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Narrative-style Tarot

I’m going to call this “Tarotive” – is that tacky? 😉

My most recent work with the Tarot involved a style that is new for me.

As I prepared myself and my space for my work, I kept a situation in mind. Currently, this is an issue for which I needed some clarity of direction; the perfect kind of issue for Tarotive work.   I reflected on the layout structure I would use but I did not ‘assign’ any meaning to specific positions. I also did not use a prepared spread. Instead, I identified the first card as ‘protagonist’ and let the rest of the story flow in order of the cards. Today’s ‘Tarotive’ work builds on the knowledge that the cards already include narrative elements: characters, challenges, supports, places, and events that can be strung together to form a story.

Since I started my Tarotive on the first ‘Sun’day after the Summer Solstice, I created an 8- card layout, one for each point in the Wheel of the Year. I set the cards out to represent the spherical shape of the Sun and also chose Joanna Powell Colbert’s Earth-themed Gaian Tarot deck (my limited edition deck is still a fave after 8 years!).  When I work with my own questions at home, I often gather support resources.

(As a side note… Although I will ‘run through’ my interpretation ‘sans support’, I like to access my Tarot library to add differing perspectives or to sometimes challenge my own thinking. When working with yourself, it’s easy to see only what you want to see instead of what you need to see.)

A couple of the magical shelves in our built-in library. 

My narrative begins with me represented in the 4 of Air, weaves through supports, reflections, journeys and endings. My story concludes with ‘The Builder’ from the Major Arcana.


My 8-card Summer Solstice ‘Tarotive’.

When done, I tend to leave my Tarot work out for a period of time so that I can revisit it and reflect on it. (Tuesday morning as I finish this post and it’s still out.)

I have tried this more open, narrative style several times this month and it seems to be a style for which I’m going to hold space.

Try it! Think of a situation or question for which you (or someone else) are seeking guidance. Visualize a card layout with a representative link to the energy you’d like to draw on for  your work; it might be the day, the time of year, a current astrological cycle, the situation… My Sun-shaped 8-card spread is an example of the solstice energy associated with the time of year where I live. Begin the narrative with the querent, wrap it up with the last card, and see where your story takes you.

And, if you feel comfortable doing so, share your experience in the comments. I’m curious to see if this Tarotive style works for you.

A month late – Playing at Beltane

I completed this exercise & wrote this post over a month ago. I hummed and hawed about posting it. Then I forgot my humming and hawing. 😁 I found it again in drafts and am posting it now, for no other reason that I believe it is arrogant to assume no one is interested in or can learn from what we have to say. Always let the reader decide.
I have a process I go through when learning a new deck. I’m a book person. Two degrees and enough random credits for a 3rd, I like the certainly of the printed word and work my way through a deck with references at first.

Of course, The longer I play this game, the shorter the time before I remove this crutch.

It’s still there with the Wildwood. This is my first multi-card reading with the deck. I thought I’d share, books and all.

The morning of Beltane, I ‘lit my fire’ (burned my incense), opened my blinds to welcome the God as he entered the sky and say ‘so long’ to the Goddess (she being full and in my ‘wheelhouse’ in Scorpio) and shuffled my deck.

I am using Christine Jette’s “May Queen Beltane Spread” from her fabulous book ‘Tarot for all Seasons’. This five-card spread is laid out in a semi-circle, the cards placed from left to right in the rough shape of the floral crown of the May Queen.

The Wildwood Tarot includes a one word descriptor on each of its pip cards and a totem on each of its courts. I’ve included a picture them above.

Here is a brief summary of my Tarot journal work. Thought I’d share.

1. Safety – Ten of Vessels (Happiness) – I seem to need to share, to provide emotional support to others to feel safe within myself. This card is a reminder of both the importance of giving emotionally but also of the possibility of overdoing it, a common theme in the tens of the Tarot. Upon reflection, it is also a reminder that I need my own emotional safety before I can offer support freely. There is such a think as being too giving.

2. Abundance – Queen of Arrows (Swan) – This is a card of transformation. For abundance to flow, a change needs to occur and truths, not perception, need to come to the forefront. The Queen of Arrows can vicious… and accurate.

3. Regeneration – Knight of Stones (Horse) – A focus on physical activity & strength is a path to regeneration. But be weary, the knight is impulsive and the Horse is quick.  Starting is often easy but there is sometimes a struggle to know when enough is enough.

4. Love – Two of Stones (Challenge) – Material competition or rivalry may be present here. It is important to keep an eye on reality over perception (I detect a theme). 😉 I’m also noting the suit of stones, one that is about materialism & sensuality as opposed to the emotion or intellect. Sounds like challenges will show up in the tactile and tangible.

5. The Future – Note… I’m using the word because it is the one the author uses to hold this space in the spread but, I’ll let my bias show and say I am not a fan of ‘the future’ in Tarot-related contexts. Personally, I prefer “possible outcome”. I don’t see the Tarot (or anything else for that matter) as a tool to predict the future. I see it instead as a tool to reflect on one of an infinite number of possible outcomes. I respect others who see things differently.

