Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot & Other Tarot Insight

The Creative Tarot is an amazing book that deals with using cards to unlock creativity.


Originally posted at Ingenue X

I think the thing I love the most about tarot is the forced introspection; being put on the spot by your subconscious is ugly, but necessary. I've definitely twisted the responses in my mind when something was too real. You can draw another card or get another reading but you will always know what that first one meant and why it made you uncomfortable. 

I think of creativity in the same way; it depends on authenticity, and you can write the same poem a dozen times but it's never going to be good unless it's honest. The art needs the self to survive, but if you don't know who yourself is, how can you create? 

When I received Jessa Crispin's The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide To An Inspired Life, I was giddy (I love Jessa's site Bookslut) and anything occult + art = dreamy. Here was this beautifully packaged, thick sort of tomb of a book. Would it be academic? Theoretical? A nonfiction personal quest? It wasn't – it was a guide to through the tarot and each of the card's meanings, coupled with recommended art (film, music, etc) that pair well with the card. (Just as a side note: Six of Cups gets Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block and The Sun gets Rilke....I sigh dreamily). 

The Creative Tarot, Jessa Crispin

The Creative Tarot, Jessa Crispin

Crispin's idea here is to deconstruct and demystify both the tarot and the creative process, unblocking creators' lost ideas. It's true that writers or artists are always seen as struggling and manic and suffering – both as a result and as a way for – their art, and while this may seem desperately romantic, it's not always. To not create or to draw blood is an unromantic burden. Any process that demystifies that whole ordeal is welcome, I think, and I find it secretly funny that something so esoteric as the tarot would make art approachable. The book certainly has its audience – me, for starters. 

A few months ago I took a tarot workshop that a poet and professor, Becca Klaver, was hosting. She (I love her work) does these workshops called Stardust Sessions because she's magical and more people should get together and tap into that power. We walked through a heroine's journey and used the cards to interpret out own experiences and fears and paths.

That day was a bright freezing day, and a dead bird turned up on the porch as I entered; another workshop participant and I looked at it and thought completely different things: she thought it was an omen, I thought it was gift, a gesture of love, brought by an animal. Who knows which? The bird would make its way into our stories that day – and it seemed there was a sense that the whole room needed to be free of something (of course, how fitting is the bird?)

Taking the class and receiving the book in the same week was kismet, really. I'd just moved into a new apartment, my brother was readying to move to New Orleans, I changed jobs, and my life felt somehow blank and charged at the same time. Suffice to say, my creativity was the last priority; it was sea change and I was flailing. 

The tarot, in a way, grounded me. It did so because its very foundation is a journey. So if it's always a journey, then moving forward can't be bad, right? I think with art it's the same. We're always striving and sometimes we just need to provoke ourselves to do so.

I looove this book. Read it.