In my experience, to be an artist you have to know yourself. In fact, it’s a life-long project to know yourself because there’s always more to learn. Become familiar with your unique rhythms and weaknesses and quirks. Learn how to step back a little and observe the upheavals of your life, the boring patches, the changes you never thought you’d undergo.
This is important because, I think, the function of art is to communicate what’s going on inside your soul. Therefore, it helps if you know your own soul a bit, and maintain an interest in studying its shape and color and size. This is where tarot comes in.
Tarot is a mirror. It shows you what you are and what’s on your mind. I have found it immensely helpful (as a writer, as a person) to have a morning ritual in which I draw a card, asking, “What do I need today?” or “Where should I focus my energy?” It’s a short ritual but invaluable because it helps to prevent me from barrelling straight into my day, frantic and unthinking, a tense machine. Meditation helps too. So does running, or yoga, or writing down your dreams, or gazing out your window at the clouds. Even though my tarot self-readings often have nothing whatsoever to do with my writing, they’re essential to my creative practice because they give me time to get to know myself. This is important because, as an artist, you have to know what you want to say in order to say it.
My advice to any artist (or any human wishing to feel more fulfilled) is to keep your mornings precious. Have a ritual, have some designated time in which you are with yourself, and nothing or no one else.
If you haven’t tried it, I’d recommend experimenting with a tarot ritual in the morning. Maybe it won’t work for you, but I think it’s worth trying. If you don’t know where to start, just draw a random card and write down what you see. Maybe there is a bird on the card somewhere; does it remind you of the robin you saw in the park yesterday? What were you doing in the park? What were your thoughts at the time? What is the mood of the bird on the card? Is it happy, carefree, scared, trapped? What do you think the card might be asking you to pay attention to? Is it telling you anything about yourself?
There are no wrong answers. We’re not trying to divine our day here, to find out if the workplace hottie fancies us or how old we’ll be when we strike it rich, etc. We’re getting to know ourselves. We’re building the habit of curiosity. Tarot is a tool we can use to facilitate this. It’s not the only tool, by any means, but it’s extremely powerful — possibly because it’s image-based. If you’re a writer,chances are you’ll spend much of the day staring at black and white screens and pages, and quite honestly it can be a relief for the eyes just to behold some color for a while.
Try it; see where it takes you. If you’re not at all sure where to begin, I go into a lot more detail in my private sessions, workshops, and (to a lesser, but no less valuable, extent) readings. Drop me a line; I’m here to help you find the path to being your own muse.