Thursday, 1 December 2011

Arwen's Blooming Spread

Recently, Arwen (of Tarot by Arwen) posted a spread which I really like the sound of.  The basic premise is that it looks at statements for living a happy and authentic life.  So, I decided that before finishing with the Wheel of the Year Tarot I would use it with this spread.

The positions are:
  • Card 0: Querent’s current center
  • Card 1: Embrace Joy
  • Card 2: Inspire Hope
  • Card 3: Cultivate Love
  • Card 4: Build Intimacy
  • Card 5: Celebrate Life
  • Card 6: Live Authentically
While Arwen defined some of these as where we already are, I thought I'd let the card itself tell me whether it was a positive or negative, something I am doing or something I need to do.  In this, I am following what Lisa Frideborg Lloyd (of Tarotize) beautifully described in her recent post on why she doesn't use reversals.

Card 0 - Current Center - 8 of Swords

This rather different depiction of the 8 of Swords represents extremely well where I am now.  I have a sick child, and that does affect what I think about, how I see myself, and my overall happiness, as well as my sense of being tied - to him, to home, in my time, thoughts and energy.

So, what can I learn from this card?  Perhaps that acknowledging that currently Big Boy is the biggest influence on my life and my sense of whether I am happy and living well.  That being so, how can I find the positive in this?  How can I support myself?  Hopefully, the rest of the spread will shed some light...

Card 1 - Embrace Joy - 4 of Swords

This card makes a lot of sense to me, too.  My life has felt very pressurised and overly full for the last little while, between Big Boy, working for a living (even if part time), studying, blogging etc.

So, what will help me embrace joy at this moment is to slow down and take a break, to hibernate a little.  Fortunately, this should be possible soon - I hand in my last essay on the 12th of December, and after that I have no pressing deadlines for my Masters, and work is fairly light at the moment, too.

Card 2 - Inspire Hope - Knight of Wands

How can I inspire hope in others, what is or should be my outward reflection?  This seems almost too obvious: what is called for is an air of enthusiasm, a sunny disposition, a willingness to take on new challenges.  I'm not sure if this is how others see me.  Perhaps a little, certainly I do like taking on projects I enjoy and believe in.  This can clearly have a shadow side - as pointed out in Card 1 saying I need to take a bit of a break.  However, getting on with things is a good way to keep hope alive in myself, too - if I'm doing things I enjoy, then there must be some good in that, even if it is sometimes tiring.

It's strange, I would have expected a somewhat calmer card here - people often comment on my air of calm in the face of life's challenges.  Then again, perhaps that is why I need a bit more fire and enthusiasm.  Hmm, this is the card I find hardest to interpret, any thoughts would be welcome (for all the rest, too, of course).

Card 3 - Cultivate Love - 7 of Pentacles

Arwen actually talked about love being like a garden that requires cultivation, and what more perfect card for that than this 7 of Pentacles.  Not only does it require our attention, but this is a long-term project - it's not just a question of watering once and no longer worrying about it, but rather watering, fertilising, pruning, weeding, and then doing it all again.  And yet, what this card also says is that this work is worthwhile, because through it we earn the fruits of love - companionship, passion, joy, shared moments, the juiciness of life.

Another thing that I see here is the fact that my Dear One and I are "working" at having another baby.  This is a way for us to cultivate love in our family, as we feel it will be good for us as a couple, for Big Boy to have a sibling to play with, and as a way for us all to have an experience which isn't just about ill-health.  Once again, this may just be my wishful thinking, but certainly the "work" we're putting into the project also helps us cultivate love ;)

Card 4 - Build Intimacy - 5 of Wands

When I first saw this card, I thought it showed what challenges building intimacy.  Competition can be a poison to a relationship.  However, what I also see is two people, or perhaps two aspects of a person, that balance one another out.

Being intimate with myself may require a balance between shadow and light, an acceptance of both the smooth and the rough of life.  Likewise, in relationship it can be good to have difference between people, so long as it is accepted and valued, rather than seen as an obstacle.  And after all, wouldn't life be boring if we all agreed on everything all the time?

