BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Relationships in the Tarot Cards - A Guest Post by Alayna Williams

Author Alayna Williams is joining us today on her blog tour for her new release, "Rogue Oracle". Ms. Williams wrote a post for us on a Tarot reading for the leads, Tara and Harry,  in her Oracle series. Thank you Alayna, for coming by today and talking about how you use the Tarot cards to help you better  understand your characters and their relatiosnhips.

First, a bit about Ms. Williams. She also publishes under the name of Laura Bickle. Laura Bickle/Alayna Williams has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats.

Her work has been published in Midnight Times, Down in the Cellar, MicroHorror, Theaker's Quarterly Fiction,Ballista , Byzarium, New Myths,a Blog-O-Novella office soap opera for True Office
Confessions, and Aoife's Kiss. Her most recent project is the Embers series of urban fantasy novels for Juno-Pocket Books. 

Writing as Laura Bickle, she's the author of EMBERS and SPARKS for Pocket - Juno Books. Writing as Alayna Williams, she's the author of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE. More info on her urban fantasy and general nerdiness is here:  

Laura/ Alayna’s blog: and’s a proud member of Word Whores and she's at Facebook, and Fangs, Fur, and Fey. And she can also be found on Twitter...@Laura_Bickle
Sparky the fire salamander from EMBERS and SPARKS has his own Twitter account, @SparkySalamandr 
As I work through telling a story, I often use Tarot cards to give my characters a bit more depth and dimension. The cards are rich storytellers, and if I let my imagination rove around the symbols a bit, I usually gather more information about any plot points or characters I'm stuck on.

Take Tara Sheridan and Harry Li in ROGUE ORACLE, who are federal investigators attempting to catch a killer who's selling nuclear secrets on the international black market. Tara is a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes. Harry is her straight-laced partner, who had difficulty believing in all things woo-woo.

I first wrote about Tara and Harry in DARK ORACLE. They'd just met, and attraction overcame the obstacles of their very disparate means of working. They were good foils for each other: intuition and reason. But I can't just let them skate by in the second book without obstacles. Relationships in the real world have problems, and Tara and Harry are no exception. To flesh out their challenges, I did a Tarot card reading for them. Here's how it worked...

1. I drew a card to represent Tara in the story. I pulled Strength, which shows a serene woman closing the jaws of a lion. Tara has evolved since the last story, where I figured her as the Queen of Swords, a woman of coldness and mourning. In Strength, I see that she's working on mastering her power as an oracle, symbolized by the lion. She will do so in a way that isn't harsh or brittle, but in a way that flows naturally to her. In Tara's dreams, she imagines herself as the woman in the card, walking through the desert with the lion (her intuition) at her side.

2. The second card I drew to represent Harry. I got the Knight of Pentacles, reversed. Harry was the Knight of Pentacles in DARK ORACLE - a reliable, methodical man who believes in what he can see and touch. He was a good partner for Tara then, drawing her out of her sorrow and into the real world.

But here, he is reversed. When the Knight of Pentacles is reversed, this is a sign of overwork, of burn out, being a workaholic. Between the events of DARK ORACLE and ROGUE ORACLE, many months have passed, and Tara and Harry have been separated because of Harry's new assignments. He's starting to crack under the pressure of being an isolated federal agent in the Special Projects Division, to the point of nearly beating a suspect to death. He's lost, and Tara has to rescue him from himself.

Tara sees him in her dreams, too, as a Knight sucked under in quicksand. She tries to save him in her dreams, but wonders if she will be able to in real life.

3. The third card I picked represents the relationship between the two. I chose the Nine of Wands. The Nine of Wands shows a wounded man leaning against a staff, surrounded by a wall of staffs that cuts him off from the rest of the world. The card traditionally signifies anticipation, estrangement, and delays.

Harry's withdrawn into himself. It will be up to Tara to reach through that history they have, through the cage of wands and heal him. Both Tara and Harry are guarded types, not given to spontaneous displays of emotion. One or both of them will need to swallow their pride to achieve a reconciliation, to learn to work together and be lovers again.

The cards can be a big help in fleshing out characters and their relationships. One doesn't need to be a professional Tarot reader to try...just grab a deck, a book of meanings, and make up your own spreads. Choose a card that looks like your hero or heroine and your mind's eye, or pick one at random. Shuffle, and start generating ideas. I find that the cards often lead me to possibilities I hadn't considered in the story, helping me make connections that otherwise would have been hidden to me.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me! I'm so excited to have the chance to meet you and chat with your readers!

  2. It was great to have you and thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. I love this post. What a great idea to use the Tarot to help develop the characters. Just reading Dark Oracle right now, and am very much enjoying the use of the Tarot cards in the book.

  4. Thanks, Kerry! The cards are a lot of fun as story prompts...get stuck...pick one at random. There's enough symbolism in most of the traditional decks that I almost always find something to pin my imagination on.

  5. It's a really neat idea. I was hesitant with the first book about the use of the cards but after reading your post and the second book, I'm sold. :D

  6. Yay! I'm glad that you enjoyed them. :-)

    I know that several authors have written about the Hero's Journey being depicted in the Major Arcana...and it's very true. If you lay the cards out, starting with the Fool beginning on his journey, and compare it to Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, they are nearly identical.


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