The Gnostic Church of L.V.X.

Tarot Card Spreads

Paul Joseph Rovelli

There are many ways to spread the cards for the student to contemplate and idealistically, the master should create his or her own. Obviously that is an intense project and something that you need not concern yourself with here. What is important is that you begin to develop a creative approach to the cards that allows you to build your own set of symbols.

It is assumed in thes article that you are well on your way in that regard. You have created your own meanings for the cards and have most likely developed a few other talents along the way. You should be at a point where you have developed some trust and faith in your own psyche as well. Remember, faith is the act of being open to that which we hope to receive.

With that being said, we are ready to discuss the two major types of spreads that are available to us. The first is described as a linear spread. With this, you have cards placed in set positions; each position has a meaning or a reference, i.e. this position deals with your past, or this position deals with other people in your life. In this way you interpret the card placed in that position with what the position delineates.

The other type of spread is described as an organic spread. Here, the positions of the cards are meaningless. The cards are usually laid out in a specific format. However, the reading is entirely intuitive and no help is given by any specific position. This is a very advanced type of working and we will not cover this type of working in this article.

Yet, we can deal with a semi-organic spread that will aid in preparing for the more advanced type of organic spreads that you will encounter should your interest in the Tarot continue beyond the scope of this article. The student will find more advanced instruction when it is time. Remember the very famous Hermetic axiom: When the student is ready, the master appears.

We will be offering three spreads in this article for discussion. The first is the popular Celtic Cross spread and is entirely linear in nature. For most readers this is wholly adequate and they never bother to work beyond this. It is a very accurate and dependable way to deal the cards. Yet it does have its limitations.

The second spread is a ten card spread like the Celtic Cross spread. It is the Tree-of-Life spread. Being semi-organic in nature, it is a little more challenging, yet it carries with it a depth that I don't feel you can get from the Celtic Cross spread. It can be read from a variety of angles and relationships that can make each reading you perform entirely different from a technical point of view.

The third and last spread that we will be covering is the Fifteen Card spread. Again, this is semi-organic in nature and works with five groupings of three cards. While the Tree-of-Life spread is great for issues of a more general nature, this spread can focus in on one particular issue should that be your intention. In my experience, I have found that I would use the Tree-of-Life spread for a general reading, and then when a specific issue would come up that needs closer examination, I would then switch to the Fifteen Card spread to get the information required by the querent.

Your experiences may not be the same. That is no matter. Learn the Celtic Cross spread first (also a ten card spread). And when you have been able to work it with some degree of comfort, then you may want to get more adventurous and try the other two spreads. You may even find the Fifteen Card spread easier then the Tree-of-Life spread, however, I believe that the Tree-of-Life spread is great for increasing your understanding of the tree and will produce far more dramatic results than the fifteen card spread.

With each spread, it is wise to focus on the matter at hand while invoking the aid of your favorite deity. The cards should be shuffled by yourself and handed over to the querent to cut. You have ordered the universe as it is for the moment of interrogation and the querent has made HIr mark within by cutting the cards. Finally, when the deck is put back together, each card is turned over as a page in a book. This is a book of wisdom we are working with.

Upon reading the cards, be creative and inventive. The more you seem to make up a story, the more true you will find the tale. Don't be surprised to find that this is so. When you invent, you call your psychic energy and over-ride the critical censor of the intellectual faculties. Be confident of your success and note that when you do a good reading, you will not only find that you have told the querent something interesting to the querent, but you, yourself, should have also gained something from the exchange.

With the Celtic Cross spread, the student has the simplest approach to the application of psychic principles as the guess work (so to speak) is taken out of what each card may or may not pertain to. It is suggested that the student refer to any tarot manual for the layout of the cards. And again, simply tell a story in the order that the layout suggests. The more experienced student can of course get more detailed in using the spread; but for the beginner this will suffice.

In the Tree-of-Life Spread the cards are laid out exactly as on the the Qabalistic tree that the student should already be studying. Notice then that the spread is divided into the three triads that you have seen before. The first triad speaks to the developing manifestation of the issue. The second triad deals primarily with the personality of the querent. And the third deals with the querents inner life on emotional, intellectual, and psychic levels.

