There is a unique connection between tarot and poetry. We tarot readers know that when we are giving a reading, teaching a class, or talking about a card, we often become more eloquent than we might be in normal conversation.
Tarot inspires the way we communicate.
There are many published books of tarot poetry. Sometimes the poems are written by poets who happened to be inspired by tarot. Sometimes they are written by tarotists who happened to be inspired to write a poem about a card.
The relationship between tarot and poetry goes back to early tarot history. In the 1500s tarot was a card came played by wealthy and influential people in Italy and France.
In Italy, the game of tarot led to a fad called “tarocchi appropriati.” In this game players would make up verses that were inspired by the cards and descriptive of one another.
Perhaps this was like the rap of the 1980s, where musicians used rhyme to speak of themselves, and of one another.
As the game of tarocchi appropriati developed, the verses became predictive, rather than simply descriptive. Many scholars believe that this is how fortuning telling with tarot first began.
It is easy to think of a particular tarot card and call to mind a poem or song lyric that matches it. I was recently reminded of a blog project I began and never continued called “Poetry in Tarot” where I related a poem to a tarot card.
I’ve also played with writing tarot poetry. I have two poems published in “Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology”. My 78 Poems Project is far from complete, yet it is something that inspires me from time to time.
The question I have is this. Other than the connection between off-the-cuff verses inspired by early tarot cards in a popular game, why does there seem to be such a connection between tarot and poetry?
I decided to ask my cards this question. The card I pulled at random was the Queen of Cups, whom I often describe as “poetic”. When we look deeper at this card, we see it as a card that instructs us to nurture the heart.
The art of the tarot cards, along with the lessons and stories inherent in individual cards and in suits and groupings of cards, inspires us in so many ways. Poetry is one way we express that inspiration. That creativity begets creativity is a law of all nature.
Poetry, in turn, can help us make sense of the mysterious cards.
If you want to dig deeper into a tarot card, try writing a poem about it. Try to think of a poem or song lyric that reminds you of a card and use that to help you understand and remember that card.
Art and words go together in so many ways, and often enhance one other. The ongoing marriage of tarot and poetry is certainly a match made in heaven.