#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller


Day 22 of the Tarot Experiment

Well, THIS is certainly a mind-bender! Turns out, each one of those 78 colorful cards is a little window, straight into my psyche. Not only that, it’s a window into my characters’ deeper minds, too. Get rid of the fortuneteller image. Get rid of the Jamaican chick recently rousted from the world of informercials. Forget the world of smoke, mirrors, candles and flowing robes.

Carl Jung, the great psychologist, who first articulated the power of personal and collective archetypes, was fascinated by the Tarot. Joseph Campbell, Mythologist Fantastico, pondered them in depth. WHY? Because the subconscious mind thinks and speaks in symbols. There is indeed magic here, but it’s not the scary, Ouiji board kind. It’s the magic of opening communication with–ta-dah!–YOURSELF.

I’m currently writing a new romantic suspense, which I call “Dead Husbands”, although HQN might call it something else. Every morning, before I write, I get calm and hold my Rider-Waite Giant Deck–which no one else is allowed to touch, not because of superstition, but because I don’t want the energies confused. (Remember our conversation about energy? It’s REAL. Best learn to deal with it.) I ask 3 times, slowly and silently, writing the question on a blackboard in my mind, “What do I need to know about this character?” (Nothing magical about the three question technique–the subconscious mind also understands ritual, which is why candles can be effective, if you don’t find it creepy.) Then, when I feel ready, I deal out five cards. I look deeply into the “windows”, using Mark McElroy’s wonderful technique from “What’s In the Cards For You?” (Get it. Do it. You’ll be amazed.) I imagine the images on the front of greeting cards, and try to figure out what the message on the inside would be.

The insights have been nothing short of amazing. They’ve taken the story in a whole new direction, and I’ve seen inside these characters in a way that is totally new, at least to me.

So if you’re not a writer, what good could this do in YOUR life?

You figure it out. You’re smart. Just remember–the magic isn’t coming from Woo-Woo Land. It’s coming from you.

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