I have long been fascinated with the Tarot, not just as an oracle but also as a storytelling device. In her book The Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore, Cynthia Giles writes:

“Fortune/telling brings the art of the story into a personal and particular context. In our own society today, fortune/telling serves much the same purpose it has long served in traditional cultures, offering a chance for dialogue, for sharing, for objectification, for hope and drama and revelation. As a way of telling our fortune, Tarot reading offers the opportunity to cultivate our natural narrative abilities and endow them with deeper resonances and broader meanings.”

As many of you have read in my ABNA excerpt, The Silence of Trees, Nadya goes to a voroshka to have her fortune told. The excerpt cuts off just before the Gypsy woman does Nadya’s reading. The voroshka uses a ten-card spread, and those ten cards become the ten chapters of my novel. The first card is The Lovers, which is the title of the opening chapter, and so on.

The ten cards in the spread are: The Lovers, Queen of Swords, The Star, The Emperor, Page of Clubs, The Devil, Seven of Cups, The Sun, The Falling Tower, Ten of Coins. (There is a visual representation on my Web site here).

The cards are not prescriptive for their corresponding chapters, rather they foreshadow the essence, or spirit, of each chapter. Exactly how is left for readers to discover and interpret if they wish.

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

2 thoughts on “Storytelling/Fortunetelling”

  1. Max says:

    Storytelling/Fortunetelling is a quite interesting post but quite difficult to understand for me –

  2. Indu Nair says:


    I loved the excerpt of ‘The Silence of Trees’. I find the Tarot deeply fascinating – A reading can mean so many different things and can be interpreted in so many ways. Combining it with fortune telling sounds a wonderful literary device. I am greatly looking forward to read your book.


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