Every time we do a Tarot reading, we have a choice.
We can think of a spread to use. Maybe we look into our book and go, “OK, what’s a funky little spread I could do?” Or we jump onto Pinterest perhaps and look up Tarot spreads, and think, “Well, which one will I use today?”
Or we can start creating our own spreads. And this is clearly my favourite way, because it allows you to focus on the heart of the question. So today’s podcast is all about creating your very own Tarot spreads.
In this podcast episode, you’ll learn:
- How to ‘wow’ your Tarot reading clients with customised Tarot spreads
- How to connect with the heart of the question
- My favourite positions to add to any Tarot reading
Let’s get into it!
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You’re listening to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, and this is Episode 92: How to Create Your Own Tarot Spreads.
Welcome to the Biddy Tarot Podcast, where you'll learn how to connect more deeply with your intuition and live an empowered and enlightened life with the Tarot cards as your guide.
Listen as Brigit and her guests share their very best tips and strategies to help you read Tarot with confidence. Now, here is your host, Brigit Esselmont.
CREATE YOUR OWN TAROT SPREADS
Hello, and welcome back to the Biddy Tarot Podcast. Today, we’re talking all about how to create your very own Tarot spreads. So, you don’t have to remember what’s in the Celtic Cross or the Horseshoe spread or whichever spread you’ve read in a book. This is all about do-it-yourself and customising your Tarot spreads for your specific questions or your clients’ questions.
Now, before we get into it, I want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who sent in a review via iTunes and who shared their feedback and their comments. And to celebrate, I want to honour and acknowledge two such comments.
The first one is from… Let’s see. It’s GRRJR88 “Grr Junior 88” from the U.S. This person says: “I’ve tried learning Tarot a few times but always got overwhelmed and simply gave it up. Luckily, this podcast stumbled into my life recently, and it has changed my outlook on reading Tarot. Before starting to learn from Brigit, I spent so much time trying to memorise card meanings from the book. Biddy Tarot was the first time I heard about really reading the card intuitively and how to create that space and trust with what I’m receiving. So, thank you, Brigit, for helping me make learning Tarot simple, intuitive, empowering and transformational. I’m so excited to continue learning from the Biddy Tarot Podcast.” Awesome—my pleasure!
And this second one comes from Pippet who is also in the U.S. Pippet writes: “I’m getting so much out of these podcasts. Brigit explains everything in plain English and makes Tarot super accessible.” Hooray—because that’s exactly what I want to do! I want to help make Tarot just so normal, so everyday, but still so magical so that we can bring Tarot into the mainstream. For me, the more people reading Tarot, the better. I think that’s what would make a very, very special world indeed.
So, a big thank-you to those folks plus everyone else who has been leaving a review. I really, really appreciate it! Remember, you can go to iTunes to leave your rating and review, and I read out the very, very large majority of these reviews unless they’re not in English and I can’t print out. We’ve had a couple that are Portuguese and Spanish, which I love and appreciate. I’m just not going to try to speak Portuguese!
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN TAROT SPREADS
Today, we’ll be talking about how to create your own Tarot spreads. So, in this episode, I’m going to show you:
- How to wow your Tarot reading clients with customised Tarot spreads
- How to connect with the heart of the question (and trust me: this is one of those skills that is so incredibly powerful and will change the way that you read Tarot if you get it right)
- And we’re also going to cover my favourite positions that I like adding into any Tarot reading. It’s great to have these kind of on hand, ready to go, so that you can create really conscious readings.
Every time we do a Tarot reading, we have a choice. We can think of a spread to use. Maybe we look into our book and go, “OK, what’s a funky little spread I could do?” Or we jump onto Pinterest perhaps and look up Tarot spreads and think, “Well, which one will I use today?” Or we can start creating our own spreads.
WHY CREATE YOUR OWN TAROT SPREADS?
Now, the reason I love to create my own spread versus finding a spread and then using that is because creating your own spread allows you to focus on the heart of the question.
What I mean by this is every question is so unique and different, and there are always so many different elements involved in that question or that situation. When we open the space to create your own spread, then you can start to really unpack that question and get right into the core of it and really ask little mini questions along the way that help to answer that bigger question.
It can also help you reveal deep insight into the specific situation.
