Devil Inside: Create tarot spreads that speak from your recurring symbols and birth cards

Inescapable synchronicity

Have you ever found yourself casually looking at cards, after months, perhaps, of reading for yourself, and thought something like "The Ace of Swords ... AGAIN?"

If one card keeps cropping up in your readings, here are some ideas of how to transform that thematic imagery into a new spread for your cards (inspiration comes from Mary Greer's post). It may be just the trick to knock any unwanted card back in its place.

The richness of birth cards foster inspiration

Don't know where to begin creating a new spread (a way of laying out cards for interpretation), and want to deepen your relationship with tarot?

Consider first calculating your birth card. This can quickly be done using numerology. Beth at Little Red Tarot shows you how at her blog.

It'll be a Devil of a year

Because my next tarot year (which starts in about a month and is related to my birth card, The Lowers) is the year of the Devil card, I'm using it as a basis for designing a new tarot spread.

Familiar depictions of the Devil in tarot are packed with potential: One position could represent the female figure, and one could represent the male figure.

The Devil made me do it: Scheme outside the box

Lessons, I hope, are being processed from my year with Temperance as my tarot birth card. 

Why not incorporate the previous tarot birth year when plotting a tarot spread?

The angelic, healing figure on Temperance, and her actions of alchemy, made this a very fun spread to invent.

Human error: A tarot spread inspired by The Devil and Temperance

This spread for tarot is composed of five card positions:

  1. Human Error -- What flaw might be invoked (this helps clarify the situation)?
  2. Wicked Impulse -- The ugly nature of the situation (this helps show any motives).
  3. What Chains Us -- The seeker's involvement in the situation.
  4. Wings of Freedom -- How the seeker can release themselves from the situation.
  5. Alchemy -- How to forgive ourselves by combining the lessons of our mistakes with our hopes of overcoming them.

Tarot spread test drive

I read the following cards, using this spread, for a friend of mine. 

And yes, The Devil, indeed, was the first card to appear.

The Tarot Mucha versions of The Devil, the Nine of Pentacles, the Three of Pentacles, the Seven of Wands, and the Knave of Cups.

The Tarot Mucha versions of The Devil, the Nine of Pentacles, the Three of Pentacles, the Seven of Wands, and the Knave of Cups.

  1. Human Error -- What flaw might be invoked (this helps clarify the situation)?

    The Devil: Bondage to ignorance, as Mary Greer wrote in Tarot for Your Self. Also, the need to learn to laugh at things.
     

  2. Wicked Impulse -- The ugly nature of the situation (this helps show any motives).

    Nine of Pentacles: You want to feel successful. This isn’t a new whim.

    You’ve been dedicated to this growth for some time.
     

  3. What Chains Us -- The seeker's involvement in the situation.

    Three of Pentacles: You are “hands on” with the ignorance. You help build it or you have worked in a situation that has contributed to it.
     

  4. Wings of Freedom -- How the seeker can release themselves from the situation.

    Seven of Wands: Take a leadership role. Let your passions guide you.

    I also know that you are planning to create staffs, as you said was suggested to you by a fellow psychic reader -- this looks like confirmation that you will feel strong and engaged when you let your creativity take over.

    Profit follows those who follow their passions.
     

  5. Alchemy -- How to forgive ourselves by combining the lessons of our mistakes with our hopes of overcoming them.

    Knave of Cups: Learn to wash away the ignorance.

    The lesson: You have had the purest, kindest intentions. And now? You need a spa day.

    Overcome the mistake. The sense that you have not achieved your goal is already being refreshed by the Knave of Cups. 

    Emotions that may have given you a sinking feeling before will grow distant as you develop and grow into your new identity.

    Be patient with how you feel, assess what you really care for, and bring innocence back to a pure relationship with it. You have no need to feel chained to previous desired outcomes, and you are beginning to adapt.

Creating with archetypes or images from non-tarot sources

Here's one possible guideline for how to gain perspective on the message behind archetypes and other images through the invention of your own card spread. Whatever symbol inspires you, try this:
 



Analyze the tarot card or image. If you don't have it easily accessible, draw it the best you can, or list the traits that stick out the most in your mind.

As you map out your spread, use as many cards as you like: odd numbers usually work best.

While some readings incorporate all 78 cards, the maximum number of cards is up to you. While more cards equal more depth, they can be very cumbersome, and possibly confusing. Even when I read for a year ahead, I don't like to draw many cards for each month.

Your ideas

Do you have ideas for creating your own tarot spread? Or do you feel stumped?

Let's celebrate ... or brainstorm ... in the comments below.

Next time

Tea leaf reading is often about perspective. One person's monster might be another person's kokopelli. Look for a blog on this topic Jan 26.

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Thanks for the read.

Tabitha Dial is a tarot, tea leaf reader, and creative mentor in Lexington, Kentucky. She facilitates the Create your Fate (Tarot and more) Meetup and teaches seminars at the Mystical Paranormal Fair once a month. Her poetry has appeared in articles on SpiralNature.com, in "Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology", and in "Tarot in Culture" Volume Two.