A Situational Spread is a spread that we use to handle a specific situation. Decision-making spreads are situational spreads. We can have situational spreads that we rely on and use when needed. The “Help and Hinder” spread is a popular example of a reusable situational spread.
We can also design custom spreads for one-time use to work with unique situations. We can design these spreads on our own, or with the help and input of our clients. To work with a client to design the spread and then perform and interpret the spread is a very proactive and empowering approach to tarot reading.
What Situations Demand a Custom Situational Spread?
You can design a custom spread for any reading. Simply ask the client what their questions are and who the major players are and design a spread. You might want to pull some cards to help give insight regarding positions and the greater spiritual purpose of the reading.
Specific situations could include interpersonal issues, complex decisions, spiritual questions and questions of personal growth.
You might decide to create a spread after doing an initial general spread and discovering a complex issue. Get as much information as you can from the initial spread, then pick up the cards, shuffle, and go through the process of creating the situational spread.
How do you Design a Situational Spread?
Use a pen and paper, or a computer. The graphic layout of the spread is important. Be creative in the way you layout the cards as well as in your questions. Think about the layout as a flow chart, a graph or a chart.
If you design the spread neatly you can fill in the names of the cards that appear and give it to your client to take home.
You may use tarot divination to help inspire the right questions.
You may choose to design your spread in Sacred Space.
You may create positions for each person involved, and for each possible decision. In a decision-making spread it is wise to include a position for options that have not yet emerged, as well as positions for known options.
If you want specific information about a specific person you can make a position such as “What Does Sally Want?” You can do this instead of or in addition to a general position for the individual.
You may use standard positions, such as Past, Present, Future, Final Outcome, Hopes, Significator, Challenge, etc.
Remember that creating a position uses the same skills and considerations as phrasing a question. Open-ended questions are better than yes/no questions. Questions that empower the client and teach the client to be proactive often yield the best results. A question such as “How can I discover the truth?” is sometimes better than “What is the truth?’
There is no specific number of cards to use, but remember that tarot spreads tend to become cumbersome after 15 cards or so.
You can create “dynamic” positions to describe the dynamic between people. For instance, if you have three kids and want to know the dynamics between them, have one position for each kid and see how the cards relate to each other in that context.
Your position questions can be as general or as specific as you see fit.
Performing the Spread
Perform and interpret the spread as you would any other spread. But, remember that the creative, introspective, spiritual process that went into designing this unique spread will infuse the reading with a great deal of power.
Interpreting “People Positions”
When you use a position to generally signify a person, remember the card that comes up could indicate that person’s role in the situation, that person’s current attitude, that person’s current worry or mood, as well as give information about that person’s personality.
Interpreting “Future Predictions”
In any spread, use future predictions to get a sense of possibilities, and to create proactive solutions.