So, imagine you have a client that comes to you and says, “I’m going through a really rough relationship problem right now. We’ve been together for a very long time, but my partner says he’s no longer interested—what do I do? What is going on here?”
If you’re in your structured mind, you go, “Oh, OK, Celtic Cross… All right, yep.” That might be 80% of what they wanted to know, but imagine if you had created your own spread for that client and that situation that really unpacked their question. You would get even more insight into that situation.
It also helps you to connect with your client and engage them in the process.
In that early part of the reading, you’re asking, “What’s your question? What’s your situation?” and then you're trying to really connect into what is really going on for them. When you're in that process, what you're also doing is saying, “Let me make sure I understand your question correctly. If we ask this kind of question, is that going to get you the insight that you need? If we ask this other little variation, are we on the right track?”
What you’re actually doing in that process is saying subtly, subconsciously to your client, “YOU are a part of this reading, and YOU can make decisions here. I’m not the expert as the reader; I’m here to guide you and translate what the cards are saying to you. But ultimately, it comes down to you and how you create your life.”
Now, the fourth one is slightly practical, and the advantage of having your own Tarot spreads is you don’t have to memorise all of those other spreads.
I think I have to look up what the Horseshoe is so many times. In fact, even now, I probably still get it confused and muddled, and I just have to check my notes again. The good thing with creating your own spread is you’ll never have it wrong. You’ll never get the wrong position because you're creating it, so you can’t get it wrong.
CREATE YOUR OWN TAROT SPREAD
I want to move on now to how you actually go about creating your own Tarot spread. I have five simple steps to creating your own Tarot spread. Let me walk you through them at a high level, and then I’ll go into a little bit more detail.
- Get to the heart of the question.
- Brainstorm mini questions.
- Choose the number of cards you want to include in the spread.
- Balance and refine the spread.
- Choose a shape.
And then you’ve got your customised spread—nice and easy. Then, of course, you go ahead and do the reading. So, let’s dive into this in a little bit more detail.
#1 GET TO THE HEART OF THE QUESTION.
I think this is one of the defining skills for Tarot readers. We can choose to listen to our client’s question and go, “OK, yep, fine, got it,” and then do the reading. Or we can dive deeper into that question and really understand what it is that the client is asking.
For example, your client might say to you, “Will I get back with my ex?” You could go, “All right, fine—I’ll do the reading on that.” Or you could say, “OK, well, I would like to understand this a little bit better. You're asking, ‘Will I get back with my ex?’ Is that an outcome that you want? Do you want to get back with your ex, or do you want to move on? What’s the ideal outcome here for you? What do you think is in your best interest here? Do you think it is being with your ex, or is it time to move on? Is it that you’ve got another relationship that’s on the horizon here, and you want to know if you should let your previous relationship go?”
So, we need to delve a little bit deeper in most cases to find out what’s really at the heart of the question.
IN DOING THIS, CALL IN YOUR INTUITION.
Ask your intuition: What is really behind this question? Is there something more? Are we only looking at the symptoms here? How do we get deeper and deeper into the real question? You need also to be reading between the lines. Listen to the words that they’re using. Listen to the way that they choose to phrase their situation. What are they focusing on? Are they focusing on the problems or the opportunities? What does this tell you about their situation? Really listen.
As a side note, I found that doing training in neurolinguistics programming (NLP)—I have a Master Practitioner Level with NLP—has been incredibly helpful in terms of being able to recognise certain language patterns that then will show up—belief systems, what might be happening in somebody’s life, and so on. Language plays an incredibly important role in that, so really listen to what your client is saying, and read between the lines.
Ask your client: “What are we really getting at here? What’s your real question?”
“HOW IS THAT A PROBLEM?”
A really neat way of just trying to get into the core of the question is to ask: “How is that a problem?” For example, someone might say, “I feel like I’m at a crossroads with my career, and I’m confused about which path to take.”
So, you as the reader say, “How is that a problem?”
And they go, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m feeling confused.”
“OK, well, how is that a problem?”
“Well, I don’t know how to make a decision. I’ve got to make a decision by the end of this week!”
“OK, how is that a problem?”
“Well, I’ve got one opportunity on the table, but I could be doing another one.”
“OK, how is that a problem?”
“I want to find the opportunity that’s going to fit me the best.”
