As we approach the darkest, longest night of the year from which the sun is reborn, I offer you this tarot game. In all honesty, it’s a council circle that employs tarot cards as talking pieces and visual conversation prompts.
You can play the Winter Solstice Game with anywhere from two to 25 people, but I recommend that you keep the number of players to 12 or less. I designed it with tarot cards in mind; however, feel free to use Soul Cards, Medicine Cards, Heart Cards, or whatever you have. Whatever image/concept in any of these decks seems to be the most “solar” will be the group’s centrepiece (see Part A below). A nice touch is to enjoy a meal together after you’ve played the game. May you enjoy yourself as you deepen your connection with yourself, your beloved ones, and the rhythm of Nature.
WINTER SOLSTICE TAROT CIRCLE GAME
© 2010 James P. Wells
A. Gather in a circle, around a table, on the floor, or wherever you’re all comfortable. Remove the Sun card (Trump XIX) from the tarot deck and place it in the centre of the playing surface beside a beeswax candle. Light the candle.
B. One at a time, each person receives the tarot deck as it’s passed clockwise. Each person, when s/he receives the pack, says one word or one phrase that lets the group know how s/he is as s/he enters this game (e.g. “I’m a bit tired this evening.” or “Feeling aligned with my best good.” or “Curious about what we’re about to do.”). Then s/he mixes the deck and picks three cards at random before passing the pack to the person on hir left. This continues until everyone has checked in and has three cards in their hands.
C. Three rounds are played clockwise (each round’s topic is below). During each, every player gets a turn to lay a card on the surface in front of hir and use its image to inspire a continuation of the open sentence provided. This is done one at a time. Each player can expand on the sentence as much as s/he chooses.
FIRST ROUND: “The deep, dark place I entered this year was _________.”
SECOND ROUND: “The shining gift that I received in that place is _________.”
THIRD ROUND: “The gift I received has the potential to renew me by _________.”
D. After everyone’s cards have been played, allow a fruitful, respectful conversation to unfold, continuing until it reaches a natural conclusion.
E. For the final round, the tarot deck is passed around counterclockwise. One at a time, people receive it, express gratitude for one thing they’ve heard or said during the game, mix their three cards back into the pack, and pass it to the person on their right.
F. After everyone’s cards have been returned to the deck, the Sun card is shuffled back into the pack and the candle is extinguished.