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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own

Tarot Spread
Posted by Beth on June 18, 2014 at 7:00am PST

You dont have to be an experienced tarot reader to create your own spreads
in fact, I think its good to practice creating your own spreads right at the
start of your tarot journey.
Crafting spreads builds con!dence and helps you to remember that youre
learning tarot your way, nobody elses. Plus it means you can always come up
with your own special approach to all those crazy-ass questions your friends
bring you.

Its cool I got a spread for that


Okay. First, lets break down a simple tarot spread to understand how it works.

Anatomy of a tarot spread

A tarot spread is simply a method for laying out reading tarot cards in speci!c
positions, so as to interpret cards within contexts: !rstly the position itself, and
then in relation to the surrounding cards.

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

Where some readers might simply lay a number of cards and translate these
into a message, for others this can feel totally bewilderingespecially if youre
new to tarot. Using a spread helps to frame each card, so it can be read more
Take this simple three-card spread as a quick example:

1. Dusk / 2. Present / 3. Dawning.


First, we have the three speci!c positions,

positions, which instantly lend context to the
1. Dusk an energy which has been strong in your life, but is now passing
2. Present - where youre at right now in the present moment.
3. Dawning an energy which is now starting to "ow into your life.
Additionally, you can interpret the cards in relation to one another.
another. So in this
example, which illustrates three steps in time, you have a sequence. Card
1 (the almost-past) fades into card 2 (the present), which in turn beckons in
card 3 (the becoming future.)
Symmetry plays a big role in this spread.
spread. The centre card becomes a pivot
a moment of change between one state in a persons life (card 1) and the next
(card 3), You can look for the common or opposing elements between 1 and 3
are there symbols in common, are they of the same suit, do they feel like
complete opposites, or more like a gentle transition?
And card 2 the pivotal right now moment how does this feel when read it
as a moment of change? What does it do to card 1 to turn it into card 3? How
does it act as a bridge between them?

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

Cards are from the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans

Here, can you see how the jerky, tetchy Five of Wands, with its lines veering o#
in all directions, gives way to the the Nine of Pentacles, rounded, secure and
whole-looking, via the Temperance card in the centre? Temperance brings a
sense of calmness and balance, dealing with the con"ict energy of the Five of
Wands. Its as though this calm feeling thats happening right now sees o# that
tetchiness and enables you to gather yourself, beckoning in the con!dence and
security of the Nine of Pentacles.
Try it out yourself!
Okay, so its time to create your own tarot spread!

First, create your DIY tarot spread kit

You will need: One or two pads of Post-it notes, a pen, and notebook or
sketchpad. (Or, if youre feeling fancy, get yourself a set of blank playing cards!)

Start by looking at spreads youve already used (or Google tarot spreads,
check your tarot books, or see the guide that might have come with your tarot
deck.) Make a list of the positions in these spreads, and write each one on a
separate card or Post-it.
If you need em, here are some ideas to get you started (click to enlarge)

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

The list is endless, and youll also want to add plenty of your own. This is your
personal, ever-growing DIY tarot spread kit. Each time you try out a new spread
from a book or a blog, you can add new position ideas.

Armed with this kit, youre ready to !nd out ALL OF THE THINGS.

Make your first spread

Youve got out your cards because you have a burning issue you need to
discuss pronto with the tarot. So grab your kit and lets make a custom spread
to tackle it!
As you work through this exercise and think about your own question, pull the
corresponding Post-its/cards from your kit and stick them beside you (you can
worry about the order/layout later on).
One thing to think about right now is how long you want your spread to be.
Will it be a short, snappy little reading? Or do you want to spend all evening
poring over a twelve-card spread?
Begin with your question.
Mine is How can I make Angel Haze fall madly in love with me? And I think Im
gonna aim for seven cards. Because seven is lucky.
Try to break your question down. Firstly, what is your question word your
how, why or what? Try to work out the kind of information youre ultimately
So if its how, then youre probably looking for practical actions you can take. If
its why, maybe its more about the energy surrounding you, or patterns of
behaviour you need to understand. What o#ers you some speci!cs you can

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

incorporate into your reading.

(If youre not sure how to phrase your question, here are some hints for
phrasing your question so you can create a more exploratory spread.)

