But there's so much more the cards can do. Italo Calvino's book The Castle of Crossed Destinies has his characters unable to speak, telling their stories purely through Tarot images. The archetypes are so powerful, they can do a lot of speaking for us in the ways we least expect.
Here are five ways Tarot can be turned into a game or a creative tool.
- Cast your favorite characters into roles.
Think of your favorite piece of media - TV shows, movies, books. If they could fit into Tarot cards, who would they be? My nerdy little heart loves to do this with Disney characters, imagining Dumbo as the Fool, Bambi's mother as the Empress, and Doctor Facilier as a wicked, reversed version of The Magician.
- Create a storytelling Round Robin.
You can do this alone or in a group. It's a lot like campfire stories: after shuffling, one person draws a card, and says "There once was...a great and glorious hero, who drove a fearsome Chariot." (Just for an example.) Then the next card drawn continues the story: "One day this hero came across two children, giving each other gifts." See what comes out of the story you tell!
- Have an interview.
This is especially great to do if you're writing a book. Come up with a handful of questions for a character you're writing, and see what cards you draw for each question. Or reverse it - interview one of the Major Arcana about what they have to teach you, or their philosophy on life. You may be surprised at the new depths you find.
- Expand your vision.
One deck I need to get my hands on is the "Tarot of New Vision", a deck that takes familiar images from the Rider-Waite Tarot and turns them 180 degrees, so you can see a new perspective on the card. Imagine what's happening in the cards just offscreen, or behind the figure you see. Or look at one special detail in the cards, and zero in on it. How did the Magician receive his ouroboros sash? What's in the boats the figure in the Two of Wands is looking at? Write a journal entry or a story about it!
The best part of all this: while you use these games and story ideas to have fun, you're also learning to get closer to the cards, and be a better reader! See what new insights open up for you.