Star Trek: The Ship of Fools


C'est Moi!

 stayed up all night playing Poker with Tarot cards.
 I got a full house and four people died.
--Stephen Wright
Scry me a reaver, Stephen!

The Tarot or similar superstitions may ever and so

readily redeploy as a story plotting tool in fine variation upon "Concepts in a Hat", the imaginative building of association between ideas even selected at random,
a fertile tool for brainstorming, even in case of most intractable writer's block.
-Or tarot reader's block...






For the craft of Tarot reading in so far as ever memorizing and referencing or even however readily discerning the action symbols in the images of the 78 interpretations is entirely automated for us online, but the art, creativity and imagination of Cartomancy remains in synthesis of several cards together into a whole story.

And the Tarot, dealing with the formative past, the issues of the moment, and prognostication of future outcomes, or at least goals ever put forth, is both motivated and time-bound. 

Indeed, that old fortune telling scam appeals to the mark's keen love of melodrama! The yearning to discern passionately involving adventure and symbolic allegory in even the most ill advised and pedestrian of personal foibles. For the Tarot system deals in the universals of human nature and experience, with easy interpretive application to the individual particulars. 

A popular and capable fortune teller, however, is not one who is accurate in prediction, but rather one who is incisive in telling the mark exactly all they yearn to hear. For even though ministration to the soul of one sort or another has long predated inclusion into medicine as psychotherapy, alas the fortune teller specifically, is but a living tool of denial and self-harm, validating irresponsible fatalistic passivity.

Indeed, all too often, a fortune teller yielding to an attack of conscience and seeking to actually help a client, truthfully, will frequently loose customers very quickly and learns better by conditioning from the experience.

And so, beware, as it will be good advice if any one may heed it, to eschew the vicissitudes of melodrama and not to attempt prediction or divination of the actions or feelings of others as however off stage from ones own role, completely out of ones own control, and hence entirely disconnected from ones own responsible interactions. Instead, to remain flexible and seek better insight, ask the cards all what you may already know full well deep down or at least begin to suspect, all of the dramatic and karmic questions as to what you may expect in your dealings and relationships with particular individuals, and what may be called upon of you in turn.

WHAT•A•MYTHSKEPTIC'S DICTIONARY: Tarot"Cold Reading" & How It Tricks YouGuide to Cold Readings
Sly, cynical Charlatan fortune tellers and the self deluded believers alike, make their Cold Readings even to complete strangers by ordinary detective work and good listening, shrewd observation combined with affirmation and flattery pandering to wishful thinking. Beyond that, while themselves exercising all caution with vague and complex questions ever put to them, fortune tellers speak in stock phrases and generalities, knowledge-driven Epistemology regarding entirely predictable crises of adult life, fishing for clues, allowing the mark to interpret into their own specific context, then giving the Cold Reader far more credit than due. Then the Cold Reader simply allows the mark to ramble on giving everything away, and bluffs as though they understood all along. Indeed, in a "good" session, the reader typically involves the querant in the reading by simply coming out and asking what the cards suggest, to illicit even projected free association response much as with the standard Rorschach inkblot test (cheat sheet!). Hence, inevitably, the Tarot has, similarly, even found it's way into application towards psychotherapeutic soul-searching and clinical treatment. 

Nevertheless, surely there can be no malice or falsehood in laying the Tarot, say, for story plotting or Improvisational scenework with entirely fictional characters, or, indeed, in their creation, purely as a fiction writing aid, without any exploitative misrepresentation or salutary claims whatsoever. 

Divination rituals or mimesis such as the Tarot symbolically reflect the unpremeditation of Fairytale magical realism wherein ideations of even unbidden thought and motivation all by themselves influencing events and circumstances, and the collective unconscious including logical fallacies of argument by analogy, are all anti-rationally projected in fairytale magical thinking uncritically and at face value, hence without distinction from the truest external reality. Indeed, the esoteric law of correspondence as exposited, along with that of contiguity, in the often plagiarized 'The Golden Bough' A Study in Magic and Religion by the noted Anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in 1922, and as applied spatially in the laying of the cards — as above so below — correlates also temporally, in sheer predictability, allegedly by way of sympathetic magic and the esoteric law of similarity, as in the future unto the past. Because certain symbolic arrangements in the laying of the Tarot are intended to signify the dimension of time frame. In the material embodiment of the Tarot, the mythic coexistence of past, present and future, are spatially represented and distributed in the spread of the cards.

The future as well as the past, is even conceived of as belonging to an eternal now, beyond transience and duration, wherein space-time abides as a seamless whole. The concept originates in a certain Mystically expansive sense of the timeless, of Eternity being an enduring theme of divination with origins in Mystical and religious experience often as achieved in meditation and prayer by the inwardly focused suppression of spatiotemporal coordination in the superior parietal lobe, an innate terror management strategy, a neurological denial and coping mechanism evolved in defense from the dreadful eventuality of death and consciousness irreversibly extinguished. Indeed, it was the ambient preconscious timelessness of the mythic Astral Plane that gave rise in the fertile mind of Science Fiction pioneer HG Wells, instead, to the revolutionary Ontology of time frame as an actual fourth physical dimension, for Einstein later to build upon the paradoxical Lorenz Equations, and even, though not to digress, the very concept of time travel.

