tarot_scholar: A black mystical-looking sigil on a white background. (Default)
This is a spread I first used for TG, and then later for a [livejournal.com profile] holiday_wishes reading.

Generally speaking, I don't like the Celtic Cross spread. I can't really make it click with the way I read cards and what I want to know from a reading (or what I think others want from a reading). The one thing I do like is the visual poetry of the first two cards: "This covers you, and this crosses you." An upright card and a card rotated 90*. It has a mystical, mysterious look to it. Moreover, those two cards contain immensely useful and pertinent information: here's the crux of the issue, here's your relationship to it and maybe what you need to know to fix things.

I knew I wanted to implement that cross imagery when I did a general reading for TG way back. In that top row you can see four crosses, one for each of the relevant parties of said reading: TG, their spouse, and their two oldest children.

When I originally came up with the spread—which was all a very organic "if I wanted general life advice, what questions would I ask? Which ones would I want answered?"—I came up with three questions:

What should I keep doing?
What should I stop doing?
What new thing should I try?

At the time I mentioned possibly adding a fourth question—What new thing should I not try?—but ultimately let it be.

A couple years later in my [livejournal.com profile] holiday_wishes reading, I (mostly unknowingly, I admit) mimicked this structure: a cross for the querent, and then four...proclamations, for lack of a better term:

1. What you're doing to your benefit.
2. What you're avoiding to your benefit.
3. What you're doing to your detriment
4. What you're avoiding to your detriment.

You can stick the four cards anywhere you like. I like to put them under the cross, with cards 1 and 2 on one side and 3 and 4 on the other (I like symmetry) but that's just me.

You'll note there aren't any future positions in the spread. I don't like predictions. There is almost certainly some level of aversion to Popperesque falsifiability in that—it's hard to disprove a Tarot reading that doesn't make predictions—but also, at this point, I just don't think they're helpful to people. Predictions—and, it should be noted, the original Celtic Cross spread—don't give people actionable advice they can do right now. And I think that when people come to the Tarot (or their oracle of choice), many times they're looking for someone or something to tell them what to do right now rather than wanting assurance about the future.

So there you have it. My Celtic Cross alternative. Feel free to take it and make it your own!
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
(Feel free to show the spread.)

I wouldn't say that I create my own spreads often, as I rarely repeat the ones I come up with on the fly—they are usually more like a collection of single card spreads, with each position answering a specific question that would be irrelevant or nonsensical to anyone else.

One that I think would be applicable, generally, is the advice spread I devised for TG:

Its purpose is to cut to the heart of the matter instead of pussyfooting around with useless dross or prediction attempts (like, say, the Celtic Cross). Each "cross" at the top of the spread represents a person involved in the situation, so the number of cards would change in each reading; TG was asking about her family so there is one cross for each family member. These function like the first two cards in the Celtic Cross: what covers and crosses each person. Then the three cards below are advice: what you should keep doing, what you should stop doing, and what new thing you should try. I thought about adding a fourth (what you SHOULDN'T try) but in the end I decided it would be too much.

Not sure how effective it is as TG has not had the time to chat with me about it—that is okay with me. I'm sure I'll find an opportunity to use it sooner or later.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
An LJ friend elsewhere put out the call for readings from her reading-type friends. I stepped up to the challenge and developed an original 11-card spread based on her current situation. In particular, she wanted to know about the general energy/environment surrounding her and her family (husband, three sons) and what she can/needs to do to improve it, as life is pretty stressful at the moment.

I was inspired by the layout of a spread I saw many moons ago on Aeclectic. Its original purpose was to help a querent stuck between two choices; obviously that isn't really applying here. I also drew from the layout and content of the classic Celtic Cross spread.

Each pair of crosses at the top represent an individual: the querent (far left), her husband (far right), and their two oldest sons (middle). The youngest son is only an infant a few months old at the time of this writing—not an age where I think Tarot is an appropriate or useful descriptor of behavior or inner psychology.

The first card of each cross "covers" the person in the traditional Celtic Cross sense: describes themselves, their general situation/mood/etc. The second card "crosses" the individual and describes the root of their largest or most pressing issue/problem.

The bottom row of individual cards constitute the advice specific to the querent. From left to right: keep doing this, stop doing this, and try doing this.

The rest of this post is taken directly from the message I sent to the querent, reproduced here with her permission.

The reading. )


tarot_scholar: A black mystical-looking sigil on a white background. (Default)

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