I think I have made up my mind? A tarot spread to help you decide
Something bad happened: journalling/creative writing technique

Reflection with tarot cards and the Gibbs Reflective Cycle

Tarot cards are superb tools for reflection and journalling. But you know that, don't you?

The question is: how do you get the most out of a tarot reading?

The answer is: choosing a spread that represents all the aspects of the question or problem you want to explore.

But how do you choose the most effective spread?

You could, of course, investigate spreads from The Sceptic's Tarot, which cover growth, memories, emotions, and more, but here is another tip: use the structure of an existing reflective model. The advantage of a reflective model is that they cover aspects that researchers have found effective and powerful agents of change.

One of the most famous models of reflection is the Gibbs reflective cycle, which takes you from the event through feelings, evaluation, and analysis, and wraps up with actions to take if the situation should reoccur.

The Gibbs model looks like this:

Gibbs Reflective CycleImage from Oxford Brookes University at https://www.brookes.ac.uk/students/upgrade/study-skills/reflective-writing-gibbs/

This model works perfectly with tarot cards. Simply arrange six cards in a circle that mirrors the Gibbs model, starting with the top card in the circle, and use these questions to reflect on an experience:

  1. Description: What happened?
  2. Feelings: What were you thinking and feeling? (You can perhaps use two cards here, one for thinking and one for feeling)
  3. Evaluation: What was good and what was bad about the experience? (Again, you could use two cards, one for good, one for bad.)
  4. Analysis: What sense can you make of the situation?
  5. Conclusion: What else could you have done?
  6. Action plan: If it arose again, what would you do?

The Gibbs model, used with tarot cards, could be particularly helpful in situations that tend to reoccur. If you notice a pattern of events that leaves you frustrated and dissatisfied, try this excellent example of a reflective model that has been used fruitfully for years. With tarot cards, of course!


Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit, Oxford Polytechnic.

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