For the evocative imminence of the readings conjure up the Phenomenal time-bound present state of the highly evolved human social intelligence, which nevertheless recollects the past and anticipates possible future events, in hope or in dread, even constructing possible or likely scenarios, indeed, as howsoever mysteriously suggested by to the position of the cards. Hence, in the semiotics of the Tarot, said sequencing, signifying the future aspect of time frame, correspond to the specific synthesis of time, or the mythical memory of the future that is the celebrated poetical gift of the Muse, inspiration.

Each different card in the Tarot deck communicates its own unique  significance, and their arrangement discovering meaningful connections, may even be thought to help distinguish the range of willful choice from the restrictions of fate that define situation.

The Tell Me a Story Spread provides, in sequential order, the basic elements of simple linear plotting, and there is also a spread designed just for character generation.
Or apply these templates.  

Whereas, in the Story Teller's Spread, the branching right hand path of three cards in succession at positions 2, 3 and 4, represent the expected plot scenario or dramatic situation, either of chronological events, past background ("act zero"), dramatic obstacles or challenge to overcome, then the future or climax, or else some other progression of states of being, all branching from and disrupted by the inciting or precipitating incident or event in the opening scene for the querant or protagonist as represented by a single first card at position 1. While the left hand branching path of another three cards at positions 5, 6 and 7, represent change, complications, the new progression or plot scenario, either of events, dramatic obstacles to overcome, or of states of being, unfolding. Lastly, a final center card at position 8 represents some third option, resolution, themes, moral or world view.

16 Card Layout
7 Card Layout
The Astrological
Cabalistic Spread
Celtic Cross Layout
The Clarification
The Daily Spread
Planetary Answering Spread
The Thoth Spread


Celtic Cross Layout



Circle of Life Layout



Three by Three Layout



Quick Three Layout

    Most simply, just brainstorm questioning for prompts in a single card meditation, either drawn at random, or let the querent stand the test of the Oracle! 
 -Before moving on to progressively larger and ever more elaborate card spreads:

Then pair or group any adjacent cards, seeking balance or imbalance of tendencies or relating the themes of one image to another, to creatively imagine story conditions more broadly.

                        For example, perhaps the figure depicted in the 4 of Pentacles sitting fast in the Tower basement even as lightening shatters the battlements above, deadly debris falling all about him, yet he guards his treasure, even to the last.

Or seek for themes in common, and yea shall find, for they are always there to be found!

And the associative system of reciprocal influence among categorized Elemental Dignities may also be utilized for gleaning further inspiration in relating paired or grouped cards, narratively.

calvinoFor interpretation of the classic Celtic Cross Layout, from left to right, analyze the cards laid across the x axis at random, to derive a plotline, much as in shuffling the deck and laying out the Three Card Spread, beginning from a premise and "Act Zero" background information in the past, the rising action upon central issues in the present and confronting some dramatic obstacle represented by the overlaying card, all in turn giving rise to conflict within and without on every level, imminent in the present (represented by the center card), ending in whatever desirable motivating goals ever put forth, or future (purportedly) foretold (and as represented by the right most card). 

 Original Tarot Spreads
 Beyond Illusions - Let the Moon Light Your Path
 New Year's/Solstice Hourglass Spread

 Wheel of Fortune - Dealing with Change
 Lunar Cycles Tarot Reading

 Empowering Spreads for Yes/No Decisions
 Looking for Love
 Tree of Life I: Transformational
 Tree of Life II: Relationship Analysis
 Past Life Spreads I: Focusing
 Past Life Spreads II: In-Depth Readings

Above and beneath position one, which is the location of the center card, come the base and the crown, respectively. The base or root is thought to represent deeper, truer causes or reasons for whatever problem situation at hand, and is purported to derive from the past in issuance of the the querant's core motivation to his or her central question, whereas the crown purportedly reveals whatever the best possible outcome, alternative or achievement.

Indeed, the tarot figures of the base and crown along the y axis, no less than the chronological elements along the x axis, conjure up any range of archetypes personifying different motivations as friendly guides or malevolent misleading tricksters and in turn suggesting people coming into ones life or handy fictional supporting characters, friends and allies advancing the plot or malevolent or dysfunctional deceivers restraining the plot.

And all such archetypical characters making their entrances into ones life just as revealed in the cards. For, after all, no less than real people, characters are defined not only introspectively or in motivated action and free choice, but by their particular relationships and by their unique role or  karma, the operant nature of their associations and influence within setting and milieu.

