78 Possible Spreads Using RWS

Lady Astral Tarot provides two outstanding videos in which she demonstrates how you can make your own Tarot Spreads by using individual cards from RWS and RWS Clones to help frame questions.

To test run this concept I pulled a card from the Tarot of Curious Creatures by Chris Anne. This six of swords is quite unique. By contrast the image in the RWS Six of Swords shows a woman and a child in a boat being rowed in the water to a land that is on the other side. We can gather from the images that the woman and the child are leaving something behind, as their backs are faced towards us. The woman’s head is covered with a cloak – perhaps she is fleeing something, and must go without others knowing her true identity.

Here the Hare sits on what appears to be luggage, waiting to leave. As she waits a tortoise approaches.

Using Anna’s approach I take the time to take in all the details in this image but my focus is on the approaching tortoise and the story of the Tortoise and the Hare comes to mind. The moral lesson of this story is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.

Seeing the Tortoise approaching makes me wonder if the Hare has thrown in the towel too quickly. I also wonder about what assistance may come from an unexpected quarter and I frame a question around this.

From what unexpected quarter may I get support?

I shuffle and draw another card. It is the Four of Pentacles depicting a Pig protectively keeping her gold to herself. Initially it is not clear how this provides any support.

However, in a general context, the message from the Four of Pentacles Tarot card could help the Hare by demanding she consider if she is are holding too tightly on to people, possessions, situations or past issues.

The Four of Pentacles tarot card may also be an indication that there are deep seated issues affecting the Hare that she needs to process and let go of. Perhaps the Hare has only been valuing things for their material worth, is trying to hard to control her life or is holding back. It is possible that she has become too greedy and needs to be reminded that money works best when it can flow and exchange, not when it is being stashed away in her luggage.

Certainly, as the Hare sits on her luggage waiting to leave, she is given things to think about.

A Small Fool’s Guidance

Mouse symbolism is centered on the idea of having the ability to accomplish anything in life regardless of your size. It is a spirit present in many tales and myths and has various positive and negative meanings.

Wary of the Deviant Moon Fool, unsure about following such a renegade, I turned to the Northern Animal Tarot. I figured I might get the best guidance from an animal. I didn’t need to do a spread to decide whether to accept a date with this young fellow.

Mouse reminds me to go slow and to tend to the smaller details. Mouse spirit signifies a time when you need to take a closer look at your life and scrutinize the details that you may have missed. As a big picture person this advice seems very timely. I am guilty of overlooking detail.

I pull two more cards to guide me, to help me see what I may have overlooked as I embark on this project. I realize that the seed I have is going to need to be nurtured if it is to flourish and that while I have a rich bounty already there are many more cups to fill along the way.

But I am tired now. The negative noise that has permeated everything for the past two years feels overwhelming. It is ridiculous to imagine that anything really changes on the last day of a year, that everything will be transformed at the dawn of a New Year, but the prospect of more of this is relentless stress is daunting. Earth feels like a very crazy place to be at the moment and I wonder what is going on out there in the galaxy.

Mouse looks through his contacts in the deck and suggests that I really need to find the Knight of Swords.

When I come upon this fellow, striding forward, wielding his sword, his ferocious energy is daunting. I am just plain weary and my intellect feels blunted. I recall my High School Principal telling me that “worry is rust on the blade” and I am sure Marcus Aurelius would have some sage advice. Obviously I have always taken things way too seriously and this has blunted my sword.

I choose to simply watch as this energetic warrior struts his stuff, hoping for some of his enthusiasm to be infectious.

Tiny Tea with The Fool

What about addressing the difficult topic over tea and biscuits? If tea’s not your drink, do a little online search for alternatives. Lots of cultures have versions of hot beverages to try. Try them! Go on a tea/coffee break adventure and create space for sharing.

I invited the very youthful Anna K Fool to take a moment, before leaping off that cliff face, to have a cup of my tiny tea. Despite being in a hurry to go wherever she was going she agreed to take a few moments to talk to me.

As we sipped tea, and ate some of the Christmas shortbread, I remarked that my daily life has come to feel like a rubber band, that despite wanting to start afresh, I slip back into old ways of doing and being.

“This is not how it has to be! Your spirit is every bit as young as mine” proffered the Fool.

I all but choked on my tea and spluttered as I considered this. The saying that we are only as young as we feel went through the replay screen in my brain and I conceded that she might just be a very old soul in a young body.

