Q&A: Kali Meister, Local Playwright Holding a Workshop on 'Writing with the Tarot'

Local playwright and writing teacher Kali Meister is holding a workshop, Writing with the Tarot, on Saturday, April 26 at 2-5 p.m. The workshop promises to help writers to “use tarot cards to inspire their creativity, brainstorm, overcome writers’ block.”

Is this an original idea or do other people teach classes to aid writing with tarot cards?

Yes and no. Using the tarot to write has been something I have toyed with since I was in my early 20s. I really became fluent in it while writing my play Exposed. I’d say about half that material was inspired by either pulling a card or doing an entire spread reading. One of my favorite and most revealing poems from the play was written with my dear friend Ben Samples at a Waffle House. Later, in graduate school I took an insightful class on using the tarot with the Goddess Rachel Pollack. She is a writer who designs her own decks and works to empower through spirituality. That class helped me focus on how the deck can truly work outside of divination.

Do you use tarot cards with your own writing projects?

Yes, I use one of my many decks with nearly every creative project I take on. It never hurts to seek advice outside myself. I also share my writing with my peer Mike Stanley who is a relationship writer like myself. Writers tend to get stuck inside their own heads and it helps to get outside their heads so the writing is not precious. Precious writers tend to keep projects in their heads, and at that point they are no longer writers as much as they are philosophers with great ideas for stories that never see the page because the most difficult part of writing is fleshing out a story. The last reading I did was three days ago. I wrote a poem about how I believe the man I’m seeing is truly magical. The tarot agreed with me.

Have you ever overcome a skeptic of tarot cards as a writing aid?

Yes. Here is how I go about explaining tarot to people, and this is why I feel tarot is a natural aid for writing; writing and tarot are at there core an entertainment. I have paid for books that after I read them changed me spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. I have had that same experience from tarot readings. People weep while watching films and become so involved in the story, and a tarot reading is similar to that experience because both are about suspension of disbelief—though film is more visual and creates the pictures for an audience that the tarot asks the observer to create for themselves. We all suspend disbelief, yet some of us are so stubborn to admit that we do. A tarot spread is just a series of cards laid out to tell a story to aid the reader or person being read. I once did a reading for a friend’s skeptical father who cried after I read him. We all carry our own unresolved pain and sometimes the cards free people to confront that pain outside themselves.

How seriously do you take tarot readings?

I try not to be too serious now, but I don’t play with readings either because they are meaningful, and where and how people find meaning in life can be very personal and emotional to people. Like all things, tarot is about finding balance. I have several clients who are so very serious. I often have to remind them to breathe and let the information sink in and not let the information define them. In the end a tarot reading is just advice and not a blueprint for how to go about their lives.

The workshop is $45 per person. More info: Contact Meister at meisterkali@me.com.

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