The Beauty of the Spread

Twice in the last week I’ve laid out cards for a reading and just sat there marveling at the beauty before me. Not just the meanings, or the flow of energy, but the images themselves, how they relate to each other, the story I see in how they connect, in their positions. Last night was one of these moments. I was doing a reading for a friend (who gave permission for me to blog about it) because he recently found that the trip he’d wanted to take to visit his mother next month might not work out due to some sudden financial obstacles. He was really counting on this trip, and wanted to know if it would be possible to make it work after all.  I drew three cards and also considered the card at the bottom of the deck for additional influences. I inquired about the energies surrounding the possibility of the trip happening and pulled: 5 Pentacles – 8 Pentacles – Sun reversed (Moon was the bottom card) I used my new/old Mythic Tarot (Juliet Sharman-Burke, Tricia Newell, Liz Greene) which was a huge pleasure for me!

Mythic Tarot
Juliet Sharman-Burke, Tricia Newell, Liz Greene

When I lay out three cards without positions, the center card is always the “theme” for me, and the flanking cards give me extra information about the surrounding issues.  So looking at this spread I noticed that while my friend is feeling the pain of these new problematic developments, there is a chance that he’ll be able to work something out in the end. The 5 of Pentacles speaks of feeling isolated, or closed-off. In this case it held double meaning as my friend was very keenly experiencing the separation from his mother (who lives in a different country), coupled with the deep sense of responsibility to visit her and help provide support for her. At the same time it represents the financial obstacles that were getting in the way of his plans. Suddenly he felt the wealth being stripped from him and held at a distance. The Sun reversed felt like muted hope – things were suddenly muddled and unclear, the joy at the potential trip sort of started to flicker like a flame in the wind. I sensed a deep dampening of his spirit due to this new obstacle- not simply a momentary annoyance, but something deeper; a longer-term frustration at not being able to fully find joy in a new country without his mother, but also being unable to provide the kind of support for her that he has so often desired.  So the 5 of Pentacles really connected to the Sun reversed, the lack of resources and isolation mirroring the lack of joy bordering on mild depression. Meanwhile the Moon shone above, lighting the rest of the cards with uncertainty and confusion…. All except for the 8 of Pentacles in the middle. I love how the 8 of Pentacles forms the heart of the spread. It says to me that my friend can make his desire come true through hard work, perhaps some small sacrifices, a lot of dedication, and long-term vision. The man in this card is entirely concentrated on the task before him – he is disregarding the confusion, uncertainty, fears, and material lack. He knows that he can manifest his own wealth through focus, patience, and foresight. In fact the very same man wandering through the night in tattered robes in the 5 of Pentacles is featured on the 8 of Pentacles, creating his own way ahead. Visually I love how the center card, the 8 of Pentacles, shines out from within the triangle of tribulations: the Moon sits above, the Sun to the right, turned on its head, the 5 of Pentacles sits to the left. The Moon card is reflected in the sky in the 5 of Pentacles – the moon shines down its illusion upon the poor wandering fellow.  The Sun and Moon are two celestial cards, and the Moon also reflects the light of the Sun. So I see a lot of mirroring going on here, where the lack of resources influences the sense of let-down and depression, which reflects back upon itself in the Moon, enhancing and perpetuating the difficult cycle. And yet, back to the center card, the sky is bright, the man appears entirely unbothered by worries –  perhaps inside he carries a sense of anxiety, but he knows that only through perseverance and hard work will he reach his goal, and he won’t be deterred from the work at hand.  I love that focused, earthy core. To me this is part of the absolute beauty of Tarot.  The cards carry meaning, but the images and positions provide so many layers to the story, that can be woven together, intersected and overlapped to create an almost painfully lovely response to the seeker’s question. (Update: it was difficult, it required a lot of attention and creativity, but he was in the end able to visit his mother in March 2014)