“What about I lay down a couple of cards” suggested the Fool. “I am sure there will be a message for you”.

We contemplated the cards together. I suggested that I might position myself at the top of the wheel and dance joyfully like the figure shown there.

“Rather than hanging on to an established pattern of thinking about the ending before you begin” said the Fool “what about you focus on climbing up from the hub? The project you have so publicly been talking about will not materialize overnight. It will quite literally take a significant amount of time to wrangle. It will be awhile before you can really celebrate.”

With that the Fool drained her cup, put her swag back over her shoulder and leapt into some new world leaving me to ponder whether, at my age, after having responded so often to the call, if I have the energy to do it again.

Consider what might happen if you:

For more than 25 years Noriko Morishita studied and practised the intricate ceremonies of the famous Way of Tea, attempting to learn its complexities and achieve a perfection of movement and mood that few can master. In The Wisdom of Tea Noriko describes her gradual discovery of freedom and insight within the very rules that once seemed so constricting. Looking back across her life, Noriko illuminates the real teachings of the Way of Tea: to live absolutely in the moment, to notice and delight in the smallest of details, to embrace the vital skills of patience and perseverance, and to allow yourself to be.

  • made tea and sat chatting with one of the Major Arcana
  • added tea to a meeting with a client,
  • poured a cup of tea and brought it to a disheartened friend,
  • set up a tea service for an imaginary friend on your back deck.
  • bought yourself a child’s tea service and made tea for the nature spirits in your garden
  • called in and had tea with an isolated elderly or disabled person and encouraged them to share stories about their life.

Close Encounters of the Best Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg that captured the imagination of the world at the time of its showing. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky.

During this holiday period it is as good a time as any to watch an old favourite movie or to have a close encounter with someone less like an alien – a Tarot Archetype.

When I take the time to study the Fool I invariably think in terms of the Pied Piper who is constantly enticing me to throw it all in and follow him.

Indeed, many of my personal drawings and courses that I have run have been influenced by this character. As an artistic midwife I have had many encounters with him. It is the Piper who encourages me to lace up my Cyber Boots and head out on yet another creative journey of imagination. It is the Piper who lures me away from conventional thinking and encourages me to inhabit a world of childhood imagination.

In her book ‘Jung and Tarot’ An Archetypal Journey Sally Nicholls makes the point that studying specific cards help unlock hidden stores of creative imagination enabling sudden insights and ideas burst forth into the consciousness, seemingly from nowhere. I am determined to have some close encounters with prominent Tarot characters.

Given that these wispy characters can be as illusive as butterflies, who flit away without warning, I plan to step into their world and interview them. I am anticipating that this will take most of 2022 to complete but I am in no hurry as I really want to really get to know some of these characters.

I plan to adapt some of these spreads as I begin to communicate with each character. I will lay the card down and either draw more cards or see what spontaneously emerges using a stream of consciousness approach.

Some More Questions to Pose

One of the things I do love about the Show Me Cards is that I can use them to ask questions but here are some more that might be useful.

  • Tell me about yourself!
  • How are you helping me?
  • What should I know about any message that you bring?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of?
  • What else do I need to know?

Bathe in the Light of the Moon

The moon is an integral part of our lives. Whether it is celebrating a festival or starting an auspicious task, or meditating, we consider the movements of the moon.

The moon is your old friend, when you understand it and know how to lean on it, it won’t let you down.

In this universe, every object has an impact on the other. The full moon as well as the new moon are thought to have an effect on the body and mind to some extent. But practicing pranayama, yoga and meditation can help counter these effects.

A Guided Meditation

Layout some Moon cards and spend time meditating on them. It may help to play this Guided Meditation or another imagery, like this, that you can find online.

A Full Moon Spread

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, 
   They danced by the light of the moon, 
             The moon, 
             The moon, 
They danced by the light of the moon

The energy of the moon has an undeniably powerful influence—on people, on plants and animals, and on the cycles and rhythms of the world. These tarot spread may help you manifest the changes you want for yourself and your community. Whatever! They will provide fodder for journal keeping.

Artistic Tarot Dates

The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the
imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
Julia Cameron The Artists Way

If you are unfamiliar with Julia Cameron’s Artist Date idea then simply click the link to learn more about how she suggests that you court and romance your artistic spirit.

But when I introduce Artist Dates—“I want you to do something that intrigues or enchants you for an hour or two weekly. In other words, I want you to play”—arms cross defiantly. What good could “play” possibly do? We understand working on our creativity. We don’t realize that the phrase “the play of ideas” is actually a prescription: play, and you will get ideas.

