Anatomy of a Tarot Spread

by Marianne


The Seeking Your Higher Purpose Spread is, hands down, Two Sides Tarot's most popular offering. This shouldn't really come as a surprise. We're all looking for guidance and direction, and we're all on the path to becoming our most true selves. This spread is the one to pick if you're feeling that change is coming, but you're not sure which way the wind is blowing (if you find yourself in such a jam, you can order this spread for yourself here). It looks a little something like this:

 

Card backs my very favourite deck, the beautiful Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Losche.

Card backs my very favourite deck, the beautiful Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Losche.

Our first card, all on its own at the top, is a snapshot of where you are starting your journey. Funnily enough, The Fool seems to come up more than ever in this position, and he offers a beautiful image of a soul about to set out on foot. It is so important to take stock of where you are before you head out the door. Without being clear about your motivations and intentions, how can you be sure where you're headed, and why? This card looks at what might be influencing your journey, and helps you to understand if you are in the right frame of mind to make a change.

The second line is all about making yourself road-worthy. Reading left to right, the first two cards consider where you've come from. No one starts the journey without a little baggage, after all! The first card shows you what experience, skills and expertise you should continue to cultivate. These are tools you already have, which will assist you as you continue to grow. The second card reminds you that there is only so much room in your suitcase (especially if you're packing light, like The Fool!). What experiences, attitudes or baggage are you still carrying that aren't going to serve you on the path ahead? This spread talks about a time of change, and change necessarily requires us to shed parts of ourselves that have outlasted their usefulness. Cards three and four on that second line give you a little heads up about how to travel safely - sort of like a traffic report, if you could use a traffic report to your spiritual advantage. Firstly, which opportunities you should look out for to help you along the way, and secondly pitfalls, roadblocks, perilous regions that might give you trouble.

The final line is clarification of the destination. The first card on this line is, simply, your higher purpose at this time. You could argue that this is the most important card in the whole spread and ask why it is relegated to the very last line, but I think there's no point privileging that destination unless you have a deep understanding of what is required to get there. Finally, almost my favourite card in any spread. The very last card on the very last line shows you what you can do RIGHT NOW to start packing and get on the road. Our previous cards often dig up some heavy shit! It can be overwhelming to consider so much. This last card aims to combat complacency and overwhelm. It says, do one thing. Take one tiny step towards your calling!

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The Seeking Your Higher Purpose Spread is especially dear to my heart because it jives so completely with my tarot philosophy. It's pure self-empowerment. The focus is all on exploring where you are, what experience you have, what opportunity and pitfalls you might face, and where you need to go in order to best serve your highest self. You'll see that, although there are cards to indicate what you should be aware of in the time to come, there is no outcome card. This spread merely gives you some tools and know-how for your journey. Where you go is up to you!

There is a lot of misconception out there that tarot is purely about making predictions. There are certainly some readers out there who are adept at doing such things, but I'm sure even they agree that, taken in isolation, a prediction doesn't give you the whole story. I am much more interested in the idea of will. How can I use my intent and my actions to create the outcome that best serves me? That is what this spread is about, at heart, and it is the underlying question I set out to answer every single time I read the cards. 

What are your thoughts about free will and fate in the cards? Has a tarot reading every helped you to clarify your purpose and take action?