Three of Bows (Fulfilment) – This card has the image of both a bow and an archer. It reminds me that the road to fulfilment is in the hands of the archer, provided (s)he can harness the potential of the bow to direct the arrow to its target.

This spread has provided one possible direction for the arrow to travel. Through the Beltane themes of safety, abundance, regeneration and love, one story has revealed itself.

Blessed Beltane to all.

Playing with a (New) Full Deck

A few weeks ago, after a lot of handling, a little humming and hawing, I purchased my first new Tarot deck in YEARS!  The beneficiary of my decision (other than our local Orangeville shop ‘Healing Moon’)?  The Wildwood Tarot.

It is this earth-based, wheel-of-the-year focused deck that eventually pushed me and my bank card to the point of no return. Since then, I’ve set aside time almost every day to go through the cards one at a time. I’ve grouped them by minors, majors and courts.  I’ve laid the deck out in ‘wheel’ fashion, (as suggested by ‘The Little White Book’ that accompanies this deck and pictured below) with the help of Merlin, our cat! 🙂

The art in the Wild Wood Tarot deck pictured above was created and copyrighted by – Merlin and the rug? Not so much.

I look to experience learning a new deck in different ways: visually, physically, intellectually and emotionally.  I shuffle the cards, ask a question, see what comes up. Sometimes, I go to the book, see what it says.  Other times, I want to connect them to previous knowledge of the other decks I use. I want to compare and contrast meanings and images. I want to feel the cards and look at them. I want to connect the deck’s  energy to my own. I want to ‘hear’ the cards as they speak to me.  By the end of the process, I want to know my deck. And I want to like it.

Eventually, I’ll do all of my ‘pagan-y’ deck prep. For me, that means I’ll cleanse the deck with a smudge. I’ll put it outside under a full moon.

But before I do any of that, I’ll play. A lot.

Which leads me to this question… How do you connect with a new deck?

Back at it: Exploring the Tarot with the Tarot

tarot spread - back at itIt has been roughly five years between blog posts in this space.

During that time I hadn’t stopped using the Tarot, but did so from a more private space. I became quiet in online groups, stopped client work, stopped teaching classes & leading workshops & shut down my website. In many ways, I tucked Peter White & White Sage Tarot into the back of the broom closet. 🙂

Recently, and within a short period of time, I had a renewed web presence when ‘Peter White Tarot’ came online. I joined a Tarot class. I attended a Tarot & Tea group. And decided to blog.

Thus reemergence seemed sudden and unexpected. I was curious. So, I turned to a familiar tool; a place I often go for guidance. I asked 4 questions. I drew 4 cards. And I decided to write about it.

Here is the spread I constructed and the questions I asked:

1. Why now?

This was the biggest question hanging over me. This resurgence in ‘public’ interest seemed to come out of nowhere. In response to this question, I drew the 8 of Swords reversed. It self a blindfold has been removed. Any restrictions that were binding me, however loosely, have fallen free. The signs leading me in a particular direction and may have gone unseen are now visible. Whatever was restricting me, for some reason, is no more.

2. What may support me?

First off, I didn’t feel the need to ask if this reemergence was a good idea. It seemed to be happening regardless. So the next 2 questions were of greater relevance to me. I wanted guidance around possibilities for support & opposition. I also placed these cards in an ‘above (support) & below (obstacle)’ configuration.

I drew the 9 of Pentacles first. Support will come from a place of hard work & discipline. It will also come from a place of abundance. The woman in her garden is enjoying the fruits of her labour. It looks like the fruits of my own may provide me with the support I’m looking for.

3. What may get in my way?

The 3 of Pentacles caught me a little off-guard here. Then I thought of my own creative work and my propensity to get stuck when things are not perfect. I can labour over the most minute detail instead of letting it go ‘as is’. This might be a reminder that good enough is at times good enough. Thanks 3 of P for the reminder! 😁

4. What may come of it?

The King of Pentacles, reversed…so it doesn’t look like becoming the Jeff Bezos of the Tarot world is ‘in the cards’. 😉 Non-material gains maybe? Leadership in other non-material areas, perhaps intellectual or spiritual. Or maybe this is an indicator of a more passive role. A more “non-King” like place. Or, perhaps the outcome of this journey is less positive and more likely to be unsatisfactory. In the end, not knowing is what makes the outcome of the journey interesting, isn’t it?

As always, the Tarot for me is never a tool of absolutes. It is instead a place for a perspective, drawn through the random process of shuffling and dealing a deck of cards, that I would not likely have come to otherwise. It is the food in my ‘food for thought’.

I’m glad to have re-embarked on my learning journey and to start sharing it again in a public space. Follow along, join me and participate in the comments section, if you like.


Peter White