Julia Cameron

The thing is that most folk who work with Tarot and Oracle decks KNOW that cards just love to go on adventures and feel the love, the companionship and friendship. Cards are hardy creatures who benefit from being out of their box, having a good time. Personally, I find that my decks are very responsive to coming out with me and my faithful canine companion.

I like to take them out for brunch and for outings in the bush. I love laying cards on stones, in bush fire pits, up close and personal with trees, in labyrinths, on old railway tracks, near abandoned houses and on grave sites in historic cemeteries. It is my experience that the cards love translating messages from seemingly inanimate objects and sentient beings.

From My Photo File of Artistic Dates

Over to You

If you are short of ideas about what to do or where to go the BlogSmith and Wherever the Wind Takes Me are full of bright ideas.

So why are you gawking at this screen????

Pack a picnic or a thermos of tea/coffee and your Creative Medicine bag.

Shoo now! Off you go!

Evaluating the First Date

When you get back you might stop and consider how it went and decide if you are compatible and will go on dating.

Kindfulness Warriors

To actively bring attention to being kind to oneself, as an act of self care and self awareness; a hybrid of kindness and mindfulness.
Bright Blue Day

Dalai Lama: “Kindness is my religion.”

My mother always said “kindness doesn’t cost you anything”.

“Often it is the simplest things that mean the most. Small gestures of love that remind us someone cares. A word, a smile, a gift. There is so much power in kindness, it is a true force.

The Six of Cups celebrates acts of kindness and generosity. It encourages us to bring more of this into our lives and to focus on what really matters. What use is wealth, nice clothes, a big home, if we can’t love each other or share what we have? Meditate on this simple lesson. Look for ways to live a kinder life, encourage others to do the same”. Little Red Tarot

Bright Blue Day outline the significant benefits of Kindfulness while Carrie Mellon writes about Infectious Kindness and the power of the Six of Cups. Kiki Dombrowski is another writer who reflects on generosity in tarot.

Rather than being strung onto a Christmas Tree and living in a box for eleven months of the year this Angel is committed to working with Kindfulness. She, and some of her kin, are going to be actively involved as we examine cards and begin to manifest a practice.

Pull out your favourite Six of Cups cards and consider simple, mindful actions, rooted in compassion that you can take that can change the world. To prepare you might take advantage of these Self Compassion Exercises.

Think about how you can become a Kindfulness Warrior and help change the vibration and energy through small, everyday actions.

Use this Manifestation spread to help set some goals. What steps does a deck suggest that you can take to become a Kindfulness Warrior?

Self Compassion Tarot

Most people don’t have any problem with seeing compassion as a thoroughly commendable quality. It seems to refer to an amalgam of unquestionably good qualities: kindness, mercy, tenderness, benevolence, understanding, empathy, sympathy, and fellow-feeling, along with an impulse to help other living creatures, human or animal, in distress.

But we seem less sure about self-compassion. For many, it carries the whiff of all those other bad “self” terms: self-pity, self-serving, self-indulgent, self-centered, just plain selfish. Even many generations removed from our culture’s Puritan origins, we still seem to believe that if we aren’t blaming and punishing ourselves for something, we risk moral complacency, runaway egotism, and the sin of false pride.
Read article by Kristen Neff

Kristen Neff breaks down some of the myths that prevent us from caring for ourselves in the compassionate way we often care for others.

Jen’s Science to Soul Tarot and Transformation initiated a seven day YouTube challenge this year. Having run a seven day Gratitude Challenge she invited participants to engage in another 7 day program.

You will find her initial video and the responses under the tag #SelfCompassionwithTarot.

I doff my hat to Jen because my years of experience working with creatives has demonstrated how shit we all are at being compassionate and supportive towards ourselves. The internet is awash with sad stories about the damage wreaked by the inner critic who sabotages any attempts to be compassionate.

Sites like Mindfulness Org provide free material and provide great support for those wandering down this path to learn what we could have been taught at school. On the page I have linked to Mindfulness Org they say that

“This practice is a way to help remind ourselves to apply the three core components of self-compassion—mindfulness, common humanity, and kindness— when difficulties arise in our lives. It also harnesses the power of soothing touch to help us feel safe and cared for. It’s important to find language that is effective for you personally—you don’t want to have an internal argument about whether the words make sense. For example, some people prefer the word struggle to the word suffering, or prefer the word support or protect to the word kindness. Try out a few different variations and then practice what works for you”.

