October 2001 Tarot Spread

This Storytelling Spread, based on the works of Vladimir Propp, was created by Lo Scarabeo's Riccardo Minetti for the forthcoming Children's Tarot.  He was kind enough to allow me to use it for this month's offering.

If you are interested in Halloween-Samhain-appropriate spreads, check out last year's November spreads. --DW

This spread teaches how to go from the cards to a story and vice versa.

The cards help the listener follow the story. Most of all, though, it helps the Storyteller invent one.

First of all, the Storyteller must understand that every story is like a recipe which has to have the right ingredients in order for it to be good and nutritious. Seven basic ingredients are suggested. There can even be others for more complex stories, but 7 is a good number to start with.

The first one without a doubt is the Hero: the storyís protagonist. No matter how many positive qualities the hero has, heís always lacking something. If he didnít have desires that are difficult to realize, he would never confront the problems that await him. If he already knew how to achieve his goals and defeat his enemies, the story would be short and not very interesting. In every respectable story, therefore, the hero will have a lot of positive qualities as well as significant faults.

After the hero, a Teacher is needed. No matter how brave the hero is, heís got to learn from someone. The teacher usually shows up at the beginning of the story, but the hero is not ready to learn yet. Luckily, the teacher returns later when the hero really needs him.

The third essential component for a good story is the Bad Guy, often called the antagonist. There wouldnít be any excitement if someone didnít oppose the hero and threaten to take the credit, someone who doesnít have similar good qualities and possesses an unfair head-start.

The fourth element is undoubtedly the Mission that the hero must undertake, which, once completed, will give him the reward he deserves so much.

At a certain point, things will get very complicated while the hero is carrying out his mission (probably because of the bad guy). The fifth element is, in fact, the Problem, which initially seems insurmountable for the hero.

The hero will often turn to the teacher or to outside help in order to resolve the problem. Heíll learn and receive help which is in some way magical, allowing him to get the best of the problem. Help is the sixth element.

What could be the seventh? Reward. Without a prize at the end, why would the hero have gone through it all?

For more information, research the works by Vladimir Propp who was the first person to examine the narrative structure of fairy tales.

Keeping these points in mind, the Storyteller may now free up his imagination while he shuffles the deck. He must then take (or let the Listener choose) seven cards, placing them one by one in a row on the table. These represent the seven points in order, as described above:

1) Hero

2) Teacher

3) Bad Guy

4) Mission

5) Problem

6) Help

7) Reward

Each card provides an idea for creating the fairy tale at that time. The Storyteller must simply look at the card and invent, letting his imagination go and thinking about how to construct the story, how to make it unique and interesting. In turn, the Listener will pay close attention to the story while looking at the cards, imagining and experiencing the story while it is being told.

You can also proceed backwards: write a story and then choose seven cards in order so that each card represents the seven parts of the story as defined above.

Click here to see a sample reading using this storytelling spread.

Spread © 2001 Riccardo Minetti/Lo Scarabeo
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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