Tarot spreads are usually read by interpreting or reflecting on cards the reader drew randomly from a deck of cards.
How about reversing the order of a tarot reading and giving the interpretations first?
This is how it works:
Write down your question or problem statement. For example, “How may I make my mother-in-law’s visit as pleasant as possible for all of us?”
Choose or design a spread covering the aspects of the problem you want to consider. For my problem, I design a spread with card positions for myself, my family, the cause of the problem, the effect of the problem, the recent past, the main challenge, and solution.
- Write down what you think a card would ‘tell’ you for each card position. For example, I would expect a card in the position the recent past to say something like, “That last meeting with my mother-in-law really ended badly. I lost my temper and called her an old bag. Now she is (of course) angry with me.”
Once you have written down your ‘interpretations,’ take your deck and shuffle it, and draw cards (at random) for the spread.
Read the cards in your usual way, ignoring, for now, the ‘interpretations’ you have already written in step 3.
How much do the cards you drew contradict or confirm your ‘interpretations?’ How many connections and contradictions can you find? For example, in my problem, let’s say I draw the Eight of Swords in the position the recent past. The card suggests my mother-in-law felt hurt at my words and trapped in an endless cycle of angry meetings with me, giving me something else to consider apart from the conclusion I had already come to in step 3.
Can you see how this exercise challenges my first perception of the problem? Instead of feeling stuck, I have the idea to start by apologizing for my words. Now that’s radical!
Once you have completed the exercise for all the cards in your spread, you will have gained many different perspectives to help you solve your problem.
[A very early version of this article first appeared on SynTAROTis.]