You’ve got the celtic cross down to an art. Your past-present-future game? On point. You love the spreads you find on Pinterest and Instagram, and your faves from your “little white books” are carefully recorded in your tarot journal. You feel solid foundations beneath you, and they’re inspiring you to take the next step–writing your own tarot spreads. You’re a bit nervous or intimidated perhaps, because despite what you’ve learned in Tarot 101, you’re not really sure where to start. Or perhaps you’ve been writing spreads for awhile, but they’re not as inspired as you’d like them to be. Have no fear, tarot jacks and mavens! Today, I’m going to share with you the elements that I consider when I write my tarot spreads. Hopefully, they’ll help you in terms of upping your tarot spread creating game!
Consider the Question and Pull from Personal Experience
When it comes to writing tarot spreads, the best resource you can tap into is you. You are a human, and as such, you have a crazy amount of insight into the obstacles and challenges that people face. Most of the spreads I create for client readings are edited versions of the ones I create for myself, and those spreads use positions that are organically connected the the questions I’m asking myself. When I kneel down at my altar in various states of distress, I take note of the thoughts and queries swimming through my head by writing them down in my journal. I keep a tight account of what it is I’m seeking every time I read for myself or reach out to another badass tarot reader for a reading. Here are some examples of the most basic questions I consistently ask myself when I’m in psycho-spiritual pickle:
What’s my biggest obstacle in terms of this situation?
What do I need to know moving forward?
What can I do about this issue?
Why am I having these thoughts/feelings?
How can I get over this?
Of course, these are super-generalized questions, but they’re only a place to start. As you’ll soon see, these questions create the foundation of a comprehensive spread, and tailoring them to specific topics or concerns gives them richness.
When a querent comes to you for a reading, nine times out of ten they’ll want to address an aspect of their life or experience that’s giving them trouble. Because of this, it’s pretty darn important to speak to the obstacles they’re facing, and what better way than to designate a position to said obstacles? If you’re designing a custom spread for someone, take their question into account when you do this; for example, say a client of yours us having difficulty in terms of self-love and self-esteem–she wants to strengthen both, but she really doesn’t know how to. Create a position that helps her identify her inner demon so she knows where to focus her efforts in terms of her self-love practice–“what psycho-spiritual blockages are preventing me from tapping into my well of self-love?” The wording of this position question triggers her immediate experience and creates focus on the express issue she’s seeking counsel and guidance for. It helps you as the reader maintain your focus on her query, and it helps your querent feel seen and heard.
The Big Why
Once you’ve identified the obstacle, the next step is to explore why that obstacle’s there in the first place. As a reader who approaches her craft psycho-spiritually, this why can almost always be explained through a manifestation of the subconscious; in other words, the why almost always finds its genesis in the client’s shadow or personal experience. Using the example above, a good “why” position might read something like this (ironically, it doesn’t actually use the word “why”): “What’s the subconscious source of this blockage?” Another may read like this: “What thoughts or experiences are supporting this blockage?” Even though the wording is slightly different, the second example hold space for the objective world, allowing for a reading that’s not quite so focused on the querent’s psyche. If you’re a reader that looks more to outside influences, a good variation might read: “What relationships or recent events are challenging my self-love practice?”
Call me new-fashioned, but no tarot spread is complete without a call to action. Personally speaking, I think that the insights provided in a tarot reading are only as good as the change they inspire; in other words, a good reading endeavors to move a querent to do something in terms of overcoming the obstacle or difficulty that they’re facing. In this spirit, I write in a position that provides actionable advice in terms of solving the quandary my querent/client’s facing. Sometimes, this is as simple as “Actionable advice moving forward.” For custom readings or “topic” readings (such as those for shadow work, self-love, or inspiring the muse), I tailor them to address the subject matter at hand. A self-love “actionable advice” position may look a little something like this: “What I can do to hold space for myself as I progress in my self-love journey.” One for shadow work may be “What can I do to integrate the shadow aspect so I can begin to regain control over my thoughts and actions?” One to inspire the artist may look like this: “How can I take steps to re-establish my connection with my fiery, creative aspect?” Of course, these positions alone can insure that your client receives actionable advice–that part’s up to you!
A Position for Power and Support
At the conclusion of a particularly difficult reading, I often like to pull a card that provides support and encouragement. Sometimes, I choose a card from an oracle or affirmation deck and title the position “oracle for greater clarity” (those of you who’ve received readings from me will be familiar with this)! Other times, I’ll dedicate a specific position: “What energy can I channel to slip back into badass creatrix mode?” “What energy can I look to to guide me through?” “Where can I find my strength and power?”
Positions like these wrap up the reading on a high note and help you client feel empowered to do what they need to to create positive change in their lives. It also gives you an opportunity to say something positive without compromising the integrity of the reading–like Mary Poppins says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!
Want more tips and advice on how to right your own spreads? Check out the companion video <3
Much Love, Fellow Tarot Peeps.