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Opening Sacred Space: A Ritual to Ground Your Tarot Readings with Maia Toll

By May 6, 2015 April 20th, 2021


Note from Brigit: I'm thrilled to introduce Maia Toll, who is an earth-based ritualist and Founder of Witch Camp. Maia and I met over a year ago online and now we are part of a small, intimate mastermind who meet every week to talk about our heart-based businesses and support one another. Today, Maia shares her favourite rituals for preparing for a Tarot reading. Take it away, Maia…

Ready to amp up your tarot readings? Take a few moments to create a safe and sacred space before you lay out your cards.

Creating sacred space can be super simple or ritually complex! Go with what suits your mood and the moment.

Simply Sacred

Let’s start with four super simple ways to create a sacred space…

Use a Beautiful Cloth

Find a gorgeous piece of cloth that is large enough for your favorite spread. Take a few moments and clear a work space for yourself before you lay out the cloth. As you clear any clutter from your work-top, imagine emptying your mind and bringing in clarity for the reading. You can use this cloth to wrap your cards, essentially creating a traveling altar.

Light a Candle

Lighting a candle accomplishes much the same thing. Again be sure to clear your work surface, decluttering your mind simultaneously. As you light the candle, imagine the pure flame of inspiration and the warmth of compassion filling your heart.

Lay Out a Crystal Grid

Lay out a crystal grid or circle to amplify and contain the energy of the reading.

Use four crystals, one in each of the cardinal directions, imagining them connected on a circle.

As you lay them out, set your intentions for the reading, using your heart to ask the crystals to hold the energy of your intention.

Quartz works well for this (and be sure to let your crystals have a sun bath after the fact to reset them to neutral).


Finally you can do a smoke cleansing and clear the air of any negativities.

Ritually Complex

Thinking you’d like something a little more complex? Try my all-time favorite ritual –Calling the Quarters.

Calling the Quarters

This ancient technique, also called casting a circle or honoring the four directions,

creates a sacred and safe working circle.

When I perform this ritual, I have always felt that what I am truly doing is calling myself home, getting myself centered and grounded and here.

 Calling is an important bit here as well. Calling uses your voice, activates your throat, engages the golden cord that stretches from head to heart, uniting thought and feeling.

You can call the quarters in your mind but it does not have the same resonance, the same power, as using your voice.

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I try not to get overly specific when giving instructions for Calling the Quarters, I always want to leave space for your expression and inspiration.

But some basic guidelines do help. This will give you the gist of it:


Calling the quarters helps you to get deeply connected to the world around you, to ground and root in, so that you can create safe and sacred space.


The process is simple. You walk a circle (clockwise) and at each of the cardinal directions you pause, face that direction, and in your heart and mind connect to the element that it represents, asking it to be with you. When you are ready to close your sacred space, you reverse the process, thanking the elements for joining you.

As a reminder, here are the directions and their elemental correspondences:

  • East –Air
  • South –Fire
  • West –Water
  • North –Earth

I often chose something to represent each element- a feather, a candle, a bowl of water, a stone- and place these in the four directions as I walk my circle.

And I make sure to walk all the way around, ending where I began….

Everything else is up for grabs on any given day. There may be poetry, or drumming, or dancing, or crying. There have been oracle cards and crystals. Long speeches and short whispers.

There is always a sense of frisson, of power. Sometimes a trickle, sometimes a flood.

There is always this sense of my world being set to rights.

This ritual creates space between you and the work-a-day world, it gives you a chance to get quiet and ground yourself, to re-establish relationship with the world around you.

I know it sounds pretty witchy, which can be intimidating. But (if you dare!) give it a try. If you are an old hand at calling the quarters, practice deeply connecting with the elements—feeling them, smelling them, and tasting them—as you walk your circle.

For me, this process creates a feeling of immense peace, which in turn creates the space I need to step into sacred time….

…. Which is where I always want to be when I pick up my deck.

What is your favorite way to create sacred space for your readings?


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