Alayna Williams, author of Dark Oracle and Rogue Oracle (as well as Embers and Sparks, writing as Laura Bickle) stopped by the virtual offices to pen a quick post for us. Check out what she has to say about her favorite Tarot card.
Favorite Tarot Images: Strength by Alayna Williams
Strength is one of my favorite Tarot cards.
It’s actually a very subtle card, and one that I used to help profile Tara Sheridan, the heroine of ROGUE ORACLE. Tara is a criminal profiler who uses Tarot cards to solve crimes, and I’m sure that she would approve of the use of the Tarot as a story prompt.
When I think of Strength, I automatically think of big stuff. Burly guys. Large trucks. Weightlifters. Earth moving machinery. Car crushers. St. George slaying a dragon. Maybe Thor, brandishing a big shiny hammer. And that’s the immediate bias that many of us often have: thinking of Strength as a physical quality.
But in the Tarot deck, we see a woman with flowers in her hair, wearing a long white dress. She has a calm, peaceful expression on her face as she leans down to close the jaws of a lion with only her hands. This isn’t a bloody battle of swords and fists. She’s accomplishing her goal with a certain amount of tenderness, a gentleness that we can almost see in her face as she looks upon the lion. The lion seems to submit to her willingly, without a struggle, in the face of her compassion.
Traditionally, the card symbolizes fortitude and control over our own animal instincts, discipline to accomplish one’s goals. It’s interesting to me that Strength subdues her opponent without bloodshed. By her pose, we can’t tell if she’s been holding the lion’s jaws for moments or hours. She is determined to achieve her goal, and she approaches it from a deep wellspring of courage and faith in her own power.
I was accustomed to heroines who kicked down doors with guns blazing and asking questions later. But in creating Tara, I wanted her to be different. I wanted her to have the endurance to solve the cases she’s working, to be able to approach the lion in a thoughtful fashion. But I didn’t want her to face all of her problems with a gun. As I thought about this card, I wanted her to be powerful, and confident in her power. I throw many obstacles in her way: death, disaster, secrets, betrayal, and estranged love.
I decided to have Tara draw this card in ROGUE ORACLE, to identify with it. In her dreams, she became the figure walking across the desert with a lion at her side. She was able to tame the lion, to face the future and strategize about how she might conquer it. She fought monsters, saved the innocent, and rescued her lover from death.
And she did it with a softness about her that I admired, even in spite of myself. In the process of writing about Tara, I learned something: Strength doesn’t have to be harsh or brittle. Strength means rolling up sleeves and facing one’s fears, using one’s mind and heart as well as one’s hands.
You can learn more about Alayna/Laura by visiting the following websites:
Laura/ Alayna’s blogs:
http://www.salamanderstales.blogspot.com and http://delphisdaughters.blogspot.com
She’s at Facebook, and Fangs, Fur, and Fey.
Sparky the fire salamander from EMBERS and SPARKS has his own Twitter account, @SparkySalamandr
Both Dark Oracle and Rogue Oracle are available now. You can purchase them from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widgets below:
Synopsis for ROGUE ORACLE (Delphic Oracle #2)
Alayna Williams writes with power and poetry, combining old mythos with complete ass-kickery. You don’t want to miss this series.”
-National bestselling author Ann Aguirre
The more you know about the future, the more there may be to fear.
Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around – and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.
Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards – and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams – suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationships with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen…
Excerpt from Rogue Oracle
He’d do anything to hear those voices again.
Galen’s head was too silent. The other voices in his head had drained away, leaving him alone. He pressed his cold hands over his ears so that he could hear his own blood and breath thundering, like the ocean in a shell. It was a bit less like being alone. He peered into the darkness, waiting. Waiting for the next voice to fill his thoughts and his dreams. Continue reading