So, you keep playing this out. And yes, your client is probably thinking, “Goodness me! This reader is irritating! How is that a problem?” However, as you keep asking “How is that a problem?” you're pushing your client to really get to the heart of the question. I actually suggest that you try this in a non-Tarot reading setting. As you have a conversation with someone and they bring up a problem, just say, “How is that a problem?” and keep repeating it. Just experiment and see what happens as you do that Again, this another technique that we learnt in the NLP training, to keep asking “How is that a problem?”
“WHAT’S YOUR IDEAL OUTCOME?”
Now, the other piece you can ask in terms of getting to the heart of the question is: What’s your ideal outcome? I find this a really useful part to ask because it’s all part of creating what you want in this lifetime. When you ask “What’s your ideal outcome?” you're getting some information around what they want to manifest here and what the actions and steps they need to take in order to manifest that particular outcome are.
Again, coming back to that ex question, I had a case where I was reading for someone. She said if she would get back with her ex, and I just took that at face value. I did the reading, and I said, “I’m really sorry, but I just don’t think it’s going to work out.” I was a little bit apologetic about it.
She wrote back to me, saying, “Good because I think he's an idiot!”
I thought, “Oh, OK!” It probably would have been a more helpful reading if I had asked her “What’s your ideal outcome here? Do you want to get back together or don’t you?” Then we could have focused on things like “How do you move on?” and “How do you learn from that relationship and create a more fulfilling relationship in the future?” Anyway, lesson learnt!
That is getting to the heart of the question. It’s incredibly important that you practise this and really pay attention to getting to the heart of the question.
#2 BRAINSTORM MANY QUESTIONS.
Your client will ask you a question. Maybe, in this case, it could be “Will my financial situation improve?” OK, a couple of problems with that one. “Will” and predictive and all those sorts of things. But with step #2, what I'm encouraging you to do is to break that down into little mini questions.
“Will my financial situation improve?” So, you’ve got to the heart of the question. You’ve been asking “How is that a problem with the financial situation?”
“Oh, I’m just barely making enough money to cover my expenses, and I just don’t know how I could get another job?”
“How is that a problem?”
“Well, I’ve got a family, and I need to take care of them, and I’ve got this big responsibility.”
OK, so, now you’re starting to get more information. You start breaking that down into mini questions.
“What can you do to provide for your family? What could you do to create a feeling of safety around finances? What could you do to generate more finances? What other options are available to you right now?” And so on. So, you start unpacking it to bring out these little mini questions.
Now, I wanted to give you a couple of questions that I really like to use in many of my spreads:
WHAT MIGHT I EXPERIENCE IF…?
I think this one is particularly useful if you’re evaluating two choices. “Should I take job A or job B?” Well, a Tarot reader is not going to tell you what you should do (that’s up to you!), but a Tarot reader can tell you what you might experience if you take job A and what you might experience if you take job B and so on.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…?
Another one that I really like is “What do I need to know about…?” “What do I need to know about my financial situation? What do I need to know about providing for my family?”
I also find that this one is particularly helpful, say, for third-party readings or those readings that are a little bit on the edge with your ethics. So, for example, if someone has asked you, “Does my ex-boyfriend still love me?”
“Well, what do you need to know about your ex-boyfriend’s feelings for you? It won’t necessarily tell you exactly what your ex-boyfriend is thinking, but it will tell you what you need to know about that and how you're in relationship with what’s going on.”
So, that’s brainstorming many questions.
#3 CHOOSE THE NUMBER OF CARDS THAT YOU WANT TO USE.
You might be at the beginning stages, in which case, I would recommend you choose three or less cards/positions. You might be ready for more complex, in-depth reading—maybe seven or ten cards, even fifteen, although I find that a little bit overwhelming, even after having read for 20 years or so.
#4 BALANCE AND REFINE YOUR SPREAD.
You’ve got a whole list of mini questions. Maybe you’ve brainstormed about ten of them, and you’ve decided you want to do a five-card reading. So, now you need to choose just five questions from your brainstormed list.
TO DO THIS, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO ASK YOURSELF “HOW DO I WANT MY TAROT READING TO HELP MY CLIENT?”
For example, do you feel that the reading will be valuable if it focuses on the present? In that case, you might want to break down things like “What are the current opportunities? What are the current challenges? How are you in relationship with this problem?” Those kinds of things.
