In any piece of writing your main protagonist always needs to be three dimensional. Ideally he or she will be a full bodied individual with an interesting background and some quirky habits.
When using tarot to create a character you’ll first need to familiarise yourself with the Court Cards, the 16 people cards in your tarot deck.
Each Tarot suit has a King, Queen, Knight and Page. These represent character types.
Kings are male and grown up. They have perfected the skills symbolised by the suit.
Queens are also grown up and just like the Kings have perfect their skills.
Knights are active; they are always on the go and usually turn up to achieve a particular task.
Pages are the youngsters. They are still practising how to use their unique skills.
The four Tarot suits are:
Swords, ruled by air:
Attributes: honesty, integrity, opinionated, argumentative, accurate, sincere, fighters, thinkers, cunning, intelligent, quick thinking, and intransigent.
From these fundamentals you’ll quickly be able to start working out what each court card is like.
For example The King of Coins is a businessman. He has perfected how to make money, buy property and is extremely practical.
As a professional tarot reader I know that during a reading no-one ever comes up as one court card alone. In real life people tend to have their work personality and their at home personality. Or their husband/wife personality and their out with the lads/girls personality; and so on.
Building on our King of Coins profile we might like to add the Page of Batons as a secondary characteristic, because he’s learning a new skill, and for this example we’ll make it a sport. As he’s a businessman it will probably be golf, so that he can walk-the-talk and do business deals on the golf course. This guy intends climbing the ladder to even greater success.
Here’s another example. The Queen of Cups is the archetypal mother. She loves her children and cares for everybody, always offering them food and a listening ear. She doesn’t have to be an actual mother because this type will always find people to nurture.
As a secondary trait let’s give her the Page of Coins. He’s the youngster learning how to use money and tends to be a financial risk taker, because until he’s learnt the worth of hard earned cash he’s still jumping in and making mistakes. This can also make him a gambler.
Put these two elements together and you have a kind-hearted woman who gives of herself to others all day and secretly gambles at night because she’s emotionally unfulfilled.
The secondary characteristic doesn’t have to be a Page or youngster. Equally you could have someone who is young at heart, The Page of Batons, who is keen to explore life and play, but has a secondary trait of being The Queen of Cups and unwittingly takes on everyone else’s problems. This would be a great character type for a YA novel. Or, an older person whose children have grown up and now has the freedom to go and do the things they’ve always wanted to, but suddenly needs to care for an elderly relative. They will take on this task because they are the caring type and hate letting others down.
Why not experiment with the concept, play around and see what type of characters you can create? I’d really love to hear who you come up with.