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“Along the road your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way”

-from Along the Road, by Dan Folgelberg

I love that tarot spreads tell stories. As readers, we interpret the cards as they appear in their positions and we help our querents find new ways of thinking about the situations they presents to us. Recently, with the encouragement of my teacher, Christiana Gaudet, I created a new spread specifically designed to help one of my querents. As it evolved, I realized it was going to help me, too. Christiana, recently blogged about how to create tarot spreads. It isn’t difficult to do. Barbara Moore’s book, Tarot Spreads, Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings, was also very helpful in creating my design elements and layout. I felt the need to delve deeper into my spread design and created a story about the spread. It’s called the “Getting Back to YourSelf” spread. After reading it and trying it, I  would love to read your comments.

A copy of this spread description, layout and worksheet is available at this link: https://drive.google.com/?authuser=0#folders/0B9wI4JQn9qhuQTZrdkMwZWhuTDg

Inspiration:
The inspiration for the “Getting back to YourSelf ” Spread came from a reading request via email wherein the querent wrote about her current life concerns. She ended the email with this statement: “I guess I’m just struggling to remain me in this busy life and to figure out who I am…”

At many times on our life’s journey we arrive at this crossroad.  It often happens when our minds are troubled with the many concerns and worries of our current situation. We feel as if we have lost our way. And more importantly, we feel as if we have lost our Self.

The “Getting back to YourSelf” Spread combines what I call the “Tell me something about…” spread (designed by Christiana Gaudet, Certified Tarot Grand Master) with a series of questions Christiana and I combined into what I’ve named (if it were to stand alone) the “True Identity” spread.

A Guide for the Tarot Reader:
What follows is a guide of how to think about and use this spread with your querent or yourself.

The “Getting back to YourSelf” Spread was designed to bring forth our concerns – out of our heads and into the consciousness of our lives – in order to reconnect with our true Self by tuning in and listening to our Inner Guide.

When we act from our concerns, we often, mistakenly believe that they define us: Concerns such as how we should raise our children, about our careers, our love lives, our health and well being, our finances, and on and on. These aspects of our lives are always changing.

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.6 teaches us to be aware of something called “false identification”- identifying with the parts of yourself that change – the external qualities that influence how we see ourselves – everything from your mind to your body, appearance, job title, instead of with the quiet place within you that does not change. It’s when you mistakenly believe, on some level, that how you look or feel or what you do for a living (or even how nice or beat-up of a car you drive) has something to do with who you are and that these things define you, instead of recognizing that your true Self – who you are your at your core is unchanging.

By recognizing when our thoughts begin to lead us to the path false identification we can unburden ourselves of our concerns and the stories we tell ourselves about how our life should be, or even who we should be, rather than who we are becoming, and thereby reconnect with our Self.

Inner Guide/Seer/The Self are words to describe your true unchanging essence. This essence remains stable no matter what happens around you or to you, whether you feel connected with this part of you or far removed from it. The more connected you are with the unchanging Self, the less you suffer from the inevitable changes of the non-Self. 

By identifying the concerns and the worries of the querent and then asking a series of questions designed to focus on the Self, the “Getting Back to YourSelf” Spread will help the querent learn where she is falsely identifying with her concerns and help her to reconnect with her Inner Guide and the true essence of who she is becoming with a stronger sense of Self.
 

“Getting back to YourSelf” Spread – Interpretation

“Tell me something about…” (Spread designed by Christiana Gaudet)

Make a list of the areas in your life that are most important to you right now. It could be one thing that is on your mind or it could be several. In this example, I list five. When you make your list don’t think about order of importance. Everything is important. The questions the cards answer are intentionally very open-ended. Essentially the questions could be understood as “Tell me something about…” 

Note: I have chosen to use reversals in this portion of the spread because I believe our concerns can have many facets from which to discern meaning and interpretation.