Also likewise regarding the column to the right of the cross, of four additional cards, influences no less personifiable as supporting characters all helping to flesh out plot and motivation by revealing in further detail, all manner of other factors and even thematic hints, traditionally, describing one's own nascent character development of either the impressionable mark or scam victim undergoing the Cold Reading, or for our own more innocent purposes, that of the fictional protagonist. 
The Circle of Life Layout even encourages ongoing further queries for deeper plot development in ever further detail.
Or, utilizing the open method of spreading the cards, after setting the significator, pairs of cards drawn at random are viewed in sequence like unto a comic strip. 
Differing viewpoints upon relationships parallel not only the objective and subjective persons of narrative but also communication and the character interaction of plot and growth, systematically.

“People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.”  - Albert Bandur

After all, In drama, the conflict on every level that is inherent to situation, there are four elements of motivation:
What do characters want, goals ever put forth, and why, what motivates them? And what aids or hinders whatever their quest? In dramatizing controversy, good motivated and dramatic dialogue makes it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. "In a good play, everyone is right." But how far would they go? Or will they change and grow?

Rich and complex fiction often turns upon complications, often classic reversals as in the estrangement of the bullied idealistic whistle blower. And likewise, in the Yin/Yang of the Tarot, if one pays attention, traditionally the reversed or upside down card caries special mythic significance, perhaps diminished or simply opposite to that card's standard significance, or all too easy to DIS-MIS, with 12 ways that cards reversed may be reinterpreted, plus a clever 13th, in the ways the direction the characters are gazing or pointing etc., will be different with the card inverited, signifying, thereby, a different other card position affected, related to or modified than when upright.

Hence, indeed, the automated pnTarot even takes into account which way the figure in the card you choose as the Significator is facing, and adjusts the spread accordingly. And there are complex and novel special card combinations, no less than in any of the currently popular fad card combat games, all with bearing upon the more standard interpretations. Or there are variants more ominous and darker negation.

Silicon Valley TAROT      Cheaper than a consultant    Same Results
Tarot war game
Indeed, an automated Celtic Cross Divination Tarot Online, such as the excellently basic, clear, easy and fully functional Free Tarot Application Reading - Mellinetti Inc. might prove both entertaining and helpful for fiction writers. 
Which is, of course, the basic idea behind the lavish ARCHETYPE STORY TELLING CARDS
Or just click the random Tarot Plot Generator for Tarot premise, characters and plot in three-act structure
Though the graphics for the Sacred Texts card reading are all somewhat stark black and white line drawings, as befitting to such a bare bones automated Tarot, with hyperlink click reference bookmark tags to the significance of each card and it's position in the spread, some of which even seem redundant, and leaving whatever plot or narrative entirely to one's own devising, as best appropriate for story tellers compelled to shun all computerized assistance, desirous of no prompting whatsoever! Indeed, no supporting characters or interactions are evidenced, but only various abiding personal motivations and static situational influences are at all suggested.
And while the attractive and usable, the gnu WebTarot by Michael Tracey, free for download to use on your own website! actually seems somewhat focused upon narrative of epic events, it still comes out somewhat weak on the motivated influential character interaction required for good drama. -A challenge for the long awaited Version two.
download an impressive range of divination applications from Mystic Softwares with co-branding options to interested parties.
But surely never anything as sexy as THE HENTAI TAROT for Ultra Kiss

            And then there is the Dreampower Tarot and original spread. right click menuThe positions of the cards are explicitly and specifically significant as to the role of the themes, motivation or character and the nature of their relationships and persuasive influence, represented or read into the card randomly occupied thereby, however the cards themselves may prove enigmatic enough to challenge the writer's imagination.

But beware always to employ your context sensitive right-click menu to highlight, select and then click the "Open in New Window" selection in order to read more about each card, or else when the browser back button is deployed to return to the cards as they have been laid out, the page reloads an entirely new spread!

                                   A propitiously arcane Zen / I Ching sort of a glitch in Cyberspace, to be sure, never
                                   the less perhaps somewhat vexing none the less... !
Indeed, the Zen and the Tarot are often associated, but any real connection beyond the general common category only because of the general association between Mysticism and the occult at all whatsoever, may remain somewhat obscure. After all, did not the Buddha advise Buddhist monks not to use their psychic powers for divination? The automated OSHO Zen TAROT online, "a non-traditional tarot for insights into the here and now," strives to reconcile cartomantic exploration of karma with Zen sensibilities that are free of expectation, by abandoning divination and prognostication as such in favor of more psychological application of Tarot questing only for mindful self awareness in the moment, perhaps more like unto the ever shifting I Ching. 


For all Students of Tarot, no less comprehensive than the offerings of the NewAgeStore, the sheer range and scope of the
FACADE divinations are fairly impressive. And browse at leisure, to sift through the full Open Directory listing of automated Tarot
Or make what you can of the Discordian Tarot Reading.
and the Byzant Byzant Tarot offer splendid background resources in the fraudulent occult lore of the Tarot, all roundly debunked in an extensive, accurately truthful and serious history:
Michael’s Tarot Notebook [Intro]



jk's Tarot FAQ




  Period Appropriate Tarot Decks


Copyright 2001 - 2016 by Aaron Agassi