Writing & Tarot: Inspiration Card
Updated: Sep 28
Earlier this month, my co-worker Jeanette the Writer, compared the writing and editing processes to the Book of Genesis. The comparison sparked a conversation and brought to mind The Tower card in tarot, a Major Arcana card that tells of a long-standing activity with the capacity to bring about destruction if left unchecked, a build-up of pressure, a flash of understanding, but also a shaking up of the status quo, a disturbance necessary to bring about positive change. Sounds like the Book of Genesis, right? All that destruction….
But I digress.
Each card within a tarot deck contains two distinct but related meanings, the standard reading and its reversal. The Tower’s reversal meaning is similar to, though less severe than, its standard meaning, but the two meanings exist just the same, bringing balance to each card for the greatest applicability.
Today’s tarot writing prompt is a look at the two sides of a single card, two sides of the same personality. To do that, I used the 7 of Cups, Illusions of Success in the Haindl tarot deck.
Cups link to water and speak to emotions broadly. The number 7, from a numerological perspective, evokes retreat, spirituality, and inner growth. The I Ching hexagram on this card is for youthful folly. Below the surface of the card are the numbers 6 (the upright cups) and 1 (the upside down cup), along with the vertical lines of masculinity balanced by the center horizontal line of feminine energy.
When the 7 of Cups appears, it represents a time of contemplation. There are options, the weighing of possibilities, the entertaining of fantasies about what the future may hold. Its reversal speaks of the fogginess of the future or can mean that clarity is coming. It’s possible that the fantasies of the past may no longer suit new goals. One must work to achieve one’s dreams.
The 7 of Cups as a character is a person for whom dreams of the future may impede the work required to achieve such results. This person may be arrogant or complacent and likely entertains many fantasies about who they are and what they can do. There are likely hidden problems emerging that the person cannot or will not see, and this person needs a realistic outlook to move forward.
The 7 of Cups as a character is one who enjoys losing themselves in fantasies and escaping reality. It could be a child without a fully formed personality, or could be an older person in a time of change. Fantasies become a coping mechanism, which allows this person to put off finding their path to satisfaction. This person may have unrealistic expectations, may indulge often, and probably have trouble making decisions leading to procrastination. A 7 of Cups person may not defend themselves effectively and may not handle painful consequences well.
But the 7 of Cups as a character may also be one with a terrible secret or trauma from the past. They may be confused and unable to handle the truth about a situation, leading to fantasies to cope. This is a person who has a hard time accepting reality and may turn down professional help or fail to heed advice. The 7 of cups person may be jealous or form dangerous partnerships filled with conflict. They may be stuck in unhealthy living situations or behavioral patterns because they cannot see another way.
Jeliza-Rose of Mitch Cullin’s Tideland (or of Terry Gilliam’s film adaptation) is a good example of a 7 of Cups personality. Jeliza-Rose is a child who cannot see the horrifying reality of her living situation, choosing the tales she tells her dolls over all else. Her day-to-day is grotesque to the point of surrealism, and she takes it in stride because there is no other way for her.
Who comes to mind when you consider the 7 of Cups?