I met up with a very dear friend recently, and as we were catching up with all of our news, we got to talking about my passion for art and tarot. And I realized that while in my mind the two are connected, I’ve never actually explained how I use the tarot as part of my creative practice.
One of the ways in which I consistently use the tarot to inform my art and creative practice is in my moon journal. I’ve never really attempted to explain the linkage before, but I’m going to try, and I hope this will give you some insight into how you can also use the tarot in your art and creative practice.
Using tarot for creativity: Seeing the signs and symbols in the cards
My fascination with the tarot cards began in my teens. My initial exposure to them was via a friend who had brought back a tarot deck from one of her visits to the US. As we looked at the images on the cards and read the little white book that came along with it, it seemed somewhat mysterious and a bit spooky that we could potentially get so much information from a deck of 78 cards.
That initial exposure to the cards deepened my fascination with tarot, and I remember spending hours on angelfire websites reading whatever I could find on the tarot.
The symbols and scenes on the cards lend themselves beautifully to storytelling, and I find them to be an endless source of wisdom and inspiration.
So potent is the symbolical language of the tarot cards that noted Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung also recognized that the tarot had its origin in the collective unconscious, and could serve as a bridge between the unconscious and the conscious.
When I pull tarot cards for myself, the colors, symbols, and story within the cards lend themselves to a visual or feeling-toned image in my mind, which I can bring to life on the canvas or in my art journal.
Using tarot in my art and creative practice: Translating a tarot spread into a piece of art
As I already mentioned, the one place where I always combine the tarot and art is in my moon journal.
On each new and full moon I do an in-depth tarot reading for myself, and I use the imagery, colors, story, and feelings that arise from the reading to create a piece of art.
I think I can best explain this with an example.
I drew the following cards on the recent full moon in Leo, using this spread that I had created.
I spent some time interpreting the cards intuitively, and made a note of my insights in my journal. I then spent some time just gazing at the cards. Allowing the images, symbols, and colors to “speak” to me. And I used the feelings and thoughts that arose – along with the written insights – to create the following spread in my art journal.
The wide open heart is a combination of the Ace of Cups and The Star. This understanding of following my own bliss, my dreams, and allowing my heart to guide me in everything that I do.
I drew on the 6 of Pentacles – the energy of divine reciprocity, of giving and receiving – in her bright orange mane of hair, which is also evocative of Leo energy.
And I interpreted the contented energy of the King of Pentacles in the plants growing on her dress. To me, this symbolizes the contentment that comes from tending and nurturing my dreams and my precious heart.
Also read: A flip through of my moon journal from 2019
This is an example of very consciously translating the symbols and meanings and feelings that the tarot cards evoke into a creative art journal spread. I do the same thing when I paint intuitively.
Using tarot in my art practice: Creating intuitive art using tarot storytelling
I often draw a few tarot or oracle cards before starting an intuitive painting. At this time, I’m not looking for any guidance for myself per se. Instead, I use the tarot cards for storytelling.
Looking at the cards above as an example, the story here is one of trusting the Universe. Of holding a dream close to your heart…of listening to your heart’s wisdom and intuition…of putting in the work towards your dream, and trusting that for each step you take, the Universe will take a step towards you, too.
And then holding that story….that feeling….those colors lightly in your mind’s eye as you paint.
Also see: Intuitive painting process: Into the storm – In this post + video, I walk you through how I created an intuitive painting using the story from a few oracle cards I drew before I started this painting session.
Using tarot in my creative practice: using the tarot cards to write an article
Another fun way in which to use the tarot in your creative practice is to draw a few cards and write a blog post or article based on what comes up!
One way to do this is to separate all the major arcana cards and pull a theme from there. Then shuffled the rest of the deck and pull a few cards and use those as prompts to build up an article.
When you’re using the tarot in this way, I would recommend that you trust your intuition. Spend some time looking at the images on the tarot cards. How do the images make you feel? What thoughts pop into your head? Do you have a personal association with any of the symbols?
For example, if I look at the cards above, I can make an immediate connection with the bookshelf behind the King of Pentacles, because I have a similar floor-to-ceiling bookshelf in my home. How, then, can this association and the rest of these cards be used to write an interesting blog post?
Also see: Three keys to creative living I used the tarot cards to write this post!
How to use tarot in your art and creative practice
If this article has you hooked on the many ways in which you can use the tarot intuitively in your art and creative practice, then I encourage you to take a look at Pull Pen Paint: A Journey of Self-Discovery Using Signs, Symbols, and Systems in Your Spiritual & Creative Practice.
I’m returning as a teacher on this course for the second time this year, and I will be teaching a lesson combining the tarot, journaling, story as medicine, and art. And I couldn’t be more excited!
Pull Pen Paint is designed to help you to learn to trust your intuition more fully, more deeply, and more intentionally. We pull cards (tarot and oracle), interpret them intuitively, journal using our intuitive insights, and even take it a step further and use the cards to spark our creative practices!
We spend time looking at all the parts of ourselves through ancient systems like astrology, numerology, chakras, and symbol study. We make art, write poetry, discuss ritual and ceremony, connect with the moon, spend time with our muse and fellowship with other souls on similar journeys.
Our host and course curator Kiala has brought together more than 30 teachers from all walks of life to share their love of journaling, tarot, intuition, spiritual empowerment, and diving deep to uncover the answers that live inside of us. It’s going to be an amazing journey back to yourself.
I mean, there is a reason that I have been part of this course ever since it started – four years ago! The first two years as a student, last year and this year as both teacher and student. Every year, the depth and breadth of this class leaves me astounded. There’s a wealth of wisdom in here and some amazingly talented and gifted teachers and guides!
I wholeheartedly recommend this course – and not just because I’m teaching on it! If you love creating art, reading tarot and oracle cards, want to deepen your tarot practice, learn how to really trust your intuition and do some deep soul excavation, you need to sign up!
Plus, there’s so much information in the foundational section from previous years that alone is worth the price of admission!
I really hope you will consider joining us!
And if you have any questions at all – about the course or about using the tarot in your art and creative practice, leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer all your questions!