Mindfulness Org

So how can we use our Tarot or Oracle Cards to practice some Self Compassion?

Option One

One way is to take the lead from Brian Cormack Carr, who created a spread based on the work of Kristin Neff. He presented this helpful Self-Compassion Tarot Spread on one of his videos. I found the link and this image on Tarot Whimsy who used Carnival at the End of the World for the first six cards, and Antique Anatomy Tarot: Ephemera Edition for the last two cards.

Option Two

Watch Jen’s video, choose a deck and pull one card each night, reflect on the card during the following day and keep a journal or Instagram record using both her hashtag and #yuleadventure2021

Other Ideas?

  • Pull a card! Share a bit of self loathing with the figure and dialogue as they respond to you over the subsequent hours. A scene I loved in the final episode of Season 3, Succession was when Kendell confesses and his siblings. Shiv and Roman, who have never shown a shred of kindness throughout the three series, actually show some authentic compassion. So even the Devil may have some reassuring words for you.
  • Christine Gaudet writes about the Twelve Tarot Cards the Teach Compassion. Spend some time meditating and dialoguing with some of these cards.
  • Test run this spread
  • Or try this spread that is in the Guide Book of the Gentle Creatures Wisdom Deck, a deck I have bought specifically to do self compassion work with.
Spread from Gentle Creatures Wisdom Deck by Arwen Lynch-Poe and Dan May

Gratitude Tarot

What is gratitude? Gratitude is being grateful for all of the things in your life. It’s being grateful for all of the wonderful things that you have, but also of the things that haven’t quite gone so right, because of the lessons they brought you.

Let’s be honest. Life can be difficult. It can be a roller coaster. Sometimes we get a run of wonderfully memorable days. Some days it seems we are stuck in an endless cycle of days we’d rather forget.

Gratitude reminds us to keep bringing our heart back to what matters most. Not just in the good times, but the bad times too. Gratitude isn’t about having a positive attitude. It’s about finding the things that can comfort or warm us, despite what else might be happening in our lives.

What matters most to you?

Who matters most to you?

Seven Days of Gratitude and Gratitarot

Watch these three, highly individual videos and be inspired to make tarot based expressions of gratitude a daily practice. The first, by Jen, sets up a seven day challenge that was very successful this year.

Describes a simple process of expressing gratitude.

Some Gratitude Spreads to Work With.

Hygge for Cartomancy Addicts

Winter and Yule is the most hygge time of year but Nordic Winters were not always so cheery.

Now it is candles, nubby woolens, shearling slippers, woven textiles, pastries, blond wood, sheepskin rugs, lattes with milk-foam hearts, and a warm fireplace. Hygge can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, or compound noun, like hyggebukser, otherwise known as that shlubby pair of pants you would never wear in public but secretly treasure. Hygge can be found in a bakery and in the dry heat of a sauna in winter, surrounded by your naked neighbors. It’s wholesome and nourishing, like porridge; Danish doctors recommend “tea and hygge” as a cure for the common cold. It’s possible to hygge alone, wrapped in a flannel blanket with a cup of tea, but the true expression of hygge is joining with loved ones in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Of course it is easy to get carried away with this Hygge thing. It is a bit like Catnip to those selling socks and all the other items associated with Hygge! Everyone has such brilliant suggestions about how to get into the mood. For example, Moody Moons offers some ideas about how to Hygge like a Witch.

The bottom line is that Hygge is all about self nurturing and it is no state secret that many of us are not so good at caring for ourselves.

The internet is, quite literally, awash with ideas about setting up the perfect, nurturing, safe space. However, if you are reading this I am confident that you know what to do.

This post is all about ‘the deck’ that is the one you will turn to when you need to self soothe.

So pull out the comfie socks, set yourself up by the fire place, toast some marshmallows and Chill It with your most soothing decks.

Try doing a Self Love Spread – there are tons of these to be found on Pinterest.

The deck I will turn to is a recent acquisition. It is Into the Lonely Woods by Lucy Cavendish and Dan May. But others that always offers comfort are The Arboridium and the Oracle Deck I created using images from fantasy magazines and second hand children’s books.

Over to You

What is your reliable self soothing deck, the deck you turn to when you need to be comforted or cheered up? Share photos of your deck and your Hygge space.

If you don’t have the right Hygge deck get out the craft supplies and spend quiet time making one for yourself