A powerful spread to end the year

Story Mystic is a new column for writers. Each month I will draw five cards focused on the art of writing. What do the cards have in store for us? What writing challenges will the next month bring? Let’s find out!

Wow, writers, what a spread! This month the cards are bombastic and powerful. They are bursting with energy and creative inspiration, and they will guide you toward great things as we wrap up this month and move toward the new year.


A general card for writers right now – The Sun

The card for general circumstances this is the Sun. This is a card has powerful energy—mostly optimistic and positive. The card itself shows a large, bright sun in the sky, representing the source of life. Around the sun is life, growing bright and fertile from the earth. Nothing on the card itself is as big as the sun, which is the most powerful element of all. 

This card shows the life-giving power of the sun, and the way that the sun itself holds power. When this card comes into our spread, it represents pure creation and power. This card may be connected to a person or situation in your life, or it may even be you! No matter what, when the Sun comes into the spread, you know that there is a powerful force that is influential in your life.

It is also interesting to note that the Sun comes into this reading in the darkest month of the year, with the longest nights. The days have begun to feel very short, and I have found that my energy and passion has been waning in general. In this moment of darkness, the Sun is here. This suggests that no matter what stage of writing you are currently at, no matter how you feel about the world and your writing process right now, there is bright hope and creativity as well. You have the creative power to envision new worlds, and your writing has the power to change the world. Do not forget that, or let your dreams lapse in this time. 

A card for your plot – Judgement

When it comes to your plot, the card this month is Judgement. This is a card of balance. It shows the end of the world and images from the Biblical book of Revelation—the dead rising from their graves, the messengers of God coming down to uplift the faithful, and the heavens opening. Whether this imagery aligns with your own beliefs or not, it is a sure symbol of a bold moment of reckoning. The time has come to pass judgement, and your plot is on trial. 

The Judgement card has weight when it comes to plot. Often, the stories we tell revolve around the actions of characters and how they are judged by the world they live in. It may be that the structure of your story is about to pass judgement upon your characters. If so, know that this is the right time. It may also be that it is time for you to pass judgement upon your story. You may be called to look more closely at the plot that you have been shaping and judge whether it is successful or not. You may need to be critical in this moment, cutting off plot threads that are not working, and adding in new plot threads as necessary. 

The Judgement card has powerful meaning, but it means that you need to weigh all the elements against one another. When it comes to your story, you at the ultimate and powerful creator. Do not be afraid to act like one. 

A card for your characters – The World

The World is the card that has been drawn for your characters. This is another card of balance, but it is less strict than the previous card in this reading. Traditionally, the World shows a nude woman who carries symbols of power and creation. She is dancing, moving from one thing to the next. The World is a card of completion, of the cycle of life, of beginnings and endings. It is a card that reminds us that every part of life is necessary and meant to be, from the most beautiful to the most terrible.

With this card in the place of your characters, the World shows us that our characters are moving through their own kind of cycle throughout the story. They have their beginnings and endings, their high points and their lows. They are not perfect, but they are complete. They have to be, in order to progress through our stories as we wish them to. 

This month, you must make sure that your characters have balance. They cannot be only one thing, but must be many things at once. They should have strengths, balanced by weaknesses; moments of happiness as well as tragedy. Do not let any of your characters fall flat or into the trap of tropes. Those forms are common for characters with reason, but they cannot be all that a character is. Even a secondary character should have a rich inner life. And if they do, they will be complete.  

A card for unforeseen circumstances – The Star

The Star is the card of unforeseen circumstances this month, and that it a wonderful thing. The card itself shows a nude woman kneeling at the edge of a pool of water. She holds a container of water in each hand and pours them out—one onto dry land, and the other into the water. This water nourishes the earth and the fills the pool before her. On this card, the woman represents purity of thought and dreaming. She is situated between the land and the water, showing her connection with both parts of the world. She is intuitive and beautiful, and she is a bridge between things. 

When it comes to unforeseen circumstances, the Star is a card that represents dreaming and the unknown. The world right now is at the beginning of winter, and we are coming to the end of the year. This is a time to dream big and set goals. The Star in this placement suggests that circumstances may shift in surprising ways. Opportunities may come along that are beyond what you might have expected and seem like they are beyond your reach. Do not be afraid to dream big this month. Allow yourself to go with your intuition and be a little impulsive. Take a step toward the unexpected things that move your way, and know that taking a risk is sometimes the best thing to open new opportunities for you. 

A card for the wider world – King of Cups

The King of Cups is the last card in this spread. This is another card of power, like all the kings in the deck. The King of Cups is the king of the emotional world. He sits strong and tall upon a throne, and carries the symbols of the emotional world. He is strong and serious, in master of his emotions. Around him are chaotic waves and animals, symbolizing that no matter how strange and turbulent the world may be, he is in control of himself through it all. 

This card comes into the spread to remind us that we are in control of ourselves and what we create. Even when the world seems out of control, we have the ability to master our own emotions and inner lives. We can allow ourselves to feel strongly, and we can restrain our feelings when necessary. We do not have to let the turbulent nature of the world derail us. 

This card also reminds us that we have the mastery needed to write powerful works. As writers, we are always imbuing our inner and emotional selves on the page. If we do not have mastery of ourselves and our emotions, then we may struggle to write. But the King of Cups is here to remind us that we do have enough control, and we do know ourselves well enough. All that remains is for us to sit down and put it on the page. 

Ann Langley writes speculative fiction and wild poetry, and can be found on twitter @ann_elangley for general chatting and hanging out purposes. She used the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot Deck for this reading, which can be found here.