Exercises - Lesson 18

Creating the Story

(See Introduction to Exercises.)

Exercise 18.1 - Stream-of-Consciousness Talking

You can practice stream-of-consciousness talking anytime you feel comfortable speaking your thoughts out loud. (For most of us, this means being alone!) Say every thought as it occurs to you. The idea is to "hear" a thought inwardly and then vocalize it. As you finish speaking one thought, listen for the next one.

In the next few weeks, try this exercise whenever you can. Work toward being able to speak naturally with no sense of urgency. Try to get to the point where thoughts about the process don't intrude too much. This is not an easy state to achieve, but it is well worth the effort.

Exercise 18.2 - Tarot Improvisation

In theater improvisation, members of the audience call out the names of a few objects, and the actors must assemble a skit based on those elements. In this exercise, the cards are the elements, and you are the actor who must bring them together on the fly.

Shuffle and cut the cards in the usual way. Hold the deck face down in one hand. Turn over the first three cards, and lay them in a row. Now, create a story around the cards. Don't try to come up with a clever scenario. Just allow any tale to unfold. In The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino, the characters tell their tales to each other using only tarot card images.

When you are through, set the first three cards aside, and deal three more for a new story. Or, if you like, keep the first three cards and lay out a fourth. Incorporate this card into the original tale. Continue developing the story by laying out new cards one at a time. The spirit of this exercise is spontaneous play. Stop if you feel any pressure or strain.

Exercise 18.3 - The Structure of the Celtic Cross

Lay out any ten cards in the usual Celtic Cross format. Read the interpretation procedure for this spread in the Celtic Cross section. Create a story following these steps. How well does this approach work for you? What changes would you make?

Next, lay out a new set of ten cards. Experiment with different story structures. Try starting with the outcome card (10) and working backward or building a story around a striking card pair. Explore new approaches with different sets of cards. For your readings, you will probably settle on a favorite approach, but it helps to know of other possibilities that you can draw on as needed.

Lesson 18


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