“Unhurt, Alice gets up and catches sight of the White Rabbit as he vanishes around a corner. Alice approaches a long corridor lined by doors. The doors are all locked, so Alice tests them with a key that she finds on a glass table. After searching around, Alice discovers a small door behind a curtain”.
Within moments of deciding to join this Yule Expedition, seeking the creative grail or elixir of creativity, you pass through a special portal and enter an imaginary world.
Back in 2006 pilgrims who joined me on an Advent Calendar Grand Tour, documented their first impressions of the world beyond the portal.
The door opens and a vista spreads before you.
As you step into this new world you are greeted by a figure who gives you a special bag filled with talismans for your journey. In your bag you will find a packet of dream seeds, spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. Each bag contains something that has been chosen specifically for each recipient.
Do not misplace this bag or let anyone take it from you. Keep it with you at all times.
Establishing Your Personal Setting
Most of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe takes place in the fantastic land of Narnia, which Lucy and her siblings reach through—you got it—a magical wardrobe.
Narnia is everything we’ve come to expect from a fantasy novel. It’s a vaguely medieval place in which people live close to the land, fight using bows and arrows and swords, and are ruled by kings and queens who live in palaces. Mythical creatures populate it – not only the stock characters of today’s fantasy world like centaurs and dwarves, but more Greco-Roman-feeling characters too, like minotaurs and dryads.
A master class writing website explains that as a writer, you might be tempted to dive right into your plot and start giving detailed character description of the figure who gave you the bag of talismans. Such a character and this story “needs a space in which to exist—that space is the setting. Taking the time to properly describe your setting will give your book more vibrancy and keep your readers engaged”.
So many of the tarot and oracle decks that we love provide us with rich setting. I look at the pile I have bought with me and I know that I can apply path working, meditation or guided imagery techniques with either the exquisite Arboridium Oracle or Tarot of the Sweet Twilight. I know that these decks will ignite my imagination and help me describe the world I have entered.
Choose a pictorial deck to spend some quality time with. You literally wander inside the image and drink in as much detail as possible.
Using scrap paper get down as many ideas about the environment you find you in as possible. Keep it simple, don’t set unrealistic expectations, include sketches and experiment with using all your senses.
Make this world come alive through writing or your favorite artistic medium. Share with us what you see, hear, smell, sense, taste, feel or simply make a card depicting the world you are entering.
You have permission to do whatever you like.
What Others See
When I stepped through the portal I found myself in a Gypsy encampment (Gypsy Palace Tarot) and was greeted by some very colorful characters.
I stopped to listen to a poets reading.
Like you, I can remember other days,
The early morning air so fresh and clean,
Caravans as bright as popinjays,
Moving through a world forever green.
They called us vagrants in those days, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Travellers on a road that has no end.
Like you, from crossroad dance to county fair,
I followed the road wherever it might lead,
From country byways to the city square,
From lake to shore, and always we were free.
They called us vagabonds and rogues, my friend,
And what were we but entertainers,
Drifting in an ocean without end.
That’s why we thought we knew each other well,
Even though we’ve never met before;
What you and I know only we can tell,
Of days of freedom lost in gypsy lore.
The world may change, but we do not, my friend,
For what are we but entertainers,
Voices in a song that has no end.
In the distance you hear the sound of their laughter,
Of tales told and of drink and of dance,
It lures, entices and enchants you
In to the heart of the gypsy’s night camp.
Far away from the crowd are hung blankets
a small fire burns bright on its own
Shadows of a woman are seen clear in the night
As she holds herself and she dances alone
She steps toward the light of the fire,
To reveal such a haunting, pained face
How sad is this woman called Sadie
Dancing alone in her black satin and lace
In her tent she reads cards for the strangers
As the candles burn dim on the shelf
Black Sadie sees into their futures,
She helps others but can’t save herself
The pain buried so deeply inside her
Makes her live in a world all her own
Where she feeds it and nurtures it lovingly,
She can heal it, but won’t leave it alone
She falls to the ground crying into the night
For the girl who once danced not alone,
For what she once was, before pain touched her heart
For the man, and the life she had known
Her silenced soul screams at the tools of her trade
Telling fortunes, for her, hold no place
The crystals and tarot are just symbols of fate,
Not the real, not the pain she must face
She backs once again into the shadows
Where no one can reach her dark place
She hides in the folds of her dresses
And tears soak her black satin and lace.
by Bobbi Fetterly