Turning crisis into action: A creative-writing technique
Failing for success: A tarot spread

"Never again": A tarot spread

Have you ever thought, "Never again"? Then this spread is for you.

Most tarot spreads are about doing something, taking action, and solving the problem. This spread is about never repeating an action ever again.

The spread

  1. How did it happen?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. How can I make sure it never happens again?

A sample reading

My problem statement: I procrastinated on writing a blog post and missed the deadline. I don't want that to happen again.

Deck: Tarot of Mystical Moments.

I drew these cards, laid out in a row from left to right:

Reading Never againWhen I look at this spread, the first thing that strikes me is two Pages. Pages are about beginnings, and these two are both symbols of creativity. The Page of Cups represents imagination and the unconscious, while the Page of Wands signifies the spark of creativity and indicates taking action (Wands are about action).

I will look closely at the middle card just now, but it at first glance it appears stifling. The woman is motionless behind a fence and clutches something to her chest. She has no inspiration; in fact, she is clutching something so hard that it suffocates.

The spread is small, so the absence of a Swords card is not significant, but it can suggest intuitive thought (creativity) versus analytical thought.

How did it happen? Page of Cups

Since the spread concerns blog posts, it makes sense that this card is about creativity. In contrast to the second Page, however, this Page is not moving, seeming to dream, her colours muted. So, "how did it happen?" I had an idea (the fish from the unconscious, the source of creativity). I composed pieces of the article in my head but didn't write them down. Dreaming will not solve my problem.

Why did it happen? Four of Pentacles

The first thing that catches my attention is the feeling of imprisonment. The woman clutches the house to her chest and is herself locked behind a fence. In the same way, I held ideas about a blog post in my head but I seem to have blocked creativity. The woman suggests I must start writing instead of holding my idea inside if I want creativity to flow. "Why did it happen?" The idea is stuck, and no energy goes in or out. There is no inspiration.

How can I make sure it never happens again? Page of Wands

This Page is wearing a red cloak, suggesting passion and movement. She’s taking in new information (the magnifying glass) before she moves on. She is curious and courageous, not afraid to examine what comes up. My blog post idea requires scrutiny and then action.

Stepping back

The symbols in the spread echo my thoughts about the spread. The fish (the idea) is trapped in a small cup instead of swimming freely in the ocean.

In contrast, the birds surrounding the Page of Wands are free to fly. Their beaks and bright colours suggest communication and creativity. How can I make sure I never again procrastinate on a blog post? Taking creative action and communicating my ideas.

The Pages in the spread remind me that creativity needs a fresh perspective. I should look at the world with fresh eyes and find new ways to communicate my ideas with curiosity and wonder.

Here is a thought: Pentacles imply nurturing: suppose I had drawn the Three of Pentacles instead of the Four? Instead of getting stuck in practical matters, I would be communicating my ideas to others and taking in suggestions. In this way, the inspiration behind my idea wouldn't die.

Another thought strikes me. The woman in the Four of Pentacles is isolated. In the Three of Pentacles, however, the artist communicates with others interested in the creative product. Isolating myself is not ideal: I need to talk to others, to formulate the inspiration into a viable idea.

The spread has no visible movement, but the apathy in the first two cards contrasts with the suggestion that the Page of Wands is on the verge of taking action. Pondering the idea is good, but it needs to be followed by action (writing the blog post).

Notes on the reading

If I looked at the spread casually, I would still get the gist of the message: I had an idea; I clutched it too tightly; I need to take action. However, going deeper and noting the big picture brings up more information I can use.

Note how much information I gathered for reflection, and from only three cards. Three to five cards are often enough for a deeper reading.

Please let me know if this spread works for you!

A checklist

The reading is based on the "checklist" I drew up for reading tarot cards.

If you need a brief refresher on reading tarot cards, look at my free article "How to read tarot cards: A quick guide."

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