Looking back at Arwen's reading for herself, she comments that intimacy induces a bit of stress in her, and I think that's true for me, too.  Certainly, allowing myself to be vulnerable, and being able to open to myself or to an other can be a challenge, and that may be another side to this card.

Card 5 - Celebrate Life - 3 of Chalices

What do I need to celebrate?  At first this card seems to be another *d'oh* moment.  Just celebrate!  Thinking about it some more, though, what I see is three women celebrating the birth of something.  Two things emerge from this.

Firstly, that I need to focus more on my friendships, on making time to see friends and enjoy their company.  Two of my best friends and I are trying to organise a "witchy weekend", where we get together, talk, meditate, read the tarot, cast spells, practise yoga, and just generally support ourselves and each other.  This card suggests I should make sure this happens - that it's something I need in my life.  However, making more time for friends needn't just be about special occasions, but is a daily thing - emailing or ringing, meeting up a bit more often.

Secondly, this card reminds me to celebrate successes and new projects or news, however big or small.  So, I'm already planning a nice meal with my Dear One and one of my brothers for the evening of 12th December, after handing in my last essay for the Masters I've been doing for the last two years.  Likewise, a good friend from University, who I've known now for 21 years, is expecting his first child in the next couple of weeks.  Another reason to celebrate!  Another friend has been offered a job and may be moving away for three years - sad but also good for him, hopefully.  So, this says to me to take the time to celebrate with friends, to support one another, and show our joy in each others' lives.

Card 6 - Live Authentically - 6 of Chalices

For me, this card speaks of living authentically by living in the moment, rather than in the past or in dreams of the future.  The Six of Chalices is so often seen as being about the resurgence of dreams from the past, but thinking of past joys does little to support me in the present.  Likewise, it's all well and good to have hopes and plans to work towards, but if these take the place of recognising and enjoying where I am right now, then I'm not living authentically.  So, for me this is definitely a card about what not to do.

I really enjoyed using this spread, and will try to take the suggestions that have come from it to heart.  Thanks Arwen :)

I hope others will also agree that this is no fluffy-bunny deck, despite its cartoon flavour.  For me this reading was one of those times when the card images themselves seemed ever so appropriate, even more than traditional meanings alone, and where variations opened up whole new areas of thought.

I hope you'll let me know what you think: of the deck, the spread, and the reading :)


  1. The reading seemed to be really clear and I thought your interpretation was very good. I like that this deck seems surprisingly conversational and easy to read with.

    Even though your life does sound like a lot of work and that it's full, perhaps too full, there does seem to be a lot to celebrate, if only you can also rest and spend time with friends and family.

    I hope you get that chance this month.

    Lots of Hugs,

  2. Great spread and lovely reading/interp, Chloe... And thanks for the mention! I completely resonate with the 7 of Pentacles here... I'm completely in love with the Wheel of the Year take on this card after seeing it here, so adding the deck to my wish list. Also trying for a BFP... Hang in there! Hugs, Lisa

  3. Hi MM,

    This is the deck I used for that first reading for you :) I really do find it speaks to me loud and clear - like you say, pretty chatty :)

    And hopefully, with the Christmas period coming up and essay soon done (fingers crossed) I will have time to rest and kick back with my homies ;D

    Lots of hugs to you, too,

  4. Hi Lisa,

    Well, I don't take credit for the spread - that's all Arwen's! And I really enjoyed that post of yours, it expressed how I feel so perfectly :)

    I also think this deck deserves more cred than it's been given. There are quite a few cards that just delight me, like the 7 of Pents. Even some that I'm not sure about do open my mind to new ways of reading the archetypes. By the way, what is a BFP?


  5. Really intriguing reading, Chloe. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this one. I love it when you do!

  6. Hi Arwen,

    Thanks to you for designing and sharing it! I found it a lovely, inspiring spread to use :)

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend, full of joy ;)