Friday, 3 December 2010

Go For Your Goal Spread

Barbara Moore recently wrote a blog post about the C25K program - from Couch (Potato) to running 5Ks.  In it she described how thinking about the elements as expressed through the tarot suits inspired her, and suggested someone should create a spread around this.  So, I decided to rise to the challenge.

Her premise was that Wands lend us inspiration, Cups help us commit emotionally, Swords are about planning towards our goal, and Pentacles are about the practicalities of manifesting what we want.  To this I added a fifth card, for the higher purpose or spirit of the goal.

The spread therefore looks like this:
1) What will help inspire me?
2) What will help me commit emotionally to this goal?
3) What will help me plan well?
4) What will help me actually do it?
5) What is the higher purpose or spiritual aspect that will help me achieve this goal?

I decided to try it out with the goal of losing weight, and used the Hezicos Tarot.  The cards I drew were:

1) What will help inspire me?  The 3 of Cups

My friends, and other women generally, will help inspire me.  I see this in three different ways.  Firstly, there's the support I hope to get from my friends and family.  Secondly, there's the inspiration I hope to get from other bloggers, teachers and writers who focus specifically on weight issues, such as Andrea Albright of AmazingBodyNow, or Deanne Jade who teaches Counselling for Eating Disorders and Obesity, who focuses not just on psychology, but also on physiology, motivation and learning.  Finally, there's the inspiration from women who have managed to lose weight, and from beautiful women whom I aspire to be more like.

These categories aren't mutually exclusive.  Many of the most inspiring bloggers, writers and teachers are also women who have gone through their own weight issues.  Likewise, some of my friends are beautiful, powerful, inspiring women in their own right.

2) What will help me commit emotionally to this goal?  The 4 of Rods

This cute little house seems full of love, and underlying that is transformation in the shape of a purple butterfly.  So, getting some emotional stability and a degree of happiness and trust in being surrounded by love will help me commit emotionally to losing weight.

Hmm, this isn't an easy one.  Once again, I don't see this being a quick fix question.  Sounds like I have to sort out a lot of things in my life before I will be able to fully commit to losing weight.  Certainly, Deanne Jade said in her course that she never recommends anyone try to lose weight when they have other big emotional issues in their life.  But what is a big emotional issue?  I've got a few, I think, but I'm not convinced I will ever not have some. 

Interestingly, Andrea Albright talks about coming to love and accept yourself as being the path to weight loss, rather than vice versa.  Likewise, there's a part of me that hopes that tapping into spirit and love will help me not mind the other difficulties in my life.

3) What will help me plan well?  The Page of Coins

This young chap is practical and grounded, but still full of enthusiasm.  He's a keen student, but prefers things which aren't purely academic.  I have often had the Page of Coins appear with reference to yoga - a continual place of learning through the body.

Yoga is also great for mindfulness, which is being highlighted more and more in academic counselling literature as key in helping people manage life's problems.  So, mindfulness would help me with emotional issues, but it seems I also need some of this to be able to plan my weight loss goals.  Through doing more yoga, and perhaps also through learning in a practical, embodied way about weight loss, I will be better able to plan how to go about this.

I feel part of this is about actually applying the learning I have been doing - making it alive and real rather than just something on paper.  Writing this blog helps with that - I revise the material and try to apply it in practice to my own life.  The blog also helps with inspiration - getting support from others.  It's been great to hear other people's reactions to some of the exercises and ideas I've been blogging about.

4) What will help me actually do it?  The 8 of Coins

Ah, the apprentice card.  So, a message about putting in time and energy.  Perhaps also something about not expecting to get everything right first time.  Deanne Jade emphasises the learning aspect of changing eating patterns.  For me, and many others, there's often a sense of "I've blown it!"  My most common experience of this is when I've been eating sensibly all day and then the siren call of chocolate tempts me in the evening.  For others it may be that sense of, "I don't want to exercise today, I'm so lazy, I may as well stuff my face as well."  Or perhaps not wanting to eat a particular kind of food, be it crisps, meat, butter, but not sticking to your plan.  Deanne talks about seeing such instances as learning experiences, rather than getting down on ourselves for them.

Another thing that strikes me here, and which also goes for the previous card, is that Deanne recommends using a food diary.  This is not just to note down what you eat and when, but also how you feel about it, and about yourself.  This is a practical learning tool, which can help to better understand your eating patterns and how they connect with your thoughts, emotions and what else is going on in your life.  Despite knowing this is a great thing to do, and having scanned one in and printed it out, I never seem to find the time to actually fill it in.  Can anyone say "Resistance"?  There is no way to work towards weight loss without working on it!

The image on this particular card also makes me think of the Michelangelo quote about simply chiseling away at a block of marble until he set free the angel that was already there.  However, unless I take up my chisel and actually use it, the lump will remain unchanged.

5) What is the higher purpose or spiritual aspect that will help me achieve this goal?  The Ace of Cups

This seems to return to part of the message of the 4 of Rods.  It is through getting in touch with a sense of love, an acceptance of emotion, that I can be spiritually supported to lose weight.  I often see the Ace of Cups as being about overflowing love, which fits well with the idea of divine love.  It is getting in touch with this love, with spirit, as Andrea Albright argues, that will help me achieve weight loss.

The higher purpose for me in trying to lose weight is also perhaps about learning to love myself, and about being able to love life and those around me.  I'm not sure I see love and acceptance as being the same, but there may be aspects of both here.  As in the question of emotional commitment, unless I can accept the situations that surround me, unless I can learn to love myself and my life, or at least accept them, I won't be able to move forward.

This strikes me as being rather existential.  Kierkegaard spoke of the Knight of Faith, who chooses to trust in the divine while accepting that he can never know with certainty that this leap of faith is justified.  Trusting in this way, he accepts his life and the limitations imposed on him by existence.  Through this faith and acceptance, although nothing changes outwardly his attitude to the situation changes entirely.  Instead of railing against his situation, he embraces it.  I'm not sure I'm capable of this kind of leap of faith yet, but perhaps trying to find the love and higher purpose in all that is will help.  And if this brings a sense of calm, that cannot help but improve my eating habits and so my chance of losing weight.

Overall, one thing that strikes me about this reading is the lack of Majors.  I think this reflects the fact that it takes day-to-day work and inspiration and planning for this goal.  There's no big idea stuff here, it's all just the practicalities and getting on with things.  It can be easy with tarot readings to focus on spiritual ideas, and certainly adding in the fifth card in this spread highlights that aspect.  But in this reading there is a message about keeping it real and working towards my goal one step at a time, a little every day.  This is back to the fact that there is no quick fix, no magic wand.

I'm not sure how much this Go-For-Your-Goal Spread will help me work towards weight loss.  The idea of getting support from others, of focusing on practicalities and just getting on with things all seems very applicable.  However, the areas around emotion and higher purpose are somewhat more complicated.  I'll keep you posted...

Hope someone else will try out this spread, and let us know how it goes!

Images from the Hezicos Tarot by Mary Griffin.


  1. Nice spread! Great reading! I liked that it showed you there was no major stuff here but that it is the details of the everyday approaches that in turn will create a major difference for you.

  2. Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the comment. Now I just have to actually do the work!

    Best wishes, Chloe