Start pulling together the positions

So for me its a how. I want to end up with an actionable to-do list for
enchanting Angel Haze into my waiting arms.
I get out my tarot kit and look for positions that can help with that. First o# Im
gonna go with one thing to do right now, and also an overall approach to
adopt because, yknow, this wont be like "icking a switch. Its nice to have
something immediate, but also a longer-term strategy.
Other ideas to consider
What about the here and now? Try creating positions for where youre
at here in the moment so you have a point from which to move
forwards. If your question is about something romantic, how about a
position for what my heart is saying. If its about something physical
moving house, a new job, making a million quid, you could ask about
your physical strengths or limitations.
What do you need in order to move forwards from this point? Could it
be that you need to let something go, or bring something in? Or are
there lessons you need to learn? Resources you could gather?
Are there any barriers to what youre looking to achieve? You might
ask about what there barriers are. Or, if if you already know them, you
could create a positions to help you overcome these.
Do you feel there is some piece of information youre lacking? If so,
create a position to !nd this out. You could ask simply what does my
heart need to hear?, or A message I need to hear
Think about your strengths too! If appropriate to your question, make
positions for my biggest strength in regard to XXX, or the best thing
about me is
I could go on and on but as you can see, this will be completely di#erent for
every querent and every question. The idea is to think through your dilemma
and grab the Post-its you need to address it. You will almost certainly !nd that
you need to make new positions too, as you start to tune up your spread.

Create order
Now arrange your Post-its into a logical order, so your spread progresses your
understanding as you work through it. Those what/how/why positions you
looked at !rst will probably come last: my to-do list will be the !nal cards in my
spread, read only once Ive learned about my situation, my barriers, my
strengths and so on.
Youll probably !nd you have way too many positions at this point, so start
pruning. You might have several which are essentially telling you the same
thing. If you decided on a number of positions at the start, youll know how
many you want to end up with. Otherwise, aim to get the info you need as

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

concisely as you can, strip out anything that seems "u#y.

Think about layout

Remember how symmetry played a role in the example spread earlier?
Perhaps you want to use symmetry in your spread too (particularly useful if
youre weighing up two options.)
Follow your journey.
journey. Will you want to go upwards, downwards, forwards,
backwards? Or how about a circular spread? It can be nice to read the cards in
a round and come full circle by the end. A friend of mine created a Bridge
spread, where cards went up one side, then there was a view from the
high-point card, then you came down and landed on the other side of a river.

Bridge Spread

A cute idea is to physically represent an element of your spread a crescent

moon, a star, a heart.

Look! This person made a Dragon tarot spread!


Maybe number will play a role if youre looking to create structure, a

four-card square might be appropriate. Or you might want twelve months,
seven days, three options or four elements.
Im gonna make mine arrow-shaped, so its like Im shooting arrows of love to

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

Angels heart. Aww.

Yep, this is *actually* how I will woo Angel Haze.

Test drive
Okay, its time to try your spread out! Shu$e your cards, and lay one on top
of each post it, and read them as you normally do. Write it up as you go, but
pay special attention to the positions and how they feel.
So! Did it work out? Do you want to tweak it? Did it give you what you needed,

or was something missing? You might spend a lot of time !ddling with your
spread positions before you feel youve got it right thats completely !ne.
Mine didnt seem quite right when I took it for a spin, but I switched a few
things round and Ive now got a sassy little spread all ready to go. Check it out
When you think youve got something youre happy with, give it a name! Im
gonna call mine the Go Get Her spread punchy and direct, like the spread

Share it!
Lastly, dont keep that brand new spread a secret share it in the comments so
we can all give it a go! (Check Alis post here about how to post photos in the
comments,, or link us up to your blog.)
Happy spread crafting!
PS Want to cheat? Check out The Deck of 1000 Spreads!

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Fools Journey: Create Your Own Tarot Spread | Autostraddle

Beth Maiden is a tarot reader and writer based in Manchester, UK. She has two cats and
one dog and they all live together in a tiny little boat along with too many tarot decks
and never enough clean co#ee cups. When she's not slinging tarot cards,
cards, Beth can be
found somewhere in her boat's engine box, wandering the city with Billie the dog,
making websites for awesome people or drinking cider in some trendy bar. She'd love to
cut your hair, read your cards or hang out with you on Twitter
Twitter!! Website
Beth has written 20 articles for us.

YYoouu M
Maayy AAllssoo LLiikkee......

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