Mapping The Hero’s Journey With Tarot:
33 Days To Finishing Your Book
Author: Arwen Lynch
Arwen Lynch has taken what was a 33 day eCourse and turned it into an e-book, so that the reader can work at their own pace. (Note: This review is of the e-book. It is also available in hard copy.) In her foreword Lynch notes that we are the creator/creatrix of our own world. This e-book gives the reader a framework for the world(s) that they are creating, a space for their imaginations to explore and grow. I absolutely love that the bibliography is at the front of the book, as is the list of recommended Tarot decks. (Note: The decks recommended offer a variety of styles, from traditional to fantasy. The reader can choose a style that works for them. I am going to offer up one more deck – the Shadowscapes Tarot, by artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.) The bibliography covers archetypes and how they relate to writing, with Mary Greer’s Tarot For Yourself acting as a foundation for interpreting each of the Tarot cards.
Lynch presents this e-book in thirteen primary lessons aimed at showing the reader how to use the Tarot to form a plot for their fiction writing. The first twelve lessons focus on the Hero’s journey, while the thirteenth lesson addresses the issue of theme for writing.
Lynch introduces Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and the Hero’s Journey, as well as giving the reader a look at the background of the Tarot as it applies to writing. She also includes several spreads that will allow the reader to focus on the flow of their story. She explains how the imagery in the cards acts as a channel for intuition. She also notes that while the cards do have traditional meanings, that when using them as a tool for writing that there really is no set meaning. I am a professional Tarot reader and a writer – for me the traditional meanings in general do hold true in my writing. This may not hold true for those that are new to the Tarot.
This e-book is written using the structure of three “Acts”, following the Hero’s Journey:
Act I: DEPARTURE, SEPARATION
1. Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting with the Mentor
5. Crossing First Threshold
Act II: DESCENT, INITIATION, PENETRATION
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach to Inmost Cave
8. The Ordeal
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)
Act III: RETURN
10. Road Back
12. Return With Elixir
What a powerful template for writing! Lynch makes a point of saying that this template can be used for a new story, or for a WIP (work in progress). I found it interesting that she also chose to use film as a reference (specifically Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Shrek, and Avatar). Emphasis is placed on the reader plotting their book with the big picture in mind.
We start out with building a character (or characters), using the Tarot Court Cards (who represent the people of the Tarot). There is a very nice, easy to use Tarot spread that will help you define/build your character. In this chapter we start to see the quotes that Lynch shares about writing, as well as her journal prompts.
She promptly moves into a spread that represents the Hero’s Journey for the reader’s story. This will form the plot for the reader’s book. The reader is shown how to read the cards that they draw – to differentiate what they see in the background from what they see in the foreground, to note any symbols that might be in the card, and to note how they feel about these symbols, what they feel the symbols might mean.
Each chapter is built around a Tarot spread created specifically for the topic, a story template, an example, a quote, and a journal prompt. Chapter Fourteen is an “added” chapter, in the Hero’s Journey is completed. Here Lynch addresses not the journey itself, but the theme for the journey. Here is where we make sure that the steps in the Hero’s journey reflect the theme of that journey.
Chapter Fifteen addresses the journal that the reader is encouraged to keep in each chapter. I have always been fond of journals, as they show my progress, and how I got to be where I am. A writer’s journal shows the progress of their writing, and how that progress developed.
Chapter Sixteen addresses the tool of Tarot, and how it is broken down. (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana). For each of the Major Arcana cards Lynch includes key words, symbols to be aware of, and key questions. For the Minor Arcana pips (numbered cards), she includes a keyword, and upright and reversed meanings. For the Court Cards there is a description of the individual represented in the card, and the energy they carry. There is also a discussion of each of the four suits, and what they represent.
Chapter Twenty-two is a presentation of Tarot spreads, including the Hero’s Journey spread.
The tone of this e-book is conversational, the topics easy to follow, and no knowledge of the Tarot is necessary. All the reader needs to do is to be open to developing a new way of looking at things, and to widening their perspective on writing. Lynch joins writers such as Corrine Kenner, Elizabeth Delisi, and Sierra Godfrey in applying the tool of Tarot to the field of writing. I found this e-book to be well organized, well written, easy to follow, and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend it!
© July 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.