Or you might think that you can add more value by focusing on what actions they can take. In this case, you’ll choose mini-questions that are more action-oriented and focused on what they can do to create the kinds of outcomes that they want to have.
So, start to select the questions that will best contribute to this kind of outcome, and then check in to create balance across those questions. Even if I want to choose to focus a lot on the present to understand what’s really going on right now, I always like to include an action card because I’m big about action and big about creating the outcomes that you want.
Now, even if it was more of an outcome-focused or an action-oriented reading, then I still want to understand what’s led the person where they are right now. My balance would always find a way to get in, say, a “past” kind of card or something like that. Always look for that balance across your spread.
#5 CHOOSE A SHAPE FOR YOUR READING.
Then, finally, #5 is choose a shape for your reading. Now, you can be ultra-creative, and maybe you choose a heart shape if you're doing a love reading. Or if it’s a crossroads, it could be an X. Or if you're a bit more like me, I just do lines. I like to just line them up kind of more like paragraphs, and I think of “Where’s the next natural line break?” and then I start the new line and so on.
You can do whatever you please. Just be aware, though, that the shape does actually have an impact on your reading, particularly if you're interested in looking at the directions of the cards and how they interact and engage with one another.
For example, if you’re choosing a square shape versus four cards in a line, the cards are going to be looking at each other in different ways if you chose the line versus the square or vice versa. So, just be mindful of that as you're choosing the shape.
And that, my dear friends, is it. Those are the five simple steps to creating your own Tarot spread.
- Get to the heart of the question.
- Brainstorm mini questions.
- Choose how many cards you want to have.
- Balance and refine the spread
- Choose a shape
Voila! You have your own DIY Tarot spread.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR SPREADS SING
Now, just a couple of little notes for you to help you make those spreads sing. I think it’s really important to engage your client in the process. So, as I’m breaking down into those mini questions, typically, I will send that little customised reading to the client before I start the reading and say: “Here’s what I understand of your question. Here’s what I’ll be asking the Tarot. Will this provide you with the insight that you need?” More often than not, they’ll say, “Yes, brilliant! Go for it.”
Sometimes, though, they say, “No, but I want to know what’s actually going to happen.” And then that’s my opportunity to say, “Well, I’m not a predictive reader,” or “I’m not going to be able to help you with that kind of question,” or “You need to make these decisions for yourself.” So, it helps to create a bit more of a dialogue and set up those expectations before you go ahead with the reading. Engage the client in the process of creating the reading.
I think it’s important to keep a record of your favourite spreads and the favourite positions or mini questions you like to use. I end up with five or six that really use quite frequently, and I’ll adapt them, obviously, to that situation. But as you find questions that you really resonate with, make sure you keep track of those.
Finally, get inspired! For example, when I’m reading maybe a self-help book, I’m looking at these frameworks that they have in the self-help book, and I’m thinking, “Wow, that would make a great spread!” Or maybe you watch a movie, and you think about the plot of that movie, and you think, “Yeah, that would make a great spread, too!” For example, a while ago, I saw a Tarot spread around the Wizard of Oz—quite fascinating! You might also use a specific Tarot card to inspire a spread. Using, the Fool card, what would be a five-card spread that would take you deeper into the essence of the Fool card?
Be creative. Be inspired. Make these beautiful Tarot spreads either for in the moment when you're with a client, and you think, “OK, this is your question. Let’s really get into the heart of the question,” or because you want to create some fun Tarot spreads, and maybe you want to post them on Pinterest or wherever. It’s really up to you. You can do what you want once you have the core concepts to creating your own Tarot spreads.
Well, that is it for me for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s podcast episode. Now, of course, I love making Tarot simple, so I have created a free workbook: The Five Simple Steps to Read Tarot with Confidence. You can download that free workbook at BiddyTarot.com/5SS. It’s basically five different exercises that are fun and enjoyable that you can do to really build up your connection with the Tarot cards. So, check it out!
Remember, you can get the show notes and the transcript from today over at BiddyTarot.com/92.
Have an awesome week ahead! Next week, we’ll be talking about certification and what’s possible as a result of becoming a certified Tarot reader. It’s going to be great! I’ll speak with you then.
Bye for now!