A popular writing exercise is to have students wander out of the classroom, take a look around, find one intriguing person, and write their life story. A complete stranger. You don't talk to this person, you simply pick them out by what they are wearing, what they are doing, and create a snapshot of their life. What has brought them to this moment? What has motivated them to do what they are doing now, dress how they dress now, react in the way they are reacting in this moment?
I love this exercise. I think we, as people, do it all the time. We read people. We speculate in groups, often unkindly, about what has created the obnoxious people who blunder across our lives. In every person, I believe there is a cautionary tale. And in every person, I believe there is the potential for miraculous transformation.
These two elements draw me to both Tarot cards and fairytales. I believe that stories are how we teach our children about life, and values. Fairytales were probably my first Tarot cards - the cautionary tale along with the bright hope. Perseverance. Courage. I favored Rapunzel, because that girl saved herself (and raised two kids in the wilderness while the prince was wallowing in self-pity, thank you very much). Was never as big a fan of the waiting princesses. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty are total snore-fests to me. Cinderella was barely a "meh" until Ever After came out.
I like the stories in Tarot cards, and especially how reflective they are of the stories going on in our lives. Fairytales may change with the values of the time (Rapunzel got a good cleaning up for the kids' books - what? Pregnant out of wedlock?!), but a Tarot card carries so many more subtleties that shift even from reading to reading. It has to be my most favorite thing about Tarot cards - their ability to constantly surprise you.
I guess I was thinking about Tarot cards and fairytales because I just did a double-movie marathon and saw Beastly and Red Riding Hood back-to-back. I enjoyed both retellings very much (a Tarot card appears in Red Riding Hood, but Gary Oldman pulled it away so fast I couldn't tell you which one it was). That and I've been poking around Aeclectic for the traditional meanings and they have lovely stories on there, especially for the Major Arcana.
Never lose your whimsy.