Not About Peanut Butter: Creating a Spread

Sometimes, the spreads suggested in our guidebooks don't quite fit our need. Sometimes nothing we find in our research feels "right" to answer some of the questions we have.

Sometimes, we need to make our own.

When I set out to create a spread, I prefer to start with an open-ended question, rather than yes-or-no. This way, I leave room for follow-up questions, for exploration, for the unexpected. Yes-or-no questions feel restrictive, or even redundant. If I ask, "Will I find a boyfriend?" it doesn't take into account the thousand and one variables that change moment to moment.

A more useful way of asking the same question might be, "How can I attract the right person for me?" This way, it focuses on YOU and YOUR agency in the situation, rather than the amorphous blob of timey-wimey... stuff.

Remember: Tarot takes honesty. Make sure you're asking questions you actually want answers to. Our example, "Will I find a boyfriend?" not only cuts us off from an opportunity to grow, it also absolves us of any personal responsibility, of our flaws, of things we don't want to admit we've done wrong. Uncovering these things can hurt. Be gentle with yourself, and with the person you're reading for.

So since I've apparently committed to this example, let's look at it another way. If we ask instead, "How can I attract the right person for me?" we now have some wiggle room. We've got places to go, other questions we can ask. Our layout, then, will consist of "support questions", or questions that branch off from our main question.

1. Our main question: "How can I attract the right person for me?"

2. "What is my most attractive quality?" (which is a sneaky way of asking "What do I like most about myself?")

3. "What have I tried in the past?"

4. "Why didn't it work?"

5. "What have I refused to acknowledge?" (This is that honest I was talking about earlier)

6. "What do I have the power to change?"

Now that we have our questions, how do we know where to place the cards? This is where "the tingle" comes in. There is no "correct" way to match questions to card positions when you're creating your own layout: there's only what feels right to you. Personally, I like to arrange the cards so that the "goal" of the spread is in front of me. I also prefer smaller spreads so they can fit on whatever surface I have handy. Sometimes that's the floor, but other times it's restricted to a desk. I've had to work on my lap before. Play with your shapes, and see which one makes the most sense to you.

Relationships are only one area of our varied and rich lives. It's what came to my mind first, because guess what quarantine really sucks. But this approach has worked for me in other areas. It boils down to 1) thinking of an open-ended question; 2) leading yourself through as many questions as you need or want to ask to clarify an issue; and 3) laying cards down in a shape that makes sense to you. Check back later this week for how this accidentally bit me in the ass.

In the meantime, happy reading!

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