a seasonally-inspired creative writing workshop series
While this looks like a writing class focused solely on the Tarot, it's not exactly that (but it is a creative writing workshop focused on this divinatory method, at least as far as the four COURT CARDS of the minor arcana are concerned). Nevertheless, we are keeping to the tradition of the seasonal workshops we've been offering four times a year since 2014; COURTING SUMMER will look a lot like SUITED SPRING did, but instead of looking at each of the four suits of the Tarot deck—WANDS, CUPS, SWORDS, PENTACLES—each Saturday, in the following respective order, we will look at PAGES, KNIGHTS, KINGS, and QUEENS. We will use the energy of each court card (and the four suits they represent) as versatile THEMES in which to organize the four Saturdays (look below at the individual descriptions to see what we mean). While Sarah Elizabeth Schantz, the founder of (W)rites of Passage, and the facilitator of most of our workshops, often employs divination as a writing tool, she's designed COURTING SUMMER to deliberately utilize the PAGES, KNIGHTS, KINGS, and QUEENS of the Tarot's minor arcana as inspiration, muse, and guide for the writing to come. Each week, for each new batch of court cards, each participant will receive a card of their own to work with as a means for generating new text (or as a strategy for revision). If you take more than one week (all four is encouraged, especially for this series), you will leave with a spread of four cards (one from each suit) to further work with as a writer; this will also deepen your understanding of the court cards and the different suits they represent (or introduce you to the concept). Via assigned readings, research, group discussions, and writing exercises, you will learn the basics regarding PAGES, KNIGHTS, KINGS, and QUEENS, while simultaneously enriching your writing, yourself as a writer, and yourself as a writer in a writing community. You do not need to know anything about the Tarot to take this class (if you don't have a Tarot deck, getting the Rider-Waite or Smith-Waite deck is a good idea, but also not necessary). That said, it should be stressed that this is a WRITING WORKSHOP first and foremost. This workshop is for all writers of all levels, from the novice to the seasoned, just as it is also for poets and prose writers alike—CNF and fiction equally welcome. To guarantee the intimacy and time every artist requires (and deserves), space is limited to eight writers per week. This is a safe space that always aims to also liberate the writers who attend. If you are new (and even if you aren't), you should read the Policies page.
WEEK 1: PAGES (July 24th) ~ WEEK 2: KNIGHTS (July 31st)
WEEK 3: KINGS (August 7th) ~ WEEK 4: QUEENS (August 14th)
(optional but encouraged: SALON/CELEBRATION/CLOSING CEREMONIES Sunday, August 15th, 1:00-3:00 p.m.)
PAGES: Starting the series off, on July 24th, we will look at all four Pages from the Minor Arcana which will include a basic study of what Pages mean, as well as how each one operates the suit they represent. According to The New Tarot Handbook by Rachel Pollack, you don't have to look at the four figures from the court cards as being a monarchy, but as members of a family perhaps (including a community), and/or related to age. The Page is young, so if it's the Page of Wands, "we get Young Fire," untried but eager" (Pollack); thus maybe a writer who gets this card ends up writing a coming-of-age story about someone who really wants to see the world but gets in trouble along the way because they don't stop to make the proper plans. Perhaps you write your memoir as a teen mom for the Page of Cups, and all the intense emotions that accompanied this role, including all the ways your curiosity kept you going. Your Page of Pentacles might be a feral boy in the woods in a poetic text based on Hansel & Gretel who follows hikers to feast on their shadows.
KNIGHTS: Next we will study the Knights of the Minor Arcana on July 31st. Again, participants will get one of the four Knights just as they got one of the four Pages the week before. They will then use research regarding the energy of the Knight, someone always running off (or being made to go) on a quest of some kind. Perhaps you get the Knight of Cups, and decide to write a contemporary-based character based on Lancelot from the legends of King Arthur; therefore, you name him Lance but then change that to Chance. Developing him further, Chance is doing volunteer work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina (because Cups = Water) to end up having a passionate love affair with his best friend's fiance who is also part of the clean-up. Maybe you actually write a knight with a real sword and a real quest for your fantasy YA novel because you drew the Knight of Swords and your main character has been commissioned to slay a dragon she finds she cannot kill. Why can't she kill this beast? What does she do instead? How does this change the entire myth regarding the duties of the Knight who is supposed to return a hero? Hopefully you're beginning to see how it works?
KINGS: On August 7th, we will likely work out our daddy issues or thoughts regarding authority in general as we explore the four different suits of this courtly figure. Kings are all about responsibility and making important decisions so there will be a focus on your responsibility as a writer and what you bring forth into the world as well as all the choices we have to make along the way. Maybe you pay homage to Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" by writing a poem using the persona of the father Plath writes to because you get the King of Swords pictured above. Maybe you specifically write a scene with a grandfather character who has that same intense eye contact as this King with his ever-erect sword. Or maybe you write a short story about a group of Drag Kings who specialize in George Michael covers but struggle to find their place because they're overshadowed by the more socially-accepted Drag Queens because you were divined the King of Wands and the dumpster-fire of this Sacred Stick. Or maybe you explore your experience as a trans-man via memoir and what it was like to became your child's other father
QUEENS: According to Rachel Pollack, "the Queens are the masters of the element" they each represent because "they understand it and give themselves to it at the highest level." This is why the Queens come last. The Queen of Pentacles (as throned just above) recalls so many of the older women from Robin MacArthur's recently-published collection, Half-Wild; there's the classic back-to-the-earth hippie mom who is dying of cancer or the widowed grandmother Cora from "God's Country" still grappling with the violence of racism. The Queen of Pentacles is also the crone figure of Bonnie Jo Campbell's short story, "The Fruit of the Paw-Paw Tree" who demonstrates the truth that even old ladies still like to get it on. But maybe you get the Queen of Cups instead and write a description of a plaster statue of Mother Mary standing in someone's yard. What Queen will you get come August 14th and what will you write as a result? Maybe you will get the Queen of Swords and own your Throne as a Writer.
This four-week long workshop series will take place online via Zoom on Saturdays
from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. MST
$200.00 for the entire series (plus a 10 page critique) or $60.00 per Saturday
To register, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org