Here’s a list of stories I’ve done using a deck of tarot cards as story prompts. This is all flash fiction, most under 500 words, so quick reads. I stuck them here with a little insight as to how I interpreted the cards.
If you came directly to this page from somewhere and you aren’t sure what is going on, you can read this page for the basics of the creative exercise. The different sections of the article are also linked to at the bottom of this page, it’s meant to be a fairly quick read.
Also, if you have a story using tarot for part of the inspiration, please comment on this page with a link to it.
The Barbecue: My newest tarot deck has inspired a project that will be longer. This is an excerpt.
Archeon Tarot Stories
This deck seems to speak more of the dark parts of our own human souls rather than monsters bumping in the dark, so I used it to explore some of what I was researching about serial killers.
Janice And Claire In The Garden: Knight of Swords. Fire and air in the hotheaded spirit of a teenager, can lead to a bit of a smoldering temper and perhaps a little overreacting.
Periwinkle Blue: The Queen of Pentacles, Reversed. Her prosperity is overshadowed by a singular intrusive thought.
Fallen Defender: Knight of Pentacles, Reversed. The motivated, but steady defender. Eventually, some heroes tumble under the pressure.
Persephone: 2 Card Romeo/Juliet Spread. A twisted (reversed) Knight of Cups, the dark prince of love, follows the light of the Three of Wands, a maiden with ideals, hopes, and inspiration laid before her.
Vigilante: King of Pentacles, Reversed. I had this card come up in the Zombie deck and interpreted it as the fall of a generous king, but this time I decided the reversal could indicate a black heart behind a facade of generosity. I also used it to explore organized vs. disorganized type of serial killer, and the result got called a masterful display of characterization by a writer I admire on Twitter, so that was cool.
Enchanted: 9 of Swords. Only one away from being the completion of the story of air, the mind, this card is frequently associated with insomnia; trapped by our own obsessions, unable to rest with endless thoughts.
Lover’s Leap: 3 of Cups, Reversed. This is a card sometimes associated with pregnancy or birth, as 3 is sometimes the product of an element, and cups are love. The reversal made me imagine the splash of water, as these cups are overturned.
Zombie Tarot Stories
Our Children: Justice. Coming up with this story marked my transition from horror/urban fantasy to serial killers. For a while, anyway.
Savor: Ten of Cups. A card of joyous prosperity, a wealth of love from the suit of cups. How do you turn a happy card dark, anyway? Probably depends on who the hero is. I like how when I posted this with a foodie tag on a lark, I gained a follower with a food blog.
The Student: Page of Swords. I really like this little lady, even if she is a bit cold, as the aristocratic court of the air suit tends to be. They are known for sharp wit, cutting tongues, and tend to be called aloof.
Knight of Swords. Sometimes, the best strategy, is to just plow right through.
Run: Two Card Reading, Predator/Prey. Justice stalks The Lovers. I decided to avoid the obvious Bonnie and Clyde.
Regret: King of Pentacles, Reversed. King of the suit of wealth, he tends to be a generous sort. Here, his reversal means destruction.
The Moon, Reversed. The keeper of secrets and mystery, the moon whispers dreams and visions.
The Chase: Eight of Wands. With this one, I mostly let the artwork tell the story.
Cake: Three of Wands. Celebration, being the child (3) of motivation, passion, and ideals. This deck likes to point out that such celebrations might be despite the zombies plowing down your door. It’s also where I talk about starting the tarot flash project, back when I thought I’d just do a couple of weeks of this to get me thinking more about the nature of monsters.
Tarot For Writers And Skeptics * Why Tarot Speaks To Us * Grab A Deck * The Fool’s Journey * Elements And Alchemy * Numerology And The Tarot * Court Cards * Seeds For Stories * Tarot Story List