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Whether reading for yourself or another, there are many techniques for laying out the cards to find the answers you need.

One of my favorite techniques is to create a specific spread for the situation. You will need a pen and paper as well as your tarot cards for this.

The key to this technique is to be able to identify all the issues, players and questions that relate to the situation. Essentially, you need at least one position in the spread for each of these.

You might also want to include some traditional positions, such as:

  • Significator: who the client is at this particular time.
  • Challenge: the biggest challenge the client is facing.
  • Helpful People or Influences: where the client could find help.
  • General Advice: what the Universe advises the client to do.
  • Past Influences: what the client brings from the past that has influenced the situation.
  • Final Outcome: how this situation is likely to resolve.

The technique of creating a spread for a specific situation is particularly helpful for dream interpretation, solving issues of group dynamics, making career choices and deeper spiritual questions.

Once you decide that this technique is appropriate for a particular reading, make a list of each factor; that is, each position you want to include in the spread.

There should be a position for things such as:

  • Each person in the situation
  • What each person in a situation contributes, or feels, or thinks (consider more than one position for each person if you need to know more than one thing about each person)
  • Each potential choice (what will happen if this is chosen)
  • Each element in a dream sequence (when interpreting a dream, i.e. what does the book represent? what does the lamp represent, etc.)
  • Spiritual factors (i.e. what is the spiritual lesson?)

Try to include every question you can think of, but also remember that spreads are best when they are fifteen cards or less.

Then, think about the graphic dynamic of the spread. Do you want the cards to make a particular shape? What is the best way to arrange the positions?

Draw the spread on your paper, assigning each position.

Finally, lay out the cards and perform the reading. You will find the insight you gain from your custom spread to be very enlightening!