Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tarot: Magical Mystery Tour

There are men who have the world by the tail and then there are men who just think they do. Which one are you? Oh, it goes for women, too.

Some women project an aura of confidence and expertise; they don't feel it inside. In the deep recesses of their hearts and minds, they are weak, ineffectual frauds who have learned how to fool the world, and sometimes themselves, into believing they are more competent, more self assured, more real than they are. They are magicians. If you look closely, you'll see these magicians aren't really good at their tricks. There's a card peeking out of their sleeve or the tail of a handkerchief cooing softly. Their magic is nothing more than illusion, not like the beginning of today's tarot post.


Look closely at the magician. He is he second card in the tarot deck, behind the fool who begins his journey will little experience and knowledge, but is game for anything. However, the magician's number is one (1) and he knows the secrets of the universe, can balance all four elements -- fire, earth, air and water -- and knows the best way to mesmerize you and put you under his spell. Or does he? Never forget the reversed card signifies a scoundrel, con-man, grifter or incompetent magician who just cannot seem to get his timing or his tricks straight.

The compelling gaze of the magician assures you he is aware of the laws of cause and effect and that he is in control. He is disciplined and responsible with the power he controls withing and between his hands with the tools at his disposal. He is focused and has honed his skills to a keen edge, yet he is aware of how much control to exert and that manipulating such power can blind him to the realities around him.

The magician is the messenger of the gods and he embodies the spirit of Mercury with his winged heels and hat as he flits between earth and the Olympian heights. When he delivers his message he never stammers or fumbles over the words; he has the patter down cold. He is a master of misdirection with the self confidence, talent, will and cunning to turn the world upside down, turn lead into gold and hearts to putting in his capable hands. Be careful how you deal with this magic man because he can see through your tricks and behind masks. The master magician knows the difference between illusion and reality whether it's his own or someone else's.

7 of Wands

Even though the man in the Seven of Wands faces danger and a strong opponent, he is strong and brave and can face the odds in any conflict. He is practiced in the art of war and he will succeed in whatever war he enters. Though the enemy threatens, this warrior is certain of his strength and will, but don't look beneath the surface. The strength he projects covers his deep lack of understanding of what he guards. Behind the door is a balcony and night has fallen. He has nowhere to go but down and he probably doesn't realize it as he focuses on his opponents and relies on his mastery of the weapon he wields. This warrior doesn't fear attack to his beliefs. He is on solid ground. His beliefs are simple: serve, protect and don't question, and yet he is capable of change. He knows it never hurts to examine his position because it will add to his knowledge and his ability to defend his position, his beliefs or his country. He is not an obstinate child. He is willing to admit defeat when he's wrong and refine his position and he never gives up because he's afraid. There is nothing to fear in knowledge, except the lack of it. He is a staunch ally.

The Chariot

It is said that opposites attract. The Chariot could be seen as the opposite of the Magician.

Here is a woman of power so profound that she moves forward through all obstacles. The sun above her is the sign of immense power and focus and yet she is busy looking off in another direction. In her royal purple robes, she is ruler of all she surveys, but she is distracted, a little off balance, as she looks away from her chosen path. Don't get the idea she isn't in control; she is always in control -- most of the time. She is a woman with a strong will, but she has achieved her strength and her position without really understanding it. She has the ability to maintain order in the midst of chaos, but she lacks focus.

The sphinxes that pull her chariot are adept with riddles. One is silver and the other gold, opposites or opposing ideas, but they continue to move forward, posing their riddles to all who cross their path just as Oedipus once did. Oedipus was luckier than most. He solved the sphinx's riddle. Will you be so lucky when you find yourself in the path of this juggernaut?

Don't worry. You can do more and are more than you know. Set your goals and keep going. Don't stop moving forward. Don't stop learning because no matter what you know, or think you know, there is always more to learn and accomplish. You are in the driver's seat.

These three cards suggest a story. On one hand, there is a strong and confident man, sure of his abilities who is confident he can achieve whatever he chooses. He is adept and his skills are hard won, but he knows that there is nothing he tries that he cannot achieve, that is until he meets with a woman who is as strong and confident as he. She is his match in almost every way, but one. She doesn't want to settle down. She is a traveler, a seeker, a woman of power and privilege who intimidates most people, but not him. She is independence and spirited with a taste for adventure and conquest. He understands conquest because he has conquered himself and the elements. He is a scientist or doctor at the top of his profession. She is earthier and more basic, goal oriented, but easily distracted, and he finds that he wants to catch her attention. This is a mystery he is anxious to solve, if he can just get past her defenses and gain her attention long enough to get her focused on him so he can discover the secret she is determined to guard -- from him and from herself.

The thing about using tarot cards to help lay the groundwork for writing is that the cards provide the seeds and you determine how and where they grow. What these particular cards suggest to me this morning may not be what they will suggest tomorrow, next week or even next month. Each moment, each experience changes us and how we view the world around us. A casual conversation, a phrase or an idea can grow into so much more. When it happens to me I write it down, especially when I'm working on something else (I don't want to lose it), and sometimes I find a way to fit it into my current work in progress (WIP). Stretch your mind and the possibilities. Don't be afraid to step back or look away for a few minutes. There's now way to know what will change or how it will change if you're willing to stop and take a breath before continuing on your way.

For instance, Mary Ann and I were talking the other day and she mentioned that athletes inhabit their bodies differently than non-athletes. As I watched part of Brideshead Revisited last night a stray thought burrowed down and came up this morning into a new thought. It's not just athletes, but people from all walks of life that inhabit their bodies -- or skin -- in a palpably different way. You can tell the difference between someone who is comfortable with wealth and someone who recently became wealthy just as you can tell when a couple are close and when they're at odds. They don't have to say anything. It is in the way they move -- alone or together. Body language is more accurate than words most of the time. The trick for writers is to take body language and infuse it into their characters, help them inhabit their bodies more believably. Writers are magicians, but they can be adept or fumble their tricks. It's all all about practice and observation and knowing how to inhabit your body and how your characters inhabit theirs.

Until next week, what will the tarot cards reveal about your characters?

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