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Three French Hens: Better than a gaggle of geese! Three hens are a productive trio.

It is time to talk about a favorite topic for many people: the spread. Cards and spreads are like peanut butter and jelly. Sometimes they are great together. Sometimes they are innovative, like that Smuckers product that contains peanut butter and jelly in one jar. Sometimes they just don’t work, like pairing peanut butter with orange jelly (marmalade).

Card spreads are a popular topic. I suppose this is in part because they make life seem easier for authors and learners. Like card meanings, they are easy to write about, which is good if you need to author a book. Learners like them for the same reason kids (of all ages!) like Pokémon games, where the goal is to obtain as many critters as possible: Gotta catch them all! I think it’s a parallel to the deck-buying syndrome. Learn the perfect spread and become the perfect reader.

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A reader of this blog, Justin, asked in a comment:

Do you have a specific tarot spread you would recommend for looking into situations at work?


My response was so lengthy I decided to turn it into a post. Here is my reply to Justin, which others may also find helpful.

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In late January I obtained a copy of the out-of-print Dreampower Tarot, created by R.J. Stewart and illustrated by Stuart Littlejohn. I might have owned this deck back in the mid-90s; the box looked quite familiar. I came across it online and felt compelled to obtain a copy. Fortunately I was able to find the deck at a reasonable price.


It’s very different to the average tarot deck, and purists would not even call it a tarot. There is such a fuss in the online tarot community about what constitutes a tarot deck; and I suppose it’s good to use consistent terms so that people know what they are discussing in mixed company. At the same time, people get on a high horse and can be quite obnoxious about it, which annoys me. But I digress.

The Dreampower Tarot (DPT) has 22 trumps, without titles or numbers on the cards; 16 courts that correspond to the usual tarot courts; and the normal set of numbered element cards, although these depict elements themselves rather than implements (fire instead of wands, water instead of cups, and so on). It is different, and definitely taking time to get used to. I find the court cards especially intriguing. They really stand out to me, and feel like real people in comparison to any other deck I have used.

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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

4 Calling Birds

This post, being brought to you by the number four, is going to be about reading using the four elements. Specifically, a four-card elemental spread. It’s quick, easy, and has proven quite valid in my experience.

(Because I am posting more than one entry today, please don’t miss my previous post, 5 Gold Rings.)

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On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

7 Swans a-Swimming

First off, a belated Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays — take your pick — to everybody out there. I spent a very happy couple of days with my loved ones, and am now trying to unwind a bit. It is cold and rainy outside and we are on the verge of a big snowfall here, according to the weather predictions.

Incidentally, cartomancy author Cicely Kent wrote that she believes the weather always shows up in a reading. I can’t say I’ve ever looked for this or tested it, but it’s an intriguing assertion.

For today’s post, the theme must be around the number seven; and the seven planets naturally came to mind. Actually, the first thing that came to MY mind was the trials of the number seven but I was having trouble turning that into a topic. Then I remembered Ophiel’s Oracle of Fortuna!

The Oracle of Fortuna is a method of divination intended for use with playing cards, that relies on the state of the game (whether won or not) and the seven planets (for categories) to provide meanings to the “spread” that exists at the end of the game. Additionally, the person versed in the system would be able to translate the game into nuances likely to take place as a questioned scenario plays out in real life.

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On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

8 Maids a-Milking

I’d better be careful, or I’ll be crying over spilt milk again.

I had a lot of ideas for the number eight. The problem is that a lot of them were too involved to fit into a short post like this, or were ideas I’d like to spend more time with before writing about publicly. What to do, what to do?!

Then it hit me: I could share a lot of my brainstorming ideas with you! I like the idea of sharing this — a snapshot of the way that my mind works, at least in this case. It provides a record of some ideas I may explore later. Finally, it’s a reminder that tarot doesn’t have to be all serious and somber and divinatory; it can be used as inspiration for “mundane” things, like writing and brainstorming. (I put mundane in quotes because creativity is sacred in some parts of the world or our history. Think about the Celtic people or ancient Greek culture!)

Here is my list.  Now with 40% more exclamation points!
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Here is an audio post for a spread I was inspired to create today. I decided to record it as I worked my way through the new spread. It had some decent things to tell me, even though I didn’t really have a question. 🙂

This spread is is the Rays of Awen, based on the concept of awen or imbas — that spark of divine inspiration — as well as the image of same used by some modern druids. See Wikipedia for a summary and a standard image of this symbol.

Here is the spread as I used it for this post:

The three cards on top, the drops of inspiration, are: Temperance, King of Cups, 8 of Cups
The leftmost or first ray contains: Hanged Man, 4 of Wands, Page of Wands
The rightmost or second ray contains: 2 of Wands, King of Swords, Knight of Pentacles
The center or third ray contains: Ace of Cups, 7 of Pentacles, Heirophant

I may or may not use this spread long term, but it was great fun to lay out today, and if I stick with it I think it could provide both short readings as well as detailed examinations of circumstance. I know there are subtleties here that would come from truly spending time on exploring the interplay of cards within and between each part of the spread. In my post, I did not do this.

I welcome feedback and comments as always.

Jase on Cards 08072011 (mp3, approximately 18min22sec; 8.8Meg)

Books that helped inspire this spread:


Tarot Spreads Compendium is an iOS app designed for the iPhone or the iPad. Each version is designed accordingly to take advantage of device screen size, so if interested, be sure to choose the correct app. This post specifically explores the iPad version.

This app is much like it sounds: it presents a gathering of 50 tarot spreads, most of which seem to be unique. You won’t see the Celtic Cross or the “Thoth spread” here; although the ever-versatile Three Cards is present. In fact, this latter spread gives the user a surprisingly large grid of options for how this spread may be interpreted, while reminding the reader that these ideas aren’t the limits.

Then there are spreads with names like “The Devil Made Me Do It,” or “Paralysis of Analysis.” Finally, we have some tarot celebrity spreads contributed by tarot-ati (my term), a couple of which I’ve seen such such as the Tarot Elements Signature spread and Robert Place’s Relationship spread; but most of these are new to me, and probably for those tarotistas who haven’t misspent their youth trawling both print and digital sources of tarot information.

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