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Tarot Reading as Book Research

For at least ten years, I’d passed the brightly painted sign along the winding road on the peninsula where I love to live in northwest Michigan. “Tarot Readings” it said, simply. I knew what Tarot was, but had never had a reading. What I did have was a critical plot point in the novel I was writing that needed a way forward. My main character had a crisis of conscience. Would she betray others by withholding newly learned information for the sake of maintaining her own stability? In the wonderful way that chance events influence the direction of long-term writing problems, it occurred to me one day as I drove past that sign, that a tarot reading might help my character resolve her problem.

For the uninitiated, Tarot reading is the practice of divining wisdom and guidance through a specific layout of Tarot cards. One can either go into a reading with a specific question, or just ask for a general reading.In question readings, the intention is not to answer specific yes or no questions. Most say it also shouldn't be used to make decisions, but instead should be used as a guide to help a person make the decision on their own.Open readings address the larger aspects of one’s life rather than a specific problem area or question. They're usually done when someone is entering a new phase of life.

I had questions about the novel I was writing,and enough curiosity about a new way of viewing human experience to give Tarot a try. My character in the novel, Hard Cider, had reached a point of desperation that would allow her to seek out this otherwise uncharacteristic means of problem solving. And that is how I came to make an appointment with the long-known, never-visited local wisdom teacher, in Northport, MI.

What began, as a simple research opportunity, soon became a wonderfully meaningful personal adventure. I learned not only what I needed to write my character through her problem, but I also found that the notion of a person calling in spirit guides to help at a crossroads in life is both comforting and a reminder to ask for what we need when facing challenges. Believing in free will does not dismiss the possibility that life lessons and a greater sense of purpose and direction can be revealed in many different ways. For a thorough description of an actual Tarot reading, check out Hard Cider-a novel! (coming in September 2018..)

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