If - then spread
IMRAD spread: Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion

What would Tarot do?

Remember the 1990s popular phrase, “‘What Would Jesus Do?” It turns out that asking a similar question can provoke the imagination to come up with new ideas.

A recent study asked participants to take on different roles in order to come up with ideas. For example, they asked participants to consider the problem from the perspective of a gardener, an artist, a carpenter, a waiter, a teacher, a photographer, a parent, and several other roles.

They found that when taking on different perspectives, participants came up with more, and more original, ideas.

One of the many problems we face in trying to solve complex or “wicked” problems is getting stuck on one way to look at the problem. This is where perspective-taking becomes crucial.

So where does tarot come in?

Tarot decks illustrate people in a variety of roles and activities. (At least, most do. However, some decks have animals, fairies or cute little creatures representing people.) To view a problem from a different perspective, draw a tarot card, and ask yourself what role the people on the card are playing. Here are a few examples from the Rider-Waite tarot:

These are not the only possibilities for the cards. Use your imagination!

The woman on the Queen of Pentacles could be a mother or a queen (or a model, bride).

The woman on the Two of Swords could be an air traffic controller. (OK, not really, but that’s what she looks like to me today.)


The man on the Six of Pentacles could be a banker or politician.

The two people on the ground are beggars (or protestors).


The person on the Knight of Wands could be a soldier or a police officer.


The man on the Three of Wands could be an investor or a small business entrepreneur waiting for theCOVID-19 restrictions to end.

24You get the idea!

How would a person in that role think about the problem?

So when you're stuck, start your problem-solving by asking yourself, “What would tarot do?”


Chou, Y. J., & Tversky, B. (2020). Changing perspective: Building creative mindsets. Cognitive Science, 44(4). https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12820


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