If you’ve followed my blog for any time at all, you might have noticed that I like to post spreads. They’re a lot of fun to make and play around with, but I like to use them for writing prompts.
I am not alone in my enjoyment of spreads. My Instagram and Pinterest are filled with beautiful and amazing spreads. created by wonderful individuals. Most people know of Emerald Lotus, but they definitely should get a shout-out when it comes to generating layouts for cards.
However, there are a lot of spreads that I dismiss, and I wonder how people do readings with them. I’ll look think how interesting a card position is, and consider it for a moment. Then my mind generates a card falling into that place, giving an unrelated message to that position.
What if I’m doing a spread on discovering your Spirit Guide and the card representing them is the 10 of Swords? Or what if when looking at my Deeper Purpose in life, I get the Devil? Or the 3 of Swords? What if when looking at what advice I can give to a grieving loved one is the 8 of Cups?
The key phrase to these questions is ‘What if.’
When my mind comes up with these scenarios, I dismiss a spread, thinking the creator of the spread clearly hasn’t thought it through.
But that isn’t true. These are just card positionings. The problem in this is me.
There is a trust that has to happen between the reader and a deck of cards. The reader must trust that the cards are aligned with them, that their own intuition is tuned in, that they, as a reader, are centered and grounded enough to bring the messages of the card into the moment.
What this boils down to is that the reader has to trust that the cards are going to fall correctly.
When I was learning tarot, or at least, dabbling within the first couple of years of my first deck, I really liked to over-think. I questioned what was there in the cards, wondered if the cards falling from my hands, or my incomplete shuffle was a sign, was a message, or if it was just me being clumsy. I think we all, as tarot readers, have these moments. I hear this question often enough.
I wish I could remember the book I read this in, but just know, there is a published book at least 13 years old that had these words in it (approximately):
There are no accidents in Tarot.
This changed my view on the Tarot. The cards do as they do and we need to see them as we do in that moment. This realization
I began to trust.
With social media being very image-focused. Thus, lots of readers grab attention by dispensing shareable tarot spread images—myself included. It’s catchy, and sometimes it sticks in the mind of the receiver.
When it comes to spreads, I know perfectly well that when I’m creating that image, I need a quick snapshot of the spread for the picture-skimmers. The words on the image are the best keywords to show the position, but not its whole story.
Thus, I’m not trusting that the spreads I’m coming across on social media are completed elsewhere.
Furthermore (and this is the most important part), when I look at these spreads, I’m not trusting that the cards will fall correctly.
If the 10 of Swords really is my Guide, then there is an aspect to the 10 of Swords that I have yet to discover. If my advices is the 8 of Cups to a grieving friend, I’m probably looking at the card in a one-sentence definition. I am likely forgetting that this is a card of listening to their intuition to know when to move on.
If the connection between positioning and card isn’t there, then that is on me, not the cards.
As you might know, I spend a lot of time on Benebell Wen’s YouTube channel (Love it!). She likes to walk the viewer through tarot spreads she comes across. The idea behind it is that you, watching the video for the first time, do the spread right along side the video.
Without thinking, I’ve been happily doing these spreads, and getting really great results. Some of them I have actually incorporated into my regular readings.
Yet, while I was writing this post, I realized something. One of my key rules for a new spread is to make sure I know the spread before I start reading. I believe the cards are a connection between the reader and the energies around. Because of this, the cards need to know where you will read their message for proper application. So, I focus on the spread while I shuffle to get this down. Makes sense, yes?
Then again, I’ve been reading alongside these videos without knowing the spread at all. And getting perfect, beautiful, and wonderful readings.
Trust the cards, they know what they’re doing. I can’t explain how, I can’t explain why, but they just do. Trust yourself, your intuition, the surrounding energies, and trust your cards.