Finally, the last card, not in a triad, is the final outcome. Should you not be satisfied with the information given by that card, you may turn over one more card to be placed in the position of D'aath. this should give you even more information on the potential outcome of the matter.

Let's examine the triads individually. The first card is the energy coming in that will determine the matter to be discussed. The second card is how that energy is manifesting in the querent's life. Now, these two cards may be read as one if you prefer. And the third card is the querent's karma regarding this matter.

As a diversion, I think its important to discuss what karma is in a conceptual way that is pertinent to the working of this spread. Karma is a word that literally means 'to do'. It is what the querent is doing. In the west we have confused karma with our own idea of spiritual reward and punishment. This is not so. Karmic rewards (or punishments) are the simple results of what you have done.

For example, it is my karma to write this article. For this, I may make a profit or gain the respect of those who read it. Or by consequence, I may produce a product that will be condemned or even though it is praised, the association with this book may prevent me from ever gaining respect in certain other academic circles that shun metaphysics. Or a variety of

other possible results may unfold. Hopefully, this has fully conveyed what that third card's function is.

Now, the fourth card shows how the querent is reacting to a particular environment delineated by the fifth card. And the sixth card describes the tools in the querent's personality that are being utilized in this context. And again, these three cards can be read as one. Or perhaps you will read the sixth card in light of the first triad of cards.

And again, you may want to read the sixth card in light of the next triad. This triad starts with the seventh card and is the querent's emotional response to the situation. And the eigth card is the querent's intellectual response. I like to think of the ninth card as revealing what the querent is creating for the future through the use of dreams and daydreams. You can think of it as hopes and fears if you like.

This ninth card can also be read in light of the sixth, personality card or can be read in conjuction with the tenth and final outcome card. You can also use the seventh and eigth cards to further describe the personality that you are reading with the sixth card. And the second, karma card can be read in conjuction with the final outcome card as you can see how they may be related.

Now, just to add some more combinations to reading the cards, let's say that you find the seven of swords in the second card postion. You can also read the card in the seventh card postion together with the second card to enhance the meaning there.

Or maybe the tenth card is the Tower, which is ruled by Mars. Well, the fifth sephira is also ruled by mars. You can, if you choose, read both of them together as well. Or, Mars is the planet the is attributed to the Major Path that connects Netzach with Hod. Then perhaps, you can also read those three cards together.

You should be getting the idea of organic flow by now. This spread will probably require a greater degree of effort than the Celtic Cross spread. But it's rewards are far greater than the extra effort you will have to invest. Good Luck!

The Fifteen Card Spread as was stated earlier, is great for examining a specific issue in-depth. With this spread you can make a determination upon two possible outcomes and then determine a course of action. It is also known as the Crowley spread and can be found with the Thoth Tarot pack or in his book on the Tarot called æThe Book of ThothÆ.

The first card represents the querent and/or the situation. The second and third cards represent the energies surrounding the first card. These can, of course, all be read together if you like. From this we are surrounded by four groups of cards.

The first group is the first possible outcome of the issue. The second group is the other possible outcome of the issue. And the third group is used to gain information to help you choose which of the two outcomes should be chosen.

Now, it may be that both outcomes (the first two groups) are quite harmonious or even the same. In which case, the third group is used to explain why there is no other choice in the matter. And finally, the fourth group is used to determine a plan of action by which to help the final outcome to manifest in the most beneficial way that is possible.

That's it. Good luck with this and remember, it's not talent that counts, but perseverence. You may be at a loss, initially, but just keep trying. The more you try, no matter how bad the results, the closer you will be getting to that moment when it finally clicks in and works. I promise you that you'll be amazed when it does. And, over time, your confidence will grow and grow.

Remember, discover your own expertise as it is revealed to you. This will only come with the experience of having done a whole bunch of readings for a variety of people. The process may seem slow, but try to keep the perspective of time. Three, six, or twelve months work in this area can bring about so many changes that can't be seen in the day to day experience. That is why you are been encouraged to write all that you do in a diary. Always keep a record of you work. It will become more and more an invaluable tool as you will see when re-reading your old records.