How to Really Bring the Tarot to Life

by Barbara Moore

Bringing the Tarot to Life


In my many years of acquiring books and decks for Llewellyn, I’m always looking for something that is new and unique but not just gimmicky. It’s not easy to find ideas that are clever and actually useful to learning tarot. Scott Martin is one of those rare people who brought an idea that was so unique and at the same time such a great fit with tarot. Having been involved in New York theatre for many years as a teacher and director, Scott is very familiar with the exercises that actors use to help them get to know the character they are to portray on the stage. As a tarot enthusiast, he knows that being activity involved with the cards is the best way to get to know them. He married the two and this brilliant book is the result. Here is an example of one of the delightful activities:

Tarot Stars in the Revival

Select a play, a movie, a TV show or even a book with which you are familiar and make a list of the main characters.

You are the casting director. Choose a tarot card to “play” each of the characters.

To illustrate this exercise, let’s consider the 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz and the four main characters: Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow and The Tin Man. They are all on their personal journey of discovery.

Dorothy: Perhaps Dorothy is the Fool on the Fool’s Journey. At the end of her journey, she discovers that “There’s no place like home.”

The Lion: The Eight of Swords. He thinks himself a coward, but finds that he was imbued with courage after all. Like the Eight of Swords, he possessed what he needed all along but was held back by his lack of self-confidence and belief in himself.

The Scarecrow: He is indecisive and confused, because he thinks he lacks a brain. In his search for a brain, he may be represented by the Eight of Cups, who is also on a quest for what he thinks is missing. By story’s end, we discover that the Scarecrow was deemed “the wisest man in all of Oz!”

The Tin Man: This touchingly vulnerable character wishes he had a heart. Perhaps he doesn’t notice it, because he has always been in the service of others. Let’s cast this gentle soul as The Six of Cups, which epitomizes that generously giving spirit.

Choose your own vehicle now, and cast from the seventy-eight pool of “actors” who have arrived for the audition. List your cast of characters, the “actors” you have cast in the roles, explain your choices and log them into your journal.


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