my Exploring Tarot blog series here.

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

Page Last Updated: 12-24-20

2 thoughts on “Exploring Emotions with Tarot

  1. Pingback: Exploring Character with Six of Cups – The Art of Chaos

  2. Pingback: Thank You for Exploring Emotions with Tarot with Me – The Art of Chaos

If you enjoyed this post, or have some thoughts about it, please let me know!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.