Example:

  • Home (Remodeling the home)
  • Raising my Child/Being a Mom (My Daughter)
  • Health (Time and energy)
  • Career (Anxiety about keeping the job and leaving my daughter)
  • Marriage & Intimacy

 

 “True Identity” (Spread designed by Christiana Guadet & Linda Moore)

  • Struggling to remain “Me” in my busy life (with the identified concerns)
  • Figuring out who I am

1. Who am I, at my core?

2. What is my current sense of identity?

3. What changeable area of mySelf am I identifying too closely with, and thereby setting mySelf up for disappointment and suffering? 

4.  What must I release in order to maintain my sense of self?

5.  What must I embrace in order to maintain my sense of self?

6. How/In which direction am I being called to Re-Invent mySelf in order to grow?

7. Who am I becoming?

        (Here you have the discretion to lay three cards face down, and the 4th face up for position 7. In this way, if the card in position 7 does not flow intuitively, is confusing or even negative, you will have three cards underneath it to use as clarifiers.)

(Draw Additional Cards for Clarifying as needed.)

Layout Considerations:

Reversals: It is your choice on whether or not to use reversals. You may consider not to use reversals in the “True Identity” portion of the spread because finding our way on our life’s journey is already full of ups & downs, and therefore interpreting the cards in their upright positions demonstrates stability.

Major Arcana Only: You may chose to use only Major Arcana cards in the “True Identity” portion of the spread because of the lessons, themes and patterns for growth these archetypes represent on our life’s journey. 

Face Down vs. Face Up: Another dimension to consider when laying the cards is to lay them face down, revealing one at a time either in all rows or just in the last two rows. When/if you do, notice the patterns being revealed and incorporate them into the querent’s story.

Two Decks:

          Consider the possibility of using a single card from a different deck (either choosing from all the cards or the Major Arcana only) in Position 3 – Changeable Self. In this juxtaposition, Card 3 will stand apart visually and possibly help the querent see where changes are needed to get back to or move toward the Self.

          Consider using a second deck for the second and third rows (more discussion on this follows in the section “Follow your intuition” below).

First Row: Begin with laying the concerns in the top row. There should be no particular order of importance, or no particular number (again, in this example I use five, but if you or your querent want to address a single issue, then lay one card). As always, if more information is needed, a clarifying card can be drawn. Our concerns are with us along our life’s journey, they may change over time but they are always there.

Say something like, “Let’s learn something about your concerns; remember, these are your concerns at this particular time in your life, but they do not define you.”

As you interpret the cards, discuss the concerns with the querent to get an idea of the nature of her concerns. You will have the opportunity to dig deeper later in the reading when the “True Identity” cards are revealed. Try not dwelling on them too long, in order to stay focused on moving toward the questions on the Self and staying focused on the objective guidance that her concerns do not define who she is in her true essence and the whole of her life.

Second Row: As we travel our path in life, we move in many directions. We may get lost along the way, and search for that sign that points us back to our Self. Our soul acts as the “caretaker” of our Inner Guide and knows when we stray too far off our path and when and how to nudge us back to our true selves. In the Second Row, arrange the cards along a horizontal center line, but alternate one up, one down, as shown in the diagram, aligning them along an imaginary horizontally line – our core self on our life path.

Explain this alignment to the querent as representation of our Inner Guide always with us, always steadying us back to our true selves.

Say something like, “I’ve laid the cards in this way to symbolize the various paths on your journey through life, and to remind you that your Inner Guide is always aligned in the center of your true Self.”

Third Row & Harmonious Triad:

Position 6: Reinvention

Position #7: “Who am I becoming?”  This card in the last position of the “True Identity” spread is where the Reader pulls together all of the information gathered to help the querent “see” the next chapter on her journey in life. It suggests that if all of the other information she was opened to in the reading, was possible and true for her, that this would be an appropriate avenue for her next steps, her awakening to a deeper area of her Self on her spiritual path. With this new information, she can begin to understand that her concerns and worries, do not define who she is, rather she has a renewed definition of herSelf and from that Self she finds the internal strength from which to act with regard to those concerns and worries at this moment in her life. 

This question as the Seventh position in the spread appropriately identifies with the positive aspects of 7’s numerology definition of The Seeker:

 Positive Characteristics: 7 isn’t just a lucky number. It’s also spiritual, intelligent, analytical, focused, introspective, studious, intuitive, knowledgeable, contemplative, serious, persevering, refined, and gracious and displays much inner wisdom.

