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Starting a new cycle: Tarot spread

SWOT spread: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

A SWOT analysis—investigating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats—is used
in business to analyse projects, products, and the position of a company in its market. It can also help you make decisions, as a way to determine your situation or the merits of a decision, and self-analysis.

This spread has several cards that are read twice, in two different card positions. It's a challenge, but I'll show you how it's done in the sample reading that follows.

Spread SWOTStarting with the first card in the top row, follow the red arrow for strengths.

  1. Starting with the middle card in the top row, follow the green arrow for weaknesses.
  2. Starting with the left-most card in the bottom row, follow the blue arrow for opportunities.
  3. Starting with the middle card in the bottom row, follow the yellow arrow for threats.

I used Mark McElroy's wonderful Bright Idea Deck (now sadly out of print) for this self-exploration reading.

SWOT spread reading

The interpretations are inspired by both the images and (to a lesser degree) the traditional meanings of the cards.


SWOT spread reading strengths
My strengths are:

  • Green 6 Cooperation (Six of Pentacles): willingness to cooperate, teamwork; knowing when to work with others; generosity; having fun (building castles) even when serious work is being done.
  • Blue 3 Celebration (Three of Cups): celebrating others' achievements; ability to work on my own (can play alone and still have a good time).
  • Controlling (King of Wands): good at formulating goals; can focus on a goal; knowing what I want and shooting for it; can call the shots; leadership.


SWOT spread reading weaknesses
My weaknesses are:

  • Blue 3 Celebration (Three of Cups): having fun when I should be working; overindulgence; celebrating alone instead of with others; expecting too much; keeping too many of my ideas to myself instead of sharing.
  • Nurturing (the Empress): overindulgence (again!); neglecting work in favour of enjoyment; tendency to 'smother' ideas by over-analysing them.
  • Green 5 (Five of Pentacles): wanting to give up when the going gets tough; initial response to a crisis is sometimes despair instead of looking for an opportunity (especially when I'm tired); losing sight of my goal when I feel overwhelmed; not asking for help when I need it.


SWOT spread reading opportunities
My opportunities are:

  • Green 5 (Five of Pentacles): using my flair for turning challenges into opportunities (once I lift my head); learning to trust in my ability to turn despair into a search for alternative solutions; ability to change direction if a path leads to a dead-end; asking for help when I need it (not when it's almost too late); knowing where to find experts and information when I need help.
  • Yellow 10 (Ten of Swords): using my ability to see the big picture to identify flaws in the plan; focusing on the important details now that I have gained perspective; using my resources for self-analysis as a basis for my writing; having all the tools I need to tackle my project; good at identifying the right tool for the job.
  • Red 2 (Two of Wands): the ability to focus despite distractions; drawing dissenting opinions and diverging ideas together; access to databases for research; several projects in various stages of completion, which can help me get unstuck.


SWOT spread reading threatsMy threats are:

  • Yellow 10 (Ten of Swords): Getting caught up in details, time to stand back and gain perspective; obsessing over a detail in one project, while ignoring other projects with considerable potential; over-analysing a creative project; staring at details hampers my creativity; the danger of analysis-paralysis, time to start moving.
  • Blue 5 (Five of Cups): being overwhelmed by grief (instead of transforming it into work energy); focusing on a few failures, while ignoring several triumphs.
  • Controlling (King of Wands): focusing so hard on one goal that I'm neglecting communal support; my goals have become fuzzy, I need to reformulate and redirect; my time is running out.

And that's it!

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