Creativity techniques

Force connections to solve problems with tarot cards

Modern-background-connecting-lines-dotsOne popular method to solve problems creatively is “forced connections.” The question is, can we use this technique with tarot cards to solve problems?

Of course we can! Indeed, tarot reading already includes forced connections. How?

Forced connections in creativity and in tarot

In creative thinking, forced connections combine two things—ideas, objects, words—to create something new.

In a tarot reading, we also use forced connections to make a connection between the card we drew and its position in the spread.

However, we won't read tarot cards as usual to use the creativity technique of “forced connections” with tarot cards. For this technique to work, we draw two tarot cards and make a list from each.

Let’s see how this technique would work by studying an example of forced connections.

An example of forced connections with tarot cards

My husband's birthday is coming up. I want to give him something special to demonstrate how creative and romantic I can be.

I randomly draw two cards: the Hermit and the Four of Wands.

09 25Now, I list items, words, phrases, and associations I have with each of these cards. I use both elements in the image and keywords.

Hermit Four of Wands
hermit canopy
lamp dancers
light garlands
six-sided star flowers
cloak robes
hood people
snow stage
mountains wands
staff castle
support joy
beard homecoming
solitude roofs
wisdom tunnel
old man security
meditation completion
introspection rest after labour
search for the truth country life
prudence harvest
experience rest
guidance prosperity
old age bridge
time women
death moat
withdrawal celebration
dark night of the soul family

I’m sure you can think of others, but let’s go on.

I will now force connections between items from these two lists as stimuli for coming up with ideas. There are numerous other connections to make, but I will work with these five.

  1. What ‘solitude’ from the first list and ‘teamwork’ from the second list have in common is that both are necessary to complete a project.
  2. A connection between ‘staff’ and ‘country life’ is a hike.
  3. A connection between ‘staff’ and ‘security’ (using a different meaning for the word ‘staff’), is locked offices.
  4. What ‘old age’ and ‘tunnel’ have in common is that you must go through them when you get there.
  5. What ‘cloak’ and ‘bridge’ have in common is that they are both over something.

From these connections, I get these ideas (one idea per connection):

  1. Surprise him with a day off work (which I will organize with his boss).
  2. An audio version of that book he has no time to finish so that he can listen to it while exercising.
  3. Surprise him at the office and lock the door for a naughty tea break.
  4. A tour of his favourite restaurants in the city, enjoying part of a meal at each place (starters, main course, desert, and so on).
  5. Take him on a hike with a specially prepared picnic meal.

Can you think of any other ideas?

Remember, it is important no to evaluate ideas while you are brainstorming them. Write everything down, and only when you finish brainstorming, assess the ideas for their usefulness (or possibly modify one to make it practical or combine two ideas).

Anything that comes up during this exercise is valuable, even if the idea seems to have nothing to do with its prompt. (For example, how did I come up with idea 5 from ‘over something’? I have no idea, it just popped into my head when I looked at this connection.) The idea is to come up with ideas in any way that works for you.

Finally, if you struggle with this technique, practise, practise, practise. Like any other skill, you get better at coming up with ideas when you practise to do it.

Now it's your turn!

Think of a problem and write it down. If you can’t think of anything offhand, use the prompts from Tell me what my problem is (and how to solve it.)

Using the same two lists I drew up, make new connections and use them to inspire ideas.

I would love to hear from you what your connections were and what you came up with!

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