In Tarot: The Chariot ~ riding the waves of change as we pursue our destiny and spiritual development

Use Clarifying Cards As Needed: Other information/clarifying information.

Harmonious Triad:

I am calling the triangle of the positions of cards 3/6/7 the “Harmonious Triad”. When you consider these three cards together:  3 – the Changeable Self, 6 – the Reinvented Self, and 7 – The New or Becoming Self, you can encourage the querent toward new possible pathways to her future Self. By giving her the tools from which to act consciously, she may begin to quiet her mind and listen more intently to her Inner Guide.

Interpreting Card Position Relationships & Card Position Pairs & Triangles:

In what ways do Cards 4 & 5 compliment or contrast with Card 3?

How does Card 6 relate to Cards 4 & 5?

What is the relationship between Card 6 & 3?

In what direction is the querent being led by the “Harmonious Triad” of cards 3, 6 & 7?

What do you notice about cards 1, 3 & 5?

What can you learn from cards 2 & 4?

Consider the small triangles of 1, 2 & 3, as well as 3, 4 & 5. What can you learn from these groupings?

What, if anything, do the triangles of 1, 2 & 6 tell you about where the querent is being called to Re-Invent?

What, if anything, do the triangles of 5, 4 &7 tell you about who the querent is Becoming?

What other card pairs do you notice, such as card pairs that balance, oppose or reinforce each other or Court or Ace pairs?

There are many ways to group the cards in this spread, go with what speaks to your intuition, and what the querent needs to know.

Follow your intuition: Consider using two decks for this spread: one for the “concerns” row, and a different one for the “identity” rows. By using a different deck for each row you are dynamically demonstrating that the querants concerns are separate from her true Self.

Whether you use two decks or not, you may discover that the concerns row literally begins to fade into the background of the reading.

Card relationships to consider with two decks:

Are there duplicate cards, how do they relate to the concerns of the querent? What if any relationships can you find within the spread positions? 

What patterns do you see in Suits, Majors, or Court cards?

How can you help the querent have the courage to realize she can BE her true Self amidst her concerns? Will she act differently toward them now that you have opened her mind to a new way of thinking about them, and, a new way to BE?  

Here is a worksheet to use with the spread:

 

Getting Back to YourSelf Tarot Spread

Position Meanings Worksheet

Position Number

Tarot Card

Position Meaning

1. Who am I, at my core?

 

This is the personality trait which will remain consistent over time.

2. What is my current sense of identity?

 

 

“What is important to me – what is it that feeds me?” (If reversed, what energy is being blocked or where has the querent become stuck?)

3. What changeable area of mySelf am I identifying too closely with and thereby setting mySelf up for disappointment and suffering?

 

“False identification”- identifying with the parts of yourself that change – the external qualities that influence how you see yourself – everything from your mind to your body, appearance, job title, etc. (Reflected in the querent’s concerns.)

4.  What must I release in order to maintain my sense of self?

 

Recognize that you can change to become a new self by releasing a stale old quality and opting to change rather than continuing to live with it, now and in the future.

5.  What must I embrace in order to maintain my sense of self?

 

 

Recognize that the change you want moves you toward a renewed sense of self on your journey. Learn to embrace and embody this fresh new quality in yourself.

6. How/In which direction am I being called to Re-Invent mySelf in order to grow?

 

 

Act on purpose. I have chosen to re-invent mySelf and forge a new path deliberately and with foresight. A Hobby? After reflection and assessment, specify what you will stop, what you will modify and what you will start. Put actions into your calendar or journal. Act with your re-invention promises, including noticing where you fail, recognizing there is always a first time, and then starting over.

7. Who am I becoming?

 

 

The concept of “becoming” in philosophy is strictly connected with two others: movement and evolution; as “becoming” assumes a “changing to” and a “moving toward.” Life is flow. You are flowing in this new direction.

 

Dedicated to those we love and trust